The term Thumb Piano is also a generalization. It’s a nickname more than anything, but does group these instruments together. So no matter if you’re playing a Kalimba or an Mbira, you’re playing a thumb piano. Just like all cars are automobiles, but not all automobiles are cars. There are way too many to cover in a single article, so we're going to focus on just the few that are most important.
If you’re not familiar with Diatonic Harmony, then pay attention. Diatonic Harmony is how the note within a key relate to one another. For example, the key of C Major has the seven notes of the C major scale. They are the following: C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. If the melody is considered to be diatonic, that means it only uses the 7 notes of the C major scale.
“Lean on Me’ was written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bill Withers. Released in 1972, the song went to the list of Billboard Hot 100 and is ranked number 208 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. Jeffrey Thomas made a version that followed the signature piano intro. If you’re into old classic music, then this song should be included in your playlist. Enjoy!
“I Walk The Line” is a song recorded and written by Johnny Cash in 1956. It’s one of his most famous songs ever written and we find it perfect to play with your ukulele. The song became so popular and made Johnny Cash a star. Jeff did his version of the song on the ukulele and changed the key to C to keep it simple. He notated the intro and verse with proper repeats.
“Fire and Rain” was written in 1968. The song reflects many difficult stages that James Taylor has gone through his life. Jeff created a ukulele version with a really solid sing-along style version. He had to put the song in the key of A to fit the ukulele better. All the signature guitar-style licks are in the intro and just the strumming style for the verses and chorus. Enjoy!
Today, you’re going to learn how to play a basic arpeggio. An arpeggio is simply playing in a broken chord. What that means is, instead of playing the notes of a particular chord in just a single strum, you play them sequentially like a scale. Jeff will teach you how to play basic C, F, and G7 arpeggios.
Are you wondering what the differences are between a cheap ukulele and a moderately priced ukulele (we’ll skip the uber-expensive ones for now)? Is it worth the increase in price, or should you start with something cheap? That’s exactly what I want to talk about today. How to find the best ukulele for you at the best value. Emphasis on value. More on that in a bit.
One of the classics that is quite popular is the song, “You Are My Sunshine”. It’s a happy song that we think has a great melody to play on the ukulele. Popularized by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1939, this song has been declared as one of the state songs of Louisiana, USA because of its association with Davis.
Pop quiz: When was the last time you changed the strings on your ukulele? Do they need to be changed now? If not, when do they need to be changed? Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer! That’s exactly why we’re here today. For beginner and even intermediate ukulele players, this is a big question. After all, unlike batteries that just stop working, strings can last a really long time.
The word Rumba is a generic term for different types of West Indian music or dancing. It comes from the verb, “rumbear” which literally means going to parties, dancing, or just having a good time. And if you feel like getting into the groove of a Latin American music today, why not learn a little bit of a rumba strum on your ukulele? Here’s a quick lesson from Jeff Thomas. Enjoy!
Sometimes, we’d like to play some old songs with the ukulele. So let’s go ahead and practise a throwback song from the 1940s. Think about Walt Disney’s 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio and the first thing that comes to mind is the song, "When You Wish Upon a Star". Learn to play this Disney classic on ukulele. Enjoy!
Stringed instruments are unique in the instrument world. If you think about flutes, clarinets, saxophones, and any horn instruments, they have a fixed tuning. You physically can’t change it. With the ukulele, it's different. So why do instruments like ukuleles use so many different tunings? Let's find out.