my ukulele progress

Down Up Dick

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
4,103
Points
63
Your “Monsoon” is very well explained and pictured. I do hazily remember those good ol’ days too.

Oh yeah, we enjoy lots of different beans at our house. I especially enjoy refried beans sprinkled with cheese.
 
Last edited:

Patty

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Feb 2, 2022
Messages
800
Points
93
… Remember when you were 14 and first received a glimmering of an object of your desire which caused tingling in your netherregions? That is our rain. It tingles on your arms and gives you an impression. Of course I wear a fedora and a sports coat, so the rain merely makes me damp which again returns to my image of sexual awakening.
You have an interesting way of talking about the weather! … And it was amusing that your remark was “liked” and quoted by an … uh … member whose name is “Down Up Dick.”
 
Last edited:

Justaguest

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2021
Messages
161
Points
63
Our monsoons sometimes feature haboobs. Big ones. Had to throw that in while we were talking dirty.
 

Down Up Dick

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
4,103
Points
63
Patty, when one is a Dick, he has to learn to stand up for lots of naughtiness. I’m usta it, but certainly not on the UU.
 

Patty

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Feb 2, 2022
Messages
800
Points
93
Patty, when one is a Dick, he has to learn to stand up for lots of naughtiness. I’m usta it, but certainly not on the UU.
I apologize if I offended you. It was not intended. Sorry. Shall I delete the post?
 

Down Up Dick

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Messages
4,103
Points
63
Heck no, Patty, I don’t get offended about my name that easy. I was in the military with a bunch of GIs for 21 years. They’d never pass up great ammunition like that. Besides nowdays we need a few good laughs.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
Perhaps I shouldn't have said "per annum"; it sounds vaguely rude.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
I am roasting a small pork roast and potatoes, so I have my swamp cooler on to keep the house from getting heated. But it is making things chilly so I put on an over-sized flannel shirt and I came to the realization that I could never play flamenco guitar because, aside from not having talent, I cannot manage sleeves. Flamenco players seem to have puffy pirate shirts. I cannot keep my sleeves from muting my strings.

Once I took the shirt off I was having other problems today. I have been playing off the D# lately and today my melodies couldn't escape the event horizon of the E. Of course D# is the leading tone, so naturally it leads to E. But today the E was very assertive. The only way I could escape was to invoke the nuclear option and arpeggiate away from E with a confusion of sounds that broke E's hold. As always I like to use the D# dim7 arpeggio for this technique. So I catapulted--or perhaps I should say I less forcefully trebucheted--myself from the D# to the A on the A string. At that point I had the benefit of a mulligan to melodize from the A Lydian dominant.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
A while ago I tried to step outside of scales and it was a failure. It is still a good idea; I just bit off more than I could chew.

So I took some smaller steps. I randomized a voice to start from and I received the first fret and the first string. That's A#. I had put myself in the corner of the fretboard. So I started off with a chromatic note and the obvious thing to do--at least for me--was to use that A# as a chromatic enclosure to its neighbor, B. Once I got to B I was back in my key. from there it was G and F# and D#, resolving on an E.

This methodology created a very different sound for me. It was a very somber melody because, after all, it is based in the minor. But in a way it was peaceful and sweet as well. Although the only thing really different was adding one chromatic tone, it really created a new angle to approach the melody. I made me re-think the connections between the intervals. I only hope that I'll be able to harness this in a more systematic way after I practice it more.

I wanted a little more range so I started to substitute different but equivalent voices. For example, in the middle of some phrasing, I'd slip up to the A# on the 6th fret and get to the G on the 10th fret. Here I reverted to some modal playing and wound up at the 16th fret with a penultimate C#m chord, resolving on the E of the same fret. The C# to E sounds really good as finishing on a high note. Maybe it is because C# is the secondary tonic and E is the primary. And that C#m was good. That is pretty much the highest chord I can easily play. I don't usually go for shimmery chords but it seemed good here. Maybe because of the trope of finishing on a high note makes it seem appropriate at the end of my solo.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
Today wasn't as good as yesterday. I started off with the F on the 5th fret and nothing good ever came of it. I don't know if it is the F or it is me. Perhaps I just didn't have the muse today.

