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View Full Version : Fast strum/melody technique



Ken Middleton
12-29-2012, 09:56 AM
Here is an improvisation based on the old folk tune Grandfather's Clock. This is Take One. I will probably record it again with a bit more thought. The strum is quite tricky as my old hands move a bit slower than they used to.


http://youtu.be/orwGBiZEnvk

pdxuke
12-29-2012, 10:34 AM
That's awesome Ken. Can you break down the strums? Do I see a fan?

perep
12-29-2012, 10:51 AM
Thanks ken, I believe we can pick that up. Great strumming. A fun strum song.

xjumper
12-29-2012, 10:52 AM
Thank you for sharing that Ken. As usual, you make it seem like it's easy.

Ken Middleton
12-29-2012, 11:21 AM
That's awesome Ken. Can you break down the strums? Do I see a fan?

Yes, I believe there is a fan stroke in there. And plenty of triplets and several kinds of roll. The basic strum is based on one that James Hill does on his latest album. In the parts where there is no tune it uses the thumb on the main 1st and 3rd beats and the first and second fingers on the remaining shorter notes.

The left hand pinky stays on the top string 3rd fret throughout.

drbekken
12-29-2012, 11:35 AM
Well, what can I say? I love this kind of stuff! Thanks, Ken!

Mxyzptik
12-29-2012, 11:44 AM
Very cool Ken, that was one of my Father's favourites. I can remember him singing or whistling it when we hunted for grouse in the fall. I might try and learn the basics of it, I'm a year or two away from that kind of strumming however.

Newportlocal
12-29-2012, 11:49 AM
Quite talented! I started messing with it. I think it is a conspiracy to break my strings so I have to order more from you sooner.:D
Nicely done.

Ken Middleton
12-29-2012, 12:02 PM
Many thanks, everyone. I think I may well attempt a tidied up version and maybe try to hit just a few more melody notes. That is tricky though when the strum is quite fast.

Neal
12-29-2012, 02:21 PM
I love Ken's vids. He's right on in all. Regarding strums, it's a personal journey, and if you play tenor in your lap, the techniques shown will serve well. If you play soprano or concert, or even tenor standing, you will have to adjust. I notice Ken's playing with sleeves. I can't do that, I need skin on uke to hold it up. Even in my lap, I still need skin contact, and maybe some of you are like that, but maybe not though! Great vid Ken! Excellent strums as well.

Don't you wish there was a way to explain the technique in a nuts-and-bolts sort of way?!?!?! You can give advice, but it's all still a "feel" that one has to understand.

Ken Middleton
12-29-2012, 08:50 PM
Don't you wish there was a way to explain the technique in a nuts-and-bolts sort of way?!?!?! You can give advice, but it's all still a "feel" that one has to understand.

Well, there is. However, most people have never had formal training and so don't really understand how rhythms are notated and grouped. Added to that, US nomenclature and European are different.

When I do workshops, it is much easier to explain.

Neal
12-30-2012, 06:50 AM
That makes sense. I just can't seem to explain it... ;)

pdxuke
12-30-2012, 06:56 AM
Added to that, US nomenclature and European are different.


Haha. So true, Ken. When I was in music school, it was hard enough learning the American nomenclature. But you good people have semis, and hemis, and quavers, and semi-hemi quavers, and hemisemidemiquavers.... :D

Barbablanca
12-30-2012, 07:00 AM
Nice one Ken. There seemed to be a bit of clawhammer going down in there too, wasn't there?

I've been watching lots of videos on that technique (be very useful with the Baritone banjo-uke, if nothing else) - but just can't seem to get it, despite some very helpful tutorial videos. I guess I am waiting for that "bicycle" moment when it will all suddenly click and I'll never look back. ;)

wallyboy
12-30-2012, 07:38 AM
very nice, knocks spots off my 4/4 LOL

Ken Middleton
12-30-2012, 11:26 AM
There seemed to be a bit of clawhammer going down in there too, wasn't there?



No claw-hammer in this one, I'm afraid. However, there is plenty of thumb and middle finger picking and this can sound very much like claw-hammer.

ksiegel
12-30-2012, 12:23 PM
That is very nice, Ken - just a question about the tuning. When I attempted to play some of the melody along with the video (to get a sense of the rhythm), according to my tuner, I was off by about 1/3 to 1/2 of a step from standard tuning. is this a trick of YouTube, a problem with my tuners, or did you modify the tuning slightly?

If I recall correctly, on many other of your videos, my tuning was spot on.


And what was that silly comment about your "old hands?" You aren't old, period. (Or, as my wife says, "You can't be old, because I don't want to be old when I get to be your age.") You were moving plenty fast for me, Sir. Faster than I think I'll ever be able to move, at least.



-Kurt

didgeridoo2
12-30-2012, 01:36 PM
Great show, Ken. I love your fingerpicking arrangement for this tune and you certainly know how to dress it up.

Ken Middleton
12-30-2012, 08:53 PM
That is very nice, Ken - just a question about the tuning. When I attempted to play some of the melody along with the video (to get a sense of the rhythm), according to my tuner, I was off by about 1/3 to 1/2 of a step from standard tuning. is this a trick of YouTube, a problem with my tuners, or did you modify the tuning slightly?

If I recall correctly, on many other of your videos, my tuning was spot on.


And what was that silly comment about your "old hands?" You aren't old, period. (Or, as my wife says, "You can't be old, because I don't want to be old when I get to be your age.") You were moving plenty fast for me, Sir. Faster than I think I'll ever be able to move, at least.



-Kurt

I had been playing in D tuning on that uke (a D F# B). I find that D tuning gives a much brighter tone and really sounds different from the usual keys that you hear everyone use (C, G, D, F). However, it had gone a little flat. The uke was in tune with itself but, in reality, just above just above C# tuning. I normally tune up every time before I play. I didn't have much time when I recorded this, so I just tuned it quickly by ear.

It seams that my ears are as old as my hands.

pulelehua
12-31-2012, 03:37 AM
Yep. Going to be trying to steal some bits from that. Thanks, Ken!

Ken Middleton
12-31-2012, 03:44 AM
Yep. Going to be trying to steal some bits from that. Thanks, Ken!

Haha. You don't have to steal them. Have them as a gift.