Ukulele For Geeks: Secrets of the Pentatonic Scales (sxsw 2010)


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At first glance the fretboard of a ukulele (or guitar) looks incomprehensible, but with the magic of pentatonic scales - ancient, nearly universal 5-note patterns, you can "crack the code" and hack the fretboard and start jamming along with your favorite tunes or musician friends in no time.

You don't need to know the names of the notes or what key a song is. Just find the little dippers and start messing around with patterns. I'll explain the concepts and demonstrate the techniques, which are completely self taught.

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Ukulele For Geeks: Secrets of the Pentatonic Scales (sxsw 2010)

  1. ukulele for geeks secrets of the pentatonic scales sxsw 2010 christian crumlish @mediajunkie
  2. ukulele for geeks #ukuleleforgeeks or #uke4geeks
  3. An easy instrument to learn • Just four strings! • Punk as hell • Enthusiasm beats expertise • Learn a few chords (not from me) • Learn a few fingering patterns (yay) • ??? • Profit!!
  4. Pentatonic scales for the win • Pentatonic means five tones • The black keys on a piano are a pentatonic scale • Every combination, even random ones, sounds good • Pentatonic scales can be used to accompany any song
  5. Many songs use just 5 notes • My Girl • Under the Boardwalk* • Suicide is Painless • First There is a Mountain _________
  6. Open strings • The open strings on a guitar are in a pentatonic scale (Gmaj / Emin) • The open strings on a uke are in an analogous scale (Cmaj / Amin), and are in many scales being just 4 strings • Thus “accidentally” hitting open strings is usually fine • The uke is basically “in C”
  7. C maj pentatonic • CDE GA • To make it bluesy add Eb (aka D#) • C D (Eb) E G A
  8. C min pentatonic • C Eb F G A • To make it bluesy add Gb (aka F#) • C Eb F (Gb) G A
  9. about that blue note...
  10. Forget the note names • It’s all about the patterns, yo • Little dippers, all in a row • That one weird string interval • Find the root or key and the patterns “just work” • Make “big dippers” to go to big-boy scales
  11. Cowboy Scale (C maj)
  12. One-string scale (C maj)
  13. One-string scales (C maj)
  14. One-string scales (C maj)
  15. Little Dipper (C maj)
  16. Little Dippers (C maj)
  17. the “interface”
  18. Little Dippers (C maj)
  19. Little Blue Dippers (C maj)
  20. Cowboy Scale (C min)
  21. Blue Cowboy Scale (C min)
  22. Little Dipper (C min)
  23. Little Blue Dippers (C min)
  24. Little Blue Dippers (C min)
  25. The Key • Dippers are movable • Whatever key a song is in, just find the relative dippers • You don’t need to know the key • Just fiddle around till it “locks in,” then follow the pattern up and down the fretboard
  26. Big Dippers • Five notes often not quite enough • “Under the Boardwalk” is hexatonic • Many songs are diatonic, etc. • So learn how to extend the little dippers into big dippers to make larger sales
  27. Big Dipper (C maj)
  28. Big Dippers (C maj)
  29. Big Dippers (C maj blues)
  30. More on pentatonics
  31. Here, let me...
  32. Here, let me...
  33. also, I’m signing my book tomorrow at 4:20 Christian Crumlish Yahoo! Design Pattern Library Yahoo! Application Platform @mediajunkie 03/11/10