Three things from this week.
While I was on vacation I was taken by a notion that I really wanted to be able to make some of the music in my head come out of my fingers. I’ll often get some tiny fragment of a song in my head and I don’t usually know many lyrics to go with it. So I just have a little ditty running around in there. Maybe letting it out, or letting something out, would help exorcise the earworm.
Some years ago I started taking ukulele lessons on a whim. I didn’t get very far but I enjoyed strumming the four little strings. I learned some chords, I got a feeling for what a chord even is, and I learned a few different strumming patterns. And I have fun with the one finger-picking pattern that I can remember. Outside of Hawaiʻi it seems like the ukulele is a novelty. It is a fun instrument and it felt really approachable to me, which I appreciate greatly.
Here’s a nice sentimental ukulele song. IZ makes sounds I can never hope to make and it’s beautiful
I’ve tried a simplified version of the chords for this song. Even though I know it doesn’t sound right when I play it, it still makes me happy to try. Maybe it’s good just to make sounds that remind you of the performances you enjoy.
When I told my wife I wanted to play some music she suggested the octave mandolin. It seems quite unique but I like her taste in music so I looked into it a little bit. The octave mandolin has 8 strings but they’re tuned in pairs so it seems like it might have some of the same feel as the ukulele.
Here’s an octave mandolin in action.
After getting back to California I stopped by the music store and they hadn’t heard of the octave mandolin. It is a bit of a niche instrument and the music store near home is pretty mainstream.
The clerk was, however, familiar with acoustic guitars…
I’ve tried a guitar briefly before and had some troubles so I was skeptical. My previous guitar was a free roadside find so maybe it wasn’t the ideal way to get started.It turns out that nylon strings are a lot easier to press than the steel ones it was strung with. I also find the guitar chords more challenging than the ukulele simply because some chords don’t use all the strings. Since I’ve been strumming on a ukulele of and on for a while now it doesn’t seem as tough as it was before though.
I’m having fun with the new guitar. It’s a lot louder than my little tenor ukulele. Now that I have the most basic couple of chords I find myself picking it up to practice for 10 minutes every day or so. It’s challenging but it’s a different kind of challenge from the rest of my day. And it lets some of the music in my head out through my fingers.