Sunday, August 04, 2013


The uke now has white strings.  The original strings were black.  I had said before that I had read that my particular model of ukulele would be better with better than the factory original strings, and so I would probably restring it sometime.  I recently made a trip up to the Sam Ash store for some band supplies for the kids, so while I was there I bought a set of Aquila strings, because that was the brand that was most often recommended in various online uke forums.  It was only $8 for the set of strings.

It took me quite a while to do it--probably about an hour and a half to two hours, but I wasn't paying close attention to the clock.  I had special trouble with the E string for some reason.  One odd thing I noticed is that the original strings all look identical, but the new strings have visibly different widths except for the A and G strings--they're too close.  According to what I've read and seen in some instructional videos, it should take a couple of weeks before the strings settle down and quit stretching so they hold their tuning better.  I had already noticed this with the factory strings when I first got it.  I just hope I got them wound correctly so they don't slip.  If that happens, I might have to go back to Sam Ash and have one of their techs string it for me.  That would be embarrassing, but might be necessary if my job is inadequate.  I have replaced a couple of broken guitar strings before, but they were easier than this.  Maybe because they were wire and these were "nylon."  Aquila actually calls them Nylgut, because they're supposed to be like some kind of synthetic gut and are better than plain nylon.  They feel like nylon to me.

I downloaded a sampler of this band a while back from Noisetrade and this song was on it.  It immediately became a favorite of mine, and yesterday it turned up on my phone shuffle while I was working (mandatory OT Saturday).  Nowadays, whenever I hear a song I like I always think about how to play it on the uke.  So when I got home I looked it up and found that they have the chords for it on their official website, but for some reason in certain places the chords were wrong.  Anyway, it was easy to fix and last night I played it over and over for a long time.  This is another of those four chord songs and it's very simple.  The original is in E♭, so I transposed it down to C to make it easier for me to play and so it would fit my vocal range better.  The E♭ chord itself is one I'm still working on playing smoothly; it has an easy fingering but requires some finger stretching.  However, the B♭ chord is still a problem for me and A♭ is just impossible so far.

I had already begun working on E♭ because I've been playing "Rain" by Uriah Heep.  It's originally in C, but I transposed it down to G for my voice, and in G it uses an E♭.

One of my FB friends had posted that "four chord" video the other day, and one of their other friends commented that that chord progression has become so clichéd that it should be retired.  I only commented that as long as people like hearing it, there's no reason to stop using it.  But beyond that, it just seems like a dumb thing to say, because you could say that about everything in music.

Anyway, the new strings seem to be better than the old ones so far, except that they don't hold their tuning very well yet.

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