July 1, 2019 at 4:44 am #28610timolnzParticipant
Nice work borjez. What is the uke you play?…it sounds fantastic.July 1, 2019 at 10:59 pm #28624borjezParticipant
Thank you, timolnz! I’m playing a Pono AT. I recorded using a high end mic and added a bit of dly and verb, which makes it shine, but the AT is an awesome UKE regardless!
JBJuly 2, 2019 at 9:43 pm #28639
Here is everyone on Page 13.
yellowrosecottag – that’s awesome that you gave it a go! Left hand form looks solid, but watch out for things like at 50 seconds, you tucked your ring finger behind the neck. Always keep it above the neck so that it’s ready to be deployed.
I’d also recommend trying an easier tune. This month’s (July) challenge has “Jurassic Park” as a choice. Give that one a shot 🙂
holly1 – That was an excellent performance, Holly! And I love the kazoo 🙂 It’s clear to see that you put a lot of work into this piece, and it shows! Well done!
One thing I do want to point out, I noticed that your finger bends at the first joint (for ex: pause at 53 seconds – ring finger). Not all the time, but if you watch your performance and look out for it, you’ll see it happen a few times. Try to keep it curved so your finger is placed on the string on the fingertip.
cornishdpt – Cory, I thought your fingerpicking was solid, actually I think the area that you should focus the most on for practicing is the triplet strum. Your strumming hand seems a little tense, try to loosen up a little bit. But I think you should experiment with different ways to execute the triplet strum. Check out this post, which has a few videos, each showing a different way to do it.
aquatopaz – aquatopaz – sorry to hear you had trouble with SoundCloud, but glad you got it uploaded! Great job overall, but there are a few things that I would work on:
1) Listen back and target the areas that you struggled on. So in the beginning, it kicks off on C, and you’ve got that section nailed, clean notes and timing. But the transition to the next chord, F, isn’t as smooth. Same with the transition to the 5 chord (G). So you want to loop those transitions.
2) The percussive rhythm breakdown, I honestly had trouble trying to figure out the rhythm you were playing. I’d recommend simplifying it for now and practicing counting the rhythm as you play to a metronome. Check out this post for ideas on simplifying it.July 3, 2019 at 2:54 pm #28648StephenModerator
Here’s everyone on page 15:
gaberdude – Great job on this one! I love the little smiley sunshine following you around as well! Your ukulele playing sounds pretty spot on, so I just have one suggestion for the vocals that might help a bit: If a note is too low for you, try improvising a note or two that goes up in pitch just for those places where it dips a bit too low for your voice. This way you are making the song your own and not straining your voice/missing support on those notes. The only other option would be to change the key up a step or two. Have you tried using a capo on this one? Excellent playing, and great coordination on playing and singing this one!
kumakuma – I love the E-Ukulele! This is a great one for it! You are doing a wonderful job on this, and there are a couple of things you can do to make it even stronger: I notice that you are doing more of a muted slap on beat 2, but I would recommend doing a normal down strum there as well to keep the notes in there. It can be a bit more accented with a slightly harder strum, but having the notes in there is a nice touch that makes it sound more like the original. I like what you did for the percussive part in the middle of the song, even though it’s different than Andrew’s way. He has some advice for a simpler way to play that section if you would like to check it out here.
Then just a little work on the ending, or making your own up might add a little extra flare to the song. Thank you for entering the challenge!
stinyuke – You sound awesome on this one! Great work on keeping the rhythm solid on the breakdown! One thing I noticed that might help a bit is to not tie your arm down to the body while strumming. I find it easier to have a more relaxed strum by keeping my forearm floating a bit. You should be able to stabilize the ukulele enough with your leg and your other arm. I liked the hammer-on pull-off combination at the end. Thank you for being part of the June challenge!
