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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #271
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    I learned a lesson. Rather, I internalized something that I knew intellectually. Part of my problem with the F#7 was that I wasn't thinking about making my transitions easy. I was just playing chords the way I always do. However, in this progression my standard way wasn't the easiest way. I usually play my E major chord with my index and ring finger. And I usually play barred dom7 chords with my middle fingers. But if I do that in this progression I have to make a fairly substantial shift when I move to the F#7. So I altered my fingerings so that the E was played with the index and middle finger; the same thing for the C#7. Then to move to the F#7 all I needed to do was move the middle finger over a string (and plant the ring finger). Once I made that change, then I could play my progression in 8th notes like I wanted to.

    So it was very instructive. I had to remember to make things easier for me by not playing the same old chords in the same old way.

    That was the big news on the ukulele front. I have also been practicing my modes and my E major pentatonics, but I haven't really digested what I'm doing, so that I could annotate what I am doing on paper. I'll think it over and commit my accomplishments on paper soon.

  2. #272
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    When playing chord melody, I finger the lead note and create the chord off that position. Sometimes, it takes finesse/dexterity or a chord substitution when the melody is complex.
    My Ukuleles: A Hawaiian, an Oregonian, and a Kiwi.

  3. #273
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandChannel View Post
    When playing chord melody, I finger the lead note and create the chord off that position. Sometimes, it takes finesse/dexterity or a chord substitution when the melody is complex.
    This sounds cool. Is the lead note the root of the chord?

  4. #274
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    Not always. The ear has a tendency to gravitate towards the brightest (highest) note played in a chord. I try to focus on creating chords around the melody in the song, rather than around the chord. This way you can keep the melody very steady and prominent, but use substitutions and different voicings for the chords.
    My Ukuleles: A Hawaiian, an Oregonian, and a Kiwi.

  5. #275
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandChannel View Post
    Not always. The ear has a tendency to gravitate towards the brightest (highest) note played in a chord. I try to focus on creating chords around the melody in the song, rather than around the chord. This way you can keep the melody very steady and prominent, but use substitutions and different voicings for the chords.
    Oh yeah. That's how I learnt to create chord melodies, using the high note. I just didn't know it was called a lead note. Thanks for the clarification.

  6. #276
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    Since I was re-filling my humidifiers, I re-acquainted myself with my Kamaka. I have been playing my Yorkie exclusively. When I tuned the Kamaka, I tuned it to E. I think in the past I had it tuned to D#. The strings were tight. They kind of hurt a bit and I was going to tune it down, but I didn't. I didn't because, if I did, it would just be to make it more like my Yorkie. But the Kamaka has its own voice.

    I designed the Yorkie to be a bit lugubrious and muddy sounding. The Kamaka is meant to be a singer. It has a spruce sound board and it really resonates, and tighter strings make it louder and almost annoying bright. Of course the tighter strings don't bend as well or lend itself to ornamentation like glissando (or is it portamento?)--anyway, long slides.

    The Kamaka takes some getting used to. It is re-entrant and I really miss having that fourth string to pick. And the chord inversions with that high G string are certainly different.

    There's been some talk lately on the ukulele boards about things I had never considered: frets and neck shape. I noticed the kamaka has a different neck. My baritone has a semicircular neck shape. My Yorkie's neck is somewhat trapezoidal, like this graphic: (___) . It starts out round but then it is planed flat. The Kamaka's neck is a semicircle, but it is shaved down so that the curve is much tighter.

    My immediate goal is to get acquainted with playing somewhere between the 10th and 12th frets. Previously I had been focusing on the first five frets. Around the 10th fret we have tonic shape for the major and minor pentatonic (in linear) as well as the mediant. There is also the subdominant and dominant shapes (in re-entrant). As far as modes go, there area of the fret board belongs to E ionian and D# Dorian (in linear) and the Lydian and Mixolydian (in re-entrant). I'm not too thrilled with those modes, except for the Dorian. But who knows? Maybe those vanilla modes will actually be interesting when combined with pentatonics. Maybe I could even work in some modal progressions. Let's see: the Dorian would be i ii v; the Lydian I II V; the Mixolydian I IV bVII. At least with the Lydian progression I could make use of my newfound ability to play an F#. And the Mixolydian is always good with that bVII. Those two would probably sound better with a major pentatonic since they are more majorish, whereas the Dorian is minor.

  7. #277
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    I've monkeying around with the A Lydian and B Mixolydian and the subdominant and dominant shapes of the minor pentatonic. Obviously A and B are the subdominant and dominant of E, so that these patterns all work well together. It makes for some unique sounding improv. There is a bit of an ebb and flow feel. The modes are major while the pentatonics are minor. So you go along in one quality for a while and then switch to the other quality.

    I did this all on my Kamaka. I know the Kamaka has a sound that most people would prefer, but I still find the brightness, the loudness, and the echoes are somewhat less than natural to me.

    Anyway, it is great to play those modes up there around the 12th fret because now I am starting to see the notes. In the past, when I looked down at my side markers while playing I saw those two close dots on the 10th and 12th frets. I knew one pentatonic pattern started in between those dots and that another started right below them. Now I am starting to see that it is a B between the dots and an A below them. Intellectually I always knew this, but now it is starting to be something more natural.

    Obviously (at least to me) the next thing I will tackle are those three close side markers on the 15th, 17th and 19th frets. I can play down there by feel. I just know where the shapes are, but I don't know what I'm playing. I will change that soon.

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