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TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

Pretty Little Lyres

furushotakeru posted:

I don't own an amp or any pedals, nor do I have any plans to purchase any as of right now. Just looking for something to practice quietly on at home. I have a nice Kanile'a for when I want to be heard

Should you end up needing an amp, they can often be found *quite* cheap on Craigslist because they're kind of a pain to move/ship. Even small practice amps of good quality you can get for like $25 used because they weigh like 20lb and are hard to ship without breaking it or adding two feet of padding on all sides.

For pedals, if you muck around on eBay you can find beater pedals for cheap all the time.

Not saying you have to get those things, just noting there are people unloading them constantly, so they're easy to acquire. I didn't have a whole lot of need for pedals until I bought my electric solid-body kalimba/thumb-piano, so I got a distorter/flanger and it's amazing through it.

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Trig Discipline
Jun 3, 2008

Please leave the room if you think this might offend you.


Grimey Drawer

A looping pedal is always fun, and good for practicing solos. Lay down a quick chord progression, loop it, and go to town.

furushotakeru
Jul 20, 2004

Your Honor, why am I pink?!

TapTheForwardAssist posted:

Should you end up needing an amp, they can often be found *quite* cheap on Craigslist because they're kind of a pain to move/ship. Even small practice amps of good quality you can get for like $25 used because they weigh like 20lb and are hard to ship without breaking it or adding two feet of padding on all sides.

For pedals, if you muck around on eBay you can find beater pedals for cheap all the time.

Not saying you have to get those things, just noting there are people unloading them constantly, so they're easy to acquire. I didn't have a whole lot of need for pedals until I bought my electric solid-body kalimba/thumb-piano, so I got a distorter/flanger and it's amazing through it.

Good to know, thanks. It gets here on Wed, I'm excited to try it out.

TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

Pretty Little Lyres

furushotakeru posted:

Good to know, thanks. It gets here on Wed, I'm excited to try it out.

No worries; looking forward to your report.

I've belatedly realized that my enthusiasm for Flangers just might date me a as child of the '90s. It's just a really, really cool effect though, and a lot of them have Distortion built in anyway. In whatever case, if you decide to muck with electric, spend $25 for a cheap amp off Craiglist and $15 for a used pedal of any sort (distortion, fuzz, flanger, etc) off eBay.


quote:

A looping pedal is always fun, and good for practicing solos. Lay down a quick chord progression, loop it, and go to town.

As much as I've seen some neat stuff from looping, I'm really curious about the ultra-cheap looping effects available on smartphones now. For that matter, how easy is it to just buy an app that has a bunch of effects pedals on it, and then spend a few bucks on eBay for the cords/jacks to route it from your uke/guitar through your phone-app-pedals and to an amp?

Trig Discipline
Jun 3, 2008

Please leave the room if you think this might offend you.


Grimey Drawer

TapTheForwardAssist posted:

As much as I've seen some neat stuff from looping, I'm really curious about the ultra-cheap looping effects available on smartphones now. For that matter, how easy is it to just buy an app that has a bunch of effects pedals on it, and then spend a few bucks on eBay for the cords/jacks to route it from your uke/guitar through your phone-app-pedals and to an amp?

I've played around with Loopy a bit. It's a great app, but for me it turns out to be easier to time loops appropriately if I'm keying them on and off with my foot than with my finger. You can get fancy and hook a midi control pedal into Loopy, but I haven't bothered since I have a DL4.

Running guitar or a uke into an iPad is fairly easy with something like the iRig, and some of the models in Amplitube sound pretty good. Certainly if you've already got an iPad or iPhone it's one of the cheapest and easiest ways to throw some decent effects onto your sound. My old 3rd gen iPad struggles a bit with some of them, but I've just ordered a new iPad Air 2 today so that shouldn't be an issue for me any more. Since the introduction of Audiobus, there is now very little that you can't do on an iPad, recording-wise. I don't really think that it's the best platform for a lot of stuff, but pretty much everything is possible.

furushotakeru
Jul 20, 2004

Your Honor, why am I pink?!

