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Thread: Inspiration for your playing?

  1. #1
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    Jul 2014
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    Default Inspiration for your playing?

    While practicing yesterday, I noted to myself that I don't have any particular style of playing, and what I play is a random collection of things. Since I just play for fun, that's really OK.

    But it got me to think that some of you probably have some particular inspiration for your playing, and some sort of inspiration might give me a bit of a boost right now. Maybe part of it is that I've been getting much more serious about ukulele, (instead of a bit of a distraction from other things, which was the initial goal.)

    I'm probably not saying this well, but still might lead to some interesting input.

    What inspires you to play, and why? Do you have a particular style of playing, (like John King, as an example), or just play a random assortment of things? What keeps you motivated?

  2. #2
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    This is going to be somewhat of a long story. I started playing ukulele three years ago because a couple weeks before, I was leafing through a Musicians Friend catalogue and saw a Mahalo ukulele that looked like the Fender Telecaster guitar I bought not long before. The uke was only $60 and I thought it would be cute hanging next to my guitar. The day after it arrived, I received a post card for the upcoming Los Angeles Music Center Summer Play-Along series, three Saturday workshops, three hours a day for people to play together. I had been to a couple previous ones for guitar, but this one was for ukulele. I figured since I now have a uke, I'll attend.

    I went to the internet and discovered what was happening with the ukulele, including Jake, Iz, and others, which was very impressive. I learned the three chords that the Music Center program required (easy enough since I played guitar for almost 50 years), but I found it rather difficult the make the chords on the Mahalo. Then I discovered it was a soprano, so I immediately went out and bought a tenor.

    After the Music Center seminar, an announcement was made that there would be a ukulele flash mob headed by Cali Rose, I couldn't attend but I found out that not only was she a well known and very accomplished uke player, she also held ukulele classes twice a week out of the Culver City Senior Center. Since I was in the process of retiring at the time, I thought focussing on the uke would be a good way to fill my time, I joined immediately. The 50 or so members gell nicely and we perform often during the year, calling ourselves The CC Strummers.

    (I actually joined another group, The Westside Ukulele Ensemble, at the same time, an advanced instrumental group that does three and four parts, but I couldn't keep up with their expertise and after a year decided to drop out.)

    About a year or so later, Cali asked if anyone would like to take up the bass to fill in our sound, one other member and I volunteered. In the 50 years I played guitar, I was often told by my friends that I should take up the bass, but I didn't want to be encumbered by those large electric basses, forget a standup bass, but when I discovered all the small bass ukes, I went for it.

    Being a member of The CC Strummers has become my greatest motivation, we meet Monday afternoons and Thursday mornings, so I continually practice the bass (and some ukulele), work out the bass line for each song, record all the songs we play when we meet and put them on my web site so everyone can practice at home anytime.
    Last edited by kohanmike; 08-07-2016 at 09:27 AM.

  3. #3
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    For me, it was being exposed to James Hill not only his solo playing but his advocacy for music education of ukulele in the classroom as well as his work with the ukulele way. Watching his videos and reading his materials essentially taught me how to play and gave me that initial foundation.

    Nowadays Daniel ho is my ukulele hero and I play as much of his stuff as I can and its his style and sound I try to emulate the most.
    Koaloha Tenor 2016
    Hoffman ML ebony/red spruce tenor
    Mya-Moe redwood/walnut tenor
    Stansell Myrtle and POC flamenco baritone
    Hoffmann A style cedar maple tenor

  4. #4
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    Jul 2014
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    Recstar24, I just started working on Daniel Ho's Polani, and can see why you are a fan. I'll probably try to work on some more of his music.

    kohanmike, it sounds like The CC Strummers is a definate inspiration, and lots of fun for you.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2009
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    I don't have a particular style or inspiration. I'm probably somewhat influenced by the style of my instructor, but if I am it's not intentional and definitely not something I make a conscious effort to emulate. Early on, hearing John King for the first time was what inspired me to keep playing in the first place - I really had fully expected to learn to strum a few chords and then, as I do with most things, get bored with it - but finding out that the uke was capable of so much more was what motivated me to keep going... coming up on 7 years now!

  6. #6
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    Beer!!!!!!!!

  7. #7
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    What inspires me: the amazingly sweet and beautiful sounds I get from my uke.
    James Hill and Daniel Ho are also inspirations to my playing.

    Off topic:
    Recstar24, did you get a chance to try out the PHD low g string set yet?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    I started playing because I was looking for a casual instrument I could take places instead of one my guitars. What started with one $50 Kala has now turned in to 4 ukuleles. Playing the ukulele is calming for me. I haven't really learned a lot of songs, I just more enjoy picking it up and playing whatever I feel like.

  9. #9

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    I started out just playing totally randomly - mostly off of the Doc Uke list, then went into a big jazz kick trying to learn how to play like Lyle and Benny Chong -

    Now I'm way way into Hawaiian. I'm totally immersed in all of the Hawaiin music - with Hui Ohana basically serving as my main tour guide. These HUI OHANA tunes are fan-freaking-tastic! And even though there's not always a uke present - even the uke free songs are fantastic for learning. I've found that I can mimic a lot of those guitar solos on the uke. I've learned a whole whole lot about chord structure, keys, arpeggios, solos from playing those songs

    When I get tuned into a Hawaiin tune that I particularly like, I then like to just go search that song name and then listen to all the many various versions that have been done of it over the years

    I've been using a great IPAD app lately called "Anytune" that lets you slow tunes down without changing the pitch of the song. I've been using that to learn some of the crazier faster Ledward solos. And I've also used it to slow down David Kamakahi and Ohta San.
    Last edited by manfromtexas; 08-07-2016 at 10:15 AM.

  10. #10
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    I have no style, so like you, I absorb all sorts of bits and pieces of knowledge and technique, and in time I'll sort it all out and fill in the many gaps. What I want to do depends heavily on the instrument, too. With the soprano, I want to become much better at rhythmic playing, and with the baritone, and perhaps soon: a guitarlele, my interest is in fingerstyle, especially classical pieces.

    This video here inspired me greatly:



    Admittedly, it doesn't have all that much to do with traditional ukuleles, but I love it so much and I want to play half as well one day.

    Motivation, for me, comes from improvement. Noticing how my precision increases, finger strength and dexterity go up, pieces becoming more musical, certain chords and chord changes feeling easier, and so - all of these motivate me. I also often noodle aimless in a sort if meditative, relaxing way. It's really not so much about goals and destinations for me, and much more about the journey and the right-now-and-here experience.

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