• My First Uke


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Day 2: Ouch, my fingers hurt

My new Uke Zebra-George

Last night I worked with Zebra-George (my Uke) for the first time.  Oddly enough I sound nothing at all like Jake Shimabukuro, go figure.

Having done my research I knew what I wanted and I went to the best local instrument store: Dusty Strings.  My self-confidence is pretty darn low about this whole music thing and I was scared to walk down all those stairs and through the door.  That scared-ness evaporated quickly when I saw a wall (room really) of ukeleles and a pleasant young woman who wanted to help me.  Within an hour I had my uke, a gig bag, a tuner, a chord sheet, and a beginners song book.  I had hoped to take part in the Ukalaliens songbook workshop, but it was canceled due to low attendance.  I also signed up for a beginning ukulele class taught by John Leder, now I just have to wait for March when the classes begin.

For most of my crafts and skills I am self-taught.  I have no problem reading and watching as much as I can and then just flailing away until the new skill starts to stick.  Hopefully learning to play will work much the same.  Last night I set up in the bedroom with the uke, tuner, and beginners song book and started to see what was what.  The sales associate at Dusty Strings showed me how the tuner works and I had it sounding pretty good in a few minutes.  I read through the book and worked out which fingers went on which strings for three  basic chords (C, E, F).  Getting my fingers to sit on the strings in the right order, pressing hard enough and without touching other strings, was tricky.  Moving between the chords was trickier.  I quickly realized that I needed to not worry about songs and just work on making the chords sound right each time, and then trying to move my fingers back and forth between them.  I like C, I have that one down pretty well.  See there, I just made my first ukulele joke.  The C chord only requires one finger and it’s right on the edge of the fret board.

I thought the fingers on my right hand would get sore from the strumming, but no!  It’s the fingers of my left hand that are hurting today.  It seems like the repeated action of trying to press my finger tips completely through the neck of my uke has rendered them tender and pink.  Music is beauty and beauty is pain.  I’ll take an Alleve and try again after work tonight.

I hope I don’t build too many bad habits before my class starts.


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