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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #381
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    Feb 2017
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    I've been a bit busy lately. I work in logistics/supply chain and I don't get the luxury of hiding out and indulging my paranoia. If I don't work, then communities don't get food--although what they seem to be desiring most of all is instant noodles, so that whilst they hide from the virus they poision their bodies with MSG. I'm afraid I offended some people with what seems a cavalier attitude. I'm just nihilistic. I wash my hands; I avoid getting other people's bodily fluids in my orifices (a good principle in general even outside the pandemic context!); at that point it is all in the lap of the gods. There's no need for bottled water or toilet paper or overthinking.

    And on that note of simplicity, what I have been doing in my spare time is re-acquainting myself with the mixolydian mode. I plan on using that mode in conjunction with my dom7 chords in the rhythm changes. The mixolydian is the default pattern in that context because of the flatted seventh in the mode and the flatted seventh is, of course, the signature sound of the dominant chord. Even though I know the mixolydian I have been trying to get a little bit more detailed in that knowledge. For me that amounts to being able to move horizontally (from string to string). That breaks up the mode and makes is sound more musical rather than like a scale. It helps if you want to make double stops. So that's what I'm doing as the world descends into its silly maelstrom

  2. #382
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    Sep 2013
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    ripcock, please look at your PMs.

  3. #383
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    I made a stew of sorts for my wife. It consisted mainly of chicken thighs, red beans, and rice. She likes it. Happy wife, happy life. Because of that principle, I cannot play instruments late at night, my preferred time. But what I can do is think. And I'm still thinking and wondering why people eat so poorly during this quarantine. I can personally attest to the fact that people are buying a ton of instant noodles, which is a cancer cocktail...just add water. Why? I realize you have to stay at home, but why stay at home and eat crap? I literally just came from the local market where I bought some chicken and vegetables and eggs. There's no reason for crap. Yeah...I get it; you stay in your domicile until you cannot breathe and then go to the hospital. I grant that. but why eat instant noodles until that moment arrives?

    Governments are getting more and more Draconian. The one upside of the approaching martial law is the confiscation of toilet paper. People cornered the market on toilet paper with the thought of exploiting the community's weakness in this trying time. It will be great to see the government take it away by main force. Capitalism sucks.

    I played around with my cigar box guitar in open D tuning. I always use a slide with that instrument because when I re-attached the neck I screwed it up, rendering the action to be measured in inches. I mainly played pentatonic stuff, both blues-based things as well as some funk (focusing on the tonic and dominant degrees)

    I did some other stuff which I will annotate later since I need to go right now.


    I was fumbling around with the B section of my rhythm changes. Traditionally, it is just a III VI II V progression and it is normally played with the dom7 chord quality. I changed it a little bit. First of all, I have been playing this progression with all the chord roots on the C string. So I am going from the 8th fret, to the 13th, to the 6th fret, to the 11th. Obviously, that has a low/high/low/high pitch thing going on. So that's the first thing I had going on. Secondly, I changed the two lower chords to 13 chords. I know that's no big deal; jazz musicians actually call the 13 chord a 7 chord.

    Therefore by B section runs: G#13 C#7 F#13 B7

    The other thing I did was figure out an ending that I liked. Rhythm changes ends on a root dominant root progression. I like to end on a high note, so I play those last three chords as E6 (rooted on the 4th fret), B7 (rooted on the 2nd fret, drawing the pitch downward), Emaj7 (rooted on the 7th fret). I like this ending because the Emaj7 is an octave higher than the E6. I like this maj7 chord because I play it as a diagonal barre and that's fun.
    Last edited by ripock; 03-21-2020 at 07:34 PM.

  4. #384
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    Feb 2017
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    I've been working a lot lately but I just browsed the site and found several posts relating to cheap ukes. People seem to be thinking that cheap ukes are a different beast altogether and need special attention. However ukes are ukes. I am a fan of high-end ukes because of the personalization and guarantee of quality. But a cheap uke can good as long as there's no intonation problems. Yes, they are ugly and assembly line and might have high action or pokey frets, but they play.

    I have been doing some thinking lately. I was thinking about a reading jag i've been on: Golden Age British detective fiction. What I really like about it (aside from being a New Historicist's gold-mine for historical data) is how unrealistic it is. I like that these novels have their own diegetic space; their worlds have been largely fabricated and I appreciate the creativity involved in creating this faux world.

