Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

In fact, this post could just as well have been entitled ‘Some ideas on how to play the guitar with a ukulele player’. If you are playing the ukulele and your best friend is playing the guitar, there is a chance that you might tire after long hours spent arguing which of the two instruments is best. How about trying to combine both instruments to play together instead ?

My friend Gwilym and I would like to share our experience on playing the ukulele and the guitar together. Gwilym is playing the guitar and I the ukulele. For a few years now, we have been trying different ideas to play our instruments of choice together in a way that allows both of us to make progress. We have chosen to write this post and to make two videos to illustrate how the ukulele and the guitar can play different roles when played together.

Of course, in order to play together, we needed to have a common structure, which could be seen as the ‘spine’ of our tunes. This is where playing the blues is interesting : the ‘spine’ consists of 12 bars following a set pattern (see below). We have opted to play a minor blues in the key of (Am and Dm are among my favourite chords). We have used the same structure for both videos but each of us improvised his/her part according to his/her fancy.

Our 12 bar blues is very standard and uses the following chords in I-IV-V progression :
(Am is I, Dm is IV and Em/E7 are V)

Am / Dm / Am / Am   (The Dm here is a quick four)
Dm / Dm / Am / Am
Em / Dm / Am / E7

Chords for A Minor Blues

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If you’re looking into ways of spicing up your ukulele playing, here are 3 tutorials that will teach you how to chunk to give your ukulele a percussive sound, play a cool barre chord progression or if you are using a low G uke, a nice fingerpicking technique.

1. The Chunk by Stuart aka Stukulele

Here is a very nice tutorial which teaches you how to chunk properly. The great thing about this tutorial is that it does not only teach you how to chunk but also focuses on how to get the technique right so as to avoid creating tension in your arm,  an aspect which is often overlooked.

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One thing I am struggling with in my ukulele learning are barre chords. As you already know if you’ve been following the blog, ukulele is my first instrument and as I am mostly learning on my own, things take much more time.

There is an overwhelming amount of things to learn and the time I can allocate to practising my uke is much less than I’d like. As a result, I often end up dismissing songs with chords I am not comfortable with so as to enjoy the time I spend on my uke rather than struggle and play a series of unsatisfactory sounds that are not exactly what you can call melodious.

My focus has also been on fingerstyle uke rather than strumming so far, thanks to the patient help of Herman via Skype.

However, I realised that avoiding difficulties was not a good solution when I met a ukulele friend of mine, Alex from the COULE,  at the Paris Ukulele Bazaar a few weeks ago, and we decided to strum a few songs in a park together to enjoy the sunny afternoon. He knew plenty of songs but most of them had barre chords and were too difficult for me to play at a correct pace.

I felt frustrated at my crappiness so I have now set myself the challenge to learn to master those @#!/|\!# (don’t ask me what language that word is in) barre chords before my next meeting with Alex, which gives me a few months to improve.

Here are some tutorials I have found on the subject and which I hope will help you too if you ever are in the same situation.

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Today’s post will feature a selection of ukulele tutorials which should help you improve both your strumming and your fingerstyle techniques.

Before we move on to the tutorials, here is a link to a nice chord chart complete with fingering information created by Japanese Kunihisa Ogawa.

Tutorials for fingerpicking

Aaron has uploaded a very good fingerstyle ukulele tutorial. It is progressive, well explained and should help you get up to speed with a fingerpicking pattern. Aaron is giving a few useful tips for fingerpicking throughout the video.

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Voici un article destiné à aider ceux d’entre vous qui, comme moi, ont eu envie d’apprendre l’ukulele et qui ne connaissent personne qui en joue.

Le Web est truffé d’informations, encore faut-il faire le tri. Je vous propose donc cette sélection de “tutorials” d’ukulélé, classés par difficulté.

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Ukulele Beginner ?

You’ve chosen to learn to play the ukulele. Read interviews of skilled ukulele players and find out about tips they are giving. See posts on useful tutorials and links.
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