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ksiegel
04-21-2013, 03:15 PM
Just got back from a Song Circle/ potluck for the Eighth Step in Schenectady, one of the longest running Non-Profit Coffee Houses in existence (45th year!). Margie Rosencrantz has been running The Step for over 25 years, and has a pretty good background - she also used to book the acts for the Hudson River Clearwater Revival festival. She invited a lot of friends.

Anyway, about 15-20 of us showed up, and I was the only person with a ukulele - and the only player who had never played at the Clearwater festival.. Since I started playing Uke a couple of years ago, I have only played with non-ukers on a few occasions - most recently at the Old Songs Festival last year, as part of the Jug Band, and a week ago at a local Farmers' Market when the guy who runs our uke club was playing, and asked me to join him. (He played guitar, and handed me his Blackbird Carbon Fiber uke).

So tonight, I got to play with people playing banjos, autoharp, guitars, flute, tin whistle, fiddle, and mandolin. Most of them are professional musicians. ("There's tens of dollars to be made!") All of them are *very* good.

I learned a little something tonight - I don't have to limit myself to playing in C, G, or F. Without a capo, I was able to play along regardless of what key they used. (And I think they used 6 different natural major keys! I'm the only one who did a song in a minor key.) And not only was I able to play along, I led five or six songs myself, and was complimented on them. One of the songs (John Prine's Paradise) I usually do the final chorus a Capella, and for the first time ever performing it, the entire group stopped playing and sang it that way, with no prompting beyond an exaggerated strum before singing.

What a Rush!

I also played my Kala Cedar Top with the Aquila Red strings, and the volume of this uke stood out among the multiple instruments - the Tenor Banjo played with a plectrum was the only thing that covered me.

I was asked when I'm going to start coming to the monthly Open Mic Sessions, and I'm going to have to try. It is nice to know that the Uke is welcomed by outside the Uke Club.


-Kurt

PS - Just used the Reunion Blues Tenor case I bought from Gerald Ross for the First Time tonight. VERY impresses!

TaoJones1066
04-21-2013, 03:19 PM
That's awesome! I always wondered how well a Uke would hold up with other accoustic instruments.

Newportlocal
04-21-2013, 03:24 PM
Sounds like a great time!

OldePhart
04-21-2013, 03:25 PM
...One of the songs (John Prine's Paradise) I usually do the final chorus a Capella, and for the first time ever performing it, the entire group stopped playing and sang it that way, with no prompting beyond an exaggerated strum before singing.


Very cool - music is so much fun when a band or group drops into the pocket like that. There have been times our band has rehearsed a song one way, and then without warning we'll change something up with really no signals between us and do something entirely different than what we practiced. Usually that kind of thing only happens with a band that has been playing together a long time or with very good musicians who can feel a mood change and respond to it quickly enough that outsiders don't see any hesitation or confusion.

In this case, it sounds like they "read" what you were planning by the way you approached the phrase - and that shows both that you were good enough to give clear subconscious signals and they as a group were good enough to read them - especially since they built up to the sudden cutoff for the acapella part.

John

gitarzan
04-21-2013, 03:39 PM
Yeah, ain't it fun. I'm glad you had a good time.

I play with the Columbus Folk Music Society sometimes, and I'm the only ukulele player. First time they made fun of me, saying I'd never be heard over all the guitars, but you know, I was playing in an entirely different range, and the uke just danced around the top of them.

Here's a pic of me playing with some of them at the State Fair last summer. I'm the fat guy in the loud shirt, playing an ukulele.
52149
I had a guitar next to me for songs in E. I have since mastered the E chord on the uke.

It's fun playing along with other instrumentalists.

ickybaby
04-21-2013, 03:41 PM
I just had my first gig playing uke in a band situation. Our band (called "Don't Fret") has guitars (2-3 of them), banjo, upright bass, keyboard, viola, plucked psaltrey, bowed psaltrey, concertina, hammered dulcimer, lap dulcimer, a couple folks playing various percussion instruments and then me on uke or mandolin.

Not quite sure if anything we play was written later than the late 19th century.

