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peedee
05-13-2013, 06:14 PM
Hello All

I have a question or two for those of you who play uke in a band, or even just accompany a guitar. I'm talking about a setting like a praise band at church, or busking (I know those are two totally different animals, but I believe my question applies to both)

Do you usually use the same strum pattern as the rhythm guitar? Or do you try to find one that complements the other guy?

Do you usually play the exact same chords or do you look for chords that add some interest?

And if you're not just mimicking the guitar, how do you decide on a strum pattern or chord?

I'm not a musician, I don't read notation or know much theory and have never played in a band of any sort. And I realize that most answers will start with "...it depends" ;) Having said that, help me learn from your experience.

haolejohn
05-13-2013, 06:25 PM
Hello All

I have a question or two for those of you who play uke in a band, or even just accompany a guitar. I'm talking about a setting like a praise band at church, or busking (I know those are two totally different animals, but I believe my question applies to both)

Do you usually use the same strum pattern as the rhythm guitar? Or do you try to find one that complements the other guy?

Do you usually play the exact same chords or do you look for chords that add some interest?

And if you're not just mimicking the guitar, how do you decide on a strum pattern or chord?

I'm not a musician, I don't read notation or know much theory and have never played in a band of any sort. And I realize that most answers will start with "...it depends" ;) Having said that, help me learn from your experience.
I'm probably like you. I know nothing about strum patterns but I do play on our worship team...well I should say I did before I moved to Alaska. I would basically do the same strum pattern (at least it sounded like I did) as the guitar player. I would also do some mute strumming occasionally and some finger picking (not lead, just pick the chord). I also strummed occasionally vs strumming the whole song. I wasn't the main instrument, I was an secondary. I did play the same chords in sense that if they were playing a Dsus I might have just played a D, etc. We made sure that it sounded good. Whenever the capo came on, I usually sat out unless we practiced the key change (but there were times we practiced in a key then the leader through a capo on during the worship service).

haolejohn
05-13-2013, 06:27 PM
The key is practicing before you get on stage. I also recommend sitting in a smaller set before the main set. I played every WEdnesday night at kinship (home meetings) before I got on the stage on Sunday morning. I didn't get to play nearly as much as the pastor wanted me to on Sunday but that is b/c of new fatherhood and the drive and gas prices. I couldn't make three trips a week to church and kinship is a must since we (wife and I) prefer the smaller setting that is more intimate.

Rick Turner
05-13-2013, 07:40 PM
Get out of first position; get used to closed and barred chords; learn all the chord inversions up and down the neck for each major and minor chord, then learn the variations...6ths, 7ths, sus, 9ths, add 9s, etc. Don't be afraid NOT to use all four strings all the times. Learn leading tones and passing figures to get from chord to chord. Figure out where to use diminished chords.

It's four strings, and four fingers on your fretting hand; you do the math!

Bao
05-13-2013, 08:55 PM
When I played ukulele for my band, they would let me have the freedom to play what I feel like. Whenever I wanted to do some arpeggios, strum or add some improv, they usually don't have a problem with it since it doesn't seem to mess with everybody else's part.

The main thing my band and I focus on is just to have fun :)

FiL
05-14-2013, 03:01 AM
I play in a band with several acoustic guitars. Most of the time I just strum along with the rhythm guitar, and that alone is a nice addition to the sound. Like Haolejohn, sometimes I'll just strum occasionally to accent a beat, or fingerpick the chords (especially on banjo-uke), and that adds more interest. What Rick suggests is exactly what I would do if I had the skills and the discipline to learn all that, because that would kick everything up a few notches.

- FiL

26tiki
05-14-2013, 04:04 AM
Hey,
When you get to play music with someone who clicks with you, thats awesome!
Jammin, jammin, jammin! Really get into the groove of a song & find out where each of your strengths are. Songs hes better at i try to find my place in to compliment but not distract from the guitar. Most times im the strum/rhythm section so I can pretty much set the pace, while my gat playin pal loves the fingerpicky bits so it works out really well.
Prob 2/3rds of the time I'll sort the strum myself but I've been stumped on a fair few & he's been awesome at helping me figure it out- oh yeah, another thing, patience & accepting each others ways & paces of learning.

Sometimes we both strum the whole song, others I'll accent specific notes or vice versa. we aren't always playing the same chords (eg: he'll play majors & I'll play 7ths) but its all about making 'our sound' sound as amazing as we can, constantly learning & improving & having some laughs along the way.
Relax & enjoy;)

ickybaby
05-14-2013, 04:11 AM
I play in a group with guitars, dulcimers, banjo, percussion, concertina, upright bass, keys, viola, and whatever else gets drug out. I hit the accents with strums and do a lot of arpeggios and finger picking to fill out the sound. I do wonder if I'm even heard though.