TapTheForwardAssist posted:

No worries; looking forward to your report.

I've belatedly realized that my enthusiasm for Flangers just might date me a as child of the '90s. It's just a really, really cool effect though, and a lot of them have Distortion built in anyway. In whatever case, if you decide to muck with electric, spend $25 for a cheap amp off Craiglist and $15 for a used pedal of any sort (distortion, fuzz, flanger, etc) off eBay.


My brother sets up concert venues for a living, so I'm sure he could hook me up with a spare something or other if and when the desire strikes me

More likely I will look into the iPhone/iPad route first though, it hadn't occurred to me yet that there might be a cable to plug it into my phone.

furushotakeru
Jul 20, 2004

Your Honor, why am I pink?!

I'm at work so I can't spend a lot of time noodling on it at the moment (even though I work for myself, I still have poo poo to get done!) but initial impressions are favorable. I tuned it up and plugged in some headphones to try it out for a few minutes and it seems like exactly what I was looking for. The build quality feels and looks very good. I will need to change the strings since I am not a fan of Aquilas but overall I am very pleased.

Reeoorb
Jun 25, 2006
is...is...is got communisms in it...

This topic makes me happy, because the Uke is simply fantastic. I own, well... let's say 'lots'.

Do not underestimate the mainstream ones, my Ibanez Concert is not only the most beautiful Uke (I got lucky), but it's my favorite to play.

henpod
Mar 7, 2008

Sir, we have located the Bioweapon.

College Slice

Ok, I don't know why, but the idea of getting a ukulele popped into my head and won't get out. I don't have a musical bone in my body, and never played a guitar and can barely whistle. However, these look like a fun thing to learn, and I reckon it would be fun to serenade my housemates while they cook.

It all seems a little overwhelming, things such as tuning, string changes and so on, but can't be too tough. There are all kinds of youtube guides out there anyway. Well, the hard part here, is of course choosing one to buy. Wouldn't mind one with a cool design on it, but at this point I don't want to spend too much money on something that I might give up with a few months down the line.

I'm looking to spend £40 maximum, and have pretty much settled on this one here, the Makala MK S Soprano - http://www.dukeofuke.co.uk/shop/makala-mk-s-entry-level-soprano-ukulele/

This looks to be the same one, which has a lot of good ratings on amazon (where its actually more expensive)http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kala-MK-S-M...Soprano+Ukulele

Are they the same? One is title mk-s, and the other is mk-sn

I like the look of the Soprano because it's small and a little bit adorable.

There's a shop in the city I can go to, and I will probably get it from there, and get him to change the strings, since the consensus everywhere is that this makes them sound better, and requires less tuning. That should work out to around £40.

So, yeah. What do you guys think? This seems to be a good entry level uke.

Also, i'm a shallow bastard so hopefully they look nice too.

I won't lie, i'm tempted by a v-shaped one like this : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mahalo-Black-V-Shape-Ukulele/dp/B002ZBP49Y/ref=pd_cp_MI_0

henpod fucked around with this message at 12:01 on Feb 9, 2015

RoeCocoa
Oct 23, 2010



If your local shop sets up their instruments before selling them, they might put new strings on as part of that-- ask them. Buying in person from a knowledgeable dealer is a good idea, and Kala/Makala is well-known for making good inexpensive ukes, so you seem to be on the right track there. You are correct about both of your links showing the same model of ukulele.

Body shape will affect the volume and tone of an acoustic instrument, and novelty shaped instruments are often made without regard for quality or playability. If you're in love with the V-shape and you have someone to help you pick a good one and set it up, then I say go for it. But if you are at all uncertain, it's probably better to start with something more traditional.

Butch Cassidy
Jul 28, 2010



A soprano is adorable and the classic uke, but a concert will maintain the plunky ululele sound, still look small, and be roomier on the neck when fingering your chords to make life easier. Not that the soprano is at all a bad idea if you are set on it.

