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Category Archives: Playing Help – Sites & Resources

PLUC Tales – More Benny Hill Than James Hill

Dave Parnell's Holiday Uke

Dave Parnell’s Holiday Uke

I’m in sunny Vejer at the moment with my wife Chris. It’s nice here, and the locals are going mad enjoying their feria. With plenty of singing drinking and dancing it’s just the right backdrop to get me going…

I was watching a programme on telly a couple of years ago now about how to grow old gracefully, and keep your marbles longer, before going into full-blown old age stupidity! Angela Rippon and gang were extolling the virtues of taking up dancing, a foreign language, musical instrument, or some other hobby. Having tried the piano and realising my limited ability years ago, I told my wife I was going to take up the uke.

She laughed!

The next day I was in Normans Music shop in Eltham, looking at their many ukes. The shop owner was busy with one of his suppliers and eventually asked me if I wanted any help. I told him I was after a uke and he showed me a couple. He asked me who it was for. Feeling a little embarrassed, I heard myself say, “It’s for my son.”

The next question was, “How old is your son?” To which I realised, this hole is growing too big really quickly! Also realising I was now wearing Pinocchio’s Nose, at which point I burst out laughing and confessed:

“I’m sorry mate, I’m lying. It’s Angela Rippon’s fault. I’m trying to stop myself going old and stupid before my time by taking up a musical instrument!”

He had a good laugh with his supplier, then asked why a uke. To which I replied, “It’s only small with four strings. How hard can it be?”

I came out with a mahogany Freshman concert, chord book and tuner. The journey had begun. (I was about to find out how hard it could be!)

At first I started to learn some easy chords and tunes from books. These weren’t really tunes I wanted to play. I moved on to YouTube and tried out Ten Thumbs and the Ukulele Teacher.

I was doing this for about a year. Then one evening my wife said she’d found a uke club on the internet called PLUC. I knew I needed help, so went along, feeling apprehensive and hoping I wouldn’t be laughed at for my obvious lack of ability.

The first night, Jeanette welcomed me and asked Colin and Bob to guide me along. They didn’t think they’d be stuck with me for this long! But I’m glad to say, they haven’t told me to get lost yet.

From the first tune that night, I knew I’d come to the right place. All the tunes were upbeat and different styles. For the first few weeks I was conscious that I couldn’t stop smiling. Everyone must have thought I was mad. I felt that I ought to be clapping everyone – it’s making me smile now writing this, thinking about it.

That first night I just didn’t realise what a great bunch of pluckers I was walking into!

Before I joined PLUC, I thought that I was practicing but I have since realised I was only playing at it. I now practice at every opportunity. I have brought a sopranino on holiday and can’t put it down. The more I learn, the more I realise I don’t know, but I know that walking into PLUC hat night was the best decision I’ve made on the uke trail.

The only side effect I wasn’t expecting is I’ve now got five ukes and I’m on the look out for that special one. I hope I find it before I end up like Rufus and Kev!

I’d like to thank everyone at PLUC for their encouragement along the way. They’re all great individuals and it’s given me the motivation to aspire to a better standard.

All the best, Dave the sub-standard plucker.

Other PLUC Tales: I Never Liked The Uke – Steve H; Long-Distance Strummer – Gail; New Uker! – Sheila; A Tale Of Two Ukuleles – Tina; The First Rule Of Uke Club… – AnthonyRon’s Progress; Probably The Most Fun Instrument In The World… – Jos; It’s Been A Year – Part 2 – Jeanette; From Classical To PLUC – Andrew; A History Of The Ukulele – And Its Part In My Downfall – JamesSanta Rides Again – Alan F; Steph’s StoryRon’s Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome; Uncle Ron’s Legacy… – Wee Kheng; Dan’s Story; Five Years & Loving It – Simon; My Ukulele Origins… – Rufus; Why Ed Started Playing The Ukulele; Ron’s Song; It’s Been A Year… – Jeanette

 

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UkeTubes

It’s Sir Ringo Starr’s 78th birthday today, so here’s Jim Boggia’s version of one of his most popular Beatles numbers With A Little Help From My Friends. Don’t forget to say “Peace & Love!” at midday.

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Why not whip out your ukes and have a go at Ukulele Hunt’s Annual Chord Quiz?

There are twenty-five questions, covering five different areas – from naming the chord in the diagrams to identifying different chord progressions (that’s where your instrument might come in handy!).

Good luck.

More Uke Hunt quizzes.

More PLUC Weekend Workouts.

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Our newest member, Dave, recently found this useful YouTube which gives a number of simple – but deceptively challenging! – finger independence exercises, from Rob MacKillop.

It’s a short sequence which will help you develop dexterity in your fingers and also, importantly, train your hand to relax & only use as much pressure as needed in forming chords. Dave’s been using this about a week & says it’s definitely helping to loosen up his hand for the tunes he is trying to learn.

More PLUC Weekend Workouts.

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Escape the first four frets of your ukulele with the first in a new series of tutorials from Ukulele Russ. Here he shows you how to move up the C major shape, complete with a couple of song examples:

 

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December 2017 Club Nights

Please note the following arrangements for our club nights around Christmas:

Tue 12 Dec & Tue 19 Dec – We’re at the Lewes Club, as usual. We’ll be sticking with playing our regular numbers but I’ve copied Mele Kalikimaka to the 2017 Xmas Songs folder in Box, as we usually play that as our traditional Hawaiian festive number during December.

Tue 26 Dec Boxing Day – XMAS BREAK.

We return to the Lewis Club on Tue 2 Jan 2018. New members welcome.

For those of you wanting a Christmas strumalong, do have a look at Cynthia Lin’s Beginner Holiday Ukulele Jam from last year – a free songbook of thirteen numbers & you can play along with the recorded webcast. Here she is with one of the numbers, All I Want For Christmas Is You: Read the rest of this entry »

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Tamás Gáll has just developed a new chord training site called It’s Chordtime, which allows you to change chords to a regular metronome tempo and help become a smoother player. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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