It seems like it takes some time to get up to speed with this beautiful instrument. At first I was worried about having to get up to speed with the fretboard, I thought “I only have 3 frets to move” or “I only have 11” or something. But then I started with chord solos, and you learn a ton of fretboard tricks and learn to play a ton of chord combinations and you’ll be playing guitar at 20 years old.
When I started learning Uke, I would write down what I thought would help me. Once I finished everything, I took a new step and started playing over the top of what I wrote. Once I got up to playing ukulele songs in the style of U2 in the studio, I started seeing something else: I was not just learning fretboard basics but I was learning chords. If I knew how to get a chord from the fretboard, then I knew how to get a chord from a chord progression.
With every chord, you can have up to 7 different voicings. With ukulele, I found that I didn’t need to memorize any chords, I know what I need to play and what I want every string to do to have a satisfying and unique sound. I know which strings to play them in a particular order because I have studied how the strings work to get a good sound from them. I know which strings are open, which strings are closed, what strings are flat, and what strings to play them between.
When I began playing ukulele at 8 years old, I was frustrated that I kept making mistakes. Not because I was a “guitarist” or didn’t know any chords, but I kept getting frustrated since I didn’t know which notes on each string were a ‘flat’ or a ‘cut’ — you couldn’t tell from the sound. I think that’s where your ear tells you it’s not going to sound right just because you know what it sounds like on the guitar, but it’s not going to sound right because of what’s happening on the fretboard. So you kind of look at it that way and look at the fretboard and say “that’s not correct.”
I had no idea until I was playing with my dad that “the open string is the low, the low string is the open string.”
So what’s your process?
Before I start a chord solo, I’m working on a solo I
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