Tsani
05-14-2013, 04:23 AM
I find it impossible to replicate the strum patterns of the guitarist that I play with. He has a fast and syncopated strum, and frankly, I'm just not good enough to keep up. I stay on the beat (Lord knows I try! :rolleyes:) but I do not attempt to replicate what he does. Also, if you are playing with a guitarist - especially if you add a piano or keyboard, you had better be amplified. Trying to be heard while playing acoustic in that mix is just about impossible. The nice thing is that they are putting out enough sound to cover up my screw ups. I am never too sure about how I'd doing, so I was very gratified to get compliments this past Sunday from another musician who was visiting us.

seeso
05-14-2013, 04:33 AM
And I realize that most answers will start with "...it depends" ;)

It depends. ;)

But really, it does. Playing by yourself is completely different than playing in a band. Many people, when playing in a band, think they must play constantly. That is not the case. Band etiquette is just as much about learning when NOT to play as it is learning when to play.

My advice would be to start as basically as possible. Strum once on the one, then build from that. Listen to the dynamics of the band as the tune progresses, and try to ride that ebb and flow.

CaleKnight
05-14-2013, 05:14 AM
I like to try stuff out here and there - it's a great way to learn and can't be replicated by playing alone. One of the guys I play with has said that he can always hear the moment that I "click" on a good strum pattern, which can takes me a little while, because I suddenly stop sucking. ;)

Sometimes the stuff I try works well and I get positive feedback, sometimes it doesn't work and I get gently critiqued, and then I try something new. The important part is to have fun!

Wicked
05-14-2013, 07:32 AM
I never play what everyone else is playing. What’s the point? The purpose of an ensemble is to blend several different sounds together. Introducing a ukulele into a group adds a different timbre… but differing rhythms and/or harmonies will make the ukulele “layer” of the cake tastier.

Take Rick’s advice, which will give you a wider harmonic palette, and combine that with an expanded toolbox of rhythms. You will become that extra spice that could very well define the sound of your group.

While we are on the subject…. strum patterns…. ugh.

Forget that anyone ever told you the phrase “strum pattern”. The rest of the musical world talks about rhythms…. join the club. Don’t worry about the mechanics of up/down. Feel the rhythm. Count the rhythm. Play the rhythm.

haolejohn
05-14-2013, 08:23 AM
I never play what everyone else is playing. What’s the point? The purpose of an ensemble is to blend several different sounds together. Introducing a ukulele into a group adds a different timbre… but differing rhythms and/or harmonies will make the ukulele “layer” of the cake tastier.

Take Rick’s advice, which will give you a wider harmonic palette, and combine that with an expanded toolbox of rhythms. You will become that extra spice that could very well define the sound of your group.

While we are on the subject…. strum patterns…. ugh.

Forget that anyone ever told you the phrase “strum pattern”. The rest of the musical world talks about rhythms…. join the club. Don’t worry about the mechanics of up/down. Feel the rhythm. Count the rhythm. Play the rhythm.

+100 This is what I do. I never can figure out a strum pattern but I know I am playing in rhythm. I can also tell when I'm not.

vanflynn
05-14-2013, 09:01 AM
I tend to revert to my mandolin days and accent the backbeat.

peedee
05-14-2013, 04:24 PM
Thanks for all the replies. Y'all have given me some good advice. I haven't had much opportunity to jam with others, but if I do, I have a better idea of how to fit in.

ricdoug
05-16-2013, 05:55 PM
Get comfortable playing common chords in common keys, Peedee.

Key_Chord Progression.......................Key_Vamp

C - ..C.....C7....F....Fm....G7....C...........C -...D7...G7...C....

F - ..F......F7....Bb..Bbm..C7....F............F -...G7...C7...F....

A - ..A.....A7....D....Dm...E7.....A...........A -...B7....E7...A...

G - ..G....G7....C....Cm...D7....G...........G -...A7...D7...G...

D - ..D....D7....G....Gm...A7....D............D -...E7...A7...D...

Freeda
05-16-2013, 06:05 PM
Get comfortable playing common chords in common keys, Peedee.

Key_Chord Progression.......................Key_Vamp

C - ..C.....C7....F....Fm....G7....C...........C -...D7...G7...C....

F - ..F......F7....Bb..Bbm..C7....F............F -...G7...C7...F....

A - ..A.....A7....D....Dm...E7.....A...........A -...B7....E7...A...

G - ..G....G7....C....Cm...D7....G...........G -...A7...D7...G...

D - ..D....D7....G....Gm...A7....D............D -...E7...A7...D...
Absolutely.

I didn't see a skill level for the OP but I think advice applying to all levels found its way here!

ricdoug
05-18-2013, 07:28 PM
Absolutely.

I didn't see a skill level for the OP but I think advice applying to all levels found its way here!

Exactly, Saucy! Ric

peedee
05-19-2013, 04:45 PM
Ric- I play in those keys and am pretty comfy with those chords (except Fm... that one is new to me)

I sort of understand some of the theory of chord progression, although I haven't noticed the minored 4th (is that the correct term?) in the songs I play.

Can you tell me what a vamp is, and how and when it's used? Thanks again for all the replies, folks.