I thought this would be a good point in time to put up some sound clips of what my practice is sounding like. Some of these are not for the faint of heart, so beware! But, I’ve kept them short.  Mostly this is ukulele stuff because, that’s what I’m doing best with, and that’s what I’ve been talking the most about, so I thought posting some of the stuff I’ve been talking about practicing recently would be good for sake of context.

1. Stand By Me Clip (Ukulele)

You can hear that some of the transitions are still a fair bit clumsy, but what you can’t hear in such a small clip is they aren’t consistently clumsy. Sometimes I mess it up, and  sometimes I don’t. I could have recorded this until I got one that sounds good, but this is called a practice, not a performance.  I want to be accurate about where I stand here, so if I mess up a little, the I mess up a little. It happens.

2. The Barre Chords

Bm

Here I’m switching between the Bm chord, and just holding down the B string, which I decided to try after the D7 adventures. Okay, the beginning is just me ironing out the basic position, making sure all the strings are ringing out clearly, and the end is me…randomly switching into chords until I hit one that sounds vaguely like a finale. Quirky, maybe, but it’s a thing I do.  You can hear a bunch of places where one of the strings doesn’t quite ring out just so. I’m finding with Bm, the bottom of my pointer finger sort of slides over the fret sometimes, and then you get that clunky string – it’s almost always the second string, occasionally the first. I’m working on it.

D7

You can hear that squeak towards the end on D7, too, but for the most part is is ringing out clearly at this point. Not 100% of the time, obviously, but it’s more smooth, overall, than Bm is right now. Mind, I haven’t attempted to put either in a song yet, that will be the real trial.

3. Em

This is that progression I posted about yesterday G to Em to C to D.  You can hear the transitions are still pretty rough, but I’m actually having more problems with the C to D to G than I am with the G to Em, which is really odd, since I already know those three chords. I think It’s primarly the D to G switch that’s getting me here. I first tried it with an anchor finger, thinking it would be the most expedient and efficient, but I’m finding the time it takes to uncoil my fingers to get from D to G is too long, so the anchor finger may actually not be the best method here. It’ll iron out. But, the good news is, G to Em is actually going far better than I anticipated. Still a bit slow, but I’m getting better at it more quickly than I thought I would, which has to be worth something.

4. And, in the interest of full disclosure, this is the ear-splitting noise I am currently making on guitar with Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door:

Okay, so the first half of this is just me practicing the chord switches. Then I try to get into the strum pattern youtube lessons teach me. I know there’s a simpler strum pattern that is easier, but I’m trying to do it the proper way. It’s not going great. It’s pretty crashy. And, while I think a good amount of the problem is a clumsy fretting hand, I am starting to feel that the worst of my problems have to do with picking. Maybe I’m totally wrong about that. I just don’t feel like I’m very good at picking at all (and when I say ‘not very good’ what I really mean is ‘abysmally bad’).

So, there you have it. It may not be pretty, but it’s where I stand right now. You’ll notice, I’m sure, that I didn’t include any bass practice in here. Bass is…somehow more complex. I’m never sure what specifically to practice. Playing a scale for you wouldn’t be terribly exciting. I think I need to really start focusing on songs, but I admit I’ve been hesitant to do that so far, not for any good reason, just one bad reason: since reorganizing, my amps and computer are on opposite ends of the room, leaving my cables all much too short to look up lessons and plug in at the same time.  I’m planning to pick up a longer cable soon to correct that, and then maybe I’ll be able to get some focus back on that.

For now, all I want to do is play my ukulele and pet my cats. It’s been a rough week – the details of which I will spare you as they’ve got nothing to do with music at all – and so, I’ve been sticking to the uke as it’s what I consider my ‘all play, no work’ time, which I have been in rather desperate need of as of late.

Until Next Time, I just want my uke to melt the world away. Is that really so much to ask?

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