It’s been very hot down under with too many bushfires. You can smell the smoke in Melbourne. Time for a cool and calming song.
The following tutorial, given in a picturesque winter setting by Bosco of Ukulele Cheats, demonstrates how to play the beautiful To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees, with lots of playing tips. Love the way he can still play in freezing conditions without his fingers going numb.
Great to see so many members back on board last week. We had a fun session revisiting songs and trying a new one. Looking forward to Tuesday night.
Getting into the rhythm of a strumming pattern is something that challenges many beginners. The following video demonstrates a useful technique using an egg shaker to improve your strumming. A shaker that fits onto one of the fingers of your playing hand would also work.
I also like to use a finger shaker when playing with a group as it adds another dimension to the overall sound. Although don’t overdo this. One or two shakers in a group are enough. You don’t want to sound like a hail storm.
Syncopation is a technique that sounds fantastic on the ukulele and can really enhance your playing style. It is also good when you find instructions for this method that are easy to understand. The following video does this well.
I recently purchased a baritone uke because I wanted one with a deeper sound than my faithful concert ukulele. It’s a great alternative to a tenor ukulele, especially if you have played the guitar. The chords are very similar because the baritone is tuned to DGBE, which is the same as the top 4 strings of a guitar. There is also the advantage of four strings, rather than six, which makes it easier to play for those with RSI or arthritis who may be having problems with left hand fretting on guitar.
Some people are put off from playing this great instrument because it requires different chord shapes from GCEA tuned ukuleles to be in the same key (G chord is C chord shape while D chord is G chord shape). For guitar players this is less of a problem, but it still can be tricky if you a jumping between uke sizes and find yourself playing the wrong chord shape. This can do your head in at times. It does become easier with practice and this type of switching is good for the brain. In the beginning you need to work out the DGBE shapes where a song only gives the GCEA chords. Some songs are easier than others but with practice and a little forethought it will get better. Free Baritone chord charts can easily be found online.
I have played the guitar and I find that some songs just sound richer with the similar tuning of the baritone, particularly songs that I played or wrote on my guitar. Having a baritone in a group gives the overall sound more of a punch. On my instrument the D and G string are wound nickel over nylon, which are very resonant and add a lot of depth to a piece. The other two strings are nylon. I find that when I strum these metal strings with my nails it wears them down so I use a pick. This would not be such a problem for pickers who use the pads of their thumb and fingers or those with synthetic nails.
It is very satisfying to be able to play different sized ukuleles. For me it is the concert and baritone. Others may prefer the soprano and the tenor. If you want to try something different don’t be put off the baritone because the chords seem more difficult. You may have already played these shapes by another name in standard tuning.
Ukulele Mike gave a great explanation of the difference between baritone and GCEA tuned ukuleles with plenty of good advice in the following video.
Here is another baritone ukulele tutorial that packs in a lot of information for both beginners and more experienced players.
For those who want to develop their finger picking on the baritone this lesson takes you through simple to more complex picking patterns with clear instructions.
So give the baritone ukulele a try. Although it is similar to a small guitar, it’s still a ukulele and sounds great when played with other ukes of various sizes.
A lot of beginners have trouble playing the E chord. Manitoba Hal Brolund shows the many ways to play this chord in his helpful video.
Bosco from Ukulele Cheats does a lovely rendition of Redbone by Childish Gambino in a beautiful forest setting. It would be wonderful to be able to play in such a location all the time. That is the convenient thing about a small ukulele. You can take it with you when you venture into the great outdoors. There is usually a log or rock to sit on and play while you contemplate nature.
Here’s the accompanying tutorial for this song:
Here’s another great strum to add to your repertoire. Ukulele Zen’s Stuart Fuchs gives a helpful lesson and demonstration of the “Boom Dit-ty” strum. It’s good to be able to put a name to this familiar strum, which can be used in lots of songs.