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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #171
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    Feb 2017
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    I briefly played around with some m7b5 and augmented chords.

    I noticed something about the m7b5 versus the 7: They sound very similar but the seems to lilt upward. I don't know if it is a matter of pitch or an emotional thing, but it seems slightly more upbeat. The two are close enough to be interchanged but the seems to be a little bit less harsh. That might come into play if I ever have a choice. Right now I would probably stick with the 7 merely because I know how to form it.

    The augmented chord is a special kind of ugly. In arpeggio-form it sounds nice, but it is discordant as a chord. I did make a small progression with it, going from augmented to sus4 to major triad, and it sounded nice. It was a lengthened passing chord sequence. My idea was to move from a chord with an altered fifth, to a chord without a third, and finally to a chord that had its third and fifth intact.

    I read that the augmented chord is also used in the turnaround of a blues progression, kind of like some of those grating Robert Johnson double-stops. I messed around with making the V chord augmented and it seemed okay, but I will need to replicate it to be sure. Another thing to try would be to experiment with using the augmented voicing on some chords in my modal progressions that I've been playing around with, either making the v of the Phrygian augmented instead of dminished. Or I could just pop an augmented chord in somewhere else and see what happens.

  2. #172
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    I had to go to a family function and I brought my Kamaka because we need some quality time together. I am still getting used to it. The biggest difference between the Kamaka and my others is that its nylon strings make chords rather difficult to make in the lower frets. Patently I could just put different strings on it, but that seems like cheating. I think of it as breaking in a horse. You want to curb its natural wildness and enthusiasm, and channel it; you don't want to extinguish it. So I want to meet the Kamaka on its own terms. I want to retain its strings and embrace its tinniness. That is, after all, why I bought a custom spruce-top ukulele. I wanted something dedicated and built to play that end of the register. I am still working on it.

    Since the above was my priority, I didn't try to do anything new. I was just going over old stuff with the Kamaka. I just improvised with some pentatonic stuff, with some modal progressions, with some fancy strum adornments like finger rolls and raking the strings with my thumb on the upstroke.

  3. #173
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    First, I have to chastise myself a tad for being unmindful. One of my highest priorities is to stop being lame by not even knowing the notes I am playing. E.g., how am I supposed to improvise a melody based on dom7's if I don't know where those notes are on my fretboard? To overcome this I have been rolling through the modes using one key.

    I somewhat arbitrarily chose E because it is an easy blues to play and because it is the highest key from which I can play all the modes (the lokrian ends on the 18th and I hit the E note on the 19th just for some resolution). The thing that makes this work for me is getting a static set of notes (in this case E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#) and playing them in all their permutations. I.e., E ionian, F# Dorian, etc. As I play I try to say the note out loud and look to see where my finger is. This way, I am seeing, hearing, and speaking the notes. After I feel I have culled enough from E, I am going to do the same thing with a key that has a lot of flats because I have a tendency to be inflexible when it comes to naming notes. I want to be ready to see a note as Db or C#. Right now Db makes me furrow my brow.

    I think Db would be the logical candidate for this application because it has five flats, it starts on the first fret and Lokrian ends on the 15th. Let me see, those notes would be Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C. Damn! That's going to be nasty. The I IV V is going to be a bear. And my favorite progressions in the Phrygian mode won't be much easier since I will need to flatten flats and that will change the name of the note. Confusing. But that's for later.

    Today was more of a day for messing around. The only noteworthy things I did were practiced some progressions with a rumba beat (a strum consisting of eighth notes in which the 1st, 4th, and 7th are stressed). I also plugged in my tenor guitar and played with some electronics. Using some overdrive and flanger, I turned on my Fat Fuzz Factory pedal. I turned it on Fat mode (where it accompanies my notes with those of one and two octaves lower) and I turned the gate setting down low. It was as fuzzy as an angora sweater.


    I also forgot to mention that once my custom linear tenor gets here in July/August. I will have the option of doing these exercises from the lower three strings as opposed to the upper three strings of the re-entrant. E.g., that would mean the E to start my ionian would be on the ninth fret and I would start it all off from the first fret with the G# Lydian.
    Last edited by ripock; 05-19-2018 at 09:13 PM.

  4. #174
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    I was exposed to some new terms today by Stu Fuchs. Evidently they are classical string musical terms. They are ponticello, dulce, and sul tasto. I know most ukulele players use sul tasto; I tend to play dulce, or rather right where sul tasto and dulce meet. I see an application for the ponticello tone. It is brassier. It could be used to differentiate stresses. For example, in the rumba strum I was toying with, the 1st, 4th, and 7th beat would be ponticello. I can see it could be attainable through practice. Right now it is a bit challenging physically to alternate dulce strums and ponticello strums--it's a coordination thing. However, I've seen it done. Guru Peter Forrest demonstrated a figure-eight strum which did it.

    Another little trick I stumbled upon is using the quincunx shape for improv. At least, that's what I call it. Quincunx is the Latin term for the configuration of the five dots on a die. I don't know if there's an English term aside from some clunky periphrasis. Basically the quincunx is just a Dorian with some of the notes taken out. It makes it less scaly and more musical.

    Just to use the F Dorian as an example and visualization, on the 5th fret, you play the C and A strings, on the 6th fret the E string, on the 7th fret the C and A strings again. The quincunx works with a pentatonic scale tolerably well because they both have a minor vibe going on. Both the pentatonic and quincunx share the root and that Bb note (the middle dot of the quincunx). So you can switch from one to the other on the Bb. It sounds like something different is going on, but it is more of an interesting transition than something so foreign that it is just a head-scratcher for the auditor.

  5. #175
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    I watched a video...at least, I watched the start of it...of some online guitar instructor counterarguing against those who hold that Jimi Hendrix didn't know theory, so why should they. I didn't more than glance at the video because I didn't want to get bemired in the negativity. But I was thinking that there are some easy arguments to make.

    First of all, if we assume that Hendrix didn't know theory, we can say Hendrix was a prodigy. He did what he did because he is who he is. However, everyone else isn't Hendrix. Since they aren't gifted, they have to learn guitar.

    However, the easier answer is that Hendrix was lying. He obviously was building his brand and part of that process was telling this narrative about how he is natural and raw and unspoiled by academia. But that is just preposterous. Just think about it. He, as the tradition goes, just sat around noodling and taught himself music. It is a coincidence that all the complicated extended chords he "came up with" are the same chords that are played in jazz and R & B and blues. Give me a break. Maybe he didn't go to the 60's equivalent to a Guitar Center but someone showed him stuff and pointed him towards these traditions.

    Whatever. Maybe that video said this. But, as I said, I wasn't very interested. I am more interested in moving myself forward. To that end, I've been messing around with some stuff based around A and its intervals. I copied the voicings that I picked up from observing some jazz melodies. Once you can appreciate intervals, the rest of the stuff comes pretty easy. Don't misunderstand. I do make some clunkers. But I also can just make up progressions that sound acceptable. Here's some of what I remember I did:

    A Bbdim7 Bm7 E7
    A A7 D Cdim7 A
    A F#m7 Bm7 E7

    As you can see I am not doing anything great. Just playing basic chords from A and just changing the voicings sometimes. The voicings are the hard part for me. To be honest, I probably never would have guessed these voicings and I owe them to looking at jazz and seeing how they do it there.

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