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Tag Archives: Ukulele

Ukulele Bonanza Magazine

Many of you will already be familiar with the excellent UKE Magazine, produced in the UK by World of Ukes, and Ukulele Magazine, an informative US publication, with useful online articles on their site which contain plenty of playing tips.

Recently, the free Ukulele Bonanza e-zine has been launched by Shelley & Pete Mai, along with many supporting contributors. The first issue was January 2019.

The February 2019 issue is now out & contains an eclectic mix of articles in its 56 pages, such as what it’s like to attend a ukulele festival & how to set one up; a Travis picking lesson; performance tips from Ukester Brown; setting up the Original Ukulele Songs portal, along with a selection of artists on there; songwriting tips, including an analysis of the different sections in songs; playing classical music on the uke; music education and the uke; several stories of how people started playing or making ukes and more. They mix audio & video in with the text, which works nicely.

It’ll be interesting to see how it develops over the next few months.

You can subscribe here for future issues.

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Sometimes people get a bit daunted at looking at sheet music or playing along to it. The fun TED-Ed animation below from Tim Hansen is a good way to see the basics without having to delve into too much detail.

After watching through, you could initially practice using a few tunes you know well. Try concentrating on the rhythm first and think about the pitch (ie the notes on the fretboard) later.

If you pick a simple familiar piece and look at the music whilst listening to it, you can follow the notes before even trying to keep up playing.  YouTube handily lets you slow the speed right down in the settings feature.

We have links to other quizzes and different ways of learning more about reading music and the basics of music theory in other articles to help you widen your skills. Plus more PLUC Weekend Workouts.

 

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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Twelve

Stuart Fuchs is another great performer I found early on with a clear & relaxed teaching style, predictably through some of his Beatle posts. He plays a wide variety of styles which reflect the versatility of the uke – here are links to a few YouTubes with him playing on a couple of road trips (a spot of Bob Marley up a mountain top and Billy Joel in the desert); concerts showcasing jazz medleys and stunt ukulele; followed by some more sedate Bach and Brazilian pieces.

I was lucky enough to attend two of his workshops at the 2018 Ukulele Festival of Scotland (UFoS) – Ukulele Zen (giving practice tips, such as how to play more easily without too much tension) and Fingerpicking Skills – & they were really interesting and useful.

He has lots of free stuff in his store (look in the FREE TABS section – most have videos to accompany them in his YouTube Channel); several different YouTube themes (eg Beginners’ Ukulele; Ask Stu Feature; Ukulele Lessons (weekly)Ukulele Circus Skills; Rockabilly for Uke (containing Rock & Roll numbers – to support the book of the same name); Chord Solo Tutorials (supporting another book); Blues; Jazz; Gypsy Swing etc); some good books (such as Rockabilly for Uke – aka Uke-a-billy) and he also offers Skype lessons.

(Stuart has recently set up a Patreon page and is busy adding extra content there from as little as $2 per month, for those looking to obtain more detailed lessons and techniques.)

Here’s one of his Beatle medleys:

 

I hope you’ve found this short Twelve Days Of Ukemas series informative. People learn differently: whilst some prefer dipping in randomly, others fare better with a more structured approach, or find paying for a formal course or membership motivates them to progress better. With any luck, we’ve introduced you to some new sites and tutorial sources to help you vary and structure your practice so you can improve your uke skills for the New Year!

Jeanette

 

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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Eleven

For Day Eleven, why not try a bit of folk & country music? Richard Hefner’s ezFolk site is another one with masses of free information, from beginners to advanced.

Sections & YouTube playlists include tutorials for a basic uke course; clawhammer; fingerstyle; strumming and a selection of playalong songs & lessons.

Also included is a useful ukulele chords section, showing many variations of chords up the fretboard (plus baritone chord variations).

Here’s Richard with an introduction to the bum-ditty strum – part of his clawhammer course:

 

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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Ten

For Day Ten of our Twelve Days of Ukemas, we fittingly have Ten Thumbs Productions.

Tyler Austenfeld has been producing an amazing variety of lessons – at least two every week on Weds & Sats – since 2013. He loves teaching & is very encouraging, believing everyone can be musical given the chance. Topics covered in his YouTube Channel include:

  • Beginners: Here’s a thorough tutorial for brand new players (including holding the uke, tuning, first few chords, a couple of strumming patterns & links to several follow-on videos. Check the pinned comment for the PDF worksheet) and further beginners’ YouTubes.
  • There’s a wealth of songs, through many decades, right up to the current day: ‘How To Play’ Ukulele Songs; Song Tutorials Through The Decades (songs from 1950s – 2010s); Tutorials Of Popular Artists (eg Bruno Mars, Eric Clapton, Green Day, Jack Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Twenty One Pilots, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, CCR, Queen etc).
  • Ukulele Tips, Tricks, Techniques & Songwriting –  this covers all sorts of interesting items, often in mini-courses, such as different types of strumming (eg reggae, palm mute, chnking, triplets, Mariachi etc); hammer on & pull-offs; percussive techniques; barre chords; Twelve Bar Blues – licks & turnarounds; right-hand dynamics; fingerstyle & fingerpicking; jamming with others, soloing & improvisation; pentatonic & other scales; jazz chord progressions; songwriting tips etc.

(If you like what you see & want even more detailed information, you can join Ten Thumbs’ Patreon scheme from as little as $1 per month to gain access to tabs for every lesson, jam tracks and more.)

Here’s a Twelve Bar Blues with Barre Chord Shuffle in A major:

 

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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Nine

Along with Phil Doleman, Samantha Muir is another regular contributor to tutorials in the quarterly UKE Magazine. She focuses more on Classical pieces; instrumental arrangements of folk & fiddle tunes; studies and fingerstyle, so that’s great if you are expanding your repertoire from basic strumming and pop tunes.

In addition to performances and information about her publications, Samantha often publishes tutorials on her blog. Here’s a nice lesson for playing the C major scale in campanella style (this is the accompanying C Major Campanella Scale Exercises PDF – which is both in music notation & tab):

 

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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Eight

We know Phil Doleman – he’s a nice chap! He’s a good teacher & performer – always doing workshops at every ukulele festival he’s at. He explains things very clearly, so his sessions are well-worth attending.  In fact, it never seems like a proper uke fest if he’s not there!

Phil has interesting online lessons (see his blog & YouTube Channel – or even via Skype) & a really good uke music theory book, How Music Works on the Ukulele (all based round the uke fretboard, so perfect for beginners or those who don’t read music).

From his selection of over twenty Two Minute Tips, here’s a demo on how to use your left hand more efficiently, without strain (and a little more on barre chords here – learning to play the Bb chord with ease).

 

By the way, if you’ve never attended a ukulele festival, it’s a great way to expand your knowledge. See many uke performers of differing styles; attend a few workshops to learn new skills, jam along with others and maybe even pluck up courage to play in an open mic session! The Got A Ukulele Calendar is international & updated regularly throughout the year as folk send in information. I’ve been a few – some small & local and others large-scale & national. My favourite to date is the Ukulele Festival of Scotland, which is held in lovely surroundings at Dumfries. It’s fantastically well-organised & packs in a lot from mid Fri afternoon to early Sun evening.

 

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