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View Full Version : Biggest ukulele obstacle you've over come?



BIGDB
12-30-2013, 09:26 PM
Hello everyone, I just finished learning jake shimabukuros bach song and that's been one of the hardest songs I've ever learned. So I was wondering what everyone's biggest ukulele obstacle they've over come or working on now

Fisherman
12-30-2013, 09:29 PM
The one in one out rule... Can only get better ;) Wait ... Haven't overcome that one yet. It's a biggie.

consitter
12-30-2013, 10:34 PM
This is going to come off as a smart ass answer, but it's really not...

Buying one. Before I saw my first up close and personal ukulele on a trip to Hawaii in 2005, I always thought of them as toys. I happened into a shop in Kona after an off ship excursion there during our cruise.

It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I had never played a stringed instrument before, and there's no one around here that gives lessons, so I'm completely self-taught. I suck as a teacher. I know quite a few notes, and make feeble attempts at playing, but I enjoy it. That's what matters.

PhilUSAFRet
12-31-2013, 12:52 AM
Currently hoping to overcome the effects of arthritis at the base of the thumb on my fretting hand. Have see a hand specialist. Maybe a brace, or something ?????

Papa Tom
12-31-2013, 01:13 AM
Based on the OP's recent accomplishment, I assume he's way out of my league as a player. But as an average ukulele enthusiast, my biggest accomplishment has been committing enough songs to memory to not be paralyzed when I take out my instrument in public or at a family gathering.

I made the mistake, early on, of playing off cheat sheets and it ruined me for a number of years. For a long time, I couldn't play a simple three-chord song in public without having the chords in front of me. Once I realized this was completely psychological, I began to work my way out of it. I don't play very much in the warm weather months, so it takes me a week or so to get in the groove once winter comes around; however, these days, I'm at the point where I don't totally choke when the uke is in my hand and the songbook is nowhere to be found.

coolkayaker1
12-31-2013, 02:17 AM
Biggest obstacle that I have not overcome: selling a gently played used ukulele for anything even close to the new price I paid for it since the ukulele popularity has become as limp as old panty hose in the past two years. At this rate, the ukulele will be on par with Bollo ties and Crocs by 2016.

Bob-in-Alberta
12-31-2013, 03:21 AM
My biggest problem is finding the time to play. Work keeps getting in the way and my "win the lottery and retire" plan hasn't happened yet.

hammer40
12-31-2013, 03:29 AM
My biggest obstacle has yet to be mastered. The stretch and independent dexterity of my pinky finger is what really holds me back at this point.

mds725
12-31-2013, 05:45 AM
I'm still wrestling with my biggest non-technique obstacle, which is playing in public. I'm fine in groups, but I've shied away from open mics in which I'd be singing by myself or in a very small group.

My biggest technique hurdle so far has been a 6-stroke arpeggio strum (4-2-3 / 1-3-2) that I had to learn as two beats worth of triplets for a Hawaiian song I performed with my Hawaiian music ukulele class when we played at the Maui Ukulele Festival in October 2012. (The strum also works for 3/4 time (4-2 / 3-1 / 3-2). I used it this year to play Silent Night and Silver Bells for caroling.) For literally months, I couldn't get my fingers to do what I knew they had to. Oddly enough, once I learned this arpeggio strum, others came more easily.

Captain America
12-31-2013, 05:47 AM
I love this story. That's great!

For me, it was learning the triple stroke.

Dan Uke
12-31-2013, 08:09 AM
Biggest obstacle that I have not overcome: selling a gently played used ukulele for anything even close to the new price I paid for it since the ukulele popularity has become as limp as old panty hose in the past two years. At this rate, the ukulele will be on par with Bollo ties and Crocs by 2016.

hahaha...that's why you keep them all!!

It would also help if the "K" brands didn't increase their price every year since I started playing. I think many players remember the old prices so the 20% discount based on the 2013 pricing is not attractive to many.

TaoJones1066
12-31-2013, 08:52 AM
Singing and playing... at the same time. I've played guitar, bass, and mandolin, but I never could sing and play. Very first song on the uke, and I was able to do it. The song was Sea of Love.

Freeda
12-31-2013, 08:56 AM
My impatience.

Oh wait, did you say something we have overcome??

Doc_J
12-31-2013, 09:06 AM
My total lack of any rhythm.

DaleR
12-31-2013, 09:25 AM
The G chord progressions.

OldePhart
12-31-2013, 09:34 AM
For me, it was learning the triple stroke.

That was probably it for me, too. Then I saw a Kimo Hussey video where he rocked my world in the first 2-1/2 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_CmQEnSHpQ

"This is your index finger. It does two things; it goes down, and it goes up. This is your thumb and it only does one thing;l it goes down."

Now, obviously, there are many ways to play triplets and other patterns but that little bit of advice right there put me over the top. Then I spent almost a year working almost exclusively on nothing but right hand techniques (didn't learn a single new song, even). Now, I can honestly say that my former weakest point (right hand) is now my strongest...and I still basically suck!

Now...I guess it's time to work on my second biggest problem, memorizing songs and getting away from "lead sheets."

