UD#85 Playing Fast Notes on a Uke!

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UD#85 Playing Fast Notes on a Uke!
from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek

The Riddle:

How can you play two or three notes in a row, but only pick the string once?

Answer to follow!

Now for today’s lesson.

BLUES RIFF!

(A riff is a short musical phrase or pattern that can be played repeatedly.)

To warm up, please play this simple blues riff. Play it a few times so you get comfortable with it. It has the same notes as the opening riff to “Layla” by Eric Clapton. You can click the tablature to listen to how it sounds:

Now, try and play the blues riff as quickly as you possibly can. Try to see what your speed limit is!

When you’re ready, I want you to listen to the following audio clip. It is a recording of me playing the blues riff very quickly. ZOOM!

-CLICK HEAR TO LISTEN to the RIFF PLAYED FAST-

How is it possible to play the riff that quickly?

The answer is hammer-ons and pull-offs! (That is also the answer to our riddle.)

 HAMMER-ONS AND PULL-OFFS

If we want to play fast, it is helpful to stop picking each note individually, and instead, use the left hand to help out with the picking. This is done by hammering-on and pulling-off with the left hand – a really cool and fun tool for your uke-playing tool box. I’ve made a little video introducing the technique. If you play uke, it’s quite likely that you will have an opportunity to use a hammer-on or a pull-off. If you put a little time into it now, you’ll be ready when that moment arrives!

In the video I introduce:

1. HOW TO DO A HAMMER-ON

2. HOW TO DO A PULL-OFF

3. HOW TO DO A “DIRECT” HAMMER-ON

4. HOW TO SLIDE INTO A NOTE

5. HOW TO PLAY TODAY’S BLUES RIFF USING HAMMER-ONS

6. A LITTLE PRACTICE BLUES PIECE CALLED “HOPO BLUES”

 

That’s a lot of stuff! I know. Any one of these things could be a little nugget to practice for the next little while. So, don’t hesitate to take one thing away to work on it for a while. You can always come back later for more.

Here’s the video. Also, the tab for the lesson is below:

Here’s the tab for today’s blues riff with the hammer-ons and pull-offs marked:

Here is the tab for HOPO BLUES, the practice piece that I presented in the video:

That’s all for this newsletter. See you next time!

Guido

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