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Thread: Capabilities of the Uke

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    Default Capabilities of the Uke

    Hi Folks,

    Basic question for a newbie. Is a ukulele able to make sounds like this (the one that she starts plays at 1:37):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ture=emb_title

    Do I need an electric ukulele to make sounds like that. I know/I'm aware, it's a guitar she's using -- but can a ukulele even make sounds like that? That sounds like R & B stuff. Just trying to get the answer to the question above specifically and wondering if this instrument is capable of anything like the above genre.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2012
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    Derbyshire, UK
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    Default

    Sort of. But if that's the sound you are looking for, why not buy a guitar?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    1,505

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LoVeBirD- View Post
    Hi Folks,

    Basic question for a newbie. Is a ukulele able to make sounds like this (the one that she starts plays at 1:37):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ture=emb_title

    Do I need an electric ukulele to make sounds like that. I know/I'm aware, it's a guitar she's using -- but can a ukulele even make sounds like that? That sounds like R & B stuff. Just trying to get the answer to the question above specifically and wondering if this instrument is capable of anything like the above genre.

    Thanks in advance.
    no (added extra characters)

  4. #4

    Default

    LoveBird,

    check this out. I know its a different sound but its still pretty cool.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wzsE67O5tE

  5. #5
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    May 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris667 View Post
    Sort of. But if that's the sound you are looking for, why not buy a guitar?
    I love this instrument and chose this one to express myself on. There's something about the uke that drew me to it. I know I'm still new but it's kind of a personal thing

  6. #6
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    May 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by wab223 View Post
    LoveBird,

    check this out. I know its a different sound but its still pretty cool.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wzsE67O5tE
    WOW that is absolutely insane. I haven't heard a uke sound like that at all. Are you kidding me

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
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    Default

    Some effects work really well with the 'ukulele. In that video, James Hill is playing through a JFET overdrive into a tube-based guitar amp (and possibly also a bass amp).

    If you're interested in going down that rabbit hole, check out my "Pedalboard Reflections" thread here on UU. In particular, see the write-ups on wah, compression, delay, octave (particularly sub octave), phaser (& chorus for retro stuff), and delay. Those are all effects frequently used in R&B. If you get an electo-acoustic or electric uke, you can plug into some DAW software and use software effects modules to change your sound to find what you think you'd enjoy.

    Your musical life will likely be simpler if you go the electric guitar route, but the 'ukulele is pretty versatile and can certainly play within the genre (although it will never sound quite like the guitar in the video you linked). Take a listen to Karlie Goya sometime for some inspiration.

    Either way, if you don't already play R&B, you should start with an unplugged instrument while you hone your chops. Most R&B playing comes down to feel. The effects are just the icing on the cake.
    Last edited by bacchettadavid; 05-22-2020 at 07:49 AM.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoVeBirD- View Post
    I love this instrument and chose this one to express myself on. There's something about the uke that drew me to it. I know I'm still new but it's kind of a personal thing
    I'd second what @chris667 posted. If you are chasing after a certain sound, then you should get something that gets closer to making that sound.

    Now, if you like ukulele, you should ask yourself why? Perhaps you'll discover something (e.g. a song you've heard on the uke that you liked). Then it can guide you in your uke selection.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2013
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    Sunny Jersey - where the cows come from!
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    Default

    The U-tube examples shown show nothing about the capabilities of the instrument(s) and a lot about the capabilities of the player(s). Rig any instrument with a pickup, string it and tune it to suit and feed it into a chosen selection of distortions and amplifiers and it can be made to sound more or less just as you want it to.

    Cool or pointless - YMMV
    Last edited by kypfer; 05-22-2020 at 11:50 AM.
    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!

  10. #10
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    Sep 2013
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    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    I'll say it this way, it's really up to you and how much effort and expense you want to put in. Yes, a uke can make any of the sounds shown with enough practice and the right equipment.


    This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
    9 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 12 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 39)

    • Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
    • Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

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