Thursday, February 17, 2011

Getting a Banjo Ukulele!

I'm getting a banjo uke! In March 2010, almost a year ago now, I contacted musician Jere Canote of Small Wonder Banjos about making a LH concert scale banjo uke for me. It's been a long time coming but Jere informed me that it is finally done and has shipped! It should arrive by the middle of next week.

I know nothing about how to play a ukulele, much less banjo uke. I've never even picked one up. Initially my plan is to approach playing it the same way I do tenor banjo. Most folks play ukulele by strumming with their fingers, but I want to try picking notes with a plectrum. I've ordered some rubber Wedgie picks which should work for nylon uke strings. Uke tuning is different than mandolin/tenor banjo - it's not in 5ths - but with my limited musical knowledge I can figure out where the notes are and find the chords as a result.

Rather than get some ukulele instruction books or tunebooks, or seek help from other sources, I think I'm just going to approach it from a "figure it out on my own" or "find my own way to play it" perspective. If that fails then I'll fall back on more established methods, although I may seek out a few lessons from a local instructor. I know what notes in a scale make up a simple tune like Arkansas Traveler, for example, so one of my first goals with banjo uke is to learn how to pick the melody to a simple tune like that and then go from there. Eventually I may have tunes that I play exclusive to banjo uke.

I will post an update once it arrives.

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