Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hey folks, time for an update!

First off, sorry this hasn't been very active. My new job leaves me less free time and after the Sept turnout I wasn't comfortable trying to book the big room at the library. When I tried they were booked out several months, very discouraging as it's more centrally located.

I'd like to try meeting someplace new, like the Black Bear Crossing cafe at Como Park. Or some neighborhood cafe someplace, got one near you where we could meet?

Just because I've been busy doesn't mean I haven't been playing my ukes. I've found a couple of the John Pak song sheets to be very good and should offer some good opportunities to help everyone move out of first position chords. Check out his Edelweiss (chords) and Feed The Birds (from Mary Poppins). If you can make it to the next meeting we can have fun with figuring out some better (or just different) fingering to mix it up in second position.
http://web.mac.com/johnpak/iWeb/homepage/Uke%20Song%20Sheets%20A-K.html

I've also been mulling about a project of sorts that maybe a few of you can either help with or just benefit from. I've got a bunch (almost all) of the Jumpin' Jim uke books. One of the drawbacks is the lack of a CD with most of them. Even when you know the basic song you don't always know how it should sound "as written." I'd like to record as many of the songs from his books as possible and organize them online for others to reference. And "playing as written" can still be quite individual and leave room for multiple versions. Some people just strum the chords exactly as written, some may fingerpick the melody as written, others may combine to play a chord melody (the chords as written but in different positions and/or adjusted to pick up the melody line). This could give new players guidance to what the songs sound like and give others ideas for taking them to another level. Let me know what you think, I'm also interested in easy ways to record if you've got ideas. So far I've only recorded through the pinhole mic in my mp3 player, it sounds remarkably well but I know there must be room for improvement.

Does anyone want to meet this weekend? Short notice and all but I could make it Sunday 11/4 if anyone is interested. If not then I'm looking a couple weeks out before I can try again.

Do people want to start working on Xmas songs yet? It'll come up fast! We MIGHT be able to get in 2 meetings before Xmas but that's about it. Let me know what you think about any of this, leave comments, I love comments.

If you know of someplace we can meet and play then pick the date time and let everyone know, or just me and I'll let everyone know, but lets get together and play!

Keep StrumMn,
Brian

2 comments:

jamison said...

YES! It's like you read my mind concerning the lack of CDs in most uke books. I've been racking my brains for the past two weeks and the only ideas I came up with were to purchase the individual songs on iTunes or start scouring the used record stores and eBay.

The problem with the first idea is that I doubt iTunes has many (if any) Tin Pan Alley tunes, and the second idea is expensive! I just found that out when I purchased a Bee Gees Greatest Hits CD only to find that the one song I wanted it for (Nights on Broadway) was the wrong version. I still can't figure out the bridge (what the heck is a Am/G or Am/D chord?).

I also just bought Jumpin' Jim's Gems and an old Irving Berlin songbook but so far have only been frustrated due to the fact that I'm not familiar with the songs.

Brian said...

Woohoo! I've got the Gems and Berlin books, both great! (and both still available NEW.) I can help with some of the songs but others are still beyond me. I'm probably playing about half of the Berlin stuff, I don't retune but play in C even if written otherwise. As for the Am/X chords... the X is the bass note. If you can make it the lowest note in your chord then great, otherwise skip it or play what sounds good to YOU. Or get someone to play bass along with you and that note is for them.