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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #481
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    I lucked out this year. I am contractually bound to indulge my woman's whimsies. When she wants a proper holiday meal, I make it. You know the deal: turkey, white stock gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, sweet potato pie. However this year she doesn't want anything and I am obliging her.

    I saw a thread on fret board mathematics. However I didn't really contribute anything because I don't think it is helpful...musically. That's been my experience. I've done some cerebral things (like using flash cards to memorize the notes of a fret). I did gain knowledge, but it didn't seem to help my playing any. So, yeah, I do see things. I see that if you barre the first three strings, it is a minor triad and if you barre the last three strings, it is a major triad. But it doesn't really help my improvising; there is too much lag time involved. The only thing that really helps is knowing your intervals and the shapes of the various chord qualities based on those intervals. That, with practice, allows you to move all over the fret board. The rest isn't as helpful.

    I am deeply enamored with my new cast iron wok. Since this is the last day of my vacation, I made my wife some stir fry: I fried two salmon patties and two eggs for protein. Then in the wok I threw in some ghee, onions, and garlic. I added spinach, salmon, and rice. I topped with some oyster sauce and sesame oil. I call this stir fry versus egg fried rice because I do some idiosyncratic things which probably preclude this dish's acceptance by the likes of Uncle Roger.

    Musically speaking, I started messing around with tritones and E. I was using the E Aiolian #7 as a basis for that. One thing led to another. I started mixing E Aiolian with the B Phrygian. Running to the end of the B Phyrgian, I would slide up a fret to the re-entrant D# super Lokrian bb7 and the linear B Phrygian minor. From there, work my way down through the F# lokrian 13, E Aiolian #7 and the D# super lokrian (this time in linear). So, in essence, I was wanking around somewhere between the 7th and 19th frets.
    Last edited by ripock; 11-21-2020 at 05:46 PM.

  2. #482
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    My practice has been rather desultory today.

    I started with that old folk song "500 miles" which somehow became lodged in my brain. I tinkered around and worked out the melody.

    Then I worked on improvising some lines based around the E Aiolian #7, mixing in notes from the F# Lokrian 13, B Phrygian Dominant, and the dominant shape of the E minor pentatonic.

    Lastly, I re-created to the best of my memory a progression I was playing last week. It was

    E9
    B7sus2
    Am11
    D#13
    D13 | D13 | D#13 | G+

    I like that augmented G at the end of the turnaround. The notes of the chord are very close to those of E minor, so it implies a return to the tonic. I suppose there isn't anything very surprising in that since G is the III chord in the key of E harmonic minor and III chords are used as a substitute for the tonic since they are the secondary relative minor.

  3. #483
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    I made a nice stir fry with butternut squash noodles, ginger, and cilantro (as well as all the traditional ingredients).

    I regrettably had to put my Yorkie away. It had been out a while and exposed to the dry heat of furnaces in winter. However, I wasn't resigned to give up on the linear tuning. I am really wanting all four of my strings. So I got out my tenor guitar which is in Chicago tuning. I forgot how ungainly it is. It is like trying to hold a greased pig. It has a strap button on the heel of the neck, but I don't feel attaching the other end of the strap to the output jack is secure. In the past I would put the strap over the jack and then plug in a cable with a fender washer. That felt secure. But I've lost the jack and washer. So I was letting the guitar perch on my lap and it was awkward. I do want to note that I really like the slim Martin-esque headstock. I really like its looks. If the tuning pegs were behind instead of obscenely jutting out perpendicularly, it would be perfect. Or at least as perfect as a headstock can be without it being a stauffer.

