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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #311
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    Ugh! I just learnt that I cannot live without add9 and 7sus4 chords. I think I can squeeze them into my new essential barre chord sheet by squeezing down the standard 4X4 box that I use to represent my chords. For example, dom7 chords only need to be 4X3. Or maybe I can just omit the major and minor triads.

  2. #312
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    I was able to re-draw my one page of barre chords so that no space was wasted. When I did that I could easily accommodate my add9 and 7sus4 shapes. I even have room to spare in case I ever feel the need for the minor major 7 or something like that. But now my cup runneth over and I have to start getting acquainted with my barre sheet.

    I have once again been apprised of the importance of consistency, muscle memory, and technique. I don't have UAS in the slightest. As a matter of fact, I pared my ukulele herd to two: A high G bright kamaka and a low G custom yorkie. My problem is that I also have a crappy $300 Kala baritone which is the ukulele that I keep out to collect cat hair, dust, and to be the ukulele I grab when I have a moment. The problem is that with the Kala I slouch over it to play. With my two other ukuleles i have straps. And I have straps set up so that I cannot see the fret board; I have to play by touch the way real musicians do. So I have lost contact with that muscle memory. I need to re-adapt my wrists to the correct angles...and I need to stop perpetuating this cognitive dissonance. I know what I need to do and I need to do it.

    But enough of that. The thing that's worth chronicling are my m7 chords. I'm playing all over the fret board and the funny thing is that even though I can get down to the 19th fret with my Yorkie since it has a cutaway, I do it easier with my Kamaka which doesn't. I suppose once again muscle memory is the root cause. I'm just used to having that upper bout in my way and contorting the hand over it. I have no obstacles with the Yorkie but I think my hand still does the monkey paw up and over the imaginary upper bout. There is also some other facts involved. The Kamaka is also tuned a bit tighter and maybe the tighter strings lend themselves to easier fretting. That's kind of my intention anyway. My Kamaka is my tighter strummer and the Yorkie is my loose, muddy finger picker.

    So I resolve to use my strapped ukuleles and play blindly and to investigate and annotate my success with the different barres. By the time I am done with this fetish, my finger picking will undoubtably have atrophied.

  3. #313
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    playing around with some 9 chords. The add9 has been quite a boon. When you work with just the dom9, sometimes it sounds flat. I don't mean musically flat, but rather somewhat pale or blah. To put that into practice, I messed around in that almost embarrassingly trite key, the lowly C, and put together something like a jazzy twelve-bar blues:

    1. C maj7
    2. F add9, for the quick change
    3. C maj7
    4. C7, just for some sonic movement
    5. F add9
    6. C sus2 (F add9 + C at an octave) for some sonic movement
    7. C maj7
    8. C maj7
    9. G9
    10. G9
    11. G9sus4 + A7
    12. Dm7+ G7


    So that's just a standard old C blues with a ii V I turnaround. And with the magic of those new barre chords of mine you can move things around once you get bored of first position chords. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes jumping to another octave sounds just like a cool variation. Sometimes it sounds random and inappropriate. Maybe there's some obvious theory-reason that I should know about, but I don't. So I just play it by ear.

  4. #314
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    Today's started out great.

    I had a nice breakfast of toasted millet porridge and a demitasse or two of decaffeinated mokka java.

    Now I have set myself the task of translating a horrible passage in Vergil explicating metempsychosis which I need to get through in order to read what I want to read.

    After that I intend on making some headway in realizing what to do with a m6 chord.

    Since Ukantor had the temerity to call me abstruse, I think I will be more mainstream and focus on the most jejune progression, the I VI IV V. If it is good enough for pop stars it is good enough for me. However I will take the liberty of altering some of the chordal qualities and I think I will do it with an economy of movement, only using one shape. I will explain later today.

    I have a good little tool, The Chord Wheel, and it among things offers the information that a 6 chord can be used where one would use a II chord or a IV chord. I have never really liked those substitutions. So instead of using the 6 as an alternative chord attribute in a traditional progression, I thought that I would try to use the shape of a 6 chord as a basis of a progression.

    So I took that rather ubiquitous shape (it can be a m6, a 9, or a m7b5) which many of us know (e.g., it is G9 when played as 2212). If you consider the C string as the root and move it to 4434, then you get an Em6. Since I love the key of E, that's my I chord

    C# is, of course, the VI of the key and if you just flatten the fingers out you get 4444, or a C#m7

    to get the A, the IV of this key all you need to do is convert the 4444 to a 4454, and you get an A add9

    move it up two frets, you get a B add9.

    There you have it. A standard I VI IV V progression, using just one shape (with some help from the pinky). And speaking of the pinky, that little finger, moved around above the shape, can make for some interesting little variations to the sound.
    Last edited by ripock; 08-05-2019 at 10:54 PM.

