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Thread: Quietly practicing

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Marin County, CA
    Posts
    563

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    Had an interesting learning moment last night when practicing, and wanted to share since it seems relevant.

    Try fingerpicking directly over the sound hole for quieter picking, and somewhere around/over the heel joint for louder, more sustained picking, with intensity of picking remaining constant.

    I suspect what is happening to cause this is the string plucked closer to the bridge has a bigger difference in the vibrations between the half of the string between plucked finger and nut vs plucked finger and saddle. In other words, I think the initial oscillations of the parts of the string being plucked are significantly out of phase, and thus create a more muted tone as the string works to balance the different vibrations.

    Whereas plucking closer to the middle of each string from nut to saddle likely gives the string a more in-phase wave pattern between the two halves.

    I’m equally sure I could just be blowing smoke, but I couldn’t come up with another explanation.

    All this to say, try fingerpicking directly over the sound hole and see if it isn’t quieter than plucking more above the fretboard.
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  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    West Philly, PA
    Posts
    186

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    Quote Originally Posted by YogiTom View Post
    Had an interesting learning moment last night when practicing, and wanted to share since it seems relevant.

    Try fingerpicking directly over the sound hole for quieter picking, and somewhere around/over the heel joint for louder, more sustained picking, with intensity of picking remaining constant.

    I suspect what is happening to cause this is the string plucked closer to the bridge has a bigger difference in the vibrations between the half of the string between plucked finger and nut vs plucked finger and saddle. In other words, I think the initial oscillations of the parts of the string being plucked are significantly out of phase, and thus create a more muted tone as the string works to balance the different vibrations.

    Whereas plucking closer to the middle of each string from nut to saddle likely gives the string a more in-phase wave pattern between the two halves.

    I’m equally sure I could just be blowing smoke, but I couldn’t come up with another explanation.

    All this to say, try fingerpicking directly over the sound hole and see if it isn’t quieter than plucking more above the fretboard.
    You are not just blowing smoke. You are absolutely correct

    Generally, the closer you get to the bridge on a string instrument the brighter it will sound and the closer you get to the mid point of the string (e.g. the 12th) the warmer and more harmonically rich it will sound. That said, the closer you get to the bridge the harder you need to pluck the string to get it to sound so I think this is what you are experiencing. Try plucking it really hard and down by the bridge and you will get bright more staccato almost banjoy sound. Watch a bluegrass banjo player sometime and you will see that when they take a "break" (short solo) they will often move there hand way down by the bridge and for backup they will often move there hand closer to the neck. That where that super bright twangy bluegrass banjo sound comes from...well that and the resonator and the metal picks. In contrast many clawhamer banjo players, myself included, will actually play over the neck to get a deep "plunky" harmonically rich sound. Old-time open back banjos often even have the bottom few frets removed and a scoop cut into the neck to facilitate this.

    This is also why most into to uke videos and books say to play right at the neck joint. That's typically either right at the 12 or very close (depending on frets to the body). It gives you the fullest most harmonically rich sound.
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  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,147

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    check Ebay for an Ammoon or Naomi Bottle Shape electric uke.
    I got a Naomi 23" (concert scale) model and I can either play it softly or with a
    bit more power (strum) get a louder sound out of this solid body uke. Very sturdy
    and good for travel and quiet practicing.
    I find the Risa Sticks very soft, so if you want both quiet practicing and nearby
    audible performing/sharing, the Bottle Shape ukes (Soprano 21" and Concert 23")
    might be worth looking into. Also their prices are affordable

    if you don't want to get another ukulele, filling the body through the sound hole with
    plastic bags (lighter) or old t-shirts (heavier) might help or just tape some covering
    over the sound hole

    keep uke'in',
    Uncle Rod Higuchi
    ( rohiguchi@seattleschools.org )

    MP3s: http://www.mediafire.com/?50db7nls4o6m6
    Ukulele Boot Camp, FREE Songbook, Holiday, Hawaiian & More: http://ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com
    Crazy G tutorial on YouTube ( uncle rod crazy g )
    pdf file for Crazy G:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0o6id06c06...20TAB.pdf?dl=0

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