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Author Topic: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism  (Read 7854 times)

SeilerBird

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SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« on: September 16, 2016, 11:13:29 PM »
Wednesday night an adorable little 12 year old girl named Grace Vanderwall won this season of America's Got Talent. She is a singer, songwriter and ukulele player.

https://youtu.be/epYS1mmn8Lg

Tonight I went to Plaza Live in Orlando for a concert by Jake Shimabukuro and was blown away. He is much better in concert than he is in his online videos. He is the Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele. He did a song called Dragon in which he starts out very quietly and he has a tape machine recording himself. Then half way through he plays back the tape and plays along with himself. He is playing lead guitar (lead ukulele) to his rhythm guitar (rhythm ukulele) accompaniment. He take the uke to places you cannot imagine. He is probably the only uke player in the world with a wah wah pedal and a pedal board.

https://youtu.be/mljFr7yuYzk

So in honor of ukulele week I ordered a concert uke from Amazon. I have never played a uke other than occasionally messing around on one so this will be interesting. A new hobby. Should take me a week to master it. ::) It is a cheap one but it will get me started.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015XD4YLY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 11:37:14 PM by SeilerBird »
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Tom

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2016, 11:50:45 PM »
Jake S is a unique and extremely talented uke player. I like his rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB3RbO7updc

I was blown away by some of the stuff played by one of our uke band members who also played lead guitar in a pro band. His rendition of Apache on the uke:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCYHLa1tGIg

Quote
He is probably the only uke player in the world with a wah wah pedal and a pedal board.

Nah. The guy I mentioned above used to turn up to practice with his amp, pedal and box of tricks.

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Should take me a week to master it.

My hat is off to you if you can do that. OTOH I've noticed that guitar players get up to speed on the uke quite quickly.
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2016, 11:54:48 PM »
Quote
My hat is off to you if you can do that. OTOH I've noticed that guitar players get up to speed on the uke quite quickly.
That was a joke. You can't master any musical instrument in your lifetime. I have found a local uke group and they are meeting at ten tomorrow. I will go without my uke just to meet everyone.

http://www.meetup.com/Winter-Park-Ukulele-Meetup/
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Tom

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2016, 12:17:27 AM »
A uke meetup group I belong to in OH holds monthly jam sessions; Not really my thing. Similar deal with 3 uke groups I attended while in Southern California (unstructured jam sessions). I prefer the structure & discipline of our uke band weekly practice sessions with a Music Director who takes charge and is also a good teacher.

Our MD is an accomplished musician (guitar, banjo & now uke) and singer. He's also been MD of a local mixed chorus for a number of years. I twisted his arm to join us a few weeks after I joined the band 5 years ago, and many of us are glad he agreed.
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2016, 06:16:43 AM »
I have no idea what to expect but I am going to find out soon. They meet up in a few hours.
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Tom

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2016, 07:10:51 AM »
Have fun!
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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2016, 07:31:47 AM »
Quote
I was blown away by some of the stuff played by one of our uke band members who also played lead guitar...

The first time he attended a practice session, he sat in the back. At the end of the evening,  I asked him how it went, and his reply was "I have no idea how to play this uke". The following week, he did, and he became increasingly more accomplished every week.
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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2016, 08:14:05 AM »
An oversized uke jam - Sons Of The Beach in Santa Cruz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8QUm_qPn04
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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2016, 08:51:39 AM »
An oversized uke jam - Sons Of The Beach in Santa Cruz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8QUm_qPn04

Great name!  ;D

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2016, 08:59:54 AM »
Aye Margi, I smile every time I hear it. I've never attended (not my scene) but several friends say they have a blast playing with 150 folks on the beach.
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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2016, 09:56:25 AM »
It's very "Santa Cruz-ish".   ;D

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2016, 09:59:13 AM »
You're right Margi; Tom S would fit right in  ;D
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2016, 01:59:39 PM »
The first time he attended a practice session, he sat in the back. At the end of the evening,  I asked him how it went, and his reply was "I have no idea how to play this uke". The following week, he did, and he became increasingly more accomplished every week.
Well I had a total blast. I showed up without a uke and the first guy I met had a spare that he lent me. There was about 15 people there with a great mix of women outnumbering the men two to one. And they are all older. We played some Stones, Beatles, Elvis, 50s and 60s stuff and a few Hawaiian tunes. The interesting thing is that the songs I did not know I had no problem playing them. Where I had problems was with the songs I knew real well, like House of the Rising Sun. I have been playing it forever and muscle memory kicked in. When it said Am I would of course play a Dm.

