The ukulele can take you on all kinds of musical journeys. Melbourne Indie Duo Charm of Finches (sisters Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes) use the ukulele to great effect in their hauntingly beautiful song Sky Watching. The video was filmed in Victoria’s picturesque Otway National Park amongst the tree ferns and towering native trees and has a romantic yet strange ghostly feeling in a place where you might see spectres from a bygone era.
Adelaide’s Ukulele Death Squad (website ) are coming to Melbourne for a gig and workshop on 28 November at the Open Studio in Northcote. It should be a lot of fun. Here is link to get tickets: Tickets
They are also playing at the Newport Bowls Club (24 Nov) and the Queenscliff Music Festival (25 Nov).
Check out their latest video of Paris On a Train.
Often when you have two or several ukuleles there is one that you play more than the others. It’s your favorite and it just feels and sounds wonderful. So how do you bring back the passion for your other ukes if they are being neglected?
To make the most of your collection it can simply be a matter of increasing your repertoire and playing the right song for the right uke. Some music sounds better when played on a particular size or type of ukulele (eg resonator or banjolele). But if, like me, you have two ukuleles of the same size and a similar type this won’t make much difference.
I have two concert ukes. I bought the second one because I love the feel and the sound it makes and the size suits me. It is so playable that I was not using my other concert ukulele, which seemed a complete waste. A couple of other members of our group have low G strings on their ukuleles which can give more of a bass sound to a song. So I replaced the high G string on my first use with one of the Aquila Red Series low G strings and it sounds completely different. It’s also great to play with a felt pick, especially on the “boom Dit-ty strum” (see earlier post) and makes the uke more resonant.
The low G works particularly well on a Tenor sized ukulele but you can even put one on a soprano uke. You will have a deeper sound while still playing the chords for the GCEA tuning. A Tenor ukulele with a low G is a great alternative to buying a larger baritone ukulele, especially if you find the fingering too difficult with the change of chord structure necessary for the DGBE tuning.
Have a look on You Tube as there are many videos with a comparison of low and high G strings, as well as reviews for wound and unwound strings.
Now I can switch between ukes depending on the song and am enjoying playing both my ukuleles. So if you feel you have been neglecting one of your ukes, try a low G for a change of sound and some renewed enthusiasm.
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.
Swinging the beat can really improve your ukulele strumming style. For those who want to develop their playing technique here is a simple and clear lesson on this method by Katie DeNure.
Young British performer Amelia Coburn gives her own interpretation of David Bowie’s Life on Mars with her ukulele. She has a lovely voice and a fresh style. It’s great to see such an enthusiastic ukulele player.