I cracked open the Ukulele Handbook again tonight, and even though I haven’t quite got the “week 3” chapter ironed out, I feel like I’m familiar enough with the concepts to move on, and just continue practicing them as I go. I have almost the entire C major chord family down, except Em, and I know that one, I just can’t switch in or out of it easily because it’s more spread out than the other chords I’ve learned so far, so it’s still a bit cumbersome, and I haven’t come across any ukulele songs yet that use Em to get my practice in.

As for the rest, my head understands, but my hands are still clumsy on some of the finer details. That’s okay; I’ll keep working on those lessons, but I don’t think it’s enough to stop me from moving forward, as many of them are things that I’m unlikely to use until I’m at a more advanced level anyway. (Melody on the ukulele, for example: while it’s a useful concept and something to continue working on, it’s also not exactly a beginner level technique, especially when multi-finger plucking is involved. I understand it, but I’ll be pretty clumsy about it for a while yet. Worth working on, for sure, but not worth stopping me from moving forward on more chords, other strumming patterns, or whatever else the book and youtube videos throw my way.)

ANYWAY, Week 4 starts off with how to tune your uke to itself. Cool, though I wonder if that lesson wouldn’t have been more appropriately placed in week 2 . I feel like that’s a concept that would have been better placed earlier in the process. Obviously, I’m not doing these in a week by week format. I’m more or less just alternating between books and videos based on…whatever random thing I feel like at the time. I really should aim at a little structure, but the ukulele is the instrument I’m doing the best with so far, so I must be doing something right.

Next up is the calypso strum. Uh, wait a second. This is the same exact strum as the “rock strum” youtube taught me for the guitar, the same exact strum as the “island strum” that my most recent youtube uke lesson taught me.  Which makes me wonder how many names this strum pattern needs? It’s like the thing has an identity disorder. It keeps popping up, and it keeps calling itself something else.  I thought for sure that this had to  be something different about the calypso strum that I wasn’t noticing, so I looked it up on youtube.

This lesson was handy:

…because he details the difference between a straight strum and a swing strum.  He has another lesson on the same subject, but this one is a bit clearer on the difference. The older lesson I had to watch twice to figure out where the difference was, but the one I’ve linked above explains it pretty darn well.

And, of course, it also confirms that this is, in fact, the same exact strum that I’ve already learned by two other names. Makes me wonder what it’s going to be calling itself when next we meet. On the up side, if it keeps appearing in it’s various incarnations at the regularity it has been, I’m going to be able to play it in my sleep, which I guess is the goal anyway.

Until Next Time, I’ll be dreaming in downstrokes and upstrokes.

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