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View Full Version : Uke dyslexia!



steve.d
07-18-2012, 10:24 AM
Think i'm a sufferer...

I can noodle around for ages running through chords and strumming patterns but the minute i go to get serious and play a structured song it all goes horribly wrong with an end result of doing well if i haven't sliced off my digits by the time of the first chorus.

Is there any help or am i destined to be stuck at the back of the class with the raffia for eternity?

As an example i can run off The Saw Doctors N17 or The Pogues Paddy Rolling Stone pretty good without even thinking about it but when i try to play it off a chord sheet i find it impossible - is this unusual?

OldePhart
07-18-2012, 11:15 AM
If I understand what you're saying I wouldn't call that suffering. You seem to be saying in the last paragraph that you can play from memory or by ear but not from a chord sheet - for those of us with the opposite problem that sounds like a good thing...


Think i'm a sufferer...

I can noodle around for ages running through chords and strumming patterns but the minute i go to get serious and play a structured song it all goes horribly wrong with an end result of doing well if i haven't sliced off my digits by the time of the first chorus.

Is there any help or am i destined to be stuck at the back of the class with the raffia for eternity?

As an example i can run off The Saw Doctors N17 or The Pogues Paddy Rolling Stone pretty good without even thinking about it but when i try to play it off a chord sheet i find it impossible - is this unusual?

steve.d
07-18-2012, 11:42 AM
If only it was being able to play by ear, don't think that i explained it as good as i could have done.

Those songs i sort of found by accident whilst noodling, wasn't until after looking them up on Chordie did i find that i had a fit - not much return for the hours put in.

The problem that i have is that think i have enough chords and patterns to be able to play a much wider song book than i can actually manage. As soon as i try and sit myself in front of tabs it all goes tits up in a big way. The chords are either two ahead and the strumming pattern sounds like a trussed up cat being flung down the stairs. It's not pretty.......

OldePhart
07-18-2012, 11:50 AM
If only it was being able to play by ear, don't think that i explained it as good as i could have done.

Those songs i sort of found by accident whilst noodling, wasn't until after looking them up on Chordie did i find that i had a fit - not much return for the hours put in.

The problem that i have is that think i have enough chords and patterns to be able to play a much wider song book than i can actually manage. As soon as i try and sit myself in front of tabs it all goes tits up in a big way. The chords are either two ahead and the strumming pattern sounds like a trussed up cat being flung down the stairs. It's not pretty.......

Ahhh...it sounds like the chords are surprising you. You never want that to happen. Let me give you two hints (actually three) that will probably help a lot. First, and most important, don't think of a song as a collection of chords, think of it as a collection of chord changes. You want to look the song over and decide in advance how you are going to handle each chord transition. Second, learn more than one form of each chord so you have options when choosing those transitions - often you can make a song much easier to play simply by using a different fingering for some of the chords. Third use a metronome, set very slowly, and only speed it up when you can make all of the changes in a song smoothly.

Fourth (okay, so I can't count) - get out of your comfort zone! We all have this tendency to fall into patterns of playing little runs that we like but you don't advance as a player that way. It's fine to warm up with those but spend most of each session trying to play real songs with real chord progressions, whether from memory or chord sheets doesn't really matter as long as you are playing a good variety of real songs so you are practicing real-world chord progressions.

John

luluwrites
07-18-2012, 11:56 AM
Ahhh...it sounds like the chords are surprising you. You never want that to happen. Let me give you two hints (actually three) that will probably help a lot. First, and most important, don't think of a song as a collection of chords, think of it as a collection of chord changes. You want to look the song over and decide in advance how you are going to handle each chord transition. Second, learn more than one form of each chord so you have options when choosing those transitions - often you can make a song much easier to play simply by using a different fingering for some of the chords. Third use a metronome, set very slowly, and only speed it up when you can make all of the changes in a song smoothly.

