@Three weeks ago I was waylaid by whimsy and purchased a Groupon for ukulele lessons at the Center Stage Ukulele Academy (online). I’d been thinking about learning something like ukulele or mandolin for a while now, but you know how those things just go on that mental list of “wouldn’t it be nice to know how to… (play a ukulele, pick locks, drive a standard car, speak fluent Turkish, etc.)” and you never really make an effort to DO those things. You just sigh and say you wish you knew how. Well, a $10 Groupon and peer pressure gave me that push.
So here’s what I’ve been up to since then…
Thanks to the instant gratification of a music store close enough to walk to, I found a beautiful pineapple uke (Makala MK-P Soprano). It was the only one of that kind there, as the rest just looked like mini guitars and I was so not into them. Never had the slightest desire to play a guitar, don’t want to play something that looks like one. Downloaded a tuner app which works well, although I’ve also gotten a Snark tuner since then which is more foolproof then listening to the app tone.
I try to find time to play a little everyday. I’ve completed @30% of the lessons which is awesome but really too fast. I need to backtrack and master some of the trickier lessons because I tried to do too many the other day and got really frustrated. NOT GOOD. I love playing and don’t want to be forcing myself to practice. But I do really like the Center Stage site and the lessons so far – I have access to them for a year although of course there are plenty of free tutorials around the Interwebz.
Never having played a stringed instrument of any kind, it’s weird to have to tune something all the time and my fingertips are killing me! My friends send me YouTube links of people playing so effortlessly, but I can’t imagine ever being able to play without looking at my fingers or singing while playing. Strumming patterns totally confuse me for some reason, and I just end up strumming how I like it. I think I need a strap instead of trying to keep the poor thing in a right arm headlock. Playing a B chord of any kind correctly seems more unlikely than sighting a unicorn, and I’ve been driving my husband crazy playing (badly) the intro of Stairway to Heaven. That’s my jam, yo.
Reviews of most ukuleles insist you have to immediately change out the strings for better quality, but I don’t have any issues with the sound of mine. I guess I don’t know any different. I’ve noticed my pineapple sounds a little different than the ones the online instructors use. Deeper maybe, less twangy. Definitely better. I don’t need to fool with the strings for now (or rather, pay someone else to fool with the strings).
Don’t tell my ukulele, but I played a Kala banjolele (banjo ukulele) at the music store last week and I’ve been thinking about it ever since…