    And I noticed that my musical tastes run parallel to my literary ones. When I see people playing perfect renditions of existing songs, I mentally, if not physically, shrug. It is perfect but I have to wonder if a monkey could do that if you gave it enough bananas. What I value is creation as opposed to emulation. Emulation is all about the fingers while creation is about something deeper. And that's what this diary demonstrates. Admittedly, my music probably sucks when viewed on the spectrum of possibilities, However it is mine and spontaneous and sincere.

  5. #385
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    Feb 2017
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    Listening to the greatest Black Sabbath album, Sabotage. That's how you can legitimate a Black Sabbath fan: if their favorite album isn't either Sabotage or Technical Ecstasy then they didn't grow up with Black Sabbath; they're johnny-come-latelys who have synthesized the experience through media.

    But on to creativity. In the kitchen, I made a nice casserole:

    1. softened butternut squash cubes in boiling white stock with cinnamon and brown sugar.
    2. added a cup of millet cooked with baharat
    3. added a pound of ground lamb (with some garlic a lot of tikka masala spice and green chiles) which had been browned
    4. added a pound of white cheddar (as an uxorial concession; I would have preferred no dairy or at least some Stilton)
    5. poured in a pie dish and baked so that the flavors would marry (if I had had my wits about me, I would have had a pastry shell ready)

    In terms of ukulele playing, the main aspect worth mentioning is the changing of instruments. I put away my beloved Yorkie and got my Kamaka out. I have a mixed relationship with the Kamaka. My Yorkie is my love because I created it. It was my vision made real and for that reason it has a special place in my heart. However I have to admit that the Kamaka plays better in certain ways. It is much more resonant. Usually that doesn't matter because I mute it while playing, but when you just give it a big strum, it sure can echo. And it sustains the glissandi very well. I like that. That being said, I still have an awkward relationship of the Kamaka because of the way it was built. My Yorkie was built to be everything I love. The Kamaka was built to be all that I don't love. It is kept in gCEA tuning and it has a spruce sound board to emphasize that end of the spectrum--a spectrum that I definitely do not like. Why did I spend $2000 to have something I don't especially like? That's a matter of philosophy. I am endowed with an opinion and I embrace that opinion. But I am aware that an opinion is just as opinion. So I want a ukulele that contradicts me and demonstrates the other, more traditional, point of view. I got it because I didn't like it. Similarly look at my master's thesis. I am decidedly a scholar of ancient Greek poetry. So what did I do my thesis on? A Latin historian. Why? Because I didn't want to be pigeon-holed by my own personality. Same thing with the Kamaka.

    And the Kamaka does streamline things a bit since it is for all intents and purposes a three string instrument. I was playing my shrill chord progressions today with that high G, but filling in the gaps with only the upper three strings. I have to go now and attend to the casserole, but I'll try to return and expand on what I was doing.

  6. #386
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    I've been prepping for all day--at least intermittently. I made porridge, red beans and rice, and now pinto beans. I still don't understand the Covid mindset. People are buying a ton of instant noodles. Why? Haven't they been to the store lately? There's meat and vegetables and other whole foods. It makes no sense. But, then again, neither does it make sense that gun shops are considered essential services. Yet, their lobby has won the day. Amazing.

    And equally amazing is my practice. As I mentioned earlier, the gCEA tuning really simplifies things since it essentially a 3-string instrument. It limits your choices and allows you to focus on what is actually there for use.

    I did practice moving from an Em6 to finger picking. The E major pentatonic still is the easiest and most natural shape to work with. I tried using some modes of the harmonic minor and while none of them really sounded bad, they didn't quite sound right either. If i contented myself with only using part of the shape I suppose I could use the G Ionian #5 and tie it into the G of the Em6.

    That lead to practicing the harmonic minor modes themselves. I am fairly fluent with the central ones, but the less used ones, the ones based on the II, III, VI, and VII degrees, are a bit hazy. They definitely deserve a bit more attention.

    I also practiced minor arpeggios. Basically played a 12 bar blues in E using arpeggios. I thought it sounded good, but my wife didn't as it woke her up. But it was after noon, so it was fair game. She says real instruments just penetrate the walls in a way that recordings cannot.

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