I got a ukulele for Christmas. An "electric" ukulele.

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So now I can play "Little Red Corvette," "Silent Night," "Moon River," "Auld Lang Syne," part of the theme from Edward Scissorhands, and a sort of mournful Iberian version of "I Will Survive."

That last is sorta ripped off from this awesome Chicago woman I'm pretty sure Jaymc knows, who does banjo-ukulele versions of bossa nova songs and standards on YouTube:

I mention all this because I think I'm learning stuff about how chords work that hadn't really sunk in during 15 years of playing the guitar. I almost wish I'd picked up a ukulele as a kid. You deal with the notes of the chords in a way that's simpler and more transparent. You're forced to figure out all the passing chords and embellishments -- the fleeting suspensions and sevenths and diminished bits -- because you can't suggest them using riffs or licks, and because ukulele sounds kinda boring if you don't cram all those little changes in. I now have a way better mental sense of what's actually going on with these things, note-wise.

Would be cooler if it were a baritone, but I think only the soprano came "electric," and it's kinda fun to play ukulele with loads of effects on it.

nabisco, Monday, 29 December 2008 19:11 (ten years ago) Permalink

Uke is a lot of fun to play, way more fun than guitar. Maybe just because it's more novel and because it can fit into lots of places guitars can't (playing it in the car is great). Mine's not electric, though.

I think the clarity of chord thing you're talking about also has to do with the fact that there are four strings for four voices. The re-entrant tuning might be a little confusing for a beginner, though.

St3ve Go1db3rg, Monday, 29 December 2008 20:23 (ten years ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's still vexing my attempts to finger-pick things effectively.

On the plus side, if you play ukulele for four days and then pick up a guitar, you feel like a giant bad-ass who can suddenly destroy buildings with sound.

nabisco, Monday, 29 December 2008 20:38 (ten years ago) Permalink

the dvd of The Jerk includes a ukelele lesson (how to play "Tonight You Belong to Me"). it made me wish i had a ukelele around.

Tracy Michael Jordan Catalano (Jordan), Monday, 29 December 2008 20:54 (ten years ago) Permalink

Ukulele Ike

Ruudside Picnic (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 30 December 2008 20:51 (ten years ago) Permalink

developed a style of improvised singing, which he called "effin".

Er, yeah... Some of his song titles are pretty o_O too...

Give It To Mary With Love
He's The Hottest Man In Town
Hush My Mouth If I Ain't Goin' South
I'm A Hard To Get Can Be Had Papa Looking For A Can Be Hard To Get Girl

snoball, Tuesday, 30 December 2008 20:57 (ten years ago) Permalink

wow @ that last one

Tracy Michael Jordan Catalano (Jordan), Tuesday, 30 December 2008 21:01 (ten years ago) Permalink

Some of the songs, including that last one, are playable in RealPlayer. It starts off as yer basic uke playing guy singing, but then the "effin" comes in, and it sounds like Louis Armstrong on helium being attacked with a cheese grater.

snoball, Tuesday, 30 December 2008 21:09 (ten years ago) Permalink

Oh, and there's also "I’m A Bear In A Ladies’ Boudoir", which includes the line "I do most of my scoring at night" and then later a dubious runt/punt rhyme.

snoball, Tuesday, 30 December 2008 21:13 (ten years ago) Permalink

eight years pass...

Borrowed one of these to travel with since never take a bass and guitar can be challenging to bring on small airplane or parked car. Agree with pretty much everything said upthread by nabisco and Steve G.

Barkis Garvey (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 3 August 2017 19:46 (one year ago) Permalink


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