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Musical Resources
THE Reason to Shop for Wooden Instruments Locally

In the concert film that also works as a documentary about the Rolling Stones, Shine a Light, Keith Richards talks a lot about guitars. Typical of that guy, am I right? Hasn't he got anything to talk about aside from work?

 

I always figured that these dudes who were dinosaurs of the industry even before I was born probably had rooms full of instruments. I figured they're like my grandma. The mere fact of being alive that long means they just sort of attract stuff. Stuff builds up around them like the echoes of their personality in the debris that piles up around them. Like anyone else, you might be able to tell a thing or two about Keith by the stuff that ended up accumulating around him. Thus the idea that the Grandpa of Rock and Roll guitarists probably had rooms--houses--full of guitars.

It turns out no. Not all of them anyway. Or that's what Keith claimed. In Shine a Light, he said that he doesn't get all these cats who have whole trucks full of guitars. He only has a few guitars and doesn't get a new one very often. He prefers, he said, getting his older ones repaired. There's a reason he likes these guitars. Probably lots of reasons, and the reasons are his own. The reasons are because he likes them. These are his guitars. He knows how they feel, and he likes how they feel. He's not going to constantly shop for new ones.

It made me respect Keith a little bit more.

I've always liked him as a Rolling Stone, but that's when I started to like him as a craftsman. There are many approaches to caring for your tools, and I appreciate Keith's approach. He has just a few guitars--"Not that many guitars," as he puts it. He takes care of those ones because those are his tools.

Can you imagine how valuable those things will be when (if, let's be honest) he finally dies? That's nuts.

The moral of the story is Keith Richards might be one of the biggest rock stars in the world. He fills stadiums with his buddies and plays concerts for world leaders. He may be all that now in his day job. He may be that.

He's still just some dude messing around on the guitar.

The dude's really still just a guitar player. I bet that when he was a teen or a twenty-something he'd wander into pawn shops. He'd ogle the NICE Fenders, then settle for the cheaper one, but the one that played_,_ but he really wanted the nice one. He probably shopped for hours, picking guitars up and trying them out till he found the one that rocked. He picked it because it felt right. I bet that if you took him guitar shopping tomorrow he'd fuss around with the Fenders for hours. Eventually he'd find that one he liked the feel of, but he'd need to handle them all.

Because that's how it is, isn't it? A musical instrument is a relationship for life, if you're doing it right. And it's a relationship. It's possible, I suppose, to just look up the kind of guitar that your favorite musicians play. I mean, Herman Li plays an Ibanez.   Jimmy Page plays a Gibson.  Santana plays Santanas, because they made a guitar for him. You can always just order the same kind of guitar that your musical idols plays. That's an approach. I hear that a lot of the kids were doing that back in the '90s with their Air Jordans. And maybe that guitar is the one you need.

It might not be the guitar for you, though. There might be something uncomfortable about the neck, or the height of the frets, or the way the body rests on your leg. You don't know until you go pick it up and start messing around.

Because you're not shopping for just some guitar.

You're shopping for your guitar.

The thing's got to feel right. You need to go and feel it.

Now, go back over this story about electric guitars and replace all the references to guitarists and guitars with references to your instrument. Not everyone is guitar. I play keyboard myself. But the story applies across the orchestra. You can't just buy the "best" on, or the "coolest" one and expect it's the best or coolest when you haven't handled it yet. It might not be the best or coolest one for you. An instrument falls in the category of things that you need to live with. Things like cars or jackets or recipes for Borscht.

In addition to that, a musical instrument is a conduit for emotion. And, I don't know, maybe you want "this isn't the most comfortable instrument to play" to be part of the emotion you convey. That's an angle too. Jack White did that, and look where it got him. It's not a bad idea, I suppose. I don't think it sounds very comfortable.

 

The lesson's the same from Jack, though. He didn't just use his connections and find an uncomfortable, red guitar that didn't work very well. He shopped around for a guitar that he "liked," the dislike of it was a feature and not an accident. He had to shop to find it. He had to play guitars in pawn shops and thrift shops and music stores. He had to pick them up and mess around in order to decide that this is his guitar. Because he needed a red guitar, back when he was in White Stripes. The internet was right there. Not quite as ingrained as it's become now, but it was still right there. But he decided he wanted to take his hands and his ears to the shops with guitars. He decided it was important to pick them up and play them, because he knew what Keith knew. He knew what Santana knows and Jimmy Page knows and Herman Li knows.

Choosing an instrument is committing to a relationship. It might not be the most important relationship of your life. But it might be. The best way to discover that is by picking up a guitar and messing around with it.

Or a violin.

Or a ukulele.

Or a bass.

Or a harmonica.

And so on. And so forth. Into the future.

4 Fun and Meaningful Family Musical Activities for the Holidays

Music is one of the biggest reasons why the holiday season is so special. Whether it’s hearing a holiday song in a grocery store and being immediately transported to one’s childhood or attending an inspiring holiday concert, in many ways, music is a part of the glue that holds the holidays together. From getting in touch with your seasonal creativity to enriching members of your community who need it the most, today we’re sharing fun musical activities to do over the holidays.

