my ukulele progress

Down Up Dick

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Eggplant was one of the things that I was compelled to eat as a lad. My mother had a favorite recipe, and she liked it. I should also add that we had a battle concerning eggs (I still don’t eat ‘em.), and the eggplants always reminded me of a big black egg.

I’ve eaten them as an adult, but neither my wife nor I care for them.

My blood pressure is usually very low, but I don’t drink whisky anyway.

And, Ms Bean, I do eat oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon and slivered almonds on most winter mornings — Yum!
 

ripock

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Oh, thank you so much, Beany! I appreciate the input. I made my own mayonnaise and it was a success, but I had an idiological problem. Mayonnaise is just so hoi polloi. I realize the danger of what I'm saying. Alexander Pope said that if you always avoid the hoi polloi, then you are controlled by them. However, I just was unhappy eating mayonnaise, ranch dressing, or catsup because it was so ubiquitous. That being said, what I did was make baconnaise. I whisked together the traditional elements for mayonnaise, but I used bacon grease versus an oil like olive oil or coconut oil. It was delicious (although rather prone to separating) but I just couldn't abide it.

I appreciate the eggplant recipes. I baked my eggplants and they are delicious. Like macaroons. I think I could easily incorporate your moussaka or Chinese recipes.

Unfortunately, I do not fancy oatmeal although I make 2 pounds of porridge a week for my wife. As I said my diet is on point, it is my other lifestyle choices that need amending
 

ripock

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May I register a complaint. I bought a few dips for some vegetables: a hummus with olive tapinade, guacamole, and some mideastern yoghurt. When I looked at the label of the yoghurt it said proudly that it had no tang. I was like WTF! We buy it for the tang. Without the tang it is just neufchatel cheese. Booooring. I am very disappointed. I bought some celery, some sweet peppers, and a jicama to be dipped and replace the whisky I had been using as a stop-gap for my boredom drinking whilst working at home in the Covid environment. This is a set-back.
 

ripock

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Since we are on the cusp of Mother's Day, let us praise the women whom we resent for petty reasons which made us strong. I personally was "traumatized" because I was forced 5 days a week to eat steak, vegetables, and potatoes. I hated it. I should say we weren't affluent and weren't eating porterhouse steaks. It was frequently secondary or tertiary cuts of meat, but we always had our protein. I revolted because I was a human and wanted to find my own way. But now that I am older and wanting to squeeze a few more years out of life, I find I have returned to protein, vegetables, and potatoes. My mother was right despite my kicking against the pricks. She's dead now and I cannot tell her that she was right, but she was.
 

Down Up Dick

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I wasn’t a bad eater, but I really fought against eggs, liver and eggplant. My mother was really an excellent cook.
 

ripock

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I responded to a thread on 5 chords and of course I wasn't very helpful because I don't play them. I don't think they sound good on acoustic instruments. With electric instruments with a little fuzz or overdrive it seems like the sound fills out between the tonic and dominant...or maybe it is just an otic illusion. I play 5 chords as double stops...as festoonings of what I'm doing. Or sometimes I will use it to work melodies visually by just sliding up and down the G and C strings so that I can see the intervals.

I was trying out different arpeggios to use with the melodic minor and certainly found some but they were all rather amorphous--changing with the voicing. I suppose that would be acceptable if you were composing something static. In that case you would memorize the arpeggio as something that would always recur in your song.

However since my goal is a sort of Dadaist erection and simultaneous destruction of melodies, I need something more tailored to my needs. The Dim7 worked well with the Harmonic Minor because all four of the chord tones of the dim7 were in the Harmonic Minor. I thought why the heck shouldn't I use it for the Melodic Minor as well. 3 of the 4 chord tones are in the Melodic Minor. It only sounds less than good in one instance. If I play a voicing that begins or ends with a C, it tends to clash a bit with the Melodic Minor for whom the sharp 6 is such a hallmark. But when the C occurs in the middle of the arpeggio, it barely registers as a blip on the ear.
 

ripock

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I kind of played around in circles. I started on the A on the 12th fret and arpeggiated down to the D# on the eight, then slide down to the C and ascended in the D# Dim7, up to the F# on the 9th.

As an interlude I strummed the F#m7b5 and F#m.

Then I went down the fretboard using the F# Dorian b2/C# Aiolian b5.

Then I went down to the B on the 4th fret and then spent quite some time on the B Mixolydian b6/D# Super Lokrian. I really like this shape a lot because of its shape. It has two triangles and two upside down triangles in it as well as being a quincunx at its center. It has two diagonal lines running through it. Not to mention the two diamonds in it. So there's a lot of geometry for someone like me who likes to at times play the shapes without thinking about the intervals.
 

ripock

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After dinner I am going to pursue the geometric pleasures of the B Mixolydian b6, but at the 16th fret. The frets are really lush, especially that E down there.

