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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #511
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    Feb 2017
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    It is a good day. I will be getting Yorkie back this afternoon. The luthier said that the problem was some wear and tear that occurs over time. He also said Yorkie is very dry. That may have been a contributor. I feel bad. I know that I live in an arid climate, I have humidifiers, but I became lazy and Yorkie paid the price. I will definitely will be keeping Yorkie in its case when not playing it for now on.

    The weather is actually rather inclement with a very strident wind and a twenty degree wind chill. I'm just going to make some eggs and potatoes with tomatillo sauce, wash it down with a few demi tasses of mocha java (de-caf of course) and bide my time.

    What I plan to do tonight is further my plan to obliterate the wall betwixt my harmonic minor modes. That is my usual methodology. I latch onto a system (whether it is the system of modes of the major, of the blues, or of the harmonic minor), then I conceptualize the chunks. The chunks are played in and of themselves. Eventually the walls that define the chunks become less definite and emigration between chunks is allowed. The ultimate goal is to erode all the walls so that the entire fret board becomes a single shape that I can traverse like a "noir" detective walking the streets of his metropolis knowingly traipsing when I need to go to get what I want.

    The greatest impediments to my progress right now are the Lokrian modes. I was playing them a week ago and already they are fading into the mist. The one exception is the F# Lokrian 13 on the 11th fret. I always remember it because it contains the re-entrant B Phrygian Dominant, my favorite. Other than that, I have to think hard about where the other Lokrians are even located let alone what their shapes are.

    I think I am going to try to combine some of these troublesome modes so that movement between them will be more fluid.

    1. There are the G Ionian #5 and the C Lydian #2 at the 0 fret, and the D# Super Lokrian bb7 at the third fret. That will be a nice group to get organized because right above them are the B Phrygian Dominant and the E Aiolian #7
    2. There is the C Lydian #2 at the fifth fret and the F# Lokrian 13 at the sixth
    3. There is the G Ionian #5 at the 7th and the D# Super Lokrian bb7 at the 8th.
    4. There is F# Lokrian 13 at the 11, and both G Ionian #5 and C Lydian #2 at the 12th.
    5. There is the D# Super Lokrian bb7 at the 15th.

    The interesting thing in this list is the patch of haze. In the middle of the fret board there is a spate of these shapes. Everything below it is crystal clear as is everything above it. Once I take care of this, I should be a lot closer to my goals.

  2. #512
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    My stupid cat, Lykophron, was rolling around the ground playing with a pipe cleaner. He knocked over my music stand and broke a ceramic slide. You know life is rough when it even takes away your means of playing the blues. I took the opportunity to upgrade my music stand. I've had the same music stand for a little over 30 years. It is a rickety, collapsable music stand which is meant to be a vade mecum for the itinerant musician. So it is with some sadness I abandon my old music stand and get a very solid manhasset metal music stand.

  3. #513
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    I have had some success incorporating the F# Lokrian 13 with its surrounding shapes. I only consider the F# on the 6th fret and the 11th fret. I suppose one could use the F# on the E or A string and excessively move vertically, but I don't.

    My strategy was to start in the F# Lokrian 13 on the 6th fret. At various points of departure, I moved up to the G Ionian #5 and then back down to the F# Lokrian 13. Since F# on the 6th and 11th are the same pitch, it is easy to sneak up there and then there are quite a few options with the B Phrygian minor, the A Dorian #11, and the E Aiolian #7. With a low G there are a lot of possibilities since there are the re-entrant and the linear shapes.

    I move as the fancy takes me from one shape to the adjacent one, and descend the fretboard 'til I get back to the F#. By that time that F# is just begging for resolution, so I just descend another two frets and hit that final E.

  4. #514
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    Odd threads lately. A person seeking a 0.01% improvement in sound, but eschewing a 10% gain. Oh well, we were all young and stupid at some point. None of my business.

    Taking care of my business I bought some lamb legs. I saw someone mention a song with lamb blood in the title. It was probably some religious thing. So it prompted me to buy some lamb legs. I am going to use them to make some stock. Hopefully I can get a lot of marrow out of them.