Volunteer to sing in hospitals and assisted living facilities
Music isn’t just a fun hobby. It’s something that’s proven to improve a person’s life and strengthen the community they live in. One of the most rewarding musical things you can do this holiday season is to give back to your local community by performing holiday music in hospitals and assisted living facilities. The holiday season is a time when many of us take stock of everything we have; our friends, families, homes, health. Many of our neighbors aren’t as fortunate as we are. We can’t fix the world’s complicated problems through music, but we can help others in a powerful, enduring way through music. Whether it’s singing holiday songs with friends or playing solo on the flute, your efforts can truly make a difference this season. But before you run out the door to cheer up people with your music, make sure you check in with your local hospital or assisted living facility first to ask permission and adhere to their rules.

Write your own holiday songs
For many of us, holiday songs seem so ingrained in our lives that it feels like they’ve always existed. But the truth is that songwriters, composers, and lyricists had to come along and write the songs most of us associate with the holidays. Writing your own holiday music can be challenging, but don’t let that stop you. Exploring your own creativity for the holidays can be fun and even therapeutic if it’s a time of year you find especially stressful. Original holiday songs can be lighthearted personal projects or creations you share with friends and family or online.

Put on a neighborhood holiday concert
Throwing a neighborhood holiday concert is an excellent way to bond with neighbors, share your musical creativity, and celebrate the holidays. Most people love music, but not many people can create and perform it. One of the best ways to relate, entertain, and connect with those living around you is through music. It takes a good amount of work to put on a neighborhood holiday concert, but it can lay the foundation for an annual tradition that you, your family, friends, and neighbors look forward to every year.

Give a musical recording or performance as a holiday gift
Recording a song or performing for someone can make for a gift that no credit card in the world can finance. Music can be an intensely personal thing, even when a musician covers someone else’s song. You can surprise a loved one by performing a song for them this holiday season, or they’d probably be thrilled to receive a recorded song as a gift. Gifts like these are “free,” but the meaning and thoughtfulness they convey are priceless.


from the vault.com MNA

Djembe History

Djembe history

The djembe (pronounced 'jem-beh') is the goblet-shaped hand drum from West Africa.

Djembe history is a rich and diverse subject, but it can be difficult to verify. Africans have long passed down their history by word of mouth and accounts may change over time and across regions. ​We have done our best to gather together all the available facts.

​Where does the djembe drum come from?

We don't know the drum's exact origins, but historians agree that it was invented by the Mandinka (or Maninke) people of western Africa in around 1300 AD.

At the time King Sundiata ruled over the Mandinka people and the people widely celebrated him as a hero. He conquered a huge empire stretching over modern day Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, and Senegal.

Djembe history map

Mandinka people divided their society into castes or groups of professions. The Numu were a blacksmith caste. They were the first to be associated with the djembe, and played it only during the smelting of iron ore.

Historians believe that as blacksmiths migrated, the drum and its culture spread through west Africa.

Old illustration of drummers in Africa

Over time, the popularity of the djembe grew beyond the Numu caste. Players became known as djembefola ('one who plays the djembe'). Some formed groups and would travel between various events and performances.

Today the djembe is a large part of daily life in Mali, Guinea, the Gambia, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso.

susu drummers with djembe and balaphone

Djembe History in Myths and Legends

There are many colorful legends of djembe history and how the drum may have originated.

One goes that the basic shell evolved out of the large mortar used for pounding grain or millet.

Apparently, the village fool's wife pounded a hole clear through the bottom of it one day while he was conveniently hanging around with a goat skin. He stretched it over the head of the mortar and the rest is djembe history.

Here's another one, and my favourite, edited from recounts by Hugo Zemp in the book African Percussion by Serge Blanc.

Chimpanzee

'Long ago, before humans knew of the drum, it was owned by the chimpanzees, who played it in the trees.

At that time there was a great trapper named So Dyeu. The chimpanzees would often come near his camp. One day So Dyeu spotted them eating fruit and entertaining themselves with the drum.

He said, 'This thing they are beating is beautiful, I will set a trap', so he dug a whole and laid a snare.

The next day he heard a great commotion and the sounds of the young and old chimpanzees crying. He went to investigate and found the chimpanzee drummer caught in the trap. So Dyeu captured the drum and returned to the village, where he gave it to the village chief.

The chief said, 'We have heard the voice of this thing for a long time, but no one has seen it until now. You have brought it to us; you have done well.' , and in return, the chief gave his first daughter to be So Dyeu's first wife.

So the chimpanzees no longer have the drum and that's why they can only beat their chests.

What is the djembe drum used for?

Musicians use the djembe as the instrument of dance at marriages, baptisms, funerals, circumcisions and excisions. They also play songs during the ploughing, sowing and harvest, during courtship rituals and even to settle disputes among the men of the village.

In west African society, certain instruments such as the balafon, the kora and the ngoni are subject to hereditary restrictions. This means that only members of the griot caste (historian/storyteller) may play them. The djembe is not a griot instrument and there are no restrictions on who may become a djembefola.