Dinner will be some flavors: Islay whisky, kalamata olives, and my wife bought me some stilton cheese while she was out. That's my favorite cheese and I don't usually get to enjoy it. The market I go to has some bleu cheese and gorgonzola, but no Stilton.

I have also been trying to find some things to put on my eggplants and capsica slices. There is always hummus and guacamole, but I tried to revisit yogurt. Without even addressing the problematic nature of dairy, let's just say I have been underwhelmed. Even in purportedly "greek' yogurt there is no pizazz. It has all been gentrified. And what's the point of yogurt without a bit of tang? I will probably try to go to my Arabic market and see if they have anything with zing in it. Otherwise, I'll just give up yogurt.
 

aaronkb

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March 17:

I have a book, How to Play Blues Ukulele, and I resumed working through it. I'm now on chapter seven at which place the blues riffs start. So I played around with that stuff as well as a blues in C minor. I wanted to dip into baritone ukuleles, so I bought a low end baritone. I got a Lanikai. It is supposedly koa, but the price is so low that I suspect that its laminate. As long as it plays I think I'll survive.
Unless it says solid koa, that’s not a contradiction - just means they glued a bunch of layers of koa together and by then it doesn’t offer a whole lot tonally different from any other laminated wood.

What book is it, and how do you like it? I’ve been feeling like I need some structure to progress at this point and I’ve also been wanting to explore the blues.

Edit: just realized what an old comment I’m replying to but maybe you still have some opinions?
 

ripock

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you and I know the difference between koa and solid koa, but for the other 99% of the people, I think when something is called koa, people would assume it all all koa or solid koa. I think it is deceptive by nature. But that's not our problem.

the book was How to Play Blues Ukulele from the website how to play ukulele. I don't even know if the website is still around. It was a thorough book with some linked videos. Being a scales person, I already knew my blues scale and its modes but even those were included in the latter part of the book
 

aaronkb

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you and I know the difference between koa and solid koa, but for the other 99% of the people, I think when something is called koa, people would assume it all all koa or solid koa. I think it is deceptive by nature. But that's not our problem.

the book was How to Play Blues Ukulele from the website how to play ukulele. I don't even know if the website is still around. It was a thorough book with some linked videos. Being a scales person, I already knew my blues scale and its modes but even those were included in the latter part of the book
Agreed, I cringe hard whenever I see a description like “all koa,” or really “all” any particular wood for that matter. Thanks for the info!
 

ripock

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Another thing that ticks me off is solid bamboo. The bamboo isn't solid, it is hydraulically compressed and shellacked. That would be like calling something solid birch if you glued a bunch of popsicle sticks together. Yeah, it is all birch, but it isn't solid. However I don't have a horse in this race. I am not purchasing ukes made from either of those materials. Just ranting
 

ripock

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I am a bit trypophilic (if someone can be trypophobic surely trypophilia is admissible as well). I notice dots or patterns in common everyday items. And then I try to use the pattern on the fret board.

I saw some fencing today with disparately-lengthed slats. Assigned the shortest slat to E, here's what I got.

E F# G A F# A E. I'm going to see what kind of music I can derive from that.

But first a nap. I had a busy--for me--morning. I went grocery shopping, dropped by the jewelers to leave my pocketwatch (the hinged of the cover snapped), checked in at my tailor, and swung by my Arabic market to get ghee, garbanzos, halloumi, lamb, and yogurt. The yogurt is slightly more tangy than the gentrified yogurt of the market. It isn't the yogurt with zing that I remember. Maybe I need a local producer who would dare to be bolder, but I fear the Arabic/Mediterranean culture isn't robust enough to support that here. I probably just ignore dairy as I have for most of my life since the problems of dairy are not off-set the nugatory benefits. I was just trying to branch out.
 

ripock

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I had an interesting meal. I wasn't vigilant and the lamb I picked up was actually lamb fat. It was about 75% fat and 25% meat. Once I heated it up it wound up being ground meat standing in fat. So I added some pinto beans I had made, some barley, and some turnip greens. It made a stew that was delicious. Obviously I am not going to repeat this as it was a heart-stopper; I was merely trying to make the best of it and not waste food I bought.

I played around with my fence intervals and it made good music. It was odd for me because I lot of the energy emanates from bouncing off the fourth interval. I tend not to do that. Maybe it is because the fourth interval is so anticipated that I resist. However it is just probably the geometry. A lot of the time, I play visually. I move from one note to the next merely because I like the placement of the two intervals. perhaps they are situated diagonally or horizontally, or sometimes the lack of a linear relationship intrigues me.

