UD#63 Nice and Smooth: Legato

UD#63 Nice and Smooth: Legato

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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

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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)

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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

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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?

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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

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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!

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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

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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)

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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


UD#53 Latin Rhythms: Picking Patterns for Bossa and Samba!

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Latin Rhythms: Picking Patterns for Bossa and Samba!  (UD#53) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Here’s a video of me playing a tune called Blue Bossa with my Mya Moe baritone, Martin T-1 and a little help from my looper pedal. Please give the video a look. It will give you an idea of the type of the rhythm and groove that I am interested in teaching today. BASIC BOSSA NOVA: Before I start talking about technical details like fingering and counting I’d like you to get a really clear idea of the rhythm that we are going   …Continue Reading


UD#52 Trimming Away: How to Simplify Song Sheets

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Trimming Away: How to Simplify Song Sheets  (UD#52) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Today I want to talk about simplifying song sheets and chord charts. Sometimes it can be handy to know how to “trim down” or simplify chords on the fly. This is particularly true when you sit down to play with others. Sometimes there’s no time to look up chords you don’t know. It can help to know what your options are. I thought I would put together a few words on this subject today. CHORD CHART SURVIVAL: I often find myself saying something like   …Continue Reading


UD#51 Play 12 CHORDS with THREE SHAPES

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12 CHORDS with THREE SHAPES: Around the Clock (UD#51) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek   Today I want to share an little activity that I use with my students. I find it helps for remembering the names of chords. Also, it creates a framework to see how chords are related to each other. And it’s a good introduction to chords “up the neck”. More on moving chords “up the neck” here: http://ukuleleinthedark.com/704/ We use three familiar open chord shapes for this activity: C, F and A. Images: If you are using a mobile device please make sure   …Continue Reading


UD#50 Tablature: The Secret of the Shapes in the Numbers

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Tablature: The Secret of the Shapes in the Numbers, The Forest for the Trees (UD#50) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek In today’s article I want to talk about a common challenge that many of my students experience when they are reading tablature. Okay let’s get going… As many of you know, I am a big fan of learning music by ear. But, the reality is that we often have to learn music from the the written page. Either in STANDARD NOTATION. Like this:   Or in TABLATURE (often referred to as tab for short) like this:     …Continue Reading