They have a monthly meeting and there is another group in the area that meets every month. And they voted to put in a float at the Christmas Parade. My uke is not coming until Friday and I could not wait so me and my credit card made a visit to Guitar World on the way home. I realized after I ordered it that they also make ukes with a built in preamp and tuner. So I got a Kala Tenor. Same price as Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Kala-KA-EBY-TE-Ebony-Acoustic-Electric-Ukulele/dp/B00Y215H7E/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1474135771&sr=1-1
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2016, 02:02:16 PM »
You're right Margi; Tom S would fit right in  ;D
Heck yah I would fit in. I would probably be running it in a year. One of the largest uke groups in the country is located in Tampa. 1400 members. I will have to go check it out.

http://www.meetup.com/tampabayukes/
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Rene T

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2016, 02:04:00 PM »
You should be able to go into your Amazon account and cancel the 1ast order unless you want two. 
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2016, 02:09:09 PM »
You should be able to go into your Amazon account and cancel the 1ast order unless you want two.
I am going to keep it and it has already been shipped. One can never have too many instruments. Besides, it was less than a hundred bucks. It is a concert so it is smaller than the tenor I bought. I am going to have to figure out which size I like the best. I will probably also pick up a soprano one also.

It was bizarre playing the uke. I have been playing my bass guitar almost exclusively the last five years. So to go from stings the size of my little finger to strings the size of a piece of thread was crazy. It will take me a week to get used to the feeling.
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Tom

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2016, 03:32:51 PM »
Glad you had fun.

You'll be a lot happier with the Kala than the no-name. I have several Kala products, and really like my Kala 8-string. I also like my two Kala Baritone ukes - tuned like the (musically) highest four strings on a guitar. They'd be really easy for you or any guitarist to play.

Quote
I will probably also pick up a soprano one also.

Why not just play it in the store? I started out with a Lanikai soprano; It sounded OK, but I found it was "too short", and eventually sold it. The gal who bought it still plays it 5 years later.

Can't wait to get home and play my banjouke; Didn't bring it on this trip, but need to practice for the 'banjo breakouts' in our upcoming concert.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2016, 02:18:25 PM by Tom »
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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2016, 03:39:28 PM »
Quote
One of the largest uke groups in the country is located in Tampa. 1400 members.

Doesn't look like many of them turn out for their jam sessions (40 tonight). This happens when groups get too big. It's one reason we've talked repeatedly about capping our membership. We've actually raised the cap several times, and are currently over 60 members; Looks like we'll have 50+ regulars.
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2016, 04:12:52 PM »
Why not just play it in the store?
It is dangerous for me to be in a music store with several credit cards in my pocket. :o I was positively drooling over several guitars and some of their basses. I was too afraid to venture into the keyboard and drum departments.  :-\
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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2016, 04:58:51 PM »
I know exactly how you feel  ;D
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2016, 05:30:50 PM »
I forgot to post the photo of the group I took this morning. The gentleman on the right is Steve, and he led the group. He had on a t-shirt that said GCEA. After the meeting was over he mentioned to me that he was surprised no one mentioned his t-shirt. I asked him what it stood for and he said that the typical uke tuning is GCEA. I told him that I used to live in the Grand Canyon and I thought it stood for the Grand Canyon Ecological Association. I have no brains therefore I never get headaches. :-[
« Last Edit: September 17, 2016, 05:35:12 PM by SeilerBird »
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2016, 06:40:59 PM »
Doesn't look like many of them turn out for their jam sessions (40 tonight). This happens when groups get too big. It's one reason we've talked repeatedly about capping our membership. We've actually raised the cap several times, and are currently over 60 members; Looks like we'll have 50+ regulars.
Yes, I noticed the 40 members also. If it got much larger then rhythm becomes a problem. Not everyone will be right on the beat and it begins to become chaos.
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2016, 06:32:24 AM »
Well it has been an interesting weekend. At the meetup the leader mentioned that the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is performing it's only east coast show in Gainesville on December 2nd so this morning I got a front row ticket. I decided to return the concert uke I have on order so I can get one with a built in tuner and preamp.