Tears In A Vial
Jan 13, 2008



henpod posted:

Ok, I don't know why, but the idea of getting a ukulele popped into my head and won't get out. I don't have a musical bone in my body, and never played a guitar and can barely whistle. However, these look like a fun thing to learn, and I reckon it would be fun to serenade my housemates while they cook.

It all seems a little overwhelming, things such as tuning, string changes and so on, but can't be too tough. There are all kinds of youtube guides out there anyway. Well, the hard part here, is of course choosing one to buy. Wouldn't mind one with a cool design on it, but at this point I don't want to spend too much money on something that I might give up with a few months down the line.

I'm looking to spend £40 maximum, and have pretty much settled on this one here, the Makala MK S Soprano - http://www.dukeofuke.co.uk/shop/makala-mk-s-entry-level-soprano-ukulele/

This looks to be the same one, which has a lot of good ratings on amazon (where its actually more expensive)http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kala-MK-S-M...Soprano+Ukulele

Are they the same? One is title mk-s, and the other is mk-sn

I like the look of the Soprano because it's small and a little bit adorable.

There's a shop in the city I can go to, and I will probably get it from there, and get him to change the strings, since the consensus everywhere is that this makes them sound better, and requires less tuning. That should work out to around £40.

So, yeah. What do you guys think? This seems to be a good entry level uke.

Also, i'm a shallow bastard so hopefully they look nice too.

I won't lie, i'm tempted by a v-shaped one like this : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mahalo-Black-V-Shape-Ukulele/dp/B002ZBP49Y/ref=pd_cp_MI_0

You're basically me at new years. Never played an instrument before, picked up a Makala mks out of nowhere. I also picked up a tuner as well since I wasn't confident about doing it by ear. It was a good investment. Changing strings is really easy as well, I replaced my standards with aguila nylguts right away, as seemed to be the consensus on the Internet.

I can't really say I've made much progress in the actual learning to play department, but it's fun to watch YouTube and at least try to follow along with the lessons.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Hey guys. I was asking around in the weird instrument thread, looking for an instrument to learn music with, and I'm sort of curious about both actual early music as well as renfaire-esque fantasy nonsense, so TTFA sent me over here.

I live in Finland, so finding an uke is kind of a puzzle. There are a couple of local instrument shops that stock ukuleles, but they're way too expensive for me. The only affordable ones are produced by the German guitar company Ortega. I have no idea about European online dealers beyond Thomann, and I'm pretty sure they don't actually check every single instrument they sell. Y'all keep saying to buy from someone who does that, so does anybody have experience with Southern Ukulele Store or the Duke of Uke linked above?

Edit: I'm starting to eye this Ohana pineapple simply because I like the shape.

Siivola fucked around with this message at 18:46 on Mar 7, 2015

TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

Pretty Little Lyres

Siivola posted:

Hey guys. I was asking around in the weird instrument thread, looking for an instrument to learn music with, and I'm sort of curious about both actual early music as well as renfaire-esque fantasy nonsense, so TTFA sent me over here.
...

Edit: I'm starting to eye this Ohana pineapple simply because I like the shape.


Euro dealers
Hay goon, glad to see you've been puzzling out your options. Some of our Eurogoons might have more suggstions, but I'll note I've heard good things about mercatinodellukulele.it for dealers. There's also a good (and importantly, recent) thread from Ukulele Underground discussing dealers and models available in Europe: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?101292-Any-thoughts-on-Koki-o-brand-concert-ukuleles

I note that Mercatino has several different pineapple options from a couple different makers, some of them in full solid wood too (rather than part plywood). Plywood isn't necessarily terrible, but it's a general belief that wood instruments hold their value better, and their sound matures over time. But I wouldn't let that stop you if you find a ply/laminate instrument you like from a good maker at good price.