  5. #315
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    I just got up from a nap and I see the Kala thread is still going strong. I am not going to enter into it; it seems like a perfectly good place to offend someone and I need all the friends I have. I will say the one thing I don't understand is the $1500 elite Kala. I mean, the kala is what it is, which is a decent low-end ukulele. So why gussy it up and pretend that it is something else. That's like, instead of getting a Ferrari, you get an "elite" Jeep Wrangler. You can soup it up all you want, pimp it out as well as you can, and charge a lot of money for the effort...however it still isn't going to be a good sportscar; that's just not its nature.

    Back on the home front, I have been pursuing the 6 chord a little further--trying to see what sounds lead to it and away from it. And I'm profiting by altering the shape to get other chords. It makes sense since the chords look similar that their notes work together. For example I have taking that old regular 6 shape

    E6=4434

    and by going up a fret on the E string, you get an add9 chord with the root on the E. E.g., 4454 is A add9

    and by going up two frets on the E string, you get a 7sus4 chord with the root on the E. E.g., 7757 is B 7sus4.

    So that's a good old fashioned I IV V progression with novel chord qualities.


    That's fine, but I think for later this evening I should get back to basics and practice my maj7 chords. They are a bit more central than a dom13 chord (even though I am falling in love with that 5534 Edom13).


    I was just reading an old Inspector Appleby mystery which I love because he, like me, is a trained philologist turned member of Scotland Yard. However, the thing that caught my eye were the dates for Galileo that appeared in the text. They are
    1564-1642.

    I immediately realized that I could use that as a progression. I V VI IV I VI IV II.

    I'll see what I can do with it.
    Last edited by ripock; 08-06-2019 at 05:13 PM.

  6. #316
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    I've been working on some "jazz" stuff. I put jazz in quotes because it isn't quite what people think when they think jazz. I use a lot of jazz chords and ideas, but I do my own thing with them. Same thing with the blues. I practice my pentatonics a lot, but I use my own strums and melodies. In fact, I never play blues. Why play old blues standards? That's why I have a CD player, so that I can listen to Willie Dixon. And making new blues songs is silly. For me, the blues is like Christmas songs: you cannot make new ones. Those genres are tied to a certain time period and we grant them certain allowances because of their historicity. Making new Christmas songs or blues songs results in something quite trite.

    I reviewed my workbooks from Glen Rose. He has all these shapes and clusters of shapes. Now that I know more, I can see that his shapes are just the ii V I progression. The trick is to know which chord qualities to use. For example one cluster of shapes uses m7, 9, maj7. Other clusters use a 7b5, 7b9, m7 and others use m7, 13, 6.

    One general pattern I see is: minor, dominant, maj7.

    I saw that Glen Rose used the 7b9 and I thought, "crap! something else to learn." But as I looked the the 7b9 I realized that it is just the dom7 chord with the root moved up one fret. So I just have to stick to my plan and practice my dom7 shapes and I will know my 7b9 shapes as well.

  7. #317
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    Finally...the weekend is here. Before I go to the porch to study a few things, I thought I would annotate my appreciation of the ukulele world's breadth. There's a current thread on the forum pertaining to ukulele essential songs. The list left my mouth agape in wonder. As far as I am concerned the thread should be entitled something like "songs that make me embarrassed to have a ukulele." And that is what impressed me. The ukulele world encompasses a really broad array of players.

    Although I note these differences I hope I don't seem supercilious (I wonder if one can gainsay the charge of being supercilious while using the word supercilious). I know this will sound odd in this day and age where Christians are trying to make their opinions on abortion the law of the land, but I was raised to have immediate and determined opinions...however I was taught that opinions are just opinions. They aren't true (except when they are); they are just a bunch of crap that works with your mind. So, yes, I do have definite opinions on the topic of ukulele but I don't have value judgments associated with those opinions. Yeah, maybe I'm a serious musician...but I'm not a good serious musician. I don't practice several hours a day like a real serious musician should. In fact I bet most singer/strummers are more accomplished in their chosen endeavor than I am.

    In a nutshell, I realize that although traditional ukulele makes me shudder, that's just me. I don't think my opinion has any superiority over others. It isn't a matter of right and wrong. It is a matter of what works with my head. And my head would abandon the ukulele if I had to play songs written by others in lieu of playing my own junky thoughts.

  8. #318
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    I ran across an interesting ukulele reference. I was reading a Philip K. Dick novel in which people are stuck in alternate realities. It is too complicated to explicate, just take it for granted that we are in a world where creativity is the lynch-pin of that reality. Here's the thing:

    "...you'll have to join the company symphony orchestra...What instrument do you play?

    The uke.

    Just a beginner, eh?"

    That is the burden we have as ukulele players--that conception that this isn't a real instrument. Obviously any instrument can be anything in the right hands. That's probably why I don't like playing the typical stuff. Even though I do not play with anyone else, in my mind I am an ambassador for the legitimacy of the ukulele. I figure all of us have all the based covered. That girl on TV has the strum angle covered with her C-F-G songs (I guess it is really D-G-A since she's cheating with a capo). And I'll be on the other end of the spectrum.

    I have to go eat before work, but I'll try to write up what I've been doing with chords.

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