I keep the uke right next to me and I pick it up and play it frequently. I am not having any problems learning it. Pretty simple instrument and fun to play. It didn't take too long to figure out that I don't like a lot of the chord diagrams I have seen being used. For example everyone plays a C chord with the ring finger. I found that it is easier for me to use my pinky. It makes changing to either an F or a G7 much faster and smoother for me.

I joined the Space Coast Ukulele group and signed up for their Oct 29th meetup. I would love to sign up with the Tampa group also but their meetups are the same time and day as the Orlando group so I will skip the Tampa group.
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Tom

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2016, 08:44:59 AM »
Haven't seen UOoGB live, but their YouTube performances are quite entertaining.

None of  my chord diagrams show which fingers to use, although I've seen various ones that do. Fortunately, my need to reference chord diagrams for most tunes I play is the exception, but I'll still run across chords I haven't seen, or muscle memory forgot  :( 

Depending on the chord progression, I'll occasionally use my pinky to play C; I play Fm with first, middle and pinky, then just lift two fingers, leaving the pinky on the C. But that and a few other examples are the exception (for me). Different strokes for different folks.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2016, 08:47:04 AM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #24 on: September 19, 2016, 08:49:52 AM »
I have watched a whole bunch of beginners videos and they all seem to start with how to play a C chord.
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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2016, 08:52:29 AM »
Probably because it'seems the easiest to learn, or maybe the easiest to teach.
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2016, 10:21:27 AM »
Yes and most people have very weak pinkies. Mine is very strong so it just feels natural to me to use it instead. The first song I learned on guitar was Gloria by Them. Very simple song just E-D-A over and over but very fast. The typical way of fingering the A chord did not work well for me so I came up with a different fingering that works much better. Turns out there is like 11 different ways of fingering an A chord first position. I got used to all of them and I use the one that works the best in any given song.

One thing that I find interesting is all the different opinions on the proper way to strum. It looks like I am just going to not even think about it and stum any way I wish. Some people use the index finger, some use the thumb, some use all fingers, some use their nail, some use the fleshy part.
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Tom

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2016, 10:48:34 AM »
And some folks use a pick (felt or plastic).

I don't think there is a "proper way" to strum; In some cases, I think it's a matter of how folks were taught, while in others it's whatever feels comfortable. I "learned" using thumb and forefinger, but have evolved to other forms, depending on the song, e.g. I use a (fleshy) thumb roll on some ballads I've rearranged. In other cases I'll pluck one string with a thumb or pinky before strumming the chord (e.g. Edelweiss - pluck_D_D); I learned the latter from a fellow band member.

One thing that was not natural for me was to vary the strum pattern from a simple DU_DU_DU_DU, e.g. D_D_DU_DU and lots of others. Some folks do this without thinking about it, but I had to practice a lot to make it happen automatically.

In most cases, I (finally) don't have to think about it, and my right hand is responding to the equivalent of muscle memory.

I'd think you and most guitar players would have a lot less trouble with any of this stuff than those of us who hadn't played a stringed instrument before picking up a uke.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2016, 10:59:47 AM by Tom »
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2016, 10:54:14 AM »
I agree that there is no proper way to strum. But every beginners videos start out teaching you what they claim is the proper way to strum. I watched a bunch of them until I realised to just strum the way you want. The different strums are easy for me because  my first instrument was the drums.
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SeilerBird

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Re: SeilerBird's ukulele baptism
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2016, 07:03:37 PM »
Several folks have stopped by to add to the comments received on Saturday about my 8-string Kala concert uke; It really "fills out" the music, and is my go-to instrument when not playing my banjouke.
Damn you Tom! I had not heard of an 8 string so I looked it up and then went to YouTube and listened to one. Damn, it sounds sweet. I am going to have to get one. ???
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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