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Thread: Playing notes/leads/riffs etc question

  1. #1

    Default Playing notes/leads/riffs etc question

    I currently do not know how to do anything but strum so playing songs that require playing single notes like the intros to Pretty Woman or Brown eyed girl are impossible to me. My question is what is the best way to learn and develop the necessary skills. Is it by learning scales? Any suggestions would be appreciated, especially any book(s) or video series that you think are best. Thanks to all that reply, I really want to get better and advance my skills.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukulelerick9255 View Post
    I currently do not know how to do anything but strum so playing songs that require playing single notes like the intros to Pretty Woman or Brown eyed girl are impossible to me. My question is what is the best way to learn and develop the necessary skills. Is it by learning scales? Any suggestions would be appreciated, especially any book(s) or video series that you think are best. Thanks to all that reply, I really want to get better and advance my skills.
    I'm not sure there is a best way. It really depends on the how you learn best. Personally, I don't have the patience for scales, so I just learn from tabs and Youtube videos and figure out the rest as I go. Possibly not the most efficient way, but it works for me.

  3. #3
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    Get yourself a fretboard map, then just learn the notes necessary for your intro, after time you'll get to know your fretboard, you don't have to do scales.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
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    Get the book "Ukulele Fingerstyle" by Aaron Kiem, he is a memeber here. This is a great book for raw beginners, I started with it. Very well thought out and progresses well from learning the very basics and taking you forward. With these skills now learned google Uke Fever by RJ Putter, another member. This site has a vast array of fingerstyle and chord melody pieces in many genres, pick what you like and learn to play them.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  5. #5
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    You pose excellent questions. I say questions because is it a playing question... as how do I get my fingers to play the notes? Or how do I even know what notes to play?

    Getting the fingers working, is more of a technique and practice issue. Repetitions will get your fingers used to moving up, down and across the fretboard.

    Knowing what notes to play is a different question. If you are able to understand the fretboard and the theory behind scales in relation to the chords, key if the music, will get you there and beyond. But, at least for me is not something I have been able to master, and all I play is fingerstyle.

    I will say that knowing the notes of the fretboard is beneficial as I have used my piano background to visualize the notes on the piano and where they are on a ukulele. Decades ago I did the revers by taking guitar chord structure and applying it to the piano. For me knowing the notes that make up the chords on the ukulele is so important because the melody is in the notes.

    But, I learned to integrate both by cheating, and at times I still do. I figure out pretty simple stuff myself, but I will go to YouTube and find a number of versions of a song I want to play and copy, modify, move or whatever someone has posted. I sometimes use a video and tab to learn a song as I never really felt comfortable with tab. It really does help, at least for me, to see it being played. I have used this technique for years when a song or a particular ukulele rendition is too tough to do on my own.

    I learned to play fingerstyle Viva La Vida 7-8 years by watching 3 or 4 different Youtubes and putting the pieces together. One was from, I think, a Japanese ukulele orchestra or something. Some were just partial songs, or intros, or even a section of the song that stood out.

    You just need to find what works for you.

    John

  6. #6
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    I highly recommend the Ukulele Way instruction by James Hill. It is a comprehensive course that will teach you about music along with how to play. He concentrates on how to achieve playing chords and melody. It is reasonably priced ($8 or $9 per month as I recall). It has a question and answer space where the questions are often answered by James himself. Video instruction, sheet music, tabs for most, and an audio track is available for each lesson.

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    Just to underscore the theme that there are no right or wrong ways to approach this, here's how I approached it: first and foremost, learn your scales. The important thing that scales teach you is finger patterns from which you can cherry-pick to make music. Next, ignore the internet with its Temple-of-Syrinx cult of conformity; just open your ears and hear a melody from somewhere in your environment (passing car, TV commercial, your memory, etc.). Then work it out on your ukulele. By "work it out" here is what I mean. Hunt and peck around on your A string until you find a note that sounds like the first note of the melody that is in your head. Then find the next note by going up or down the A string. Once you have all your notes, try and use the C and E and A strings to cluster the notes together. Once you do this, you'll notice the melody is very similar to your scales. And then, bam, you have a melody on your ukulele.

    I know what I have just described is completely at variance with what the others have said, but I am not offering it just to troll people. I actually do this. For example, the other day for whatever crazy reason I had in my head the closing theme from the 80's TV series, The Incredible Hulk. I said to myself that is totally an Aiolian mode. And sure enough, once I sussed out the notes it was nothing more than an Aiolian mode with some of its notes skipped. So don't think I'm being a jerk for being contrarian. I sincerely do these things even though they seem opposed to the methodologies of others.

  8. #8
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    I'm myself a soloist by nature and can get any melody quite intuitively.

    Now intro like in brown eyed girl is not so easy, because it is actually 2 notes played same time and needs some work out, which is not really my thing. I remember though working that out in a classical or acoustic guitar and thinking that this is really an electric guitar riff because the body of guitar comes in the way.

    Now re-entrant uke is a funny thing. You can't even play some melodies without octave skips and have to choose when to do that so it does not sound obvious. The range is about 2 octaves though which is maybe more than most of us possess as singers. I don't anyways. But it will certainly limit to what you can duplicate to recorded solos.

  9. #9
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    I guess it depends on what level a person wants to duplicate a specific guitar riff on a ukulele. For me, playing the ukulele is a simplification over other instruments I've played and quite frankly makes it more enjoyable. Maybe for me and where I am in life, good enough is good enough. And it is really about playing well enough to enjoy it, regardless if someone is more proficient or not, I'll leave that to Guitar Center crowd.

    So for Brown a Eyed Girl, I did find this...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LDwkgdWJcUw

    ...seems to work for me. Maybe for the OP.

    John

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
    I guess it depends on what level a person wants to duplicate a specific guitar riff on a ukulele. For me, playing the ukulele is a simplification over other instruments I've played and quite frankly makes it more enjoyable. Maybe for me and where I am in life, good enough is good enough. And it is really about playing well enough to enjoy it, regardless if someone is more proficient or not, I'll leave that to Guitar Center crowd.

    So for Brown a Eyed Girl, I did find this...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LDwkgdWJcUw

    ...seems to work for me. Maybe for the OP.

    John
    Nice one. I always did the slidey version. Either way seems to work and then it's just a matter of what feels comfortable and what you are used to.

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