Regardless of who was to blame, I eventually abandoned it and moved to the E on the 9th fret from which I played the E Hungarian Minor in 3 octaves as I ascended and I descended back to the E with the A dim7. The interesting thing about the E Hungarian Minor is that it contains an A#. There is something I like about that note.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
Inspired by the classical ukulele thread, my thoughts went to Sam Muir whose website hasn't been updated in years I think. I purchased my Yorkie because the Luthier was recommended on Sam's Page. Something that stuck with me is Sam Muir's adjuration to play quiet. Around the forum people are often talking about how to get louder and louder, so quiet is quite a change. For no coherent reason whatsoever I played the first two measures of "the imperial march" and then softly played themes and variations using some mode patterns, some E Hungarian Minor and some natural harmonics on the 7th and 12th frets. Juxtaposed to the soft picking, I altered the dynamic with a simple minor 2-5-1 of F#ø, B7, E13. As per usual I was unhappy with the chord quality of the E. I have a sound in mind for the E but I can never quite find it. I think the sound is a 7 chord and I tried many varieties. I also tried other qualities. For example, I tried an add9, 7sus4, m11, 6 chord. Perhaps it is better this way. As Oscar Wilde once said: the only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting what you want.
 

Patty

UU VIP
UU VIP
Joined
Feb 2, 2022
Messages
800
Points
93
Inspired by the classical ukulele thread, my thoughts went to Sam Muir whose website hasn't been updated in years I think. I purchased my Yorkie because the Luthier was recommended on Sam's Page. Something that stuck with me is Sam Muir's adjuration to play quiet. Around the forum people are often talking about how to get louder and louder, so quiet is quite a change. For no coherent reason whatsoever I played the first two measures of "the imperial march" and then softly played themes and variations using some mode patterns, some E Hungarian Minor and some natural harmonics on the 7th and 12th frets. Juxtaposed to the soft picking, I altered the dynamic with a simple minor 2-5-1 of F#ø, B7, E13. As per usual I was unhappy with the chord quality of the E. I have a sound in mind for the E but I can never quite find it. I think the sound is a 7 chord and I tried many varieties. I also tried other qualities. For example, I tried an add9, 7sus4, m11, 6 chord. Perhaps it is better this way. As Oscar Wilde once said: the only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting what you want.
I’ve had similar thoughts when listening to Samantha Muir play. She actually uses dynamics, which some ukulele players don’t realize even exist. It’s not easy to play softly, then even more softly, then pianissimo.

Classical pieces require many, many ranges of volume, and she’s mastered them all. She’s also a classical guitarist, which might explain how she got those skills.

One of the many things I love about Jeff Peterson’s book is that he makes you practice gradual increases and decreases in volume. It’s damned hard!
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
I saw one of those posts of Ubulele today which is here for a short time before it vanishes like a rosy cloud in the crepuscule as the sun sets. It is interesting the importance he gave to 7 chords. It interested me because it is a conclusion I came up with as well. I have one piece of graph paper which contains all the chord qualities that I think are important with four shapes per quality corresponding to the roots on each of the strings. And the minor 7 is at the top of my paper. Squished into the margin as an afterthought is the normal triad (major, minor, Sus, and augmented). I don't think I need to expand upon this. I am a Roots musician and the 7 is integral to blues, jazz, folk--all the sources from which I derive my melodies.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
I just made a shrimp and kale stir fry for my wife which will last her two days since I haven't been eating much lately. That will save a lot of money. Speaking of money, I have that on my mind today. Specifically the times on these fora where people say "golly, I wish I could buy a Kamaka." My response is no, you do not wish that at all because I can tell you how to do it and you will not like what you hear. I buy costly ukes not because I am rich but because I have two full-time jobs and live a semi-monastic life. So to buy a Kamaka all you need to do is save a little bit from each paycheck and you'll be able to buy a kamaka in a year or two. And to cut out your overhead, don't go out to restaurants, don't pay $100's of dollars on electronic devices and services, don't have a nice car, don't go on vacations. That's how you do it as a regular, non-rich guy. For example, I have been saving for my baritone for the better part of two years. So all it takes to play really nice ukes is gumption and the determination to side-step a lot of the trappings of the bourgeois lifestyle that hamstrings many of us. My baritone will be my crowning achievement because it will cost twice what my Kamaka did.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
I finished my grading earlier than I thought so I have a little bit of time to annotate, especially since it is not one of my eating days.

