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Ukulele lesson

Posted by WayneConrad on Monday, July 22, 2019

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I'm still off of the banjo, so I took a Ukulele lesson from Nancy.  She's the leader of the band I played with last year, and talented musician and a good Ukulele player.  She's a lot like my banjo instructor, in that she's very good, and not wedded to fad or tradition ("there are more ways to play the Ukuele than the Hawaiian way!").

I found that I had done alright teaching myself the major chords shapes by the nut.  She showed me an easier, better sounding E shape than the one I had come up with.  Mine had a doubled-up root that doesn't sound good, and was kind of a finger stretcher.  Hers sounds better, with a doubled-up third.  It's also easier to make, and it's even a moveable shape.  For my D, she showed me how I have a good shape, but using different fingers to make that shape makes getting from D to A easier.

She added a few more chords to what I know: A7, Dm, Am, Bm.  Then we strummed through a I/IV/V song in D, and a I/vi/IV/V7 in C.

She prefers a flemenco strum, which involves cocking the finger under the hand and then flicking it against the strings.  That's pretty alien to a clawhammer player--one thing we never do is flick the fingers.  She also showed me the "island strum," which I am supposed to know for completeness.  I've been strumming about where the neck meets the body, as in clawhammer banjo, but that's not the right place for ukulele--I'm supposed to strum near the 12th fret on the neck, the sweet spot.

All those things are my homework.  Especially the strumming--the left hand won't be that hard, I think, after having learned banjo, but the right hand is totally different in ukulele.

 



6 comments on “Ukulele lesson”

Northlyn Says:
Monday, July 22, 2019 @2:58:03 PM

Curious about the e chord, which i find very hard to make.

WayneConrad Says:
Monday, July 22, 2019 @3:17:06 PM

Northlyn - Hi Lynda! This is going to be hard without pictures, but let's try. The E shape my instructor and I like is:

* pinkie finger: second string, 4th fret
* ring finger: third string, 4th fret
* middle finger: fourth string, 4th fret
* index finger: first string, 2nd fret

Your pinkie, ring and middle fingers stay together to form a partial barre on the top three strings at the 4th fret. Then you reach down with your index to fret the first string at the 2nd fret.

If that doesn't make sense, I'll post a picture.

Northlyn Says:
Monday, July 22, 2019 @4:09:20 PM

Thanks

AndyW Says:
Friday, July 26, 2019 @11:17:49 PM

How do you find the ukelele for staying in tune?

I bought an ultra cheap one years ago and gave up on it because it kept going out of tune. Probably because it was cheap and nasty, maybe I wasn't stretching in the nylon (which I'd never used before) strings properly.

WayneConrad Says:
Saturday, July 27, 2019 @7:57:54 AM

@AndyW - I bought a Kala KA-PWC, ca. $150. It stays in tune really well. I haven't even noticed the strings stretching out. I'm guessing it had been hanging on the wall a while at the music store.

AndyW Says:
Saturday, July 27, 2019 @3:24:13 PM

I might try one again, there's a big ukelele group/orchestra in my town.

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