In daily life, various events are accompanied by unique songs and dances. The griot usually performs these, accompanied by drummers, singers and dancers. Songs tell of great leaders, like King Sundiata, or praise certain professions, like the cobblers or hunters.

In a typical ensemble, the griot is accompanied by two djembes and a dunun player.

Hands on djembe

A Traditional Djembe Ensemble

A typical djembe ensemble contains one soloist, one or two accompanying djembe and one to three dundun players. It is almost always accompanied by dancers and clapping.

The bass drums, or dundun, are usually played with sticks and provide the core structure of the rhythm. There are 3 types of bass drum that range in size and pitch. They are the doundounba (or dundun), the sangban and the kenkeni.

Kenkeni Dundun and Sangban

The djembe accompanists each play different rhythms alongside the bass drum to complete the basic song. The soloist introduces the song, accents the beats, controls the tempo and plays solo pieces over the rhythm provided.

Women sing and clap hands, while moving in and out of the circle and showing off their skill as dancers. The djembe master or soloist leads the pace of the dance.  He or she increases the tempo when good dancers enter the circle. Traditionally, musicians play a single song for most occasions, usually lasting a few hours.

The Sekeseke

Traditionally, two or three metal plates, called sekeseke (or segesege in Mali, or kesekese in Guinea) are attached to the edge of the djembe.

The edges of these plates have been pierced and threaded with many wire rings.

They resonate in sympathy when the drum is played and accent the notes of the drum or kora (harp) with a jingling sound that adds to the 'voice of the drum'.

Sekeseke

​Similar resonators are used on other African instruments such as the mbira and the balafon.

Recent Djembe History

In the 1950s the world tours of Les Ballet Africains led by Fodeba Keita increased the djembe's popularity outside of Africa.

Les Ballets Africains

Les Ballets Africains

Around that time, Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji released Drums of Passion, an album of African drumming songs. Critics have widely acknowledged Drums of Passion to be the first African drumming album. Even though it did not feature the djembe, it did much to establish the genre.

As the global thirst for drumming grew, djembe ensembles performed for more Western audiences. Musicians soon found they could make a decent living away from home performing and teaching.

While players moved to Europe and America, ethnomusicologists moved to Africa to study the drum in it's natural environment. Researchers like Eric Charry, Marianne Friedländer and Serge Blanc have done much to document djembe history, the traditions and rhythms.

Artists such as Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita and Baba Maal have used djembe in African pop music. Djembe players have toured the world with much success.

Salif Keita and djembe player

Salif Keita and djembe player

Today, the djembe appears in many music genres and even features in rock bands such Ben Harper and Jason Mraz.

The djembe has not lost its spirit of togetherness in translation either. Drum circles are a regular pastime for enthusiasts from all over the world. Drummers know the djembe to be an instrument of community and these events are just another way to get people together.

So join in and celebrate djembe history - the drum of a thousand voices has arrived.

Article from https://afrodrumming.com/djembe-history/

Humidity, Temperature and Storage for Guitars (or any wood instrument)
Wood is easily affected by temperature and humidity changes, therefore taking care of the surroundings of your guitar is very important in order to keep the instrument in a proper way. Gradual changes won’t generally do permanent damage but sudden ones do. For this reason it is important to avoid them and assure that the guitar acclimate to its environment.

As humidity increases, moisture content of wood goes up fast, causing it to expand and swell. When high humidity is combined with high temperature, glue joints could possibly become weakened and may even open slightly. Then, for example the glue under the bridge could weaken causing the bridge to pull off. On the contrary, if the moisture content of wood is forced down in a hurry, portions of it shrink faster than others, causing cracks and open joints. For all these reasons, rapid changes in local humidity are what you want to guard your guitar against. In view of that, you can follow the below recommendations:

  • Don't let the guitar next to a source of dry heat. (e.g. radiators, heater) since they raise the temperature and drop down the humidity of the surroundings.
  • Don't let the guitar exposed to freezing or blistering temperature for a long time, for instance inside a car park outside.
  • Avoid hanging your guitar on an outside wall during winter months. The wall will be cooler than the inside air. The result is a conflict between the temperature of the top and back, with potential damage as a result.
  • Store your guitar in its case when not in use. Humidity is easier to control in a smaller space. This allows the guitar to acclimate to room temperature more slowly, decreasing the possibility of wood and finish cracks.
5 Reasons Your Child (And You!) Will Love West Colfax Music Academy!
I was a proud band kid growing up. I tried the flute at 11 years old, and totally fell in love with it. Looking back, some of my best memories and friendships were created because I played music. (I even met my husband in marching band.) I’m a big fan of music education for kids, to say the least!

It is a known and widely studied fact that music education in children leads to measurable benefits, including increased literacy and therefore improved academic results. But it is also a wonderful way to build confidence, encourage good behaviors and commitment to teamwork, and create a sense of belonging. Starting children in music education young is great, but anyone can learn any time. 

There are many great reasons to start your child’s musical education journey! Here are five reasons why West Colfax Academy is a place you and your child will love!

Your Student Will