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Thread: Help me get back to the ukulele

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Question Help me get back to the ukulele

    Aloha everyone!

    It's been quite a while since I regularly checked this forum for advices, tutorials and just general ukulele conversations.

    I previously posted a thread thanking the ukulele and this lovely community for getting me through the hard times I was going through.
    To follow up, as some may know, back in febraury I was diagnosed with a rare form of testicle cancer, that had spread to several parts inside my body.
    Luckily, after 5 months of chemotherapy I was diagnosed cancer free and am feeling better then ever now!
    While undergoing treatment I was left with a lot of sparetime, as I was too weak to do anything really, except playing video games, hanging out with visiting friends and playing the ukulele.
    Playing the ukulele was a great distraction - until I hit the wall.

    Like so many before me I plateaued. For the past month or so I've really wanted to get into music again, but each time I sit down with the ukulele, I find myself playing the same things over and over, getting annoyed and quickly find something else to do.

    I searched for ukulele lessons in my area, but none to be found. Ukuleles in Denmark still has a long way to go I'm afraid.

    What do you guys do when you plateau?
    Each time I try and learn myself some more music theory I find myself a few weeks later annoyed by my slow progress and the fact that I can't seem to put the newly learned theory to any use.

    EDIT: Perhaps I should mention my skill level. I'd consider myself slightly advanced ukulele player. I love a great challenging tab and each time I come across a tab for a song like 'The Unknown' by Kalei Gamiao or a tutorial/tab for a song by Corey Fujimoto, I can't put the uke down till I can play the piece.
    But only slightly advanced ukulele player in the sense that I still can't figure out songs by ear or figure out which chords to play.
    Last edited by Helms; 08-25-2014 at 01:43 AM.
    You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.

    Gretsch Mahagony Guilele
    Kanile'a K2-T
    Mainland Mahagony Tenor
    Lanikai S-T

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Florida Space Coast


    Congrats on your remission. Glad you are feeling better. Here are a few sites that may help. Also, I greatly expanded my strumming repertoire by learning some Formby techniques. These playalongs next best thing to playing in a group. Good luck. - make sure you choose your tuning on this one
    Last edited by PhilUSAFRet; 08-25-2014 at 01:40 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Stormville NY


    I'm glad to hear you are feeling better...........

    In the 1980's I found myself plateaued in my guitar playing. I had read that taking up another instrument helps to liberate your mind musically (I think it was in the old "Frets" magazine).

    Anyway, I took up the mandolin, and it helped my guitar playing. I now play guitar, mandolin and ukulele. If you don't feel like a radical departure from the ukulele, maybe a guilele would help stimulate the musical side of your mind.......

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents.....

    Stay healthy!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Pickering, ON, Canada


    Sign up for UU+ right here. It is a great resource with piles of content. It can be as engaging and challenging as you like. The play alongs are excellent. The beauty is two fold, you are supporting this great site and it is as easy as sitting down in front of your computer any time of day or night.
    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 walnut pineapple super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New York


    Congrats on recovery. You'll be having a case of UAS in no time. What I suggest you do is to take a song that you already know well and take it to the next level. Play it using different inversions of chords or adding a little chord and melody to it. Even a simple song sounds great played that way. Also, see if you can find some other players to meet with and see if you can do a little jamming........Happy Strummin.........

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013


    Wonderful news about your remission- keep up the good work! Have you ever thought about starting to do your own arrangements of songs and tabbing them out? I do that for both soprano & baritone uke & it's a blast-and it does have it's challenging moments....and it's sounding like you need a little challenge to spur you over the hump,as it were. And it strikes me you'd make a good ukulele teacher-ever thought about teaching beginning uke in person or online? (I use Skype online & it's wonderful and free!) Sharing know how with others,watching them grow & learn can be very inspiring.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Southern California


    When I get bogged down with my music, I quit for a while and do somethin' else. I'll read a coupla good books, maybe play some chess, or maybe go for walks if you can. I think reading or doing puzzles is best. Oh yeah, I also like to noodle with one of my mouth harps. It's easy, and one can do it for quite a while by ear.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBE - Finger style
    Gold Tone “Mini” Travel Banjo - Steel GCEA - Noodling
    Luna “Peace” concert - CGBD Plectrum Banjo music

    Kala tenor eight string - gGcCEEAA Strum ‘n Sing

    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA - Wall hanger
    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B Wall hanger
    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano - Wall hanger
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - Bookshelf

    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Seattle, WA


    not sure if you've already gone through the Ukulele Boot Camp (link in signature below), but if not,
    it might introduce you to some new chords and chord progressions that may prove helpful as you
    endeavore to work out melodies by ear

    keep uke'in',
    Uncle Rod Higuchi
    ( )

    Ukulele Boot Camp, FREE Songbook, Holiday, Hawaiian & More:
    Crazy G tutorial on YouTube ( uncle rod crazy g )
    pdf file for Crazy G:

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012


    Just play what you like and have fun! Challenge yourself with a new tune once in a while.
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins
    Concerts: Kanile'a K-2 CP - Living Water | Islander AC-4 - Living Water | Waverly Street banjolele - Worth Browns
    Tenor: Epiphone Hummingbird - Living Water low G | Martin Iz - Living Water low G
    UBass: Kala FS2 - Pahoehoe

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Santa Monica, CA


    Congrats on your recovery. There are quite a few uke teachers who provide online lessons. A few include Aaron (owns Hawaii Music School but also manages at HMS), Craig Chee, Lil' Rev, etc.
    More an appreciator of the ukulele than a true player. My motto is: "Don't matter how good it ring if it ain't got some bling."

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.—Voltaire

    Curious about the relative importance of tonewood vs. the luthier? See Luthiers for a Cause to learn more!

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