morrieuke1 – Excellent work on this one! You had a wonderful relaxed feel and your timing was spot on! My only suggestion is to spend a little bit of time on the part that goes to the highest frets, and figure out what angle really lets them sing out consistently. It may just be focusing a tiny bit harder just on those parts, as later on in the song you got them to ring out very nicely. After that, experiment a little bit more with vibrato like Andrew does in his performance just to spice it up. Wonderful job! Thank you for taking part in this challenge!
donovan – You are doing an amazing job! I’m very impressed with your timing and you are doing great to be able to do a duet at 9 and a half years old! Your strumming sounds great, and a little bit of extra practice on the ending and one or two other spots is all it takes to have this one completely down! When you finally got the slide at the end, it sounded great. Keep up the hard work, I think you’re going to be an amazing player one day at the rate you’re going! Thank you for your entry!
ukemaniak – Both takes were very good, but my favorite is take two! Your timing on the first half of it was perfect, almost as if you were playing to a metronome, even the last half was strong! Your triplet strum is very awesome as well! There’s not too much I can add to what you’re already doing, except to just make sure to stay relaxed with the fretting hand. You’re playing was great on this one! Thank you for being part of this challenge!
kelsey91 – You are off to a great start. It’s not easy to sing and play at the same time. I recommend just focusing on the ukulele part and really focusing on the rhythm, especially on the verses. There’s a longer pause after the second pluck in each measure. I would recommend going through the rhythm part of the reading course on Rock Class 101 to really understand those rhythms. You have what it takes, it’s just really cracking down on the rhythm. Great job! Thank you for entering the challenge!
flat-lux – That is one cool ukulele! You are doing well on this song, and focusing on the rhythm will get it to sound more like the original. There are some eighth notes at the end of measure 3 and 5 (as well as some other spots) that you are treating as quarter notes. These notes go by twice as fast, and getting those spots down will really help the song sound right. Have you gone through the rhythm part of the reading course on this site? I think it will really help you understand the rhythms on songs like this. Great job on the notes and most of the other rhythms! Thanks for being part of this challenge!July 3, 2019 at 3:53 pm #28649mfaskeParticipant
Andrew – Thank you so much for encouragement regarding “the nerves” as well as the feedback and hammer on tips! I will certainly practice this. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this site, and how much I really appreciate all the personal attention. Your monthly challenges have certainly pushed me to improve and I honestly think they are helping me get beyond that beginner’s plateau.July 3, 2019 at 4:41 pm #28650StephenModerator
Here’s everyone on page 14:
lyndallk – Wow! Great job on this one! You have a great relaxed feel and your triplet strum sounds wonderful! I don’t have any advice to give other than to keep up the great work! I would love to hear you do Wipe Out at some point. Great wok as always! Thank you for your submission!
hotmilktea – I’m glad you didn’t give up! You are doing a great job on this one! If you are new to the triplet strum, I can see why it can be a bit frustrating to learn, but you have it down now! You have a great feel and an even pulse on this. My biggest piece of advice on this one is just to watch your left wrist and keep your fingers curved more and your wrist bent less. This just reduces the risk of injury. Thank you for sticking it out and getting it down! You sound great!
gstriph – Nicely done! I like that you kept a very even, steady tempo throughout! Your triplet strum is sounding great, too! At the beginning of Melody B, double check the chord…the G string is supposed to be open. This might help you push the other notes down a little bit easier. Keep up the great work! Thank you for taking part in the challenge!
coffemug – You did a great job of getting a nice, bouncy feel on the song. Your triplet strums sound great! My main advice to you is to keep that thumb down on the neck rather than floating up so high! Other than that, just trying to keep less of an angle on your strumming hand. Your playing is great on this one! Thank you for entering the challenge!
smudge – You had a great groove on this one! I know the percussive part is a bit tricky, but you’re almost there! Andrew posted something that might help a bit with it here, but I think you know what to do, it just takes a lot of practice! If you want a little bit more of a percussive vibe on the first part of the song, you can also strum with your fingernail rather than your thumb on the C chord. You are doing great, keep it up! Thank you for your entry!