    Musically I had a set-back. I suppose it isn't a set-back actually. It is just one of those things. You cannot make linear progress at all times. After having had some success with erasing the walls between my modes, I returned to the task and it didn't seem to stick. My head and fingers were a muddle. Things weren't flowing. Patently it just takes a bit of time to encode these things onto the brain and this wasn't the time. I did find it helpful to be conscious of the individual notes that were the pivotal points. For example knowing that the A at the top of A Dorian #11 shape and that it is at the bottom of the B Phrygian Dominant shape. When you know what the note is, it is easier to plan ways to exploit it. It is another case of over-learning something before you unlearn it. Obviously, you can't be thinking about notes and make music. There isn't enough time in the crossroads of a moment to do both. So you over-learn and make clunky but conscious music. Eventually by usage and repetition, you gravitate away from being so cerebral and tend to be more intuitive. Then the music can flow. I'm not quite there yet, but I know which shapes are occluding my progress and I have a plan.

    To accompany my modal picking, I have been playing a progression that serves as a backing track/springboard. Previously I had been discontented with it because the last change of the progression only worked with a certain rhythm. Otherwise it sounded awkwardly abrupt. I found something that made it work for my ears. Here's where it is at right now:

    E add9
    Am add9
    Bm
    Bbm
    Am
    D
    Cm7b5
    C#7



    I've also been wondering if I should change Yorkie's strings. Obviously it has been a while and right now I have Fremont strings with a Worth string for the A. Ha! I talked of odd threads above. Another one pertained to a rococo re-arrangement of strings because one couldn't mix string sets. Whatever. Anyway, I put the new string on to see if my wonky 16th fret was the fret or the string. It was the fret. So I don't actually need to change the strings, but I want to. I'll see if I do.
    Last edited by ripock; 01-22-2021 at 04:29 AM.

  5. #515
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    My Manhasset stand arrived. It seemed lighter than both my wife and I remember them from childhood. Maybe that's because when we were kids they seemed heavier or maybe it is because they are making them thinner nowadays to save money on production. I went cheap and bought the orchestra stand instead of the stand with the telescopic neck. If I were still playing flute, I would be bothered because looking down affects the aperture and the sound. But with the ukulele I can be standing and look down on the stand without harming my tone. I was a bit disappointed because I had hoped the stand was made of steel so that I could use magnets to pin up stuff, but it is okay. I can easily use clip binders in lieu of magnets. Most importantly, it has a heavy base so that my cat probably won't be able to topple it.

    Today I was focusing on my re-entrant G Ionian #5 which is embedded within the linear F# Lokrian 13. This is the problem area of the fret board for me. The bottom is no problem because the bottom is the bottom. 95% of players almost never stray out of the bottom. And I have a weird affinity with the top of the fret board for some reason. So I need to really cultivate the middle so that I can connect the bottom and top. I guess I could just use big glissandi but that's not really a solution; that is avoiding the problem. So I'm just going to keep working on these shapes and when they become boringly familiar, I will start to think about what notes they share with the shapes above and below them.

  6. #516
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    I availed myself to an old tool I haven't used in a while, random.org. I wanted to randomly pick a point of departure between my modes. The random number was 5 which for me is B. So now to plan some improvisational paths.

    In the G Ionian #5, the B is at the top of the shape and it also is part of the A Dorian #11 right above it. So I will play around in the Ionian and when I get to the B, jump up to the Dorian

    In the C Lydian #2, it isn't so practical. The B is in the middle of the shape. I have to do a double jump from the B to the C and then I'm in D# Super Lokrian bb7

    Speaking of which, in the Super Lokrian the B is at the top of the shape and it also part of the E Aiolian #7

    In the F# Lokrian 13, B is at the bottom and it transitions to the E Aiolian #7 below it.

    That should do it. I am going to use the B to move between shapes, in effect making a new shape. Once I follow this procedure with a few different notes, the walls between the shapes will be blurred. The reason this is important is that the shapes to an extent dictate the music. That's fine if you want to play within a shape and make music therefrom (e.g. using the Aiolian to play "the riff"). However I am at the point when I want to make something that doesn't sound so Aiolian or Lokrian. I want to make something new. And I will with this method.

