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View Full Version : introduction and some questions



kariuke
08-22-2008, 06:39 AM
ok first of all my ukulele is a makala tenor upgraded with aquila strings. bought it from mgm. great guy, great service by the way. i just got it three days ago, so yeah it gets out of tune, but i got an electronic tuner, so it's all good.

my musical experience is...the piano. unusual huh? been playing it since i was five so you can say i'm pretty decent. now your probably wondering how'd this guy get interested in the ukulele. well it was my trip to the philippines that was an eye opener to the ukulele. so i was just at the mall right? i see a store called "kultura pilipinas" and i'm like hm, i need some souveniers anyways. so i went in and i saw the magic instantly cast upon me. a ukulele! it wasn't really a playable ukulele, but the sound was good enough for twenty bucks. so yeah i bought it and played with it for hours on end. after playing on the piano for so long, i just wanted a break and try something new.

so finally my questions (sorry that intro seems a bit long huh?):

1. i don't know how many of you play the piano then switch over to the ukulele, but my fingers are naturally curved due to piano playing and now the ukulele demands more straighter fingers for muting with the pinky especially. anyways how long do you cope with it?

2. how long do you practice per day?

3. are your thumbs suppose to hurt after a few weeks of playing? or am i simply pressing too hard?

4. maybe it's too late to ask this question...but i've been playing i'm yours by jason mraz for about two weeks, and still can't get that f sharp consistently. i usually go: clean, buzz, buzz, clean, one string muted, buzz, clean. what i'm trying to say is...is this a good starting song for a newbie like me? or am i going too strong? and if you can estimate...how long does it take to master this song for a person of my skill level assuming i play everyday.

5. so yeah my strings are still in that stretching status, and it is evident with the out of tune sound. i'm wondering when it finally gets stretched and settled, will the strings be easier to press down?

so those are my questions. sorry this was such a long post. but if you can answer them, thank you in advance. and if you can add any other helpful tips, please by all means tell me.

FHS-72
08-22-2008, 06:54 AM
hey kariuke, welcome to uu. like the piano the uke will take alot of practice and patience. it'll come, but u have to be patient. maybe trying to relax your grip a little will help. i try to play everyday for atleast an hour, but everyones different. maybe u could try Bb-F-Gm-Eb for i'm yours. it might be easier.:nana:

GForce83
08-22-2008, 07:01 AM
Have to breeze past the questions about piano playing as I've never played one myself.


2. how long do you practice per day?
I'm currently playing about an hour a day casually but a bit more on the weekends.


3. are your thumbs suppose to hurt after a few weeks of playing? or am i simply pressing too hard?
I suppose it depends on how you're playing. When I used to play guitar my thumb always hurt because of how I was bracing it against the back of the neck of the guitar whereas with the uke I find I naturally wrap my thumb around the top of the neck because it's so much thinner. Maybe you just need to experiment with different ways of holding until you find one that's comfortable for you ... everyone's different, that's what makes the world so magical!


4. maybe it's too late to ask this question...but i've been playing i'm yours by jason mraz for about two weeks, and still can't get that f sharp consistently. i usually go: clean, buzz, buzz, clean, one string muted, buzz, clean. what i'm trying to say is...is this a good starting song for a newbie like me? or am i going too strong? and if you can estimate...how long does it take to master this song for a person of my skill level assuming i play everyday.
I think a good thing to do would be to browse the Videos section and check out a few songs that UU players have posted on YouTube ... you'll be able to see songs that other people are playing comfortably and try them out. Also if you check out chordie.com (http://www.chordie.com) you can pull up the CHORDS version (as oppose to the TAB version ... not all songs have both versions and not all are correct as they're submitted but try a few out and you'll find a couple of nice ones) of any song you like and then change the chord boxes to ukulele on the drop down menu on the right. I found Losing My Religion by REM quite a nice one to play. Also Nothing Compares To You by Sinhead O'Connor has a few basic chords and a simple strumming patters so is nice to practice with, same with Mad World by Gary Jules.


5. so yeah my strings are still in that stretching status, and it is evident with the out of tune sound. i'm wondering when it finally gets stretched and settled, will the strings be easier to press down?
Different for different strings I'm afriad so i couldn't possibly comment.

Hope any of this rambling helps. Welcome to the wonderful world of the ukulele.

kariuke
08-22-2008, 07:13 AM
thanks guys for the quick responses, i'll try those tips out right now!

remy
08-22-2008, 08:38 AM
Hey, welcome!

I'm a former piano player as well. I see what you're saying about having a natural curve to your fingers, I mean, I remember being young and having teachers try to teach me that. However, I don't think that your fingers are actually more curvy. That's probably just how you're used to holding them. So I'm sure piano won't be too much of an impediment. You just have to get used to hold thing uke, and then you won't think about it at all!

I think when I first started, I overcompensated by kind of bending my fingers backwards on my fretting hand. Don't do that!

Another big part of it is probably that it used different muscles that the piano, so after a while, your fingers will be more toned, especially you pinky, for doing all that fancy fingerwork!

On the plus side, piano gives you a pretty good understanding of chords, so you actually know what you're doing when you make a C or a C minor! Good luck!

