How do you determine that your current instrument is holding you back?

donboody

Active member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
252
Points
28
I feel like the answer to this has to be something like "there is some identifiable physical aspect to the ukulele's construction (coud be a defect or simply too big or small for you) that hinders your ability to operate the instrument the way it was designed to be operated."
 

Graham Greenbag

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Messages
1,482
Points
48
I think some are missing one of the points. Nine times out of ten, it isn't about necessity. I am saving up for a baritone that will cost more than a used automobile. Will a cheap Lanikai do the trick? I guess it could. But do I want it? No. Not having my sweet ass baritone is holding me back. Is it all in my head? Certainly. But my head is attached to my fingers which play the arpeggios. It is a package deal. So I have to give the head what it wants. And I do that openly instead of telling my head that the pioneers of blues played guitars from the Sear Roebuck catalog.

That’s a helpful set of comments, it’s worth reading a few times. They also made me smile, and particularly so this bit: “Is it all in my head? Certainly. But my head is attached to my fingers which play the arpeggios. It is a package deal.” . There’s a helpful bit of honesty and cuts nicely to the issue .... or should that be issues?

I’ve always practised but these days the amount of time spent practicing has increased, it’s quite surprising how much better sounding the output of a Uke - and any other instrument - gets if you put in the time practising (and get the anticipated improvement in skill). The video of Jake, in Rick Olsen’s post above, really says it all.

Of course we’re all slightly different and if someone really does need to spend relatively big bucks on an instrument to motivate them to practice then that’s, I think, their misfortune. Personally I find that a well set-up basic instrument allows me to sound reasonable and that my Ukes always sound better again when played by someone more skilled than me. Indeed the classic ‘acid test’ is: what does your instrument sound like when played by someone who is noticeably more skilled than you?

Whatever, enjoy what you play and play what you enjoy. Joy is what it’s all about.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: tm3

robinboyd

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2016
Messages
1,613
Points
48
If your ukulele has 12 frets and you want to play a note on the 14th fret, your instrument is holding you back. You're welcome ;)
 

kerneltime

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
1,431
Points
48
When playing a different uke brings more joy and makes me want to play it more..
 

merlin666

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2015
Messages
1,945
Points
63
One thing that can hold one back is having only one uke. Having some variety can be very inspiring, I have long neck soprano beach uke, re-entrant concert, fifths concert, linear tenor, and six string tenor. Figuring out which one makes any song sound best is fun.
 

Ukulele Woodshed

New member
Joined
Sep 24, 2021
Messages
7
Points
1
Hi all, lot's of good points being made here. I would just like to add that it's always nice to have an instrument that is pleasurable to look at (so you pick it up more often) and that sounds great even just playing open strings- a good instrument inspires me to be a better player in order to be worthy of it (this is the story I tell myself to assuage UAS guilt anyway). As @ripcock says, it's all in the head and the head informs the hands.
 

UkeinPDX

New member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
3
Points
3
I feel like I can contribute to this conversation! I just started my uking voyage around 9 months ago. Started not knowing what to buy and what I was doing, and got a cheap Alvarez soprano from eBay. Enjoyed it for a few months, felt that it was holding me back due to the smaller size and toyish sound.

I then found a Lanikai CKCGC concert on Craigslist for $140, seemed like a logical step up and enjoyed that for a good 6 months. Learned a lot of great songs, learned a great deal about fingerstyle and different string types and how they affect sound and feeling of the uke. Again, feeling like I was a bit limited by the size, but mostly that those I saw online shredding in the way I wanted to were playing on instruments very different from my own (solid body tenors from reputable brands, exclusively).

Just this week finally spoiled myself with a cedar top acacia body tenor deluxe Pono from HMS that I am absolutely loving.

I can say every step of the way I was in some way limited by what I was playing. But I don't think I really understood that until I made the next step upward.

Fortunately for us, the resale on mid to high end instruments is quite good. I could resell this Pono today and make 90% of what I spent on it back. Meanwhile, buy a new car, electronics or numerous other things and you lose 40% as soon as you buy it.

The Buddhist in me says be content with what you have, and learn skills necessary on more humble equipment. But we all know that when you have pride in what you have, that you spend more time with it and really enjoy the journey more. And we do only live once :)
 

UkeinPDX

New member
Joined
Dec 3, 2021
Messages
3
Points
3
Oh and another point that was true for me, and may be true for you as well. Size definitely limits you also. I know now that I play the best on a tenor neck due to the spacing of frets, girth of the neck and spacing of the tuners from the first fret. Soprano limits me severely.