Moving Subtly Forward…and more talk about my toys.

Ok, as much as I whine about yousician glitching, when it works, it works. Tonight’s lesson actually gave me the full time anticipated, and was actually pretty interesting. I stuck to the lead path tonight, and in spite of earlier progress, the past few times I opened it have been making steady progress. The current run is all about utilizing all four fingers, and the chunk of lessons I just unlocked is all about making the pinky work, so you have spans of 4-6 frets to work through.  I’m definitely doing better with this than I used to, and while switching strings still isn’t a dream for me, as long as I’m switching between 3 or 4 that are close together I seem to do alright. It’s when I have to jump a string or two that I get all messed up, which hasn’t been happening in these past few lessons really, meaning I’m able to work techniques and practice string skipping on a smaller scale that is not as intimidating or troublesome for me at the moment.  If you want me to jump from low E to say… G…things will go badly, but as long as I’m within a chunk of 3 or 4 strings without any big jumps, I’m doing alright.

This chunk of lessons included Romanza, which runs from the 7-12 frets.  Up to now we’ve been pretty chained to the lower frets, not a heck of a lot on the high part of the neck, so it’s interesting to really be sticking to those high notes, and I find, in spite of them being closer together, they’re actually slightly harder to play, because of the way my arm comes in close to my body to get there. It feels a little claustrophobic.  It’s not bad, or seriously difficult, but it is something different I need to acclimate to.

So, tonight was actually a pretty decent night for Yousician. I had a short, but productive lesson.

In only vaguely music related happenings, I also learned that it’s perfectly easy to drill a hole in a laminate ukulele. Why would you want to do this? Well, to attach a strap button, obviously. The trick is apparently to put tape where you want to drill so that the drill doesn’t slide on the slick surface.  Rather than get rid of my very first $20 uke, I decided to convert it to a costume piece, which meant it was necessary to make a sort of makeshift strap for it. So, it doesn’t stay in tune, ever, and it will barely ever be played, but I now have a nice little ‘minstrel’ costume accessory, which means I get to keep it almost indefinitely without dubbing it ‘unnecessary clutter’.

Speaking of unnecessary clutter, I have sold my first two guitars on. The Rogue Dreadnought left at the end of last week, and the castlerock left this evening.  The prior, apparently, was destined for a ‘very happy 14 yr old’, and the latter is destined to undergo surgery and become some sort of custom strat build.  I think those are probably the perfect things for each of those instruments, really, and they will get more love from someone else than they could have gotten from me, so there is no remorse about parting with my very first guitars. I have my Hellcat and my Exit 22, and really, that’s all I need on the guitar front for the indefinite future.  I think, eventually, I will probably want another acoustic, something that fills the sound space that the rogue dreadnought did, as it was a much peppier sort of acoustic sound than my hellcat, so there’s definitely room to fill that void someday, but that’s definitely a ‘someday’ purchase. Once I can play and feel at least competent.  The same goes for bass. I have room for another, fancier bass, once I can justify it. I still love my bass, but eventually I know I will want one with more than one pickup.

And with a 5 guitar rack holding 3 instruments, I have some room to grow when the time comes. In the meantime, they’re nicely spaced out, not bumping each other and quite happy as they are.

Now, what did I do with the money from the sale of two guitars? Well, obviously, I bought another ukulele. lol. I found a really good deal on a refurbished tenor that would have been way out of my budget if not for the bargain, so I snapped it up when I stumbled across it. More info on that once it arrives and I’ve had some time to fiddle with it.

As far as things I’ve been fiddling with, the Rubin uke is starting to mellow out a little. It still doesn’t hold a candle to my darling little kala (I wonder if I will always love the kala so much, or if, as time goes on and I try fancier instruments, the love will fade. I hope not, b/c I truly do love my kala.), but the sound is becoming less shrill the more I fiddle with it. My ears are starting to acclimate to it a bit, too, but I feel like it’s definitely mellowed a bit. I guess that’s just the strings breaking in. I don’t remember that being as extreme on the Kala, but I also don’t remember if I put brand new strings on the Kala, or if I just took the ones that were on it and flipped them (the latter is probably more likely).

I hate breaking in new strings, btw. If there is a magic trick to make that transition go faster, I want to know what it is. New strings are an evil that is clearly in league with the devil.  They don’t stay in tune, they don’t sound as good; they make me sulk.

In any case, I am out of night, and once again with not nearly as much practice time as I had hoped for, but such is life.

Until Next Time, definitely moving in a subtly forward direction.

2 thoughts on “Moving Subtly Forward…and more talk about my toys.

  1. Aloha Shelby,

    Glad your musical journey is going well! I understand the difficulty with new strings and know that they can be a bit of a distraction and sometimes a pain when trying to practice. After I change strings on either my ‘ukuleles or guitars I will usually stretch the strings by pulling lightly, perpendicular to the fretboard. This helps tighten the knots on the bridge and on the tuning pegs. After that the essential idea is that you want your strings to stretch out to the optimal tension for the respected pitch. Bending notes, the light perpendicular pull, or even just strumming away should help adjust your strings faster. Also beware of temperature changes such as leaving your instrument in the sun as that can effect your tuning as well.

    Hope that helps! Best of luck with your practice!

    -Neal Chin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the input Neal.

      I’ve tried that tip, I think, but I’m never sure how much to do, I guess? I don’t have as much issue with the new strings on my guitars as much-my guitars are amazing about staying in tune. But, on the uke, they’ve been driving me mad – I suspect because nylon strings don’t stay in tune as well to begin with. On the guitar, a few slides and bends and it seems to tune just fine, if it takes a few days before that initial brightness mellows. I had a hell of a time getting the new uke to stay in tune for more than a minute or so, though. It’s maddening by contrast, but doing better now. My solution so far has been to do some fast strumming, which seems to help things along, for sure. Of course, it is a $40 uke, so really, I can’t expect much. Further testing soon, when my newer, fancier, toy arrives. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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