Archive for the ‘Tutorial’ Category

Three More Weird-Ass Scales

The last Three Weird Ass Scales proved popular so here are three more to introduce some new sounds to your playing. A quick restatement of the disclaimer: – The “weird ass”ness of the scales depends entirely on your perspective. – The examples are a lame pastiche rather than an authentic example of use. Double Harmonic […]

Ten Arpeggio Exercises Plus a Song to Improve Your Fingerpicking on Ukulele

If you don’t know that I wrote Ukulele for Dummies I obviously haven’t been doing enough shameless self-promotion. It did well enough that the Dummies folks wanted a follow up: Ukulele Exercises for Dummies. I’m highly allergic to the word “exercise” – I had to take half a dozen Benadryls just to write this intro […]

Three Weird-Ass Scales

I’m going to backtrack from the title right away. Whether these scales sound weird to you depends entirely on your cultural perspective. But they are rarely heard on the ukulele. There are plenty of good reasons to learn unfamiliar sounding scales: – Rut busting: Ever find yourself playing the same set of notes over and […]

Alternate Picking

Usually when I’m arranging for the uke I try to spread things across the strings, campanella style, so you’re not playing the same string many times in succession. But there are times when that doesn’t work out. It’s then I bust out the running man: You pick the string (the E-string in the case) alternately […]

Fake Strums Tutorial

The fake strum is a simple technique that I use a lot in my arrangements. So it’s about time I gave it a post of its own. It’s used in fingerpicking pieces to play full chords. It sounds like a strum but it’s just done by picking individual strings in sequence. Here it is played […]

Five Steps to Ukulele Blues Mastery

Step 1: Wake up in the morning and feel around for your shoes. Step 2: Learn the chords C, F and G7. Play four bars of C, two bars of F, two bars of C, a bar of G7, a bar of F and two bars of C. Repeat. Step 3: Noodle around with the […]

Playing Guitar ‘Slash Chords’ On The Ukulele

Despite the increasing amount of tab and chords for ukulele on the internet, we still have to rely on guitar chords for most songs. If you’ve done this a lot, you’ll have come across – and possibly confused by – chords that look like this: D/F#. These are known as ‘slash chords’. On the guitar, […]

Hawaiian Turnaround

I was watching another enlightening and inspiring tutorial by Mark Occhionero today, this time on Little Grass Shack (you can get the tab on the YouTube page). It set me off vamping around in a Hawaiian style (despite the freezing cold weather) and playing the most Hawaiian lick I know:the Hawaiian turnaround. In its simplest […]

Outros: 5 Ways To End It

“I’m not sure how to end the song.” “Stop playing. If you keep playing, for some reason, people think the song is still going.” You reach the end of a song and what do you do? You could just stop. The outro is a great opportunity for a bit of musical invention, as a way […]

Get Good Tone: Making Martins Out of Mahalos

Of all the ten commandments, the one I find most difficult to live by is, “Thy shalt not covet thy neighbour’s uke.” I’ve often found myself browsing eBay or YouTube, ogling the ukes of others and contemplating harvesting the organs of my uglier children to raise the cash to buy one. But my moral compass […]

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