Fourth (okay, so I can't count) - get out of your comfort zone! We all have this tendency to fall into patterns of playing little runs that we like but you don't advance as a player that way. It's fine to warm up with those but spend most of each session trying to play real songs with real chord progressions, whether from memory or chord sheets doesn't really matter as long as you are playing a good variety of real songs so you are practicing real-world chord progressions.

John

Thank you for posting this, John. I always learn something from your comments.

steve.d
07-18-2012, 12:05 PM
That sounds great advice John, many thanks for taking the time to reply.

Thinking about it i believe that you could be spot on, thought i was too old to be surprised by anything let alone something as harmless as a chord but it does make sense.

I've a tendency to pelt through changes and patterns, don't seem to be able to slow things down enough to pick up the intricacies of the song and slam in trying to play Clash tunes as fast as the original - think i need to chill and pick up the song in bite size pieces if i'm reading your advice correctly. Not easy going against the natural tendency to belt out a tune is it.

Thanks again for the advice John.

Freeda
07-18-2012, 12:32 PM
It may help to speak the lyrics instead of singing till you get the song under control. Easier to slow down. I also tend to underline the syllable where the chord change occurs so I am sure to hit it at the right time.

JamieFromOntario
07-18-2012, 01:28 PM
Great advice, John.

One thing I'll add is that, by breaking the songs you are working on into their component parts, you will be able to master them more easily. So, instead of working on the strum patterns, chord changes and lyrics all at the same time, try working on each one separately. For example, you could mute the strings and just practice the strum patterns. Or you could practice just forming the different chord shapes.

Practice each little component until they are really solid, then starting putting them together, adding more piece at a time. I find that putting the parts together is the most challenging stage since you'll be really fluent with each part individually, but, when you try to do even two of your components at a time, it will feel extremely challenging. Just go slow and be patient.

Good luck!

harrylime
07-18-2012, 09:22 PM
As a complete novice I wouldn't attempt to advise but if it's of any interest I now find myself 'reading' the chord changes i.e. just as you do when reading an article you sort of learn to look at two or three words (chords) ahead as you progress, that way I can anticipate the changes as I proceed.

steve.d
07-18-2012, 10:22 PM
It may help to speak the lyrics instead of singing till you get the song under control. Easier to slow down. I also tend to underline the syllable where the chord change occurs so I am sure to hit it at the right time.

I don't do singing Freeda, there are some things that should never be allowed to happen - world leaders belly dancing, Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan being allowed to return to the country, Alan Shearer on Match of the Day (it's a British thing) and top of the list is myself being allowed to murder any song by attempting a vocal at it (with the possible exception of Jambalaya when drunk!).

Slowing it all down certainly seems to be the key, i'm just going to have to try harder and not go at it as if it's a Uke punk fest.

mm stan
07-18-2012, 11:39 PM
If you are beginning, choose your songs to your skill level...until you feel comfortable with learning new
chords and chord transitions...when you are ready to advance, you will know....enjoy the journey and not
stressing yourself with too complicated songs out of your skill level...stay within your range and have fun.
Nothing worse than getting fustrated and disappointed...Happy Strummings..

lewjack
07-19-2012, 12:41 AM
hi steve am one worst than you my memory is that bad i can not even remember the words to any songs not one keep trying if you enjoy it cheers nige

steve.d
07-19-2012, 02:42 AM
Nothing lick getting a few licks going thinking that it sounds great then completely forgetting how you did it is there.:p

We'll get there mate, we're just taking the scenic route that's all.:music:

PhilUSAFRet
07-19-2012, 11:20 AM
Some of the best advice I receved....slow down and master it before trying to do it faster. Did you know that B.B. King didn't learn his chords until his mid-40's?
He just played by ear, picking the melodies as he figured them out. Many Hawaiians master uke very informally, not being a master of chords etc., but by just "hitting the right notes." Many of them learned by just watching and imitating a master at work, and then practiced it until they "Got it." Keep on uking, any way you can, and just enjoy the hell out of what you can do. You'll just keep getting better and better. Good luc.

mm stan
07-19-2012, 11:08 PM
I have troubles remembering songs too...because of my extreme back pain..
What I do is break the song down into lines then verses...