Pineapple shape
Pineapples are pretty cool, my only caveat would be that if you have large hands you may find it confining since the vast majority of pineapples are made in Soprano size (the smallest typical size). There are a few exceptions, like Ohana makes a pineapple concert, and then once you get up above $400 or so a number of makers occasionally offer pineapple tenors and concerts. But the majority of inexpensive pineapples are sopranos

If you have large hands, I'd suggest getting a regular-shaped Tenor-size uke for now, and if you fall in love with it you can always hunt down a long-necked pineapple. If you have small hands, starting out on a soprano pineapple should be fine, and if you end up finding it a bit tiny you can get a larger pineapple when you upgrade someday.

Note that on ukes in general, purely as a stylistic thing, some tuning pegs stick out to the side of the head, and others are perpindicular to the head. A few makes specify "tell us what style of pegs when ordering" so keep that in mind if it matters to you. The sticking-out kind tend to be slightly easier to use, but I prefer the sleek look of the sticking-back kind.

Learning early/Ren tunes on uke

If you're interesting in early/renaissance/baroque music, and fantasy versions thereof, you want to focus on "fingerstyle" as opposed to strum-strum stuff that people commonly use for playing rock/jazz/etc on uke. Most of the hardcore early music stuff is a little tricky for a beginner, so I'd focus on googling up online pages of "beginner fingerstyle ukulele" to find stuff like this one, which just shows how to fingerpick really easy nursery rhymes: http://www.ukuleletricks.com/ukulele-fingerpicking-nursery-rhymes/

Jamie Holding (who's a disciple of Rob Mackillop) also has a number of eBooks, including one of very easy lute pieces for ukulele, for 5: https://www.classicalukulele.co.uk/shop/e-books/20-melodies-for-beginners/

Once you have the basics of fingerpicking down, then there's plenty of tablature for old lute pieces, Baroque Spanish guitarra, and all that which you can start playing off of. If you want to get a formal book on fingerpicking, Mel Bay's "20 Easy Fingerstyle Studies" is US$15 as an e-book from Mel Bay, and worth getting: http://www.melbay.com/Products/30025BCDEB/20-easy-fingerstyle-studies-for-ukulele-ebook.aspx . Note that for a ton of Mel Bay books, they don't show the ebook version on Amazon, you can only get it off their site directly. Something I wish I'd known before I bought a bunch of their books on paper a few years back, not knowing I could've just had them on my phone...


Those are my initial suggestions, but we definitely have goons here that know about Europe ukes, and several that are into playing lute music on uke, which I just casually mess with occasionally.

TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at 21:13 on Mar 7, 2015

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Welp. Instead of waiting for Eurogoons to chime in, I caved in and pulled the trigger on a koki'o pineapple and a set of Aquila whites. Nobody in that Ukulele Underground thread went explicitly "NO DON'T" on either koki'o or buying from Uke Surfer, so I figured it would be worth a shot. What the hell, if I get a lemon (instead of a pineapple ) I've got a month to mail it back and get a full refund. I'm sort of scared, that was a lot of money for a broke student like me.

Also, you're seriously the most helpful goon. Thanks a ton.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



What's this? There's someone at my door at eight in the morning! Who could it be?


The strange man handed me a box, and inside was this! I wonder what it is?


It's a pineapple!

I'm in love. My tuner app recognizes the sounds it makes and I haven't managed to make it rattle or buzz yet, so I guess it's a working instrument? Haven't changed the strings yet since I can't tell how bad the stock ones are. Maybe once I get Twinkle Twinkle Little Star down.

TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

Pretty Little Lyres

Siivola posted:


It's a pineapple!

I'm in love. My tuner app recognizes the sounds it makes and I haven't managed to make it rattle or buzz yet, so I guess it's a working instrument? Haven't changed the strings yet since I can't tell how bad the stock ones are. Maybe once I get Twinkle Twinkle Little Star down.

Exciting! Cute little thing!

