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Thread: Tips for better tone?

  1. #1
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    Default Tips for better tone?

    Along with trying to keep the dogs from having a total melt-down over the 4th of July, (not a good time for noise sensitive dogs), I plan on trying to focus on working on tone while playing ukulele.

    Aside from hitting the note cleanly, (with both left and right hands), what suggestions do you all have?

  2. #2
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    I guess the question I would have is what tone you are looking for. There are a number of things you can try...without being an expert...that will impact tone. Some ideas:

    1) where you strum or pluck on the neck
    2) what fingers you use to strum...index, thumb, supported index, all fingers, rolled fingers, etc.
    3) what part of the finger you use to strum (pad/nail)
    4) playing with a fingernail (or if you don't have fingernails, with a pick)
    5) The strength of the strum

    And with all these, being aware of how you are playing, in a way that is most efficient.

    In truth, I don't worry much about tone as I play...I just play, although various strumming patterns do change the feel of songs...and involve all of those above considerations.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

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  3. #3
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    Don't hold the instrument any more tightly against your body than need be.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolkayaker1 View Post
    Don't hold the instrument any more tightly against your body than need be.
    Absolutely!!

    A strap can improve things no end, both by eliminating the need to grip the instrument thereby muffling it's natural resonances and also allows optimum positioning of the strumming/picking hand to get just the tone you want for any song

    YMMV
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joyful Uke View Post
    Aside from hitting the note cleanly, (with both left and right hands), what suggestions do you all have?
    Letting it ring out - keep the note(s) fretted for as long as possible before moving them to the next note or chord.

    I hate the 4th of July for the noise too - this neighborhood is full of fireworks jerks and it disturbs some of our cats a lot. It already started last night!

    bratsche
    A bunch of stringed instruments tuned in fifths. And a bunch of cats!


    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

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  6. #6
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    My thoughts: https://liveukulele.com/lessons/tones/. Definitely a long-haul pursuit. But very worth it.

  7. #7
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    Brad's articles (link in above post) s on “Tone” and “Playing Clean On The Ukulele” are outstanding. Thank you!

  8. #8
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    Someone else on my facebook had posted a link for a Do-it-yourself ThunderShirt wrap for dogs. I thought that was a good idea.
    I also saw an article about a town in Parma, Italy that is moving to sound-less fireworks. That would be perfect for dogs!
    "If a lot of people play the ukulele, the world would be a better place to live."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tenor View Post
    Brad's articles (link in above post) s on “Tone” and “Playing Clean On The Ukulele” are outstanding. Thank you!


    Great guidance here, folks! And coincides perfectly with my beginning work on Samantha Muir's campanella books. I've bookmarked for future reference.
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    Ohana Sopranissimo
    Maccaferri Islander
    Harmony Soprano
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    Primrose Cedar/Maple Soprano
    Flea Lava Soprano

    Cocobolo Cedar Top Tenor
    1933 Martin 1K Soprano

  10. #10
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    What Brad said. Except sometimes you can change the sound of the room by changing your location in it. Alone at home, go sit in a corner where your uke's sound will reflect back at you. Then listen while you play.

    Some of the best advice I ever got: work the full dynamic range of your instrument. Loud, soft, everywhere in-between. A lot of players get stuck playing everything at the same volume, whereas you can learn a whole lot in one afternoon just by playing outside your comfort zone. This uke goes up to 11... and down to almost zero.

    Please report back after the holiday and let us know what you tried and what you learned!

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