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The Ukulele Thread
4 February 2016
7.18pm
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ewe2
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Sally the uke is here! My first impressions: I'm going to need a bigger uke at some point, my fingers are actually too big to do an E chord properly, sopranos are really smaller than I imagined. So I think I'm definitely a concert/tenor person in future. But it is a lovely uke, I've had it an hour and my fingers are already sore from learning chords! She's definitely an older uke, the production number seems to be 310 01. I'm assuming that's March 2010, number 1 based on googling a discussion in ukuleleunderground.com. So she's almost 6 years old!

I love the tuning, so many weird chords to learn! Here's Sally compared to a kazoo:

sally-kazoo.jpgImage Enlarger

Teeny tiny! @Joe, you must have tiny hands to even think of a sopranissimo!

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

4 February 2016
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sigh butterfly
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Thanks for posting ewe2, I'm glad to hear she arrived safely. I'm taking all your comments into consideration before I choose mine. By coincidence I received this picture today from a friend who I had asked a while ago to watch out for one on sale. When I told him I was getting a uke instead he said whaaaaaaaaaat the...? Although this looks cool, I am happy with my decision and can't wait to find and start playing my uke 🙂

56-Strat.jpgImage Enlarger

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4 February 2016
8.33pm
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ewe2
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I think a good test is, if you do an E chord (thats index on the 2nd fret of A, pinky on the 4th of E, ring on the 4th of C and middle on the 4th of G) and be able to keep those three fingers roughly in line, your fingers are ok for a soprano. I just can't and I also have a slight disadvantage of a bent ring finger, the frets are just too close together for me and my ring finger spills sharp. Also test the intonation of a tuned soprano at the 7th fret, that's important for checking the harmonics are ok, mine are a bit out which is ok for barring but not open strings. As my fingers limit me to doing most of the chords down at the nut end, this isn't a problem for me though. For a cheap ukulele, the Kala is pretty nice!

Nice looking Strat though! I'm having a similar problem in that I'm saving for a analogue synthesiser but I could afford a good tenor uke now!

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

4 February 2016
8.36pm
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Thanks for all the info, @ewe2! I award you the Most Knowledgeable Member award a-hard-days-night-john-5 And @sigh butterfly, I can take that Fender off your hands if you absolutely don't need it... a-hard-days-night-george-10 

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4 February 2016
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Silly Girl said
Thanks for all the info, ewe2! I award you the Most Knowledgeable Member award a-hard-days-night-john-5

How many awards are there?

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4 February 2016
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Annadog40 said

Silly Girl said
Thanks for all the info, ewe2! I award you the Most Knowledgeable Member award a-hard-days-night-john-5

How many awards are there?

I don't know, I don't know. 

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4 February 2016
9.32pm
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I've seen the hands of the man who created and runs this website. Those hands aren't tiny.

4 February 2016
10.01pm
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They might be longer than mine, which would help.

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

4 February 2016
11.12pm
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i can play Sesame street theme with the uke. It's quite fun.

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5 February 2016
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Joe
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@ewe2 said
I think a good test is, if you do an E chord (thats index on the 2nd fret of A, pinky on the 4th of E, ring on the 4th of C and middle on the 4th of G) and be able to keep those three fingers roughly in line, your fingers are ok for a soprano. I just can't and I also have a slight disadvantage of a bent ring finger, the frets are just too close together for me and my ring finger spills sharp. Also test the intonation of a tuned soprano at the 7th fret, that's important for checking the harmonics are ok, mine are a bit out which is ok for barring but not open strings. As my fingers limit me to doing most of the chords down at the nut end, this isn't a problem for me though. For a cheap ukulele, the Kala is pretty nice!

Nice looking Strat though! I'm having a similar problem in that I'm saving for a analogue synthesiser but I could afford a good tenor uke now!

I don't really have small hands, though I do have quite thin fingers. I've never really found E a difficult chord. A bit tricky perhaps, but easy enough to learn.

Assuming you're a guitarist already, just barre the chord on the second fret. Play it like a B chord on a guitar. It can really help get your hand in the right position. I don't think I've ever tried to play it with the tip of my index finger on the second fret - I've always barred it.

http://www.gotaukulele.com/201.....chord.html has some more tips.

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5 February 2016
9.42am
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Joe said

Assuming you're a guitarist already, just barre the chord on the second fret. Play it like a B chord on a guitar. It can really help get your hand in the right position. I don't think I've ever tried to play it with the tip of my index finger on the second fret - I've always barred it.

Yep, yep, yep. a-hard-days-night-john-1 

I should think being a guitarist to begin with makes it considerably easier to begin ukeing. We big tough guitarists who frequently play first-fret-barred Bb Major chords on big tough dreadnoughts laugh at puny little uke players who squeal about piffling little E majors. a-hard-days-night-george-10a-hard-days-night-george-10a-hard-days-night-george-10  

Guitar-macho* joking aside, my skinny little fingers**, which are a disadvantage when it comes to those dreadful Bb Majors (I always play them at the sixth fret), will probably make actual uke-playing easier for me. 