I wanted to get serious about losing some weight because it is starting to affect my blood pressure. So far I've lost 10 pounds. And it is effortless; I just eat every other evening. I eat two eggs and green chilis and 1/2 a cup of beans. I have been sprinkling on an herbal condiment I found at that market. It is a medley of 24 herbs from Dr. Bragg who I find is usually a quack but his herbs are very aromatic and tasty. This process has really re-set my eating. I'm finding my 2 eggs and beans is the perfect-sized meal. I had slipped into a bit of gluttony lately. And for a treat every fortnight or so, I have had a steak and some greens instead of the usual processed foods around here like burritos or quesadillas.

Anyway, today for some reason I was a bit obsessed with sus chords. I don't use them that often and I even had to look at my binder to even remember how to make them.

At first I was playing Esus2 and Esus4 next to the Em on all 4 strings just to get used to the difference in these chord qualities. I was surprised at the difference the voicings made.

Then I experimented with moving from the Em to a nearby fret where I just formed one of the sus shapes not regarding the root of the shape I was in. That's the geometric composition I love where I don't fuss about notes or keys; I just move in lines and let the intervals take care of themselves. None of these experiments sounded cacophonic although some certainly sounded like tones leading somewhere else.

Then I settled into a trance with a short progression in E melodic minor:

Em add9
G7 sus2
A+
C# (just the note)
Dm

I know that D is not diatonic to my scale but it just sounded right. If I were to venture a guess, I would suppose D was good because the C#, while being the 6th of my scale is also the leading tone of D. Also it is a bit of legerdemain insofar as the chord qualities were getting more and more baroque. So instead of maintaining the tension, I just executed a volte-face to the Dm.

As I said I just played this repeatedly for a while, breaking it up every so often with an attempt to insert some picking. However that was hard--the picking isn't hard; that's rudimentary; what was hard is making it sound smooth because the timbre of the chords was complex and dark. So it was hard to strike out into some single notes and make it sound natural. It was almost as if you needed to find the essence of the chord and then start a line with that essence.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
I just saw a funny video about bracing and people seemed impressed with the difference. Me not so much. If I strained and concentrated I could hear a slight difference. so the conclusion is that two ukes sound slightly different. And they'd be slightly different even if they had the same bracing. I'll file that factum away. However I will never waste my breath requesting a certain bracing in my custom orders. I'll just let the luthier decide and be satisfied with whichever nuance I get. But now it is practice time.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
Today I spent my time with new things. I stayed rooted to the E (on the 4th, 9th, and 16th fret), so that I would have some familiarity. Then I practiced "pentatonic" scales like the Scriabin, Hirayoshi, and Ritusen.

Then I practiced taking an arpeggio and playing it chromatically down the fret board quickly.

Lastly I noticed within all my ethnic scales a heptatonic blues scale. It was just a minor pentatonic scale with a #4 and a natural 7 added. Those extra notes threw my rhythm off at first The 7 in particular is taking some practice. The 4# is child's play; that's just the blue note.

