Ukulele blog // Herman Vandecauter // Brussels
www.ukulelebelgium.be

Friday, May 21, 2010

Playing the ukulele is not difficult.


The ukulele forces you to be creative!

Well strumming some chords while singing a tune is in most cases not so finger breaking difficult. If you want to upgrade your playing skills then you will need another kind of know-how and a lot of practice that's for sure.

Do you want to be creative and write your own solo pieces? Are you ready to study harmony, counterpoint, musical history and musical forms! Good ears could help as well but it's not enough.
What about getting the most beautiful sound out of it?

When I listen to great ukulele players then I observe that they play:

for 3/4 punteado (plucked) style and only 1/4 strumming.
The most charming parts of ukulele music is in the sweet sounds of the ukulele punteado style. So for me the best ukulele music is not without the punteado style. Strumming can be very nice and attractive when it is nicely performed but not all the time unless you have a very nice song or it must be strummed by a beautiful charming girl.

The sound of the next video examples did make me choose for the ukulele :
Bosko&Honey, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Rob MacKillop.........






The above means as a second point that producing nice warm and full sound is the first focus point. The choice of ukulele brand string quality and type concert soprano.....
A nice sound invites you to go on playing and will inspire you to make your compositions.


Beware for inefficient fingerings.
How to pluck "punteado" in the right way and how to choose the best left hand fingerings which are so important for a nice interpretation and to give that nice flow of effortlessly played notes? on the ukulele you will need a mixture of two types, violin fingerings and guitar fingerings. Not so easy, it seems as there are no rules but no rules kills virtuosity!


Plucking without nails (like on the lute) is nice when your fingertips are nice soft and dry I would prefer this but since I am also a classical guitarist this is out of question. Nails work also when you have the right shape and nicely finished and that's an art to keep them that way but it gives you other advantages as speed, tremolo and color changes metallico versus dolce...


There is a price to pay for every bit you want to advance!


I don't regret one minute that I bought my first ukulele 15 months ago!
To day I own a Kiwaya concert KTC2 Kiwaya tenor KTT1 Honu concert Rope Kala mango curly tenor Long neck Br√ľko soprano, I'm also in search for a soft, mellow soprano.


While the tenor gives the most freedom for compositions the soprano could produce the most soft tones. The choice is clear I will use the whole serie tenor as well a concert and soprano while I use the tenor always with a low G the concert and soprano will always have a high G string.


My goal is playing more solo concerts with my own compositions as well as arrangements of ancient music on tenor/concert/soprano ukuleles and spread the beauty around the world of this little marvel!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Orcas ukulele strings!


Testing Orcas strings from Japan  fluoro black carbon nylon on tenor with low G. 

The 5Th string low G is also nude nylon (not wounded) thinner then I should expect. So no noise at all from sliding fingers over the 4Th string and clear sound not dull.
Balance is wonderful warm sound. I can get out more musicality out of these strings then the Aquila strings witch are perhaps a bit louder but there it stops. I am going to keep them on my tenor and I think they will become my ukulele strings for ever.
tested on a Kiwaya tenor KTT1 with nails on the right hand.
Herman.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Instantanea nr. I

I just recorded Instantanea nr.I for tenor ukulele composed and played by Herman Vandecauter
Instrument is Kiwaya tenor KTT1