If you have all the strings tuned up, try fretting each note and seeing if it comes out clear. That is, start on one string, finger it at the first fret, pluck, then try the next one up. Just to see if you catch any buzzes or interference. Note, when fretting you want to fret just slightly towards the head end of the instrument, not pressing down on the fret itself. The fret serves as a "blade" that "cuts" the string off at a set pitch, so your finger is there to press the string at an angle so it hits the "blade", not to actually touch the fret.


So far as changing the strings, I'd suggest going ahead and doing it now. New strings take several days or more to "break in" and get any looseness out of their stretch. So for the first few days you'll notice the instrument going out of tune a lot, that's totally normal. So while you could leave the current strings on, that just means you're breaking in strings you don't particularly mean to use long-term, so might as well go ahead and put on your good strings now, and save the stock ones in an envelope for later spares.

While the strings are breaking in, try to pick up the uke several times a day, tune it up, and play it even if just for a minute, or even if your playing is spastic. The more times the strings stretch out of tune, and you tune it back up, the faster they settle down and start holding their pitch. Properly broken in strings can stay in tune for days, and the fully-plastic strings (the ones that don't have metal winding) can last for years.


Glad to hear you're excited. Just go by the usual advice for starting any instrument and you'll be fine. The most key thing is just to play a lot, and don't rush yourself. Playing 5 minutes a day is way better than playing an hour once a week, so try to keep it handy and remind yourself to pick it up a couple times throughout the day, make a habit of it. Give the easy nursery rhyme fingerpicking lessons a try, let us know how comfortable those are or aren't yet.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



I took your advice, switched in the Aquilas and wow, I didn't think the new strings would be quite that stretchy. First time I tuned them, they were going out of tune literally in front of my eyes. The sound's much better now, so I'm glad I didn't put it off.

I've been picking it up almost every day, but most of the time I'm just going up and down the C major scale and wishing my fretting fingers would grow calluses already. I can't lift my middle finger off the fretboard without the groove on the fingertip plucking the string.

krnhotwings
May 7, 2009


Grimey Drawer



Uke's so fun! I picked this up yesterday (Ohana TK-35) and started off with some chords and also learned "Papalina Lahilahi"

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



TapTheForwardAssist posted:

Most of the hardcore early music stuff is a little tricky for a beginner, so I'd focus on googling up online pages of "beginner fingerstyle ukulele" to find stuff like this one, which just shows how to fingerpick really easy nursery rhymes: http://www.ukuleletricks.com/ukulele-fingerpicking-nursery-rhymes/
Okay so here's a beginner-level question. I was just doing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star from there, and finally noticed it uses two different shapes for the same chord (interval?). What gives? Is it just a trick the tab-writer plays to teach me that hey, you can get the same notes from many places, or is there some deeper meaning here?

cr05580n35
Mar 24, 2015


I'm very partial to the baritone ukulele, it's probably the easiest Uke type for a guitar to pick up since the scales and chords directly translate to the highest four strings on a guitar.
It's slightly harder to find the strings for the baritone but if you're ordering online that's not a problem (just buy extras in case of pre gig string breakage).

I love these strings:http://www.aquilausa.com/uke_strings.html

Twitch
Apr 15, 2003

The Jellicle Moon is shining bright


The Ukulele Site finally finished setting up my ukulele and it's on the way. I've never owned a string instrument before, and I'm pretty psyched to start learning ukulele.

TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

Pretty Little Lyres

Siivola posted:

Okay so here's a beginner-level question. I was just doing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star from there, and finally noticed it uses two different shapes for the same chord (interval?). What gives? Is it just a trick the tab-writer plays to teach me that hey, you can get the same notes from many places, or is there some deeper meaning here?

Can you clarify a bit? Do you mean in the Twinkle video, or in the tablature sheet linked below it?

To answer more broadly though: on some chord charts and some tabs, sometimes they show an alternate fingering for a given chord or series of notes because, for example, fretting the second fret on the G, or just plucking the A open, both give you the same note, A. So that you see sometimes.