Today I went a bit extravagant with my feeding. I added a quarter pound of beef with red chili, and an extra egg. It felt much more luxuriant than the spartan meal I have using to lose weight. It was like huevos rancheros without the corn tortilla.
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
I usually do not entertain requests but I was playing the melody of that old Hedy West folksong, "500 miles" and my wife heard and said I was playing it wrong. However she was thinking of the 500 miles song, "I'm gonna be." I looked it up and it is a simple 1-4-5 song in E, the key I was already playing. It would be boorish to refuse, so I played her the song of which she was thinking.

More people should play in E. It is very easy. Especially if you use the 1X02, two-finger E major chord. I was recently introduced to the concept of "ukulele-friendly" keys which I still don't understand. All keys are equally friendly over unfriendly. You play the same shapes in all keys; you merely move the shape up or down the neck as the needs requires. So I don't know if E is a friendly key. It certainly wasn't when playing flute because of its 4 sharps. However accidental notes mean nothing for a stringed instrument.

Since I avoided E when playing flute, that's why I embraced it on ukulele. It was very novel for me. All my ukuleles are designed for E. I always build them with 19 frets so that the highest note is an E. This way I can always end on a high note and resolve to an E.

I recently saw reference by Ubulele to Fretboard Roadmaps Ukulele and I've known about the book for a while now but never bought it. I suppose I thought I had overgrown it since I have my own system. I bought a used copy on Amazon for $2. To buy some miso paste costs me $4. So this book which is evidently a very important book for this community costs half the price of soup...yet I and others do not have it. That seems criminal somehow. My guess is that the system I came up with over time will be laid out in black and white by this book. If I had only bought the book, I would have saved a bunch of time. However my system is mine and it is more special since I gave it life.
 

Oldscruggsfan

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 25, 2022
Messages
794
Points
93
I usually do not entertain requests but I was playing the melody of that old Hedy West folksong, "500 miles" and my wife heard and said I was playing it wrong. However she was thinking of the 500 miles song, "I'm gonna be." I looked it up and it is a simple 1-4-5 song in E, the key I was already playing. It would be boorish to refuse, so I played her the song of which she was thinking.

More people should play in E. It is very easy. Especially if you use the 1X02, two-finger E major chord. I was recently introduced to the concept of "ukulele-friendly" keys which I still don't understand. All keys are equally friendly over unfriendly. You play the same shapes in all keys; you merely move the shape up or down the neck as the needs requires. So I don't know if E is a friendly key. It certainly wasn't when playing flute because of its 4 sharps. However accidental notes mean nothing for a stringed instrument.

Since I avoided E when playing flute, that's why I embraced it on ukulele. It was very novel for me. All my ukuleles are designed for E. I always build them with 19 frets so that the highest note is an E. This way I can always end on a high note and resolve to an E.

I recently saw reference by Ubulele to Fretboard Roadmaps Ukulele and I've known about the book for a while now but never bought it. I suppose I thought I had overgrown it since I have my own system. I bought a used copy on Amazon for $2. To buy some miso paste costs me $4. So this book which is evidently a very important book for this community costs half the price of soup...yet I and others do not have it. That seems criminal somehow. My guess is that the system I came up with over time will be laid out in black and white by this book. If I had only bought the book, I would have saved a bunch of time. However my system is mine and it is more special since I gave it life.
Ripock - Thanks for posting. Over the past 2 weeks, I also stumbled into the elegant simplicity of an E progression. While working out a finger style solo for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “The Ballad of Curtis Lowe”, I was initially inclined to transpose to C, but the distinctive riff for “finest picker to ever play the blues” just didn’t ring true in C. I’ll pick up Mr. Beloff’s book shortly, hopefully a similar price as what you paid.
Cheers!
 

ripock

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
2,667
Points
113
I think you'll enjoy the book--if it is what I think it is. When I learnt chords, I memorized 12 different shapes for major chords and 12 for the minor, and all that gave me was the chord as it existed in the lowest two or three frets.

With movable chords, you only learn three or four shapes and then move it all over the fretboard to get the chord you want. It allows for much more freedom and much less memorizing.