kellyblackburn – You did great on this one! Your timing is spot on, and your technique is pretty good from what I can see! It’s hard to tell on the first part, but I just want to make sure your right wrist isn’t bent too much on that first section. The only suggestion I have aside from that is to leave your pointer finger down at the very end when you do the last 3 notes, and play it as a hammer-on pull-off combination to make it a bit smoother. Great work, and I’m glad to see you in every challenge! We always appreciate seeing you active on here after all of these years!
sprintingyogini – That was great! I especially love the kazoo and the face you made at the end. I like that you recorded a bit while walking around the beach as well (like the movie). You are doing a wonderful job, and good job on the editing! There are just a few spots at the ends of phrases where the timing is just a bit different in Matt’s arrangement: Measures 10, 20, and 26 and a few others. Double check the rhythms in these spots, and reference the section of the reading course on rhythm if you need extra help. Great job, and thank you for making your entry so much fun!
becky7777 – This song is very challenging, but you’re doing great so far! There are lots of stretches, slides, and higher frets, and it can be intimidating! You’re doing great playing the higher notes, and now it’s time to add in the slides and work on the rhythms a bit more. Try taking 4 measures or less at a time, and play through each piece with a lot of focus on the rhythm. Play slowly with a metronome. Once you get the pieces down, try playing through 8 measures at a time, until you can transition smoothly through the whole piece. You’re doing a great job, keep up the good work! Thank you for your entry.July 3, 2019 at 5:22 pm #28652joannetalaParticipant
Thanks for your feedback, Andrew! I did watch the video (course) about rhythm and practiced. Thank you for noticing 🙂 Sorry for the late response … busy with work and travel lately.July 3, 2019 at 5:37 pm #28653sprintingyoginiParticipant
Thanks so much for the feedback Andrew. I really enjoy these challenges.July 3, 2019 at 6:16 pm #28655
Here is everyone on page 16.
marni11 – You aced the ending lick, that was awesome! I thought you did really well overall. But, let’s talk about a couple of things to work on:
1) check out your thumb when you’re playing the C chord section. It looks like it’s bent at the joint. We always want to keep it straight, aim for placement that is slightly above the middle of the neck. Check out this guide to see exactly where that is.
2) watch the timing during the melody. I also heard a few notes here and there that were not played cleanly. So slow it down a bit and focus on both of those aspects.
3) the percussive rhythm section has been hard for a lot of folks. I’d recommend simplifying it for now. Practice counting the rhythm as you play to a metronome. Check out this post for ideas on simplifying it.
rufio0 – Oh my gosh the ending was hilarious. And dang, your wife is quite the accomplished kazoo player. 🙂 So your playing is quite nice, which means that we need to focus on the subtleties. Let me list a few things that I heard and you can let me know what you think.
1) Triplet strum – rhythm sounds correct, but I’m not hearing enough separation with each of the three strums. I’d like you to try a few different approaches for strumming, check out this post to learn them. See if one of them helps you hear more separation in each strum.
2) a little bit more practice will help with pauses, like the one at 30 seconds. An interesting way to work on this (and to help memorization) is to start the piece from a random bar. Most of the time when we practice, we always start at the beginning of the song or at the beginning of a section, such as bar 1 of the chorus. Try and start on bar 3 instead.
3) For Melody B, work on sustaining the chords and notes more. Check out this video for help with that.
Ohh, just read your comment after I left feedback. I suppose that means I left this same advice for you previously. If you need a little extra help, we do offer one-on-one Skype lessons. That may be the best approach to help since we’ll be able to work with you one-on-one, in real time.
ukukelley1 – Way to go! Here’s a video with two tips for you.
Your feel is fantastic. The only advice I can offer is to continue practicing, that should prevent things like the little mess up in the middle.
gardn_gnome – Great job! So couple of suggestions, first I’d recommend the same advice I left about for, timolnz. Second, I’d recommend picking an easier piece. If you join us for July, give “Jurassic Park” a shot 🙂
kanae926 – Hey Kanni! Have you tried this approach: use synthetic mode with the click on, play to that, but only 4 or 8 bars at a time. Then turn a regular metronome on and record yourself playing the same section, but all by yourself. Listen back and see if you stayed in time.