    It was rather late, so I couldn't do much. My tenor guitar has a pickup and you know what that means: fuzz and wah wah pedal. As I said, it was a bit late for that so I just played around with linking up some pentatonics and harmonic minor modes. The key, at least to my ear, was to avoid the sixth interval of the harmonic minor. The pentatonic by definition lacks the 2nd and 6th intervals. And the sixth interval was really a sour note. Here's the basic template of what I did:

    1. descended the tonic shape of the E minor pentatonic
    2. backed into the dominant shape
    3. emphasizing the A and B of that shape, then I backed up to the G and the G Ionian #5.
    4. extending the linear G Ionian #5 to the re-entrant C Lydian #2, I ascended that shape 'til I ended at the C
    5. From that C, I jumped up to the D# and then to the E which started it all.

    So that was the path I took to create some nice little lines. Obviously this is just a template, omitting the particular notes I hit along the way--which, by the way, tended to change with each iteration.

  4. #484
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    I arrived home early tonight so that I was able to play a little bit before my wife went to bed. I found a contrivance in my box of musical miscellany to attach my strap to the bottom of the tenor guitar. Now I can play without fussing with it.

    I briefly played around with the G Ionian #5, the lowest shape.

    I soon went up one shape to the A Dorian #11. The linear-tuned A Dorian #11 is interesting because it doesn't have a re-entrant shape embedded within it. So when you get to the A string you have to improvise. To fill out the A Dorian #11, when I get to the A string I grab the B and C from the C Lydian #2 shape and then the D# and E from the E Aiolian #7. That's a lot of notes to play with. And I did play with them. Every so often I would work in a minor ii-V-I (F#m7b5--B7b9--Em).

    After a while, I heard my wife's white noise machine commence in the bedroom and I knew that it was time to stop. So I did and made myself a bowl of soup (millet, pork sausage, ginger, and white stock)

  5. #485
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    I was reading about compensated saddles. Man! Those guys are instances of the princess and the pea. They are sensitive. For them, these nuances, or lack thereof, make it awkward to play. I wouldn't even notice. If someone changed my saddle on me and I found it awkward to play, I would assume that I was having a bad day or that my central nervous system was fried, and I would practice through it. Through practice I would unwittingly adapt. Maybe I am just not good enough to notice something so subtle. I suppose that's a consolation for mediocrity.

    I extended the progression I was playing. I wanted to take it lower on the fret board. Here's what I did:

    F#m7b5
    B7b9
    Em add9 #5
    Em6
    A maj7
    B7

    Since this progression starts on the 9th fret, I wanted to move downward on the fret board and get a descending pitch throughout. So I go to the Em add9 #5 which is rooted on the 7th fret and then play an Em6 which is rooted on the 4th fret. Instead of stopping there on the tonic. I move to the subdominant, then the dominant which sets up another resolution to the tonic. At this point I am undecided on how to finish the progression. Obviously I am going to end it on the tonic and it probably will be the open E string, so that I can keep the descending pitch going along. But I don't know what chord quality to choose. It'll probably be that E9 that is rooted on the open string, although that only has one note difference from the previous B7. I'll see what it sounds like to abandon the descending sound and move back up the neck. After all, the neck chord will be the reiteration of the progression at the 9th fret.

  6. #486
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    If anyone has been reading this musical diary rather closely (by the way, if that is the case, I find it somewhat creepy), he or she would notice that I abuse modes. I don't actually use modes for their natural and intended purpose. For me, the modes are a way to learn seven of the twelve notes and where they live on the fret board.

    I thought I would play it straight for once. I would establish a tonic context for the Dorian #11 which I have been working with. I have been enjoying the A Dorian #11 so I just established the A as the tonic by using a typical Dorian harmonization (i-ii-v). It is still a work in progress because I am still working out the details because of the options involved. I can play the A Dorian #11 at the 2nd, 14th, or 10th frets (I suppose I could play it on the E or A strings but, to my mind, that seems silly because it would necessitate a lot of vertical movement. Anyway, I have three places to start the mode. Do I play the Dorian progressions at the same place, or do I mix and match the pitches. So I'm obviously still experimenting with the sounds. Regardless of the details involved, my general methodology is to play the Dorian progression a few times until it seems to have permeated and then I briefly (a few measures) improvise with some notes from the A Dorian #11. It actually takes a lot of will power and discretion to not devolve into sheer wankery and to maintain the plan.

