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where dem tiny bubbles

So my ukelele showed up in the mail on Friday. VERY EXCITING!!!!

now before I launch into my story of uke ownership and whatnot, I'd like to say this. Though the ukelele and players-of appear to be fun and relaxed, there seems to be a hot spot of contention. And that would be the pronunciation and spelling of ukelele (which appears to be the british way) and ukulele (which is the more hawaiian and thus authentic way: oo-koo-laylay). Sadly for me, my fingers like to type ukelele. so that's what you are getting.

now then, on with the show. So my ukelele shows up complete with pitch pipe, rubber pick, gig bag, and two sets of instructions for beginners (one came with the pitch pipe). I would love to say that I was able to grab that sucker and start making beautiful music immediately, but reality prevents me from making such a statement.

Instead, I was confounded by "My Dog Has Fleas". For those of you in the know, this is the tune that the four strings on the ukelele get tuned to. Sadly, I am completely music illiterate having tried and failed to self-start on the electric keyboard and guitar. So I blew on the pitch pipe (alot) and fiddled with the tuning knobs (alot) before I resolved that my pitch pipe was completely in another universe and sounded completely different from any noise that the ukelele was going to make.

Then I turned to the internet and found a webpage full of the sounds of a ukelele in tune. I thought I was saved!! But no, instead it was another 30 minutes of "why can't I make my ukelele sound like the webpage?"

Luckily my sister was there and being waaaay more stubborn (and having been in band -> flute) took over the process. Where upon, she discovered a few things:

1. My ukelele has geared tuning knobs. I knew this, but did not know what it meant. What it means is, unlike the guitar my dad has, you can't turn all the knobs away/towards from yourself to go higher/lower. It uses gears, which means they go clockwise or counter. So if you aren't paying attention it looks like half the knobs turn away from you to get higher, while this same action causes the other half to tune lower. I know this sounds stupid, but this will really mess you up if you don't know what you are doing.

2. "My Dog Has Fleas" sounds like this. Note* this little girl is better than me but I still can't make it past the first 15 seconds of the video cause its really annoying.

3. The pitch pipe sounds exactly what my ukelele is supposed to sound like, if I just had a clue.

So the short of it is that I can now play that classic song "Row Row Row You Boat" on the ukelele. It only takes two chords and as far as I can tell is the "Hello World" of music. Right now I'm working on "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. It takes three chords and has cooler lyrics.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 21, 2009 12:16 PM.

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