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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renruthsoj View Post
    Some sound might be nice in between all these words
    I don't doubt that you're right, but aside from this old Linux computer I don't really have any equipment. I never got a cell phone...or are you supposed to call them smart phones now? I don't have a microphone or a camera. I'm afraid that going into the digital world would be quite a production for me and I don't even want to imagine the cost that would entail. If I started buying stuff, I should probably with a television. Anyway, if the person building my new bespoke ukulele sends any pictures, I will re-post them here. That's about as technical as I can get.

  2. #202
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    Whatcha gettin? And from whom? (apologies if you said elsewhere)

  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renruthsoj View Post
    Whatcha gettin? And from whom? (apologies if you said elsewhere)
    I am getting a long neck (19 frets) tenor with a cutaway from Rob Collins (Tinguitar). It is going to be my linear tuned ukulele. It is going to be 100% English: Plane tree harvested from a London park for the body, walnut for the neck, laburnum for the fretboard, and cherry for the bindings. I wanted all English woods because everyone is always emphatic about having Hawaiian woods like koa. This ukulele will be different. Rob says the plane tree has a unique tone. And since it is a dense wood it will serve my purpose for a warmer sound. I also got planentary tuners...just because they seem old-fashioned and not so popular. The only other thing I requested was no fret markers. I don't see why they're there. We can't see them when we're playing, so why have them at all? Since I can see them, I do have side markers on the pentatonic frets (3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19).

  4. #204
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    I can't lie--things are pretty sweet right now. I'm working too much, drinking too many beers, reading too much, and not sleeping enough. All in all, not bad problems to have.

    I still haven't worked through my ukulele fingerstyle workbook any. I'm still pretty much obsessed with my study in the key of E.

    I am inadvertantly a "three notes per string" person. I say inadvertently because I came up with my system without looking at any resources; it just made sense to me and it wasn't until later that I learnt that the three note per string was even a thing. I mention this because I have been using the three notes of the modes found on the C string to make little songs. The goal of music is to learn and then unlearn the shapes so that you aren't restricted and wind up sounding more scaly than musical. I am using so many shapes that it obscures the shape. It is kind of like Copernican astronomy with all the circles within circles.

    I have been getting kind of breezy with the shapes and I need to revert back to being more conscious about them so that I can learn my notes, one of my goals. So this week, I'll probably be a bit more into the scales.

    I am kind of letting my modal chord harmonizations deteriorate in my memory, so I started playing progressions again. In the key of E, the F# is a requirement. And I've been practicing using the F-shaped barre chord to form it. It is good way to get all four strings for this and the Ab major chord. Currently I usually form both those chords using the G major shape and muting the 4th string.

    Amidst all these types of things, I usually will use some easy blues progressions to play something easy. The ones I have been playing are semi-jazzy:

    I7 | I 7 | IV9 | IV9
    I7 | I7 | V9 | IV 9
    I7 | #I° | IIm7 | V7#9

    I7 | IV9 | I7 | III°
    IV9 | IV9 | I7 | III°
    IIm7 | V9 | I7 | V9

  5. #205
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    Jul 2017
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    Reading all this thread has pushed home to me just HOW MUCH I still have to learn in order to try and get anywhere NEAR all you guys! Sigh! lol

    Good luck with your goals ripock.
    Luv n stuff, Dave

    * GUITARS
    Freshman Apollo 6 string electro acoustic
    50yr old EKO 12 string jumbo
    American Fender Stratocaster deluxe
    American Gibson SG Special
    Squier Telecaster Custom II with P90’s
    Ibanez GSR200 BASS

    * UKES
    Ozark 2035 banjole
    Kmise tenor banjole
    Cordoba 22T-CE Tenor
    Kala KA-CE electro acoustic

    * OTHERS
    Kawai KM-10 Grand piano & Technics KN-2000 keyboard

  6. #206
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    The question is why would you want to be near us, as you say. I used to work with this bloke who had been a musician since he had been a teenager. He didn't know any of this stuff. He knew what he called Cowboy Chords--which I inferred meant open chords. However during his life he earned his income by playing Cowboy Chords. Later in life he was starting to dabble in theory just to further his education.

    so I just want to say as a public service announcement that theory isn't really necessary to make music. However, if you're a freak like me and theory is how your brain works, then welcome! Do you have any tips on what to do with the Lokrian mode? I've been trying to play some progressions, but the Lokrian doesn't seem to progress. The best thing I have found is a sort of call and response type of thing in which I strum a diminished E (I chord), and then play an F (bII chord) then return to Edim then go to C (bVI chord) and so on. That sounds good to my ear--although it is a bit endless.

  7. #207
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    I've been doing some thinking about one of my tragic flaws, the paralysis by analysis. I think about something and know how to do it, but I never actually do it. I assume that since I understand how, I can just wait until I need to do it and then just summon it up. However things are performative in nature. For example, although I am very well trained as a writer, I never wrote a novel because I want to write a narrative that also has something significant to say in terms of philosophy. I could never realize what that deeper meaning would be, so I never started. But if I had just written the narrative, the deeper meaning would have taken care of itself.

    I do this with the ukulele quite a bit. I know what I am supposed to do to attain a great drone to accompany myself in the style of Justin Johnson or Reverend Peyton, but I just don't do it. In fact my Fingerstyle Ukulele workbook has been sittting on my music stand so long that it is creased. I need to just practice the thumb exercises and play a few of the songs...then all the minutiae would work itself out.

    So I practiced that a bit with my metronome. Later on, I'll insert some pinched melody notes from the treble strings.

