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Username: joko

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  • #29137

    I did this to avoid practicing the more difficult stuff I’m trying to learn… I want to redo it with less buzz from the uke…. But it’s 0:56 in length, key of D, and it covers two ukulele themes in one!

    (D)If you’ve been wandering [A]around
    [Bm]the world of music trying to [G]find your own sound, well
    [D]Sometimes it [A]helps to have some [G]friends. [G]

    YOu don’t even have to leave your hometown
    You can find them at the Ukulele Underground
    Soon you’ll be singing to the Seasons
    of the Ukulele
    to the Seasons of the
    to the Seasons of the


    My microphone is in such good focus!
    24:50.. comes the aha moment…Thanks, Aldrine!


    I wrote this on “old forum” tonight…

    In early April, as I was looking ahead towards a couple of months of not a lot of employment whilst living in a country on the verge of civil war, I thought I’d take the time to do something I’d never done: get professional ukulele lessons. Where to turn? Where I’ve been since 2009 – where we are right now.

    What have I learned? In no particular order of importance:
    1. the worm and the ukulele dexterity challenge
    2. the importance of warming up
    3. The major scale, HHhHHHh
    3.5 The minor scale HhHHhHH
    4. a new way to play the E chord on a GCEA uke
    5. Inside-out plucking technique
    6. A song is in the key of whatever scale we find its major chords
    7. The II V I chord progression

    There’s lots of other little trivial things as well like Jake Shimabukuro got known for the flat top headstock on his uke accidentally. And important stuff about myself as a player came from self-reflection as opposed to direct tutelage. It’s self-reflection I wouldn’t have been doing had I not been a student. I also learned the Aldrine Guerrero is the nice guy he seems to be, but a no-nonsense teacher. The one time I tried mildly disagreeing with him on something, with a “well, what about…”, he give me a look and made a noise that made things perfectly clear who was the teacher and who was the student.

    They have a monthly song-writing challenge there for students, and on the very night of the deadline, I felt compelled to get SOMETHING submitted, even if it was schlock because the winner is chosen at random. The post above this one was my previous entry into the challenge incorporating the theme of “My dog has _____” and an optional II V ! chord progression. This next hack job had a Mad Libs theme again with “On the _____, we do it _____ style, and a Mad Libs chord progression of I ___ V. (the IV just belongs there!_) and tried the ii in the middle position, and you’ll hear the results the (I ii V)(I ii V) redefines its measures and becomes: I)(ii V I)(ii V I) – the same II V ! that sounded cool in the Every DOg has its Day
    They accepted my last minute submission, and due to the luck of the wheel, guess what? This stream-of-conscious improv won the contest – and I’m getting some of Aldrine’s signature strings sent to me here in Myanmar. Cool.


    How soft is this soft deadline?
    Thanks for asking my question about the emotional impact of certain chords… Mike made a good point about the use of minor chords in some uplifting traditional songs, but that’s more a product of the tempo, which he also pointed out.

    Me, I think it’s both cultural and inherent. Can a new parent who’s never had infants around just listen to a baby’s cry and react neutrally?, “Well there’s an interesting combination of out of phase harmonics.”.. Cats are the minor chords specialists of the animal world. A kitten’s mewl con hit the back of the spine of a person almost as much as a babies can. Mammals make distress sounds that are hard-wired in our heads. Minor chords are perhaps echoing the resonance of these “I’m in trouble” noises… Just a thought.

    In my first two challenges, I wrote about orange fruits and veggies, a dog having its day, and in homage of the UU itself, I pay tribute to my black, UU baseball cap which I lost on a bus back in 2013.

    I hope it’s okay if I replaced the I __ V with a i ___v, feeling the minr chords matched my sadness over the hat. I think this is i-vii-v… Dm-Cm-Am

    My UU Hat:


    Harmsini’s piece…



    Ok thanks for that, Kahai. The transcriber didn’t inspire too much confidence by misspelling the word “octave” either.

    When I looked it up on google, they described an octave chord as playing two notes together at the same time that are an octave apart. Well, I learned right here at UU+ that chord can’t really be just 2 notes. It need be 3.

    Regardless, I found after a while and listening to the psychedelic flute part in the middle probably helped too… playing what I thought was meant by an octave A-chord

    It sounded…… trippy….psychedelic, man!

    Way too many hours on that Moody Blues song this week.. only to discover when I needed that final touch… that one more instrument…. something had happened to my kazoo from just sitting on the shelf… the wax paper had deteriorated or some such thing … unplayable.


    Disregard that one… watch this please


    Hey Kahai,
    Thanks for the explanation, here and on the podcast.

    I’m sure you’ve been on enough forums where you’ve seen people’s questions being commented on with: “You should just google it. You’d get your answer in 15 seconds.” The UU Facebook Group has some of that. This was one of those types of questions. Google-able.

    But where’s the fun in that?

    It’s cool to be able to ask an expert rather than read an article.


