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View Full Version : I feel like im getting worse



ICMB
05-01-2012, 02:01 AM
I know the chords for many songs and some fingerpicking not too crazy but im really done with my uke it sounds bad to me (cheap cheap cheap one)

I saved up for so long to get an uke that would really be used for years and years (im currently 5 -6 months casually playing ukulele) so after saving for months and help from my family i ordered a Pono ATD and after ive ordered it It still had not arrived (sorry for the confusion before edit)

I feel like im going downhill I cant fingerpick forget chords dont press the strings hard enough and I feel useless and that buying such an expensive uke was kinda stupid if Im now this bad and its really demoralising. should i play more? give it a rest? kinda start over on things ive learnt?

:(

philrab66
05-01-2012, 02:07 AM
I know the chords for many songs and some fingerpicking not too crazy but im really done with my uke it sounds bad to me (cheap cheap cheap one) and I saved up for so long to get an uke that would really be used for years and years (im currently 5 -6 months casually playing ukulele) so after saving for months and help from my family i ordered a Pono ATD and after ive ordered it I feel like im going downhill I cant fingerpick forget chords dont press the strings hard enough and I feel useless and that buying such an expensive uke was kinda stupid if Im now this bad and its really demoralising. should i play more? give it a rest? kinda start over on things ive learnt?

:(
sounds to me you are being a bit hard on yourself. You have just got to have fun with it. go back to basics and learn something easy until you nail it and are happy with it. I am learning this at the moment it is easier than it looks and it sounds nice.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I73FGBhN4BM&list=PL8A942249D8A80AD5&index=14&feature=plpp_video
I am going to try and do a video of it today. Why dont you try and learn it and post a video. Just relax and have fun.

Freeda
05-01-2012, 02:13 AM
I find that alternating between my ukes gives the best results. Don't stress!

Olarte
05-01-2012, 02:23 AM
I have been playing classical guitar for about 5 years and even now I go through periods where I get stuck, feel like I'm playing horrible then all of a sudden I make a great breakthrough.

Be patient, a lot of times it will get worse before you see progress, or it seems that you are stuck.

Pracice slowly, focus on specific tasks then also take time to enjoy playing for the sake of playing. Don't confuse practice with playing they are acutally two distinct activities.

BUt the main thing is enjoy all of it, and take your time. Getting a better instrument will help, but you will also need to get used to it get used to hearing more clearly both the right and the wrong notes.

It takes time but boy is it ever so worth it.... so stay the course, and enjoy the journey!

Doc_J
05-01-2012, 02:28 AM
Have you tried other sizes and ukes? Some truly are easier to play than others.

Sounds like you are progressing more than you realize.

csibona
05-01-2012, 03:51 AM
I've been told that progress is non-linear; I tend to agree. The path to playing better involves practice regardless of the stochastic nature of progress.

luluwrites
05-01-2012, 04:31 AM
I can only compare this to my real life job. Every time I start a new book I think: How come this is so hard? Haven't I learned ANYTHING?
You have a new instrument that you are just getting used to. Keep playing, keep enjoying what you play, and you'll likely be surprised soon by how far you've come.

Nickie
05-01-2012, 06:07 AM
I become worser and worser every day!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
05-01-2012, 06:18 AM
Try getting a good set up before getting discouraged. A poorly set up uke can be very frustrating.

blue_knight_usa
05-01-2012, 06:26 AM
Is your uke set up? You can adjust the action, as you shouldn't have to press really hard, so maybe the setup is too high. That can be adjusted somewhat without really affecting the uke.
I just sold my Pono which I had to adjust as the action was super high. It was their MHT- Deluxe and it sounded great. I only sold it recoup some funds for a custom I bought but they are great ukes.
Additionally, it is very important to play the uke where your fingers are right up against the frets. Not on them but right next to them. Many people play between frets and you will get buzzing, also if you press hard you will sound off (makes the instrument go sharp on the notes as your increasing the tension on the strings which changes the note. Also play SLOW. Many people want to be a Jake, or a James Hill, or Kimo Hussey overnight (yeah I'm one of them! LOL) But it takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice. Playing things over and over slowly will get your muscle memory and brain working. Slow down where it almost feels too slow and focus on your sound, clean notes, make slow and smooth transitions to other chords. UU has some good videos on playing complex chords and some basic excercises I use that really do work. Don't get down on your self. I always think I play worse than I should but in the end, who cares! I have fun playing and play with friends every week which keeps me motivated.

Maybe you can find someone to jam with as well because you'll actually help each other get better as long as your close to the same level and then just challenge yourself over time with more and more songs and playing different chord progressions. Again, I think playing slow and focusing on tone as well as left hand and right hand exercises (Kimo Hussey is big on this and taught me quite a few good techniqes).