  7. #487
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    I'm still struggling with my Dorian stuff. The finger picking is easy. I've been emphasizing the D# since it is the #11 which defines the A Dorian #11. It is the chord progression that I'm not digging. In particular I cannot settle on a chord quality for the V chord. Perhaps part of the problem is that I am currently working on chords that are low on the fret board and accordingly have some open strings. If I move up to the 5th fret or so, perhaps it will be better. But then again the fingerpicking might be off because the two places the scale occur are the 2nd and 9th frets (not counting the one at the 14th fret which is impractical with the instruments upper bout).

    I think once I get the chance, I will try an m6 for that E chord. I really like that chord in other contexts. Another thing to consider is to abandon the 'minor' sound. The Dorian progression is minor and I've been trying to honor that. However, the minor ii-v-i progression is harmonized from the Harmonic Minor (of which the Dorian #11 is a mode) and in that progression, the V chord is major. So maybe I should try some major dominant qualities.

    The other thing I was trying to do was affect some vertical movement with dim7's. I blithely recommended to someone in a thread making eight-note runs combining two adjacent dim7's. I decided to take my own advice. In E Harmonic Minor, there are two diminished chords, the second and the seventh. They are respectively the F# and D#, and they are the same chord. Those eight notes (as long as you don't repeat the two F#'s) line up very well with the Dorian #11.

  8. #488
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    I've been working on a new transition for my soloing in E Harmonic Minor. The basis for this is the A/F#/D#/C dim7 chord. All the notes of this chord are in E Harmonic Minor. It is an important chord because F# dim7 and D#dim7 are the II and VII chord of this harmonization. This chord occurs on frets 2, 5, 8, 11, 14.

    What I do specifically is bounce between two adjacent iterations of this chord creating, in a sense, a seven-note arpeggio. For example, taking the chords at frets two and five, I do this

    g string: 2 & 5
    c string: 3
    E string: 2 & 5
    A string: 3 & 6

    This allow me to move up the fret board, or I can use it merely as a decorative wall of notes, or it can even be a little hiccup of erudition.

  9. #489
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    There's a thread that has turned into a love-fest for Kamaka strings. I left them to it, and declined to throw a wet blanket over their shoulders. I did not like my Kamaka so equipped. I found the strings dulcet, canorous, and silvery and that wasn't a good thing. Maybe when I go to heaven and seraphicly strum kumbaya for eternity I won't mind the edentate tone. 'Til then I want something with a bit more character. Moreover the Kamaka strings were too thick and unamenable to bending. Whatever.

    On a more positive note, I couldn't stand it any more. I put away that big old tenor guitar and retrieved my Yorkie from its red velvet slumber. It was so nice to play. The tenor guitar's body prevents playing a lot past the 12th fret. I was just practicing my dim7 arpeggios and using them to connect scales.

    For example, I'd be messing around with the A on the 2nd fret of the G string and then arpeggiate up to the A on the 12th fret. Then descend the A Dorian #11 and back into either the E Aiolian #7 or the F# Lokrian 13. It all sounds unified since the arpeggios are in E Harmonic Minor and so are all the scales.

    I haven't really done anything but scratch the surface of this stuff. It is a bit sloppy but I can execute that ten-fret run in 8th notes.

  10. #490
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    I misspoke. I'm not actually playing dim7 arpeggios because I'm not playing the notes in order. I am merely playing broken chords. The end result is still the same. I switched my Dorian progression to some different voicings. I am using the A rooted on the 9th fret, the B and E rooted on the 7th. I'm starting to see--or rather, hear--a problem. The progression is kind of sweet, melodic, and mellow. The broken chord runs are much more aggressive. There seems to be a disconnect there. So I am considering if I should abandon the sound or to double-down and purposely compose in two different voices. After all, make a mistake once and it is an error. Make the mistake twice, and it is jazz.

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