    I had real fun with this. Of course, I had try my hand at ___ V I chord progression Mad Lib. I don’t remember ever playing, much less writing, a song that didn’t start with the root note. I tried playing around with VIIdim V I,, and with the IV V I it sounded like the SOng that would never actually start… so remembering all the talk about learning to walk before you chew gum, or something like that, I looked to the inspiration for the Blank and went with the walk of the jazz progression.

    I’m also in the midst of week 3 of Ukulele 102, practicing my minor scales a lot, so that explains why the little solo bits are so “scaly”.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by JokoJoko.


    That’s great. I can totally hear the rest of the song in my head as I’m listening, so that must mean you’re doing something right.

    I too am a relative newcomer to the U-bass having got one last year. You might want to check out, if you haven’t already a youtuber named Stephen Cox. He’s the only U-bass specialist I’ve seen and his lessons are quite good. stephencoxbass


    Thank you for the thoughtful and extended answer, Kahai.

    The roles of the chords in the kinds of emotions they typically evoke within the context of the progression telling a story makes perfect sense. Very well explained. The song starts on the ii because that’s what the songwriter wanted to do with it.

    I must admit, I started feeling a bit defensive while watching the podcast replay with the continual referencing back to walking before you run stuff. I may trip from time to time, but I can walk just fine. I’ve been a member of the UU since 2008. Of the 1838 videos I’ve got uploaded to my YouTube channel, I’m guessing about 1000 of them are ukulele related. I’m not boasting. I’ve got inherently crappy rhythm and my hippocampus is messed up so bad it’s hard to remember melodies, but learned a bunch of songs and had a lot fun? Check.

    HEre’s something from a few days ago. I recorded the audio fine, but not the video, so I had t fill it in with other stuff.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by JokoJoko.

    I can walk.

    I’ve been walking for 35 years.


    I’d like to make my comment a Mad Lib,…

    Please click here to complete

  • CH


This little ditty is quite typical of how I work on music. I’ll come up with some grand idea that could take several musicians and audio engineers many hours to complete to any degree of mastery. Then I’ll mess around with it on my own for days, annoying any collaborators, gradually worsening it by adding too much to the mix and get to the point where the song is beyond repair. It then either gets scrapped or a deadline comes along, I throw the whole initial idea out the window and record something entirely different.

Last week, during the podcast, when the extension to this songwriting challenge was announced, I thought I’d be efficient by combining the weekly video challenge I’m already part of on the old forum with this challenge of a song in the key of F. The optional chord progression of I-vi-IV-V made this even more exciting for me as that was the very first chord progression I learned independent of any particular song. That progression in the key of F on a uke uses the same fingerings as a guitar playing in C (C-Am-F-G). I was a teenager when I learned it, and the story of how, when and where that happened could be the basis of a song itself. Now, how could I combine that with Week 475 of the Seasons of the Ukulele contest to kill two birds with one song?

I could sing it in a Hawaiian style! Aldrine talked in this week’s podcast about how Hawaiian music started off as rhythmic chants that tell a story. I had a story to tell. Along with that, I’ve noticed when listening to some contemporary Hawaiian songs a lot of the same themes. They often sing of family, food, relaxation, lifestyle and the making of the music itself. I could work those into my story, no problem.

The process described in the first paragraph is what happens next. Essentially, there is a very powerful “Spice” to the I-vi-IV-V that seemed to overpower any of my attempts to make it sound more “island style”. They don’t call it “the 50’s progression” for nothing!

Last night, knowing today was the deadline, I decided to turn to plan B and just start over. I was, however, able to combine the writing with something else (I’d already done something else for Week 475). One of my students was there (I’m an English teacher in Mandalay, Myanmar) and I taught him some lyric-writing basics by rhyming words in his language to English words and we used the “fruits and vegetables” flash cards we’d been using to come up with the main song elements. We randomly picked papaya and carrots from the deck.
I’m not a ukulele teacher – I was lost on how to help him handle the Dm-Bb chord change which he was struggling mightily with. So, I asked him if he’d like to try playing the U-bass. He took to it like carrots on papaya.

Unfortunately, the video wasn’t rolling when we recorded this ditty that just runs with the natural SPICE of the 50’s progression.
In my progress as a student, I’m working on week 2 of Ukulele 102 – arpeggios. The inside-out plucking technique is a beast. The 3rd instrument you hear is an attempt to add arpeggios.

  • This reply was modified 6 months, 4 weeks ago by kahaikahai.

In exercise 1, is it “okay” to just leave your ring finger on the 3rd fret of A string which is never played open in this arpeggio?

Which leads me to a question I had when Aldrine was explaining the inside-out technique and arpeggios – you wouldn’t ever play the same note twice, so for example with the F here… the 1st and 4th strings are playing the same note, so even though you got 4 strings, the the “base” F arpeggio is only 3 notes… you have to extend it up with that C on the first string to get a 4-note one…

Same thing with the G.. the 2nd and 4th strings are playing the same note,,,

Am I on track here?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)