Since I have been a child, I have always been obsessed with the mathematical aspect of music. It is just so logical. The intervals work. As demonstrated by what i call geometrical music, I just play shapes and the shapes make music. Perhaps it isn't the music that's on the radio, but it is music nonetheless. That's why I study scales. I have a memory that someone once told me that in a key there are 1495 possibilities if you include modes and all the runs of consecutive notes ranging from 2 to 7 notes. 1495 is a lot but it is finite. It is possible to know everything. And I guess that tantalizes me. i don't know if that's true or if 1495 is the correct number, but it is, in a way, the backbone of my relationship with music.
 

ripock

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I just wanted to rant about something that's been circling in my mind. Soft woods. I am in no way contesting the science. Yes, soft woods resonate at a different place than hard woods. And, yes, if you combine hard and soft woods in construction it seems you would capture more vibrations.

However, I have to wonder is that demonstrable fact significant? Does it matter? The most coveted and cherished ukuleles are all koa or all mahogany, both hard woods. My favorite ukulele, my yorkie, is 100% hard wood. So, does it actually matter?

The reason this is percolating in me is I am designing my final uke, an elite baritone and the luthier is subtly suggesting a soft wood/ hard wood combo but, to be honest, I am resistive. Maybe I am being a petulant child and kicking against the pricks merely because it is standard...however I really want an all hardwood ukulele. Such is my first world agonizing.
 

John Colter

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As Bill1 says, wood is not determined to be a 'hardwood' or a 'softwood' based on how hard or soft it might be. It seems counter-intuitive, but balsa wood is actually a hardwood.
 

ripock

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Thanks guys, maybe the labels should be something like dense / rarefied wood. But that's probably problematic as well
 

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I learn something (or some things) new on UU every day.
 

ripock

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I've just been playing in my corner of the world and keeping silent because the forum threads seem so out of step with my interests. For example, hawaiian shirts. None for me, thank you. And the fact that people have dozens of them seems wasteful to me. I usually have about 3 or 4 shirts. They are nice: tailored and monogrammed. But why have more than you can wear in a week?

Then there's another tonewood thread. I have made my view clear: ukuleles are ukuleles and they all sound pretty much the same. My tonewoods are picked with the view in mind of Ogden Nash which says that obscurity is purity. I always pick my woods to be obscure, unique, visually arresting, and serving a concept more than timbre. So, no cedar for me. I understand that it is unimpeachable. However it is boring.

I have been playing around in a very undisciplined manner: latching onto a melody and then just running with it. I have been practicing scale sequences, which is something I haven't done in a very long while. I tend to make my sequences descend and I use it at the end of a phrase to erect a small wall of notes. I played the E Aiolian #6#7/A Lydian dominant in sequences. It is a nice way to cram 21 notes into a little dive bombing cascade that resolves to the root.
 
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CPG

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I just wanted to rant about something that's been circling in my mind. Soft woods. I am in no way contesting the science. Yes, soft woods resonate at a different place than hard woods. And, yes, if you combine hard and soft woods in construction it seems you would capture more vibrations.

However, I have to wonder is that demonstrable fact significant? Does it matter? The most coveted and cherished ukuleles are all koa or all mahogany, both hard woods. My favorite ukulele, my yorkie, is 100% hard wood. So, does it actually matter?

The reason this is percolating in me is I am designing my final uke, an elite baritone and the luthier is subtly suggesting a soft wood/ hard wood combo but, to be honest, I am resistive. Maybe I am being a petulant child and kicking against the pricks merely because it is standard...however I really want an all hardwood ukulele. Such is my first world agonizing.

Softwood and hardwood tops have different tonal charactoristics. Yes, softwoods tend to have more overtones and bring out a broader range of the tonal spectrum, but hardwoods tend to have more mids, a stronger fundemantal note, and often a lot of warmth. The science of the vibrations is useful information for understanding and describing these differences but ultimately tonal preference is subjective. I personally love hard wood tops. Both my ukes and my steel string guitar are solid mahogany. I would choose my hardwood top guitar over a softwood top guitar every time. They all have wonderful warm, woody, full mids that you can really feel, but still plenty of richness across the tonal spectrum. You should go with whichevers tonal charactoristics you like better. Again what sounds "better" is largly subjective and in the ear of the beholder. Maybe describe the tonal properties you like to the maker and see what they reccomend based on that description.

EDIT: Or as you say, if the subtle differneces in tonallity aren't that important to you, then yes, just go with a wood you think is unique and interesting and that the luthier still thinks will work well as a tonewood. The build matters more than the wood anyway, and since you are using a skilled luthier I'm sure they will be able to make just about any wood sound great. Personally, I always think it's cool when luthiers use a wood that isn't necessarily uncommon or exotic in general, but that is uncommon in luthery, like your London Plane instrument.
 
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