 

*It is totally possible to be guitar-macho even if you are female. a-hard-days-night-paul-11 
**I guess a nicer way to put it would be 'slender' a-hard-days-night-paul-10

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5 February 2016
7.49pm
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Yes, barring is what I went with, it's what I do on the guitar but for different reasons, and I can use muting to further cheat. I've just worked out the basic chords to Maginot Line, I transposed it to C because they're roughly the shapes he's using in D-tuning:

maginot-line-1.jpgImage Enlarger

This is a screenshot from a little web application that's very handy for transcriptions, particularly allowing transposition! I like this song particularly because it's got great chord progressions which are found everywhere in that era, so once you learn them, you'll know half the songs. The one in "Down on the Maginot Line" is called a "turnaround", meaning a progression that gets back to the main key after going off for a few chords like the previous line. It's really common in 20's-30's popular music.

Getting back to George, there are a couple of things from the video we have that I'm still working out but I notice that when he makes a D7 shape he doesn't use his index to make the barre, he uses his middle, which makes it easier to get to that G7 shape. His fingerings are really interesting to watch, he doesn't waste much movement.

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

6 February 2016
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Have to say, I rarely play D7 with a barre. I normally play a standard D but leave the C string open. But that's one of the things I like about the ukulele; there are loads of different ways to play the thing, and very few rules.

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6 February 2016
6.39pm
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ewe2
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I've been doing that too for some songs, you can pretend it's D7 or F#dim. It seems a lot more obvious on ukulele than guitar; there are many chord shapes that do the duty of several chords depending on what scale or progression you're interested in.

I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

8 February 2016
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So I'm plugging away at it still. The strumming's coming together: I'm really bad with using my index finger so I'm inventing a new style where I use my thumb and middle finger and trying to get full clear strums. I have to take it slowly to get it right, as with chords. I'm practising 3 or 4 different pieces, moving along to each as I go. The barring is a great cheat for some shapes like the G7 shape up the board because it helps put my fingers in the right place, the same for Bb, which is easier than the guitar F shape on a tiny soprano. No luck with the E chord shape as yet. I think its partly that the Kalas seem to be fairly narrow for sopranos too.

I'm going to get a nice concert Kala this week; the tenor is tempting because of the high frets, but it might be too big. I don't have any issues holding the soprano standing up and the concert shouldn't be much more difficult.

This is a great little song that I always found daunting on the guitar (their version has some rather nice fingerpicking), but is terrific to play on a uke. I like the Mamas & Papas version best, they've made it a bit more bluesy than the original. I love the terrible whistling at the end too!

dream-a-little-dream.jpgImage Enlarger

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

10 February 2016
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Oh I tweeted Kala to ask what my serial number meant, it turns out that "310 01" is October 2013! So not as old as I thought it was. It will be interesting to see what date I get for the KA-C! My strumming is slowly getting better, it's a little frustrating. My chords are getting good though, I'm beginning to think more easily in ukulele and I'm madly transcribing all sorts of things. @Joe, have you tried different tunings to gCEA? I'm thinking about trying out low-G.

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I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

11 February 2016
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ewe2 I've only really ever tried gCEA, though occasionally my kids mess around with the machine heads and come up with some interesting alternatives.

My Kala KA-S is numbered 904. It can't be April 2009, though, because I bought it in March that year. Hmmm.

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11 February 2016
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Tweet @kalabrandmusic and ask, it seems the numbering has changed since they got started! I've got an Aquila low-G red string for Sally to try low-G when I've got the concert (I'm thinking of calling it Chuck or maybe a girls name).

I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

11 February 2016
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ewe2 said
So I'm plugging away at it still. The strumming's coming together: I'm really bad with using my index finger so I'm inventing a new style where I use my thumb and middle finger and trying to get full clear strums. I have to take it slowly to get it right, as with chords. I'm practising 3 or 4 different pieces, moving along to each as I go. The barring is a great cheat for some shapes like the G7 shape up the board because it helps put my fingers in the right place, the same for Bb, which is easier than the guitar F shape on a tiny soprano. No luck with the E chord shape as yet. I think its partly that the Kalas seem to be fairly narrow for sopranos too.

I'm going to get a nice concert Kala this week; the tenor is tempting because of the high frets, but it might be too big. I don't have any issues holding the soprano standing up and the concert shouldn't be much more difficult.

This is a great little song that I always found daunting on the guitar (their version has some rather nice fingerpicking), but is terrific to play on a uke. I like the Mamas & Papas version best, they've made it a bit more bluesy than the original. I love the terrible whistling at the end too!

dream-a-little-dream.jpgImage Enlarger


 

One of my first loves favorite songs. When Mama Cass died she cried for days. This looks doable for a beginner - I need to figure out what the term barring means though a-hard-days-night-paul-7

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11 February 2016
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 @sigh butterfly sighed 

This looks doable for a beginner - I need to figure out what the term barring means though a-hard-days-night-paul-7

Ask one of us guitarists a-hard-days-night-john-1 

Basically 'tis where you hold multiple strings down at once with one finger, usually (almost always) the first finger. Barre chords are notorious among guitar players for their tiring nature (I still can't get through My Sweet Lord without hand-cramp, but it is four and a half ruddy minutes long, after all)-- one has to build up one's hand strength gradually, which means lots of fatigue for a while until one gets used to it. Not to scare you away from learning it-- the advantages are that once you know the basic shapes, you can barre the strings and move anywhere up and down the fret-board,  and also it looks cool. a-hard-days-night-george-4 a-hard-days-night-george-10 

On a ukulele, however, it's probably a lot easier. a-hard-days-night-paul-7 

Someone who actually has a uke can confirm or deny this. 

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