Oh, you know what just hit me. Do you have those fat Ko'Olau gold strings on your Pono. Those things really frustrated me. I switched to Savarez strings and they made the Pono sound 10x better (a bit mellower) and you could press down without having to put a 5 pound weight on the back of your hand (figuratively speaking). I am not sure if they still use those but they are a b***** to play with in my opinion. Worth's are also great strings and they are a bit less tension and softer on your fingers.

Don't get discouraged!

PoiDog
05-01-2012, 07:25 AM
It's stories like this that make me feel better about sucking and not caring that I suck. Heck, I embrace the suck.

ukuleleleluku
05-01-2012, 02:33 PM
Do you play everday? I found sometimes it's good to walk away for a day or two. There are some days when I'm just not feelin it and for what ever reason nothing sounds right. I'll give it a rest every now and then. I'll come back later, change nothing except my attitude and find I'm in the mood and groove.

I will say this about the possibility of it being the uke. You didn't say what size of Ukelele you play and what kind the new one is. I play best on a tenor because I have big hands and fingers. I do have an old no name restored soprano probably from around the 1930s. When I play the little soprano I tend to fumble around alot and the chords are not always played very well cuz I'm trying to get my big fingers crammed into those little frets. It's a fun little uke to play around on but the difference between my abilities on the tenor as compared to the soprano are very different. I'm a much better player on my tenors than on my soprano.

Plainsong
05-01-2012, 03:47 PM
It could be that the Pono isn't meant for you, or that it needs a setup, or maybe just some new strings as has already been said. We can't really judge your ability, but it sounds like you're feeling a bit down on yourself, where nothing you do is good enough. Yeah, well, there's always going to be someone better, and there'll always be someone you're better than. It's just the rules.

Maybe just quit trying so hard. Relax, kick back, and enjoy the sound. If it takes you a while to find a chord, so what? Do you enjoy the sound of it? That's all that matters. Often times when you quit trying so hard, you allow yourself to relax enough to enjoy it. When you enjoy it, you play more, and when you play more, you improve. Not in hours, or days, maybe more like years, but this is for you to enjoy. There's no destination. It's just an ongoing journey.

Uke isn't my ideal instrument either. I mean I love it to bits, but I'm a bit slow on the uptake compared to others. There's a song coming out soon where everyone will get to hear just what I mean too. I'm better, or rather show more improvement more quickly on other instruments. But for all that, I don't really care. The uke is my thing. :)

ICMB
05-01-2012, 06:26 PM
Is your uke set up? You can adjust the action, as you shouldn't have to press really hard, so maybe the setup is too high. That can be adjusted somewhat without really affecting the uke.
I just sold my Pono which I had to adjust as the action was super high. It was their MHT- Deluxe and it sounded great. I only sold it recoup some funds for a custom I bought but they are great ukes.
Additionally, it is very important to play the uke where your fingers are right up against the frets. Not on them but right next to them. Many people play between frets and you will get buzzing, also if you press hard you will sound off (makes the instrument go sharp on the notes as your increasing the tension on the strings which changes the note. Also play SLOW. Many people want to be a Jake, or a James Hill, or Kimo Hussey overnight (yeah I'm one of them! LOL) But it takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice. Playing things over and over slowly will get your muscle memory and brain working. Slow down where it almost feels too slow and focus on your sound, clean notes, make slow and smooth transitions to other chords. UU has some good videos on playing complex chords and some basic excercises I use that really do work. Don't get down on your self. I always think I play worse than I should but in the end, who cares! I have fun playing and play with friends every week which keeps me motivated.

Maybe you can find someone to jam with as well because you'll actually help each other get better as long as your close to the same level and then just challenge yourself over time with more and more songs and playing different chord progressions. Again, I think playing slow and focusing on tone as well as left hand and right hand exercises (Kimo Hussey is big on this and taught me quite a few good techniqes).

Oh, you know what just hit me. Do you have those fat Ko'Olau gold strings on your Pono. Those things really frustrated me. I switched to Savarez strings and they made the Pono sound 10x better (a bit mellower) and you could press down without having to put a 5 pound weight on the back of your hand (figuratively speaking). I am not sure if they still use those but they are a b***** to play with in my opinion. Worth's are also great strings and they are a bit less tension and softer on your fingers.

Don't get discouraged!
its not set up waiting for my Pono to arrive it will be set up when it arrives my current uke has the strings really high above so I have to press really hard and feels awkward after a while. I dont know how to set my uke up so the one I ordered from hawaii music supply so I cant wait its just taking forever to process my order idk why :S


It could be that the Pono isn't meant for you, or that it needs a setup, or maybe just some new strings as has already been said. We can't really judge your ability, but it sounds like you're feeling a bit down on yourself, where nothing you do is good enough. Yeah, well, there's always going to be someone better, and there'll always be someone you're better than. It's just the rules.