  7. #517
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    Slight change of plan. I nipped my fretting hand with a chef's knife and I won't be playing for a few days.

    Since that is a fact, I thought I would do a little bit of thinking. I had been thinking of sus chords lately because I heard that the sus2 is the key to the Zappa-sound. A while ago, I had purchased a ukulele jazz book by Abe Lagrimas jr. and he listed at one point the chords you need and the sus4 was in there. Therefore in my music book I have 4 shapes for each sus variety (one accounting for a root for every string). However it seemed wasteful to me to have four strings but only three pitches and I didn't want to duplicate any pitches (that seemed as pointless as open tuning in re-entrant). So I just eye-balled what notes I could add to the idle string to extend the sus chords.

    With the sus2 I found that I could include an add3, 4, and 6 as well as a b7 (depending on which root we're talking about)
    With the sus4, there were the add2, 3, 4, 6, and the b7.

    Of course, not all of these extensions are going to work. When some notes get too close to each other, the sound is too dissonant; I'll have to experiment when my finger heals. Others, however, will fit the bill. For example, those 7sus2 chords will be nice since they are really close to a 9 chord (since the 2 is a 9). This is potentially exciting because I almost never make use of sus chords. This might turn into a brand new thing for me.

  8. #518
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    I was watching a nice jazz video and its message resonated with me. It was a typical trope: the whole theory or not theory thing. Here's the message I got from it: one needs every tool in the tool box to master the instrument. So practice the scales, the modes, the arpeggios. However all of that is pointless if one doesn't put into practice what one practiced. In practical terms that means a melody. What I usually do to create a melody is to take some lyrics (like a Hellenistic epigram or some couplets from a Theokritean idyll) and give them a dramatic reading in my mind. Then I just play the notes that match the pitch and lilt of my recitation. Maybe I should look over a rather recent manuscript of Posidippos of Pella that I have. I can see the result now in my mind. A nice album of music entitled Posidippos and me.

    I did suss out the sus chords. The main problem is getting acquainted with the sound so that you know when to use it. At this point in time I don't remember which chord qualities I liked but I do know that only certain shapes are practical to me. I am not going to recall one of those stretchy shapes. Here are the ones I liked.

    Root on the G
    E7 sus 2 (9 11 10 9)
    E sus 2 add 6 (9 11 9 9)

    Root on the C
    E sus 4 add 6 (4454)
    E7 sus4 (4455)

    Root on the E
    E sus2 add 3 (11 11 12 11)
    E sus2 add 4 (11 11 12 12)
    E sus4 add 9 (11 11 12 12)

    Root on the A
    E sus2 add 6 (6677)
    E7 sus2 (7677)
    E7 sus4 (7977)

    Lastly, I did work on my little progression. Notably, I was playing around with the Bm I have. I was experimenting with the tritone substituion as well as the substitution of the primary and secondary relative minor.


    Foodwise, I made a white stock from frozen lamb legs. Quite a bit of meat came off the pressure cooked bones. So much so that I think I am going to thaw out the lamb legs, char and deglaze them for a brown stock.

    I also bought the ingredients for my Socorro fried rice which is going to be my fusion of Chinese and southwestern cuisine. I won't go into detail yet except for the chicken. I am preparing some chicken to be soaking a very heavy-handed Lime-garlic marinade with, of course, cumin and oregano.

  9. #519
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripock View Post
    A while ago, I had purchased a ukulele jazz book by Abe Lagrimas jr. and...
    I really like Abe's Jazz Ukulele book. He lays it all out in a way that I can understand.
    If music be the food of love, play on! -Bill Shakespeare

  10. #520
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steedy View Post
    I really like Abe's Jazz Ukulele book. He lays it all out in a way that I can understand.
    oh yeah, it is a good book. It just wasn't up my alley. I'm not really interested in playing standards or Abe's own compositions. I am more avid about making my own stuff. So I used the introductory chapters and only eye-balled the musical examples to see about progressions and chord qualities.

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