Jazz Ukulele - Technique

Yes! You can play jazz on a ukulele!!!

What is Technique?

cartoon_hand_RHMusical technique is simply the physical aspect of playing a musical instrument. The ability to exert efficient, optimal control in order to produce the precise musical effects that are desired. Improving one's technique generally entails practicing exercises that improve one's muscular sensitivity and agility. Technique is independent of musicality.

To play the guitar or ukulele effectively, your fingers need strength, agility, flexibility and coordination.

Here's Wikipedia's definition of Technique:

Technique is the physical control and coordination needed to play an instrument or sing. It involves position, efficiency of motion and effort, as well as exercises to develop specific skills.
WidipediA link

Technique

Technique is the physical side of the instrument. Beginning with fundamentals like fingering hand position. Technique is pretty mucj style agnostic and transferable to a wide range of styles and genres.

For guitar one aspect is using a pick, the pick hold and the picking motion.

Fingerstyle on the ukulele and guitar can and should also be explored.

Strength, independence, coordination and endurance need to be developed for the both the right and left hand, regardless whether using a pick or fingerstyle, or the hybrid technique of pick and fingers.

All aspects of right and left hand technique can developed through a series of graduated exercises to develop this strength, independence, coordination and endurance. The mechanical emphasis is just the beginning. Once you have a grip on the physical skills, you graduate into musical technique. Scales, arpeggios, intervals and sequences are all explored through the six essential fingering principles. The goal of these studies is to give you the control you need to play what you hear.

No Movement - No Sound

cartoon_hand_RHThe right hand, for right hand players and left hand for left hand players, is responsible for getting the strings moving – No movement - no sound.

Strings can be plucked, picked, strummed and any combination of the same to get the strings moving.

Pick up your ukulele and finger a C chord. Nothing happens until you get the strings moving. Everybody sounds the same until they get the strings moving.

An interviewer once told the great guitarist, Chet Atkins. “That guitar sounds great”. Chet put the guitar down and then asked “How's it sound now?”

Initially my fingerstyle technique was limited to Bossa Nova style accompaniment using fingers that I learned as a jazz guitarist. It wasn't until I started developing my concert repertoire for ukulele that I really started exploring legit fingerstyle technique. With 20 plus years as a private guitar, bass and ukulele teacher, and up to 60 students a week at times. I know the value of dedicated practice when it comes to learning a specific instrument techniques.

So I set out to explore fingerstyle and incorporate in to my playing repertoire.

Fingerpicking can be organized into two styles:

  • Alternating Thumb Style — a strumming style that utilizes the thumb and two fingers. on guitar it's called Travis Picking and on banjo it's Scruggs Style
  • Classical Guitar Technique — uses the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. The traditional p i m a classical guitar technique.

Left Hand

cartoon_hand_LHThe Left Hand is the fretting hand, responsible for fingering notes and chords on the fingerboard.

The names of the left hand fingers are identified using Arabic numbers: 1 2 3 4. For guitar and ukulele the thumb doesn't count as it's main role is in support of the fingers applying an opposite and equal motion to the fingers.

Right Hand

cartoon_handThe Right Hand is responsible for plucking or strumming the strings. Either using a pick, fingers or a combination of a pick and fingers.

If you're studying classical guitar these would be initial p i m a of their corresponding Spanish names. We're not so we'll use the English initials thumb, index, middle ring, pinky

Technique Lessons

Here are all the lessons tagged covering reading.

Advanced Single Note Fingering Drills for `Ukulele

To develop strong and independent left hand technique these series of graduated drills or finger gymnastics will increase your the comfort zone of usable technique.

Basic Single Note Drills for `Ukulele

Basic one, two, three and four note single string drills for ukulele for developing finger strength and independence.

Four Finger-Four Note Basic Single String Fingering Drills for `Ukulele

To play the ukulele effectively, your fingers need physical strength, agility, flexibility, and coordination.

