UD#67 Good Tone From the Start

UD#67 Good Tone From the Start

Posted on

Good Tone From the Start (UD#67) from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek   Most players start out picking single notes with the thumb. So, one of the things that I have been trying to teach more clearly is how to get a good clean robust tone when you pick that way. I’ll talk about this technique today as it relates to picking AND to my first love on the uke. Here is a little video from the studio. I am playing “Danny Boy,” a song that appears in The Chord Melody Book for Ukulele: If you watch the   …Continue Reading


UD#66 Make Friends with your Metronome

Posted on

Make Friends With Your Metronome (UD#66) from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek When we play in groups the timing issue can sometimes get a little bumpy. Tell me if this sounds familiar: “Play a little quicker. You are dragging! No! A little slower. You were a little late on that note. Hmmmmmm….You were just a pinch early.” What a nightmare! Consider this for a moment. When you are playing music with someone, the sound leaves their instrument and enters your ear and is perceived by you AFTER it happens. Same goes for the sound coming off your instrument   …Continue Reading


UD#65 Carrying a Tune!

Posted on

Carrying a Tune! (UD#65) from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek   I have a lot of students who claim to “not be able to carry a tune.” These are often people who have been labelled “tone deaf,” or have been asked to “just mouth the words” instead of singing. How heart breaking! Many of these people love music but feel that they simply can’t and never will be able to sing. The happy news is that in all my time teaching I have not had one student who couldn’t learn to “carry a tune.” Maybe there are people   …Continue Reading


UD#64 Constructing Solo Ideas: Take it!

Posted on

Constructing Solo Ideas (UD#64) from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek WHAT IS SOLOING? Soloing is when a musician improvises their own melody along with the chords in a song. Imagine you are playing a song with a friend. If he/she strums the chords you might like to play along with some cool sounding improvised picking. That’s called “taking a solo.” Pop and Blues music often feature instrumental solos. In Jazz as well as Bluegrass music it is the tradition to sing or play the melody of a song and then the musicians take turns playing improvised solos. If   …Continue Reading


UD#63 Nice and Smooth: Legato

Posted on

Nice and Smooth: Legato (UD#63) from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek   I was working on legato playing with a student a little while ago. What’s legato? Playing in a legato style means to play a series of notes smoothly with little or no gap in between. One note should last until the very moment a new note is played. It creates a beautiful and fluid sound. The simplest melodies can sound gorgeous when played in a flowing legato style.The problem is that my student found it impossible to do!  No matter how much I encouraged him to   …Continue Reading


UD#62 Sounds Like a Harp: A Finger-style Uke Arrangement

Posted on

Sounds Like a Harp: A Fingerstyle Arrangement (UD#60) from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek   I’ve been wanting to teach a follow up lesson to Spanish Melody for a very long time. If you have not learned or heard Spanish Melody you should definitely check it out. It is by far the most popular lesson on Ukulele in the Dark!Go here: http://ukuleleinthedark.com/ud-39-chord-melody-spanish-melody/   SPANISH MELODY VARIATION! I’ve taught Spanish Melody to many people and over the years. I’ve developed a variation that I can play along side my students as they learn the song and it creates a   …Continue Reading


UD#61 You Are Not A Capo! (Bb chords and barring)

Posted on

You Are Not a Capo! (UD#60) from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek Some chord shapes require us to use our finger as a “bar”. This means using one finger to hold down two or more strings. Many beginner students find barring very challenging! And while many more advanced players find it possible, they also find it tiring and awkward. So, I’ve put a little piece together on barring with the index finger that I hope you find helpful, whatever your level. “Oh no! There’s a Bb in this song!” The Bb chord is usually the first chord we   …Continue Reading


UD#60 The Most Useful Chord Melody Ever: Happy Birthday

Posted on

UD#60 The Most Useful Chord Melody Ever: Happy Birthday from Ukulele in the Dark w/Guido Heistek A student of mine once commented that “Happy Birthday” was the most useful chord melody arrangement that she had ever learned. So many opportunities to use it!   But, first I have a little news. My new book, The Chord Melody Book for Ukulele, was officially released on June 1. If you would like to pick up a copy please click the link below. As a BONUS, every hard copy ordered comes with a complimentary download version! You can also purchase a copy of   …Continue Reading


UD#59 Chord Melody: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Posted on

Chord Melody: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? (UD#59) from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek Happy New Year everyone! Thank you for all of your suggestions for a holiday chord melody. I’ve settled on a chord melody arrangement of a lovely tune by Frank Loesser: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? I thought we’d have a listen to the tune first, which gives me an opportunity to share something else with you! For the past little while I have been doing “one mike recordings” of some of the students at my Vancouver studio. We gather around   …Continue Reading


UD #58 Getting from Chord to Chord: Leaving Early to Arrive on Time

Posted on

UD #58 Getting from Chord to Chord: Leaving Early to Arrive on Time from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek I was working with a student the other day.  A complete beginner. He asked me this question: “I seem to have no problem switching from G7 to C. But, I have a hard time going from C to G7. Do you have any tips to help with that?” We decided to play a simple two chord song using C and G7: Jambalaya. And indeed he was right. He went from G7 to C with no trouble. When it came   …Continue Reading


UD #57 Unidentified Flying Chords!

Posted on

Unidentified Flying Chords! (UD#57) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Today, I want to take a look at two songs: Creep by Radiohead and Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding. Both songs are in the key of G and have very interesting variations in the chords. As we learned in UD#17 the usual chords in the key of G are as follows: These are called the diatonic chords in the key of G. They are the basic building blocks for creating chord progressions in that key. While many songs use exclusively diatonic chords, both   …Continue Reading


UD#56 Money and Sound: New Instruments

Posted on

Money and Sound: New Instruments (UD#56) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek “I’ve picked up some very expensive ukuleles in the store and I don’t really hear any difference from the ukulele that I have. Why would I bother to pay so much money?” The decision to upgrade your ukulele to a “higher-end” instrument can be a tricky one. How much better will it sound? Is it worth it? I’ve put together a little listening experience so you can compare the sounds of 2 different ukes: one well-made entry level instrument and one ukulele that is considered “higher-end”.   …Continue Reading


UD #54 & #55 Green Day Ukulele Duet (When September Ends)

Posted on

Green Day Ukulele Duet (When September Ends) UD #54 & #55 from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek Today I’d like to teach you a simple and beautiful arrangement of Wake Me Up When September Ends, a song by Green Day. Here’s a recording of the arrangement. The backing part is in the left speaker and the melody is in the right speaker. Give it a listen and we’ll learn it!   When September Ends Ukulele Duet: http://ukuleleinthedark.com/filesUD/September-Duet.mp3   Okay, there have been some requests for more transcription lessons (learning by ear) so, I thought we would learn this little   …Continue Reading