John

peaceweaver3
12-31-2013, 04:59 PM
My biggest technique hurdle so far has been a 6-stroke arpeggio strum (4-2-3 / 1-3-2) that I had to learn as two beats worth of triplets for a Hawaiian song I performed with my Hawaiian music ukulele class when we played at the Maui Ukulele Festival in October 2012. (The strum also works for 3/4 time (4-2 / 3-1 / 3-2). I used it this year to play Silent Night and Silver Bells for caroling.) For literally months, I couldn't get my fingers to do what I knew they had to. Oddly enough, once I learned this arpeggio strum, others came more easily.

I totally don't get this, but would like to! Could you explain the numbers - (4-2-3 / 1-3-2) and (4-2 / 3-1 / 3-2)? Or better yet, where can I hear them? Thanks!

As for me, I've learned to use my pinkie (it doesn't tremble anymore), and find chord inversions. Well not really learned, as in worked hard, but they gradually built up and one day it occurred to me, "Gee, I can do this. When did that happen?" :)

Oh, and after doing some fret damage, I've found a style of nail-keeping if you will, that works for me. Doesn't sound like much, but it was a huge deal at the time.

Great thread!

TaoJones1066
12-31-2013, 05:18 PM
DaleR, is that a fez-o-rama fez in your pic?

DaleR
01-01-2014, 04:06 AM
Yes it is! Haku Fez! :shaka:

TaoJones1066
01-01-2014, 05:32 AM
I was just looking at those! I want either the Elder Sign fez, or the mimic fez with the squid on it. But to stay somewhat on topic, my next ukulele hurdle will be changing up the old down-down-up-up-down strumming pattern.

stevepetergal
01-01-2014, 02:43 PM
Biggest obstacle that I have not overcome: selling a gently played used ukulele for anything even close to the new price I paid for it since the ukulele popularity has become as limp as old panty hose in the past two years. At this rate, the ukulele will be on par with Bollo ties and Crocs by 2016.

On you those Crocs look good.

sugengshi
01-01-2014, 03:00 PM
My biggest technique hurdle so far has been a 6-stroke arpeggio strum (4-2-3 / 1-3-2) that I had to learn as two beats worth of triplets for a Hawaiian song I performed with my Hawaiian music ukulele class when we played at the Maui Ukulele Festival in October 2012. (The strum also works for 3/4 time (4-2 / 3-1 / 3-2). I used it this year to play Silent Night and Silver Bells for caroling.) For literally months, I couldn't get my fingers to do what I knew they had to. Oddly enough, once I learned this arpeggio strum, others came more easily.

I love this arpeggio. Thanks for sharing. :agree:

Lalz
01-02-2014, 01:45 AM
Breaking my wrist and managing to play again :)

coolkayaker1
01-02-2014, 01:47 AM
On you those Crocs look good.

Lol. My shoe of choice.

peaceweaver3
01-02-2014, 10:34 AM
Breaking my wrist and managing to play again :)

An amazing, encouraging accomplishment it is!

Hippie Dribble
01-02-2014, 10:47 AM
I think for me it's been the long, long process of retraining my ears from a guitar centric focus to actually hearing and understanding the sound of the ukulele. After many years of listening I can now pick out a lot more chords and melodies on a uke than I was ever able to previously, and can even, almost tune it sometimes. :p

kamaoleBrian
01-02-2014, 06:36 PM
That was probably it for me, too. Then I saw a Kimo Hussey video where he rocked my world in the first 2-1/2 minutes.

John

Kimo - tune up, brah!

John, thanks for the post. I've seen more than a few videos of people trying to explain triple and his finally made sense to me. I can't do it, but I'll get there!

Brian

SonSprinter
01-02-2014, 08:37 PM
Hello everyone, I just finished learning jake shimabukuro’s bach song and that's been one of the hardest songs I've ever learned. So I was wondering what everyone's biggest ukulele obstacle they've overcome or working on now
I think this must be the song to which you refer:

Bach Invention Number 4, in D minor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMKgIBBVDBA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNLPa_DUrzY

Wow, I wish I were on the level to attempt that Bach song.


It took me forever to [somewhat] get the bridge for, "Mary Did You Know?"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikUovryDh80
I play it in the key of Dm. And I don't think I will ever really get hitting that A and Dm on the 12th fret. After my attempt at this song, I have a new admiration of how good all those musicians are (Jake Shimabukuro, Herb Ohta, Sr. and Jr., Kalei Gamiao, Aldrine Guerrero, Brittni Paiva, etc.). They never seem to have difficulty holding a note or chord clean with out all that buzzing or partial muted sounds I get.

This is why I am looking at getting an baritone with a cutaway.

Shady Wilbury
01-02-2014, 10:37 PM
Learning to relax when I play. Relaxing makes everything possible, but for some reason I find it very difficult to do. :)

OldePhart
01-03-2014, 03:46 AM
Kimo - tune up, brah!


Heh, heh. Yeah, the tuning was pretty awful but I think most of it was the people playing with him in the workshop. It's awfully hard to find a pickup group, especially of beginners, that is really in tune.