Maybe just quit trying so hard. Relax, kick back, and enjoy the sound. If it takes you a while to find a chord, so what? Do you enjoy the sound of it? That's all that matters. Often times when you quit trying so hard, you allow yourself to relax enough to enjoy it. When you enjoy it, you play more, and when you play more, you improve. Not in hours, or days, maybe more like years, but this is for you to enjoy. There's no destination. It's just an ongoing journey.

Uke isn't my ideal instrument either. I mean I love it to bits, but I'm a bit slow on the uptake compared to others. There's a song coming out soon where everyone will get to hear just what I mean too. I'm better, or rather show more improvement more quickly on other instruments. But for all that, I don't really care. The uke is my thing. :)

I dont have the pono yet I have a crappy non set up uke that just doesnt sound good for me anymore idk why. I might just need to relax idk

ICMB
05-01-2012, 06:27 PM
Double post sorry*

mds725
05-01-2012, 07:12 PM
If your current uke is as "crappy" as you say it is, you probably feel like you're getting worse because you've outgrown it. I think you'll be surprised -- shocked even -- at how much easier it will be for you to play your Pono when it arrives. (Remember, though, that ukes are shipped with the strings loose, so tune beofre you play. Also, the strings will need time to settle.)

Paul Dominic Martin
05-01-2012, 08:16 PM
I know the chords for many songs and some fingerpicking not too crazy but im really done with my uke it sounds bad to me (cheap cheap cheap one)

I saved up for so long to get an uke that would really be used for years and years (im currently 5 -6 months casually playing ukulele) so after saving for months and help from my family i ordered a Pono ATD and after ive ordered it It still had not arrived (sorry for the confusion before edit)

I feel like im going downhill I cant fingerpick forget chords dont press the strings hard enough and I feel useless and that buying such an expensive uke was kinda stupid if Im now this bad and its really demoralising. should i play more? give it a rest? kinda start over on things ive learnt?

:(

yeah i am sorry to hear that but relate as well.... i feel like i was learning techniques and what i learned i wanted to learn so quickly i was getting sloppier and sloppier.... then again i watch jake s, aldrine g., etc. all the time so i am comparing myself to guys who've been doing it for so many many many more years than me... i am nearing 2 months soon enough..... just keep playing what you love... the songs that make you feel good...

also do the things that you are good at already... your other passions and then come back to the uke... i instantly want to play like all those for mentioned and even many of the uke players on this site and even those far younger then me... but live only in comparison to yourself....

i'm 37 and feel like i've only begun to finally discover my life long instrument now.... but watch the things that inspire you... learn songs that you love to hear all the time... i alternate between techniques and songs cause if i am only learning techniques but not applying them to songs then i feel like what's the use...

just PLAY.... it's called PLAYing and not WORK... walk away if need be but do it with the heart of a child and don't place expectations on yourself it will naturally happen and all those aforementioned are like you, a WORK IN PROGRESS...

hope that helps.... these words are as much for me as they are for you as well.... :D

yorick
05-02-2012, 12:34 AM
I don't think buying a more expensive uke is a bad investment if you are willing to stick with it and learn.

A few things to mention: Don't overwork yourself while playing. Your technique can get worse and worse as your hands get fatigued, as if you keep practicing with bad technique. If you aren't pressing chords hard enough, go back to some basics and re-learn the chords you already know. Get the muscle/mind connection down pat. Practice the C chord until it sounds perfect every time you pick the uke up. Don't keep chugging through the chords with bad technique or else it'll reinforce bad technique.

Also, don't worry about mastering too many things at once. You might have to wait on getting the fingerpicking down until you get a few other things taken care of.

Make sure you look at all the free videos on Uke underground. The premium video service is probably a worthy investment for those that need extra instruction.

Last but not least - have fun with your uke. Don't make it into something you regret picking up because you feel you aren't good enough. It's a happy instrument, so don't fight it when you play it.

Noobulele
05-02-2012, 03:29 AM
Like with learning any other hobby, I find there are periods of frustration or disinterest after the initial surge of enthusiasm. I think the key is to push through these feelings in order to reach a point where you can call yourself a good Uke player (I should probably follow my own advice).

Another thing is to get a quality Ukulele with proper a proper set up. I started a cheap Mahalo and didn't get anywhere because of buzzing and intonation issues, and also because I was dissatisfied with the instrument every time I played. That nagging feeling and the poor performance of the Uke was very distracting and lead me to almost quit. I recently purchased an Ohana with a proper set up and now I've picked up where I left off (at the beginner stage).

Cheers.