Monday, June 17, 2013

La Musica! La Musica!

Yeah, yeah, another uke post, but what can I say? It's my new hobby, and it's still calling my name. Might not be the droids for which you are looking, and if so, move along; I'll probably get back to something more interesting later.

Maybe ...

Um. Anyway, I decided that I need to have some goals, else I'd spend all my time working to get the book done. Not that I won't have to burn the midnight oil for that anyhow, and will, but to the musical end, and giving myself plenty of time past the book being turned in, I have three George Harrison instrumental pieces, plus a McCartney, I want to have learned come fall:

1. While my Guitar Gently Weeps (Jake Shimabukuro's version, via Corey Fujimoto.)
2. Here Comes the Sun (Herb Ohta, Jr./Jennifer Perri's arrangement.)
3. Something ("Dominator"'s arrangement.)
4. Blackbird ("Jim's" arrangement.)

I can play two of these on the guitar, though that doesn't really help for the ukulele, which versions are in different keys, with quite different fingering.

The Fujimoto and Dominator arrangements are supported by tutorials on YouTube, for those of you who might want to give 'em a shot. No tab for Fujimoto's version, but he lays out the chords and picking pattern in precise detail: Put your pointer finger on this string and fret, and your pinky here ... so you can learn it without having to know the names of the chords (which he does mostly tell you.) I have a pretty good start on this one, and while it won't sound like Jake, I should be able to manage to make it recognizable.

Dominator has generated a tab to go with his tutorial for Something, which includes a solo approximating the original, and it's well-done, even to showing things like how to pre-bend a string a half-step for the third-note opening the melody.

It is true that a thing may be explained simply if the teller understands it properly. Of course, being able to understand it is not the same as being able to do it ...

Sun is the easiest, mostly just picking the chords and putting in some simple fills, and they are all included.

Not overly ambitious, four songs in three months, but repertoire is more interesting than eating my vegetables (learning chord progressions and scales), even though I know I should do that, too ...

Stay tuned. We'll see how much progress gets made, come the end of September.

Meanwhile, on the band front, the Closet Musicians have another gig, end of July. This is at an annual get-together, a bunch of musicians at a barbecue and beer party. On the one hand, we are only doing four songs; on the other hand, it will be in front of real musicians. It's one thing to play for a bunch of folks at an assisted-living home, with our music stands and books to hide behind; it's another to play on a stage with only the instruments and voices. Most of the folks in the group haven't memorized the four pieces, even though we have played them scores of times together.

1. Sloop John B.
2. Way Down in the Hole.
3. Can't Help Falling in Love with You.
4. House of the Risin' Sun.

None of these are musically complicated, two of them with only three or four chords. But playing in front of real musicians ... ? 

Maybe if everybody has enough beer beforehand–including us ...


Dojo Rat said...

Are the Uke's pictured yours? They look awesome. What variety and build are they? I may have missed that post.

I think you are way ahead of me now on the Uke.
We did have a great guitar jam in the saloon for our annual BBQ train wreck, got my music groove back I think!

Steve Perry said...

Yep, I've spent my budget on ukes for like twenty years, and two is my limit. (Well, except there is one other I have just found out about, and I'm waiting to hear ... That'll be a great story if it happens, and I'll tell it, if it does, but meanwhile, I won't jinx it.)

Those pictured are mine, the link:

Both are used, and considerably less expensive than they would have been new. Sweet sounds, both, and they are currently wearing combinations of Living Water and Worth Brown strings.