So the point here is that it’s only a crutch if you always play with the guide. But I think this will be a good way for you to practice.
And the metronome is your best friend for developing a sense of timing. But once it’s developed, it’s always best to record and perform without it. Because as you said, robot.
casadot349 – That was awesome, you’ve got some serious speed! But there are a couple things that I would recommend you work on which are fundamental areas.
1) form: Let’s start with left hand form. I’d recommend scooting your thumb down so that it’s slightly above the middle of the neck, and not hanging over the fretboard. Check out this lesson to see the placement.
That lesson also talks about posture and how to hold the ukulele properly. If you watch your performance, you can see that you are slouched over it. You want to sit straight up as you play.
For right hand form, try to keep your wrist parallel and not bent downwards. I’d also recommend moving your hand back so that you are picking and strumming over the sound hole. Check out this lesson to see the placement.
2) Timing: So the melody was fast! But the percussive section was at a slower tempo. Try to make them even.
aquatopaz – Great job! So I would target your practice to focus on the areas that were tricky. Some of those areas that I heard included the transitions; so for example in the melody, one area would be transitioning from C to G.
The other thing I’d recommend is to work on timing. Again focus on small sections at a time. For example, connecting 2 or 4 bars in the percussive section, so that you eliminate pauses. Remember to start slow. Slow and steady always wins the race.
borjez – Awesome playing! I’d experiment with adding accents and dynamics to your playing. For example, in my performance of that song, in bar 14, I really accent (hit hard) the G chord on beat 3. Doing things like that help to add texture to our playing.July 3, 2019 at 6:48 pm #28656
We did it! We crushed the Spring Challenges!
240 members participated in our last 3 challenges and I have been blown away by everyone’s performances! Thanks to each and everyone of you who participated.
Tomorrow we are going live at 12 PM EST to announce the winner of the $795 Kanile’a Ukulele. The live stream link is below:
Here is everyone who participated this month. Please let me know if there are any discrepancies.
borjezJuly 3, 2019 at 8:24 pm #28657lyndallkParticipant
Thanks for your generous feedback Stephen. I’ll give Wipe Out a bit more attention at some point and post it.
LyndallJuly 3, 2019 at 9:16 pm #28658robinboydParticipant
Good luck with the draw everyone. It will be at 2am here, so I’ll catch up in the morning.July 4, 2019 at 12:23 am #28659gaberdudeParticipant
@Stephen many thanks for your generous feedback. Your suggestion about adjusting the vocals is interesting. Singing the high notes of the original arrangement was possible for me, but brought out a tone in my voice that just didn’t seem to fit. I’ll have to get a capo and try shifting the whole thing up.
What I really found a bit awkward was the fact that the first note that is sung in the chorus (E) is not found in the chord (F), so it seems to harmonize strangely — I guess we are constructing a Fmaj7 chord (?) with the help of the voice, but it threw me off for a bit, because my voice is instinctually trying to match a note within the chord itself. I had to “power through” it… I wonder if others found this tricky or if it is just me.July 4, 2019 at 1:59 am #28660robinboydParticipant
Hey @gaberdude, that’s a really interesting point about singing the E with the F chord. I was actually singing a C for the first 3 lines of the chorus and switched to E for the 4th line, which you just sung as “yeah.” I see that Katie was singing an E, though, so yes, I suppose I found it very tricky.July 4, 2019 at 2:12 am #28661gaberdudeParticipant
@robinboyd After some struggling, I also went to Jack Johnson’s original and noted that he was indeed singing the corresponding note in his key (A, over something like a Bb chord)… so I committed to doing the E.
Anyway, I think your vocal choices personalized your performance, with a nice laid back effect.
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