John

HendrikM
01-03-2014, 06:14 AM
Breaking my wrist and managing to play again :)

Breaking my wrist and learning to play for the first time! :-)

peaceweaver3
01-03-2014, 11:19 AM
It took me forever to [somewhat] get the bridge for, "Mary Did You Know?"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikUovryDh80
I play it in the key of Dm. And I don't think I will ever really get hitting that A and Dm on the 12th fret. After my attempt at this song, I have a new admiration of how good all those musicians are (Jake Shimabukuro, Herb Ohta, Sr. and Jr., Kalei Gamiao, Aldrine Guerrero, Brittni Paiva, etc.). They never seem to have difficulty holding a note or chord clean with out all that buzzing or partial muted sounds I get.

This is why I am looking at getting an baritone with a cutaway.

Remember, you haven't heard them "practice" or try to learn a song! I haven't either. But they were beginners once, too, and even now they can't do everything perfectly on the first try. There must be something they actually have to think about before/while they play it, at least for a little while. But we don't hear about that. All we hear is the polished performances. There's always more to it than that, a journey of sorts... So yes, they're great musicians, but maybe someone thinks you are, too! And they won't know what you went through to play that bridge... And on it goes!

Nickie
01-03-2014, 03:27 PM
The baritone....

mds725
01-04-2014, 12:05 AM
Breaking my wrist and managing to play again :)

That sounds like a real challenge, whether it was your strumming wrist or fretting wrist.

I broke the tip of the middle finger of my strumming hand and the splint made it difficult for me to strum with my index finger because the splint got in the way (I curl my other fingers in when I use my index finger) or to fingerpick. Rather than wait for the splint to be removed, I learned to strum with my thumb, and although I had trouble going back to my index finger for a while, the experience seems to have made my strumming hand more versatile.

kohanmike
01-04-2014, 05:00 AM
I have a very hard time sitting by myself and practicing. I last about 10-15 minutes, but if I'm playing with someone, I can go for hours. Been that way all my life with guitar and harmonica, and creative writing too. It also prevents me from memorizing songs. I did learn "King of the Road" only because my friend I played it together, him learning harmonica, me on uke. We carried on for almost an hour.

Olarte
01-04-2014, 07:10 AM
It all depends how much you are willing to put into it and to wait for the results.

It's true we don't know the thousands of ours and decades that Jake, or any other known artist has put into his or her craft.

I have been studying classical guitar for 5 solid years and while I can play my original wish list of a dozen pieces that seemed impossible at one time, I also got a lot more than I realized considering the hour or so that I can practice a few times a week.

There's a saying that you need to put in like 10,000 hours of practice to master anything, and I absolutely believe it.

Some pieces feel like putting on an old worn shirt. But that is literally after pretty much wearing the piece down after hundreds or thousands of times... And still each time I play a piece like that it has a new nuance, feel etc... It's the beauty of music or any creative art for that matter.

The key is to enjoy each and every time you pickup your instrument, and stay the course. Time has a way of passing and if you just enjoy the journey, one day you'll be hitting that A and Dm in the 12th fret. Not like Jake but in your own very personal way, just like an old shirt...


Remember, you haven't heard them "practice" or try to learn a song! I haven't either. But they were beginners once, too, and even now they can't do everything perfectly on the first try. There must be something they actually have to think about before/while they play it, at least for a little while. But we don't hear about that. All we hear is the polished performances. There's always more to it than that, a journey of sorts... So yes, they're great musicians, but maybe someone thinks you are, too! And they won't know what you went through to play that bridge... And on it goes!

Teek
01-04-2014, 07:10 AM
I thought I had UAS mastered but fell off the wagon this very morning. Oh wait, maybe that means I have mastered it?? :confused:

OldePhart
01-04-2014, 02:01 PM
I thought I had UAS mastered but fell off the wagon this very morning. Oh wait, maybe that means I have mastered it?? :confused:

So...are you going to keep us in suspense like that or are you going to tell us what uke tempted your pocketbook out of retirement? :)

John

stevepetergal
01-04-2014, 04:06 PM
I'm still climbing the mental obstacle of expecting progress to be fast.

Edgeguy
01-04-2014, 07:25 PM
Playing guitar my whole life and now trying to play a much smaller instrument. I mainly flatpick bluegrass songs. So now I am trying to finger pick and strum without a pick (totally awkward). You know what I am so loving this change though.

Stuntman
01-04-2014, 08:51 PM
Not quite a uke, but certainly the biggest stringed instrument obstacle I have ever come across.
62683
:rolleyes:

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
01-05-2014, 08:00 AM
The biggest obstacle for me was when my first uke (an old Lyon & Healy camp uke) broke badly. I'd loved that uke so much, that I didn't have the heart to shop for a new uke.

I took a few months off from ukulele---back to playing guitar---then began shopping. After months of research and playing every ukulele available in Portland, I ended up buying a used Kamaka standard uke from a craigslist seller. I play my Kamaka every day, and love it more and more. Obstacle overcome.

PeteyHoudini
01-05-2014, 08:15 AM
Finally learning to play "La Habanera" from Carmen on the uke.

Petey