Thursday, 13 August 2015

Memories, and a ukulele is the same thing as a guitar

While talking with Dan, one of the guys that I work with, my guitar and Youtube and all things Jawmunji came up in discussion. While I was laughing at his amazement at how many views I had, I mentioned I took some screen captures of "special moments" on Youtube and he convinced me to dig them up. Sadly I didn't take anywhere near enough screen captures of special moments, but here are two ones that still get a giggle from me.

First up, on the most subscribed of all time in Australia, page 2, 26th September 2008, look, I'm ahead of Delta Goodrem.  Take that Delta!  This was page 2 so it put me #21 in Australia overall.  (Fun fact: my peak most subscribed was #19, and to this day I still have more subscribers than Delta :-))




Second up, on the 6th November 2008 when I uploaded "Jealous Guy" I was the Top Rated in Australia on that day.  Not the most views overall, but #1 Top Rated.  Kylie Minogue and Keith - beaten! Natalie Bassingwaighte - beaten!  Ha ha! (Fun fact:Youtube used to be 1-5 stars rating system before it went to thumbs up/down).



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During my discussion with Dan he revealed he had bought himself a really nice ukulele, but hadn't got very far learning it. I bought a fairly nice non-toy ukulele last year - for the kids - and I had learnt a few chords but hadn't really understood it. Talking with him about it inspired me to think about it, which I did, and I realised...

AS A GUITAR PLAYER, YOU CAN PLAY THE UKE, IT'S BASICALLY THE SAME THING!

See, the tuning for a standard uke is GCEA, but that bottom G is higher than the C and E. That threw me as a guitarist. But when I learnt the G chord on the uke, which is the same shape as a guitar D chord, I realised something was going on. And in thinking, those ukulele CEA strings...if you transpose the top 3 strings of a guitar, GBE, up four steps...you get CEA! No wonder a D shape is G on the uke!

But that high G on the bass, how does that work? Hang on, 4th string D on the guitar, go up 4 steps, it is a G! Oh I see, it is the same note, but an octave higher! So, a standard ukulele is a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret, the 4th string up an octave, and the bottom 2 strings removed! Suddenly it all makes sense.

To prove this, I set about attempting to play a fingerstyle song on it, one that I had already noodled with discovering the D->G chord.  And I recorded a quick vid to show you:




Enjoy!
JAW

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Monday, 3 August 2015

What's happening August 2015

So I cold-emailed five hotels near me searching for a gig. A month later and no response. I went with hotels because they generally have a lobby, and the idea of "piano lounge/piano bar" to play some tunes works for me. I all but said in the email "I'll come down there and play for free"; I guess cold-emailing is low expectation, and we all get so much spam "too hard - delete", but I remain a bit disappointed. I still would like to play somewhere, I guess I'll leave it for Shaun to get me some corporate gigs as the weather turns brighter and end of year functions start happening. Well, maybe I'll do a few more cold-emails - that's how I got my last gig.

Meanwhile, I've had to step up and get teaching the kids music. Day job is slowing down so less money coming in so paying for lessons had to slide. When the day job perks up I'll see if I can get proper lessons again, our music teacher actually understands music and can teach it unlike me...I'm all just technique. I've decided to teach songs to play as an ensemble. I've got the oldest daughter on bass, son on drums, and youngest daughter on piano. I'm inspired from their last term of lessons, where they had a music concert with our music teacher, and she convinced me to accompany my oldest daughter (solo bass guitar is kinda, well, it needs accompaniment). I dragged the boy in too, and it worked out well, here's one snippet that was caught:


Of course now I need to have the littlest involved, so I need to have a piece for piano, bass, drums and possibly me on guitar, and hopefully I can convince one of them to sing. Now this is trickier than it sounds - something that can suit the various skill levels between the kids - something achievable and fun. Of course, there is nothing on the internet that specifically fits that bill, but after some googling I decided that they could all do "Stand By Me". Some arrangement thereof of course. And where do you get such an arrangement?

In true JAW style I make my own. I have started using Musescore which is quite a well written piece of open source free music scoring software. It works differently to my tried and true Powertab so I was initially quite frustrated. I took deep breath, did their "getting started" tutorial which was very helpful, and away I went. I can create a score for the instruments I want and so far all the features I expected I have found. I'll talk about it more as I use it more, I believe it may replace Powertab as my go-to for recording dots (it does tabs too).

As for me and fingerstyle, I have three pieces ready to be video recorded, I'm just not setting aside the time to do it! Must get on with it! Soon! :-)

JAW

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