Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Strummin' my six string

It's been years since I've played any music. Playing it on my iPod, Boris, doesn't count.

Back in the day - way, way, way, back in the day that is - I could sit down and bang some things out on a piano. I also used to play bass - the big ol' upright and electric. Didn't much like the electric bass, but that was more to do with not being able to find one that fit my hands than anything else.

So, I've been wanting to pick up an instrument for a while. I like the idea of sitting around with a couple friends and playing some music. Just the thought of strumming and picking with buddies sounds neat to me. The ability to do that - sadly - doesn't magically appear overnight. Apparently, there are some important steps like learning how to play an instrument and practicing and such. I really don't like complications like that, but some things can't be avoided.

For a long time, I've had my list narrowed down to either guitar or violin. I know, that's to ends of the spectrum, but that's just how I am sometimes. Guitar is the more versatile of the two - obviously. You're much more likely to know someone with a guitar laying about than a violin. And people are just more apt to let you play their guitar than to play their violin.

A few years ago, I added the mandolin to the list. I really like the way they sound. They're really cool looking too - perhaps one of the most beautiful looking instruments ever. They're not the simplest string instrument on the planet however and that prettiness is sort of a barrier to busting it out in a crowd of people - many of whom are likely to be drunk.

Not too long ago, the list was lengthened by the addition of the ukulele. What could be simpler to play and easier to carry around. It's only got four strings, so there's not too much to learn to work with. The ukulele also doesn't span a bunch of octaves, so things are further simplified.

They can create a neat sound and - let's face it - they're just a happy little instrument. Who doesn't smile when they hear a ukulele? The ukulele has got to be the nearly perfect summer instrument - the very embodiment of sunshine, sand and the ocean.

Today, I jumped in. I bought myself a cute little ukulele. It has no name yet, but that will surely come. It's a Lanakai LU-21C - classic length and sort of middle of the road, beginner quality. It looks just like the picture up top.

It's going to have to suffer through a lot of terrible sounding practice sessions, but I think it can handle it. I've learned a couple of nice, little chords already - C major and G7 major. Lo and behold, you can play 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' with nothing more than the C major chord. So, I guess you could say that I've already learned a song. If you add the G7 in, you can play 'Skip To My Lou'. Who knew? I haven't mastered the sliding back and forth between the chords yet...but it's my first day.

Anyway, it would be nice to at least get a few chords down and learn some basic strummin' along technique. Then it's down to the Sugar Shack with a longboard strapped to the Woody and my ukulele sitting in the back seat. Strum that little baby around the bonfire and watch the Bettys flock around.

Till then...A hui hou! Don't be a Kolohe.


Important update:

Thanks to SME for pointing me over to YouTube to check out some uke clips. I will never get that time back, but it was worth the expenditure. Just so you can get an idea of how I can't play - and may never be able to play - here's a nice little clip:


SME said...

I saw a really cool ukele rendition of "Undun" on YouTube.

Shawn said...

I'm gonna have to go over there and take a peek! I bet there's a ton of ukulele stuff on YouTube.

Slade said...

I've always wanted to learn to play the guitar...or the piano...I think women who play those instruments are so sexy.

SME said...

That was a truly excellent clip. Astoudning what folks can do with such a funny-looking little instrument, eh? It may not be sexy, but it looks like a lotta fun.