    In anticipation of getting my linear tenor, I practiced the five pentatonic shapes for the linear tuning. With these, you start on the G string and finish on the A string, whereas with the re-entrant uke, you start on the C string and end on the A. Obviously, the linear tuning can play everything the re-entrant can, plus add some gloriously deeper-sounding shapes of its own.

    In a sense there isn't anything new to learn; the linear shapes are just the re-entrant shapes preceded by a few notes on the G string. For example, the linear tonic shape is merely the re-entrant mediant shape with the 1st and flat 3rd played on the G string. The key will be to remember which re-entrant shape to combine with which notes from the G string.

    In the E minor pentatonic I will be able to fit in 7 shapes which is the same number of shapes as the re-entrant has. It starts with the mediant shape at the 2nd fret and ends with the dominant shape in the 16th fret. Immediately it should be obvious that there is a lot of potential here. You have 3-stringed shapes and 4-stringed shapes and they all overlap. It will be easy to jump from one to the other. As a matter of fact, I could play a continuous flow of notes forever. The bigger challenge is finding phrasing to turn my pentatonic shapes into music. That however goes back to the theme of the day...I just have to do it and learn while I burn--as opposed to planning it out in my mind.

  8. #208
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    It is going to be an all-night party! I promised the wife that I would wax the floors in the library and the dining room, as well as mop the kitchen.

    To renew my flesh I made some huevos rancheros with the additions of some shrimp and some gorgonzolla cheese...along with some of my Mad Dog hot sauce...which is crazy hot. Because of the Mad Dog, I will have some lime juice handy citric acid neutralizes the capaisin. I bought some beer from our local pub. So I will be doing floors and playing ukulele until sunrise.

  9. #209
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    I know that apologies are neither required or desired, but I am sorry to say that recently many thing have come between me and my ukulele. That seems to remind me of some lines of Yeats where he essentially says that many things tempt him from writing verse.

    Anyway, I resolved a problem which had kept me in pain for the past year (a hip problem that rendered my legs different lengths). Now I am back into my competitive Olympic lifting as rehab.

    With the passing of Philip Roth, whom I would argue is the greatest novelist of the 20th century, I have been revisiting his collected works.

    It is a given, but work has been distracting me.

    Nevertheless, I have found time for my music...although not as much as necessary. I have been making progress on my fingerstyle goals—moving from the mechanics of the thumb to pinching. It isn’t called pinching in my workbook, but it is essentially pinching: plucking a melody note with the “I” or “M” finger whilst plucking the thumb. I am pretty good at the linear tuning where the rhythm is outside/inside. However, the re-entrant and its inside/outside rhythm is still throwing me for a loop.

    For the sake of variety I have been following the lead of every ukulele guru and have been thinking that chord melodies are where it is at. For some reason I had in my head the old tune “Bad to Me” which John Lennon wrote for Jerry Kramer and the Dakotas. I decided that I was going to just figure out the melody by myself without looking at any online resources. My assumption is that I might get the wrong key, but that I would figure out the the relationships of the notes regardless. So far the melody has alluded my efforts. However, it will come in time. My plan is to get the melody and then to embellish the melody with an arrangement of chords.

    In between all this I of course have been noodling around with my pentatonics and I have been playing some simple progressions with 9 chords. I have been gravitating toward rootless 9 chords, as opposed to 9 chords with a suppressed dominant degree, because they are simpler to play.

    Since my current obsession is the key of E, this has raised a particular problem. The problem is the I chord, the E. The problem is that the E chord and its IV chord, the A, are very similar and therefore not a lot of sonic movement occurs...at least, in the first positions of both these chords. And when I try a variety of E a little bit higher on the fretboard, the pitch is too high for what I am envisioning. I have been experimenting with different voicings for the E: the major triad, the 6, the maj7, the 9. They all sound good at times, and again bad at different times.

    Lastly, I have been debating whether or not to bug the person who is making my custom uke. My uke was slotted for a July build. It is now September. However, it if was started late July, then it has only been a little more than a month, since this is early September. I don't know how long it takes to make a uke and I don't want to be a gadfly and say is it done, when he'll just say chill out; it takes time.

  10. #210
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    Education is all about learning and then unlearning. You have learn things in vacuo with some little device or another meant to aid in memorization or utilization. Then, once you’ve mastered that stage, the challenge is to drop the didactic structure and use the skill on its own.

    With fingerpicking I am at that most galling, for me, stage wherein I feel like a charlatan; I’m not making music—I’m not playing something from within. I’m just doing what I am told and painting by number.

    Thumb, thumb, thumb, pinch
    thumb, thumb, thumb, pinch
    thumb, thumb, thumb, triplet
    thumb, thumb, thumb, note

    And later on, I suppose the last element will be moved around.

    I have to remember that this is just the process; it will become music later. I have to suffer through ‘Mary Had a little Lamb’ or ‘Amazing Grace’ or whatever piece of schlock I am supposed to practice...and I need to remember that eventually, I can drop the twee Americana and have the skill to improvise my own thumbs and pinches and notes to make something.

    A good case in point is modes. When I was learning modes I developed finger patterns per string. Except for the Dorian mode, I use three patterns: either index finger/ring finger, or index/ring/pinky, or index/middle/pinky.

    After I stopped identifying these patterns with the modes, I found they actually are the building blocks for songs. Whether it is Beethoven or Uli Roth from 70’s Scorpions...whenever I hear a riff and I noodle around to re-create it, those patterns are heavily utilized.

    I also use these patterns when I improvise. I don’t know if it is cheating or at least an oxymoron, but when I improvise I fall back on these patterns. Even today, just messing around I executed a big old slide and at the end of it, instinctively did a pattern and bent a note, and I had a cool little ditty that I repeated a few times before returning to what I was doing.

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