Fingerstyle on `Ukulele - Single and Multi String Exploration

Exploring fingerstyle on ukulele.

`Ukulele String Combinations

All possible one, two, three, and four string combinations on ukulele.

Chord Switching - Double Stops

Switching chords are all about finger independence and working together.

Proper Fretting Hand Placement

Efficiency is the key to technique.

Three Finger-Three Note Basic Single String Fingering Drills for `Ukulele

To play the ukulele effectively, your fingers need physical strength, agility, flexibility and coordination.

Two Finger-Two Note Basic Single String Fingering Drills for `Ukulele

To play the ukulele effectively, your fingers need physical strength, agility, flexibility and coordination.

One Finger-One Note Basic Single String Fingering Drills for `Ukulele

To play the ukulele effectively, your fingers need physical strength, agility, flexibility and coordination.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 1-2-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note Single String Fingering Drills

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 1-3-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 1-4-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 2-3-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 2-4-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 3-4-1-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 2-1-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 3-1-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 4-1-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 3-2-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 4-2-1-2

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 1-2-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 1-3-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 1-4-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 2-3-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 2-4-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 3-4-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 2-1-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 3-1-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 4-1-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 3-2-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 4-2-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Five Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 4-3-1-2-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Repeating Note - Four Note, Single String Fingering Drills Starting with Fingers 4-3-1-3

Building on the single note 1, 2, 3, and 4 finger basic gymnastics.

Open String, Two Finger Single Strings Fingering Drills

Using the original two finger-two notes single strings gymnastics, incorporate an open string.

Open String, Two Finger Single Strings Fingering Drills

Using the original two finger-two notes single strings gymnastics, incorporate an open string.

Four Finger, Single Note, Single String Gymnastic Variations

All the basic single string one, two, three and four finger gymnastics can be revisited and variations created by moving note to higher strings.

Fingering Gymnastics - a.k.a. Fingering Drills Introduction

Ukulele Gymnastics series contains quite a few lessons for developing your finger strength and independence of the fretting hand.

Adjacent String Pairs Fingering Drills

Building on the one, two, three and four finger finger gymnastics, these adjacent strings drills add a change of direction to the exercises.

Developing Your Finger One Barre

The ability to place a single finger across more than one string, a “barre” is an essential technique for chords as well single notes and double stops.

Fingerpicking on Ukulele - Alternating Thumb Style

The Alternating Thumb Style lessons are in their own section and book .

Two Finger Slide Fingering Drills for `Ukulele

Slide is used when the passage can not be played within a single 4 fret span or when more notes per string are needed to produce a particular effect.

Three Finger Slide Fingering Drills for `Ukulele

Slide is used when the passage can not be played within a single 4 fret span or when more notes per string are needed to produce a particular effect.

Two Finger Pass Fingering Drills for `Ukulele

Pass maximizes the number of notes per string, making the timbre consistent.

Four Finger Slide Fingering Drills for Ukulele

Slide is used when the passage can not be played within a single 4 fret span or when more notes per string are needed to produce a particular effect.

Fingerpicking for Ukulele - Getting Started

There are two distinctly different fingerpicking styles.

How To Use Metronome

A metronome is a device that produces an audible click or other sound at a regular interval that can be set by the user, typically in beats per minute (BPM)

Guitar (applies to `Ukulele also) Fingering and Creativity

This is a guest lesson/article by internationally renowned jazz guitarist and educator Chuck Anderson

Normally, we think of fingering as a technical subject.

Essential `Ukulele Strums - A Guide to `Ukulele Strums

One of the first skills a ukulele player learns is the art and craft of strumming, playing rhythm.

Reading Music - The Basics

Music is a common language used world wide and recognized by musicians in lots of different countries even speaking different languages.

Technique

Technique is the manner and degree to which one employs the technical skills of an endeavor.

First `Ukulele Lesson

This is a scan of a typical first lesson that ALL students new to the ukulele might get in one of my private one-on-one lessons.

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