The group was very welcoming to me and excited to have the ukulele in the mix.

I used my David Gill fluke style tenor on the songs I knew well as it projects wonderfully, and a Lanakai LU-21 soprano on the stuff I flounder on.

OldePhart
04-21-2013, 03:43 PM
I used my David Gill fluke style tenor on the songs I knew well as it projects wonderfully, and a Lanakai LU-21 soprano on the stuff I flounder on.

Heh, heh...that's a trick I'm going to have to remember...

John

rem50
04-21-2013, 03:48 PM
Congrats! Playing along with various instruments is a load of fun! I play with a couple of bluegrass groups and always take the uke and play it. I try to stick to country/bluegrass tunes though when playing with them. Nothing sounds worse and screws you up when oyu play a song with chords that people cannot follow. Keep it simple and have a blast!

itsme
04-21-2013, 03:58 PM
Kurt, it sounds like you had a blast! Most of us can only be a little bit jealous.

Playing with other people can be so much fun. 99% of musicians are totally welcoming of other musicians, regardless of what instrument they play. The other 1% have what I call rock star attitudes or lead guitarist syndrome. :p

sukie
04-21-2013, 05:06 PM
That sounds really cool. Glad you had fun.

electrauke
04-21-2013, 05:31 PM
Awesome sauce. Really great.

mm stan
04-21-2013, 05:41 PM
Just got back from a Song Circle/ potluck for the Eighth Step in Schenectady, one of the longest running Non-Profit Coffee Houses in existence (45th year!). Margie Rosencrantz has been running The Step for over 25 years, and has a pretty good background - she also used to book the acts for the Hudson River Clearwater Revival festival. She invited a lot of friends.

Anyway, about 15-20 of us showed up, and I was the only person with a ukulele - and the only player who had never played at the Clearwater festival.. Since I started playing Uke a couple of years ago, I have only played with non-ukers on a few occasions - most recently at the Old Songs Festival last year, as part of the Jug Band, and a week ago at a local Farmers' Market when the guy who runs our uke club was playing, and asked me to join him. (He played guitar, and handed me his Blackbird Carbon Fiber uke).

So tonight, I got to play with people playing banjos, autoharp, guitars, flute, tin whistle, fiddle, and mandolin. Most of them are professional musicians. ("There's tens of dollars to be made!") All of them are *very* good.

I learned a little something tonight - I don't have to limit myself to playing in C, G, or F. Without a capo, I was able to play along regardless of what key they used. (And I think they used 6 different natural major keys! I'm the only one who did a song in a minor key.) And not only was I able to play along, I led five or six songs myself, and was complimented on them. One of the songs (John Prine's Paradise) I usually do the final chorus a Capella, and for the first time ever performing it, the entire group stopped playing and sang it that way, with no prompting beyond an exaggerated strum before singing.

What a Rush!

I also played my Kala Cedar Top with the Aquila Red strings, and the volume of this uke stood out among the multiple instruments - the Tenor Banjo played with a plectrum was the only thing that covered me.

I was asked when I'm going to start coming to the monthly Open Mic Sessions, and I'm going to have to try. It is nice to know that the Uke is welcomed by outside the Uke Club.


-Kurt

PS - Just used the Reunion Blues Tenor case I bought from Gerald Ross for the First Time tonight. VERY impresses!
Aloha Kurt,
sounds like you had a great time...woo hoo and to be invited to open mic...now that certainly is a compliment...good goings bruddah :) thank you for sharing

Dan Uke
04-21-2013, 05:44 PM
Way to go Kurt!! You one of my heroes.

kvehe
04-21-2013, 06:00 PM
What a great time!

Harold O.
04-21-2013, 06:04 PM
I've been a vendor at the annual Topanga Banjo & Fiddle Contest and Family Festival in my area for several years. We'll be doing it again in mid-May. From the name, you can guess the type of music that predominates. But if you can play, no one will tell you not to. One of the featured performers is Mike McClelland who plays a solid slack key guitar and gives ukulele lessons, so I'm not too out of place.

Hats off to you, Kurt, for sucking it up and stepping in. The rewards for such behavior are tremendous.