NotoriousMOK
08-22-2008, 09:45 AM
Hi Kariuke! Welcome aboard! The mass of what you're asking will certainly become easier with practice, of course. If you've played piano for that long then I'm sure you're no stranger to that. I took a short stab at playing piano years ago, but lost interest. In my case, ukulele was much more fun right out of the gate.



1. i don't know how many of you play the piano then switch over to the ukulele, but my fingers are naturally curved due to piano playing and now the ukulele demands more straighter fingers for muting with the pinky especially. anyways how long do you cope with it?

The pinky mute thing is troublesome for me on some chords, but gets easier over time. On some chords, something in the joint to my hand 'clicks over' and my pinky hits the fretboard with a pretty good thump, making more noise than I want. I usually find that when this happens, it's because I'm not keeping my wrist straight enough.




2. how long do you practice per day?

I 'play' daily for an hour or more, but rarely do I 'focus' on any one thing for more than 30 minutes. I play first for fun and relaxation, if I learn something significant in the process, that's bonus.



3. are your thumbs suppose to hurt after a few weeks of playing? or am i simply pressing too hard?

Barre chords tend to create a soreness in the muscle below my thumb after a while. You'll find a balance in how much pressure to apply on the strings for different combinations, but at first, I would press too hard and get sore. Once my fingers got used to getting into position 'X' quickly, then I was able to use less pressure and get a clean sound.



4. maybe it's too late to ask this question...but i've been playing i'm yours by jason mraz for about two weeks, and still can't get that f sharp consistently. i usually go: clean, buzz, buzz, clean, one string muted, buzz, clean. what i'm trying to say is...is this a good starting song for a newbie like me? or am i going too strong? and if you can estimate...how long does it take to master this song for a person of my skill level assuming i play everyday.

4 hours, 35 minutes, island time :p.

Any song that makes you happy is fine. Focus on the changes that you're having trouble with for a while, but not to the point you're not having fun anymore. When I have trouble with part of a song, I'll work on it for a while and move on to a different part, maybe a part that is a little easier (probably to boost my confidence a little) and come back to the trouble spot later. In my case, typically I will 'suddenly' overcome the barrier as if it was never there -- something just 'clicks'.




5. so yeah my strings are still in that stretching status, and it is evident with the out of tune sound. i'm wondering when it finally gets stretched and settled, will the strings be easier to press down?

I suppose if you could find a way to measure this, they MAY get easier over time, but I believe YOU will get more used to pressing them down efficiently, so it will seem like it's the strings.


Above all, enjoy yourself first, the rest will come in time -- have fun!

kariuke
08-22-2008, 02:10 PM
thanks again guys...i can't seem to put my ukulele down for one second. it's so fun! even though my strings may buzz, it will get better! positive thinking is all i need to get through the unforgiving (and painful) orientation that is the ukulele. practice makes perfect i suppose, i'll update you guys around next week to see how i'm doing on my song. well you done done me...

remy
08-30-2008, 09:27 PM
My strings buzzed too when I first started! It drove me nuts, but then I guess it stopped. I have no idea what I was doing wrong. It's probably about getting a feel for how much pressure to use. Keep up the good work!

Brad Bordessa
08-31-2008, 11:42 AM
2. how long do you practice per day?

Kimo Hussey told me that you should start by practicing for 10 minutes. (You don't want to force yourself into playing for a long time - especially if you are new and your fingers are hurting. Also ten minutes is just enough time to keep what you have previously learned in your head) If you are enjoying yourself, play longer.

Dane
08-31-2008, 12:16 PM
The buzz can come from a number of different things I have found from my experience.

It could be the action (sometime you only notice it if you play loudly) I found my nut rattling the other day after I took some excess string off the pegs, it went away once the strings got nice and stretched out again.

It could also be something where you are plucking the string more vertical, which makes it more likely to hit a fret, if you know what I mean.

It could be that the slot in the nut in not proper for the string, and it rattles around in it (easily fixable with a very very small amount of spitball under the string in the slot) or you can sand the slot to the proper form.

Or I suppose it could be that the strings you have now are a bit too loose, maybe after they settle it will sort out, or you can always replace the strings.

Please excuse me if I am wrong, but this is what I have found personally.

kariuke
09-01-2008, 05:26 PM
alright so i've been playing for about another week and i can safely say that pain-wise, i'm not feeling as much pain as before! yay! so i actually extended my practice hours to like 2 hours.

sound-wise, big improvement! i don't buzz as much as before, but it's still there in all honesty, so i'll work on that some more.

the strings, i think they are stretched out now. my fretting fingers seemed to have gotten used to it.

switching chords...eh. should be faster and cleaner. i'm like "so i...won't...hesi - tate.... taaate(buzz) taate(clean)...no more... (you know what i mean?)."

picking is hard for me, but i wanna work on the chords first before the little details or should i work on it altogether?

muting...eh i've been trying to mute with my pinky and it just isn't working with me. say for instance i mute the f sharp and when i strum it there's always a "leaked" string. my pinky is like this:

that ^ part is that curve in my pinky (it allows that string to be heard, which i don't want).

----^--

argh why can't i keep it straight?!

other than that yes i did improve thanks to you guys.