May 4, 2017

Ukulele Tricks: Easy Capo Trick - Play Ghost Riders in the Sky

Ghost Riders in the Sky by Stan Jones; Behind the Music

The song tells a folk tale of a cowboy who has a vision of red-eyed, steel-hooved cattle thundering across the sky, being chased by the spirits of damned cowboys.

One warns him that if he does not change his ways, he will be doomed to join them, forever "trying to catch the Devil's herd across these endless skies".

Apr 27, 2017

Ukulele Tricks: The secret to great sounding Hammer-ons and Pull-offs

There are some tricks to great sounding hammer-ons and pull-offs.

As a young player in the 80's I had trouble getting hammer-ons and pull-offs to sound loud and clear, like the record.

What was I missing?

Apr 3, 2017

Kala Beginner Ukulele Review and Recommendations: Makala MK-S; Kala KA-15S; Kala KA-S

Mike Upton launched Kala in 2005. Prior to starting Kala he worked at Hohner and was responsible for the development of the Lanikai ukulele line.

After starting Kala, Mike quickly established the new ukulele manufacturer as the leader in the market by providing the best and most consistent instruments in the price range.

Mar 18, 2017

Ukulele Strums: Backbeat Chop, Bluegrass Chop

This is another way to play accents on 2 and 4. It's very similar to the reggae strums but it's executed in a completely different way, and special chords must be used to play it properly.

In bluegrass music there is typically no drummer, so to keep the group together and in time, the bass player plays on beats 1 and 3, and the mandolin player plays a chop on the back-beat or the off beat, 2 and 4.

Basically, the bass player takes the place of the kick drum and the mandolin chop takes the place of the snare drum. The Banjo then plays the melody using 8th notes.

Mar 10, 2017

Easily play chords all the way up the neck on the ukulele

I've discovered after some study that there are 4 reasonable forms for each chord. These are forms that are movable and allow you to play anywhere on the neck.

The idea when playing a fretted instrument and arranging a song for it, is to move the left hand as little as possible. Since there are 4 different forms for each chord, it is possible to find chords that are very close together requiring very little left hand movement to play the entire song!

With these new chord forms you will you be able to play any song, in any key, anywhere on the neck.

Mar 2, 2017

More Reggae Strums: Reggae Scratch and Skank Strum

More fun with Reggae Strums!

The great thing about these strums is - they can be used to spice up any song. You'll learn later that these reggae strums or variations of them are used in other types of music as well.

Various accents on beats 2 and 4  are actually fairly common, the Reggae strum is just one of the many ways to do it.