Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Last 7 days

I think as a blog about learning the ukulele I'm going to be posting less frequently. At the beginning because it was so new to me I seemed to have plenty to post about, now I'm in more of a routine and don't have that manic urge to absorb evey bit of ukulele information I come across :).

So what have I done over the last seven days? Well since getting my uke I have played it every day which surprises me, as I still know only a handful of songs some of those songs start to get a little boring to play, but I won't move onto another song until I'm happy with how I'm playing the current one (rightly or wrongly?), the current one happens to be "Can't buy me love" by the Beatles, again courtesy of Doctor Uke's brilliant website. The song had a nice challange for me in the form of the chord "F7" because it uses 4 fingers for the chord. It took me ages to get that one correct but is now hugely satisfying when I hit it just right.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

05 : When You're Smiling

This is a great song to try out out and not too hard either. What I've enjoyed most about it is experimenting with the strum patterns, slow, fast, etc. all sound good. When You're Smiling also happens the most number of chords in any song I've tried so far, as can be seen in the picture topping in at 10 chords. This has not been a problem however as all are easy with the transitions from one chord to the next being simple.
I found this song from Dr Ukes website (link on the right) who has a recording and pdf with words and chords, I also checked out youtube to see some of the other versions.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Finger Gymnastics

Ukulele Cosmos have a monthly event called open invitations where a song is picked each month for members of the forum to give their own interpretation of that song. This month's song is Daydream Believer made famous by the Monkees, already there are some excellent versions posted up on the site.

Seeing as I'm already familiar with that song I thought I would give it a try and promptly hit my first stumbling block early on in the form of the chord [Bm] , no matter how I tried to play it, it didn't sound clean. I posted a pic on the Cosmos of my attempt at forming the chords and asked for some advice, I wasn't let down :) I got lots of great detailed tips which I won't go into in full as they can be easily looked up on the forum, however here are a few useful pointers that can be applied to any chord you might have trouble with.

1. There is no right or wrong way to play a chord if it sounds right and works for you then its ok.
2. Try a different fingering, quite often some strings do not need to played or a different fret can be used to represent one of the notes, espicially true of triad chords (3 notes make up the sound of the chord)
3. Keep the wrist below the neck.
4. Don't press down so hard.
5. Try rolling the finger slightly so that the fleshy parts are not as much on the string.
6. And back to number one, there is no right or wrong way to play a chord if it sounds right then its ok :)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Transpose songs to a new key

Come across this brilliant online transpose utility from Logue Internet Services thanks to a posting in the Open Invitational section of Ukulele Cosmos. Quite simply cut and paste a song into the window (use "In Search of a Rose" from my previous post as an example), then select your key and output format, couldn't be easier :)

Why would you want to do this? I'm sure there are a lot of reasons but three that I know of are :-
1. If you're having difficulty with a song, by transposing you could end up with easier chords to play(ideal for a beginner, but remember at some point you're going to have to learn all the chords ;) ).
2. A song may be too high or low for you to sing in, changing the key should fix it.
3. If you're playing with other people who know the song already in another key you can easily transpose to match there version.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

04 : In search of a rose

A song that I have grown to love from the Room to Roam album by the Waterboys is "In search of a Rose". I remember when I first heard it thinking that this is not the usual Waterboys material, it had a distinctly Irish folk sound and set the tone for the rest of the album. Mike Scott even sang it with an Irish accent, which I thought was odd as he was born in Scotland :D

While looking for songs to play at the chordie website I came across this favorite of mine :- however I had a couple of problems with it. :-

1. I wasn't convinced it was in the right key, easily solved by using chordies transpose function, plus as an added bonus, the chords used are a little easier to play, perfect for a noob like me :)

2. The chord used at the bridge at the start of the line "But I don't mind" was down as [Em], no matter how I tried to play it, it just sounded wrong, I therefore replaced it with [C], It now sounds right to me, but I don't know if its correct :/

This raises a couple of questions to me, should we take the chords listed on chordie and other sites as being accurate? Is it ok to fiddle with them to make it sound right "for you" ?

Anyhow the transposed version that I'm playing, with "changed" chord is below, the colour is different so you can easily see and change it back if you want :)

In search of a rose (from Room to Roam)
Mike Scott / the waterboys

[C]Where will I [G]wander and [C]wonder
[F]Nobody [C]knows
But where[F]ever I'm [G]going [C]I'll go
In [G7]search of a [C]rose

[C]Whatever the [G]will of the [C]weather
and [F]whether it shines or it [C]snows
where[F]ever I'm [G]going, I'll [C]go
In [G7]search of a [C]rose

Bridge :-

[F]I don't know where it's found
[C]But I don't mind
[Dm]as long as the world spins around
[C]I'll take my [G7]time

I'll [C]savour the [G]softness of [C]summer
[F]I'll wrap up when winter [C]blows
but where[F]ever I'm [G]going, I'll [C]go
In [G7]search of a [C]rose