Glad to see you're all strung up and enjoying your new pineapple. You're taking a slightly different course than a lot of folks in the thread, since they're focused more on rock/folk guitar-style strumming, backing themselves up while singing pop covers, etc. What you're doing is melodic fingerstyle/fingerpicking, playing a melody and its harmonizing notes by plucking individual strings, basically using the uke like a small classical guitar or lute. Totally valid option since that's the sound you like, just there's less coverage of it online, though still plenty enough to keep you busy for months and months.

Take a glance at some of the links at http://ukenut.com/fingerstyle-ukulele-resources/ . If you need to find more and easier stuff, just google up "ukulele fingerpicking tabs" or "ukulele fingerstyle tablature" and there's a chunk of stuff. Note that if you don't specify "fingerpicking/fingerstyle" a lot of people incorrectly refer to chord-sheets as "tabs" for uke, so if you open something and it's just a song with (G) and (Em) written above the words, that's for the strummity-strum stuff. What you want to see if four horizontal lines running across the page with numbers on them: your four strings and the frets you press to get that note.

Are you getting the basic idea of how to read tab down? It gets quite easy after you try it a bit.

EDIT: this one should keep you busy for a while: https://pdfminstrel.wordpress.com/2-standard-high-g-ukulele-pdfs/

TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at 03:36 on Mar 26, 2015

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Yikes, that's a bunch of songs. I think I know what I'm going to do over the summer.

Specifically, I'm talking about these bars in the tablature sheet. (I actually haven't seen the video. Maybe I should!) The ninth bar is the same as the second, but the fingering is different for some reason.


And yeah, reading tabs turned out pretty easy once I got used to how the lines are oriented. I like the way the PDF minstrel tabs are written, with the staffs above. I can't actually read staff notation, but I can still tell how the pitch is supposed to change and how long the notes should be.

Learning an instrument is hella dangerous, though. I'm already thinking about all the other cool things I could learn to play. Maybe the gottan, or maybe something more mainstream, like a piccolo bass or whatever. (If I get both a piccolo bass and a baritone uke, wouldn't that make me technically a guitarist? )

Siivola fucked around with this message at 07:13 on Mar 26, 2015

TapTheForwardAssist
Apr 9, 2007

Pretty Little Lyres

Siivola posted:

Specifically, I'm talking about these bars in the tablature sheet. (I actually haven't seen the video. Maybe I should!) The ninth bar is the same as the second, but the fingering is different for some reason.


And yeah, reading tabs turned out pretty easy once I got used to how the lines are oriented. I like the way the PDF minstrel tabs are written, with the staffs above. I can't actually read staff notation, but I can still tell how the pitch is supposed to change and how long the notes should be.



quote:

Learning an instrument is hella dangerous, though. I'm already thinking about all the other cool things I could learn to play. Maybe the gottan, or maybe something more mainstream, like a piccolo bass or whatever. (If I get both a piccolo bass and a baritone uke, wouldn't that make me technically a guitarist? )

Once you learn basic proficiency on an instrument, learning any other instrument is easier. It's like foreign languages.

Don't rush it though, like languages you want to get one down pretty solid before you add more. Gottan is pretty cool though, and shamisen-family instruments are also written in tablature, though the "frets" are notional since it's a bare, smooth neck.

Still wanna see someone take the neck from a cheap kankara kit ($50 or so), mount it on a cigar box, have a cigar-box shamisen.

krnhotwings
May 7, 2009


Grimey Drawer

Seems to me that the fingerings are done differently to make it easier to transition to their next respective measures. But whatever's easier to play will work.

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Schpyder
Jun 13, 2002

Attackle Grackle



Hi Uke thread! I just got a uke, a concert Kala KA-CEM. It arrived today, set up beautifully by the Ukulele Site. I've been playing guitar for a bit over a year, after about an 18 year hiatus, so I'm pretty up to speed on stringed instruments in general, so I'm gonna start digging into the links in the OP and learning some songs! It'll be nice to have something I can just play wherever around the house or on the road rather than trying to lug one of my electrics or my dreadnought around.

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