Participate in the February 2020 Member Challenge – Technique Toolbox Courses!

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    I don´t think the premium member thing is still a thing anymore. At least I cannot find it in the description of the monthly challenges. I assume it was only a thing for the kala challenge.


    Ya the premium thing doesn’t matter for this challenge.


    Thank you Sam! I was really having a time of it getting my video sent. Crazy! Finally worked though. Thanks again for your assistance.


    Ah I see, I thought I missed that part somewhere in the first post.

    you’re welcome, glad to hear it worked out!


    Here’s everyone on page 7:

    ccwuke – Great job on this one! You are playing the notes well, and have the mechanics down! One thing that takes a bit of work is getting the thumb notes to come out a bit more clearly at the faster tempos. Try practicing slowly and work on getting the open G string note to ring out a bit more. I’m not sure, but it sounds like you may be muting it accidentally with the left hand. Double check to see if that’s the issue. If not, it’s all about developing the thumb motion a bit more. You are well on your way! Great work on a challenging technique! Thank you for your entry.

    cloud_cactus – You are doing a wonderful job on this! Your harmonics are ringing beautifully! The only part that you could improve upon is a few spots where your hands shifting caused a few open strings to sound unintentionally. This happened mainly at 0:18 seconds in when you were placing your hand for the C chord in measure 10. This is such a small detail that I honestly wouldn’t mention it normally, but you played so well, it’s really the only criticism I can find! Excellent performance on this song! Thank you for joining the challenge!

    wongbrown – Well done! You sound like you are off to a great start, and I would recommend playing the piece a bit slower to help with accuracy on the harmonics and chords. Your left hand pointer finger is occaisionally a bit behind the fret rather than right over the piece of metal, causing a slightly muted harmonic. Then it’s just a slight bit of accuracy work when shifting to the few chords in the piece. You sound great on this, just a tiny bit of slower practicing and you’ve got it! Thank you for participating!

    samash07 – Congratulations on your first entry! I think you are playing the harmonics very well, and the strums sound fine! The main advice I have for you is to work on the timing a bit more. I hear some hesitations as you move around, and certain parts are slightly rushed as well. I recommend playing along with Andrew at the end of the lesson video. He counts as he plays at a slower tempo. This will help you understand the counting while keeping a steady pulse. Keep up the great work, and thank you for your entry!

    Catherine – Excellent! This is a tricky technique, but you have the hang of it! It’s tricky to keep the pulse even while using the thumb in this manner, and you are up for the challenge! The main thing you might be able to improve upon is accuracy with the right hand strumming fingers. When you hit the C string on beat one of measure two, it’s tough not to hit the E string with it. One way to avoid this is to mute the E string slightly with the left hand, or you can stop your right hand from going through the E string by stopping on it after traveling through the C string. It’s a small detail, and really doesn’t affect the piece, but it’s something to work on simply for the sake of technique. Awesome feel on this. Thank you for participating in this challenge!

    laurasil – Great job on this one! You have almost all of the harmonics ringing out crystal clear! Your timing is also very strong on this one. For effect, when you strum the C chord in measure 10, you can move through the strings a bit slower to create the effect of three separate hits being quickly played if you would like to add a little embellishment. However, this performance is strong the way it is, too! Thank you for your participation!

    marama – You are off to a great start! This technique is a hard one for sure, so practicing it at your current speed is a great idea! The rhythm is a bit different than what you are playing: instead of playing the first two hits back to back and then leaving space after the 2nd, you want to leave space after the first note. If you counted “one and two and three and four and,” you would play on “one,” “two” “and” “three” “four” “and.” If this is super confusing, try using the tab play along, and slow the speed down to 30%. Then stay at this tempo until you’ve developed the muscle memory a little bit. You are doing a great job, it just takes a lot of work on this technique! Thank you for your entry!

    jonathan_gabel – You’re off to a great start on this! The main challenge on this is to keep the thumb notes in time with the other notes: the rhythm is: “one two and three four and” where the thumb notes are on the “ands” which are timed evenly between the numbers. Right now your thumb is hitting those notes a tiny bit too quickly, making the feel very different even though you have the notes right. I would practice at a super slow tempo with the play along, working to have control of where the thumb notes end up. Then gradually speed it up making sure to keep the feel. It’s hard to develop control over the thumb, but you can do it! Keep up the good work! Thank you for joining the challenge!

    nitsur – Awesome! This technique is super hard, but you seem to be getting the hang of it! Once you work out the few hesitations that were happening, my advice is to put a little more force behind the the notes to try to get the finger nails to add that “twang” sound to have it sound a bit more like a banjo. It might also be easier to get that sound on a smaller ukulele or one with a brighter tone wood. Great job on the new technique!


    We had 37 members participate this month! This was NOT an easy challenge as it involved learning NEW techniques and playing styles! Major props to each of you who participated on a job well done! 🙂

    This month’s prize was a Gold Tone Banjolele in your choice of color. So without further ado, the winner is:



    Our March Challenge is LIVE: The theme is Classical Music and we’re giving away a NEW PRIZE: a $250 Spalted Maple Tenor Islander Ukulele! Hope to see everyone in the challenge!

    P.S. Stephen will post the remaining feedback for folks on page 8 soon.


    Here’s everyone on page 8:

    stinyuke – Great job on this one, and you definitely have all the notes down! It’s hard for me to tell in the video, but are you only using your thumb on the G string? In this song, the claw hammer technique uses the thumb only playing the G string, and every other note is a down strum with the fingernails. The thumb is anchored, allowing the hand to strum with a little bit more force to get the “twang” sound like a banjo. I hope this helps a bit to make the technique sound more authentic. Keep up the great work, and thank you for your entry!

    karenj – Great job on this, and way to go on playing the advanced version! my only advice for now is to not wear the bracelet since it is hitting the banjo head out of time and obscuring some of the notes! Then just continue to play until you work the song up to speed. Awesome playing, and thank you for joining the challenge!

    lisa-k – Wow! Great work on this version! You are definitely getting the idea down beautifully! My only advice is to put a little more arm weight into each note with the plucking hand. This extra push will help the notes have a bit more of that banjo “twang.” This was an excellent performance! Thank you for entering this challenge!

    apblondie – Wonderful job on this! You already know which harmonics are the most difficult, so go back and practice those few, and you’re golden! I love the video intro and outro. Keep up the great work, and thank you for your entry!

    omaon4 – You are off to a wonderful start! Just a little bit of extra work on a few chords and being careful not to hit any extra strings with the right hand pointer finger, and you’ve got it! Then you can work your way up to speed when you’re ready! Awesome job, and thank you for joining the challenge!

    jinajupiter – Great work on both of the songs! On Shortnin’ Bread, it sounds like you are bending the 2nd fret on the C string out of tune as you are playing, so make sure not to pull down that far on the string. If this isn’t the whole issue, it might be an intonation or tuning issue on the C string. Great job, and I love how you were keeping time! Are you playing a kick drum or stomping on something out of the camera? Wonderful playing as always! I look forward to the surprises you add to the songs! Thank you for your entry!

    annemarie – Very well played! Your timing, feel, and notes were great! It sounds like there’s only one tiny spot around 20 seconds in that could use a tiny bit of extra practice, and then you’ve got the whole song nearly perfect! Thank you for entering this challenge!

    lakeside339 – Excellent work on this one! You are doing a great job with this technique! If you want to sound a bit more like a banjo, just put a little more push behind each note to get the “banjo twang.” You’re ready to start speeding it up to full speed! Thank you for your entry!

    ukukelley1 – Nicely played! The notes are clear and have a bit of than “twang” sound that this technique is great for! My only advice on this one is to keep a steady rhythm throughout. If one section is too hard to play as fast, try starting the song at the speed you can play that section at comfortably. Keep up the great work! Thank you for joining the challenge!

    isabelm – Awesome job on this! My only advice for you is similar to ukukelley1’s: Play slightly slower for now until you work out all of the hesitations. Then work on building speed, but only after playing slow and steady with accuracy. Thank you for your entry!

    kirpuff – Congratulations on your one year uke-iversary! Great playing on this…that was very fast, and you were comfortable at that speed! Spend just a little bit more time on the section at the end to work out a slight hesitation, and you’ve got it! Have you really only been playing for one year? You are playing like someone who’s played much longer! Thank you for entering this challenge!


    Yippiiiii congratz Marama.
    Stephen the stompbox is just my huge boots banging on the wooden floor 🙂
    I actually bended the string on purpose to create the blue note.
    Not sure if that is banjo-esque

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    Congratulations Marama!


    Congratulations Marama! Nice prize. 🙂


    I am happy for you, Marama!


    Congratulations Marama! It’s a lovely instrument!



    Thanks everyone. I’m thrilled and will be anxiously awaiting the banjolele.

    Thanks @andrew for your feedback. I will have to keep working on timing and the clawhammer technique.


    Congratulations on the raffle win @marama. Hope you enjoy the Banjolele and show it off to us with a performance.

    Wow, I’m amazed at your observation skills. I learned this piece in the last 4 days of the month and decided to throw in an entry to see my progress in playing Harmonics which, as per your feedback, I’ve got them down. Now about the hesitation part, there are 2 issues which I faced:-

    1) I have stage fright so it’s kinda weird that I experienced that through a camera lens too. Hopefully, I’ll be able to cope better in the future videos.

    2) Since I only practiced the piece for a couple of days, I was thinking “Okay I’ve played this measure, what was next?” leading to hesitation while moving my hand along the fretboard. What’s weird is that I have the whole piece memorized but I still feel hesitant. Not sure how to tackle that.

    I’ll work on the timing and go through Andrew’s video again. I definitely need to start counting while playing, which I never do. Thanks again for your feedback Stephen!

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by samash07.
    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by samash07.

    Congratulations Marama! I am very happy for you!

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