Here is my review and notes from The Ukulele Toolbox DVD 1 released by Homespun Video.
General observations: Over 2hrs of instruction from the late Bob Brozman. The video has a stream of consciousness, conversational tone. The presentation jumps quickly from concept to concept. Be prepared to pause and run back. If I was just starting out, and new little about music, this video would probably overwhelm me. As an intermediate player, I found much that was interesting for me to work on. One of the nice bonuses you should be aware of is that the DVD has a PDF with all the exercises and concepts Bob introduces for you to print off.
Tuning the Ukulele (GCEA) and issues
- Guitar tuning issues are magnified because of the smaller scale of the uke.
- Use an electronic tuner, but double check the instrument against itself.
- Practical information on adjusting the nut.
- Fine tune “1 to 1 ratio” peg head tuners with a “Pinto Bean Fine Tuner.”
Right Hand Rhythm
- Brain runs many different ‘software programs’ at the same time, so divide and conquer.
- Whole arm stroke . . . down with thumb and up with first finger.
- Swung rhythm vs Straight rhythm.
- Cutting off notes (muting): professional controls where the notes end. Mute with the fleshy side of the palm.
- Strums with thumb and index, index alone and middle finger alone.
- Triplet: down middle, up index, up middle.
- Practice slow and deliberately at first, but as you speed up be lighter with less effort.
- Use the fingerboard as a landing pad for strumming.
- Trying triplets on various beats of the measure.
- All about cutting, pasting and reassembling these little ideas.
- Four finger roll and four finger roll followed by the thumb (calls it a scroll).
- Arranging the landscape of your songs: aggressive, soft, etc.
- Triplet 2 (whole arm triplet): DOWN up down UP down up DOWN up down UP down up.
- 4 2 3 1 (string numbers) fingerpicking with the thumb and index.
- Fingerpicking partial chords with triplet accents.
- Left hand finger placement for partial chords (6ths).
- Blues turnaround.
- Importance of getting variety, cutting and pasting.
- Pinching strings 4 & 2 and 3 & 1.
- Strumming across different parts of the strings changes tone and accent.
- Use the first part of your practice to focus on right hand rhythm and challenge yourself to come up with interesting variations.
The Key of C
- String science, the Greeks, harmonics and home base.
- Scales all made up of combinations of whole steps and half steps.
- The C scale.
- C and G7 chords.
- Think ahead on chord changes.
- Incorporating melodies into chord positions.
- Cadential G7 (0535).
- Alternate F (2013).
- Fingerpicking 4 2 1 3 2 1 3 2
- Fingerpicking 4 2 1 3 2 1
- Many songs use just C, G7 and F.
- Chapter 15: Putting together a blues progression. C, C7, F (and F7), and G7 plus closing turnaround.
- Embellished turnarounds and alternate chord voicings.
- Playing C, G7 and F with the 2-4th fingers to prepare for barre chords.
- Getting more leverage for barre chords.
- Relationships of chords (1, 4, 5) vs. Names of chords (C, F, G7).
- Partial chords can suggest the chord you intend.
- Some chord theory on 9ths, etc.
- Basic ‘Slants’ (partial chords) on middle strings: 00 21 43 55 77 98, etc.
The Key of G
- 1, 4 & 5 = G, C & D7.
- Alternate C voicing.
- Short and long slants in the key of G on strings 1 & 2.
- Key of F = F, Bb & C7.
- Cycle of Fifths (Circle of Fifths) and dominant chords as questions: D7, G7, C7, F.
- Practicing more difficult chord shapes.
- Chord progression Bb, Bbm, F, D7, G7, C7, F. Ending Bb, Bbm, F.
- Taking that chord progression back to C: F, Fm, C, A7, D7, G7, C.
- Major keys and their relative minors.
- A minor: Am, Dm, E7.
- Adding slaps to your strum patterns.
- 4 inversions for most chords.
- D minor: Dm, Gm, A7 (A dim).
- Chapter 31: 16 bar Calypso in Am: Am, Am, E7, Am, repeat, A7, Dm, G7, C, A7, Dm, E7, Am.
- Relative major Calypso progression.
- Sliding fully closed chords from underneath by one fret for swingtime numbers.
- 32 Bar Form: AABA. Examples with two kinds of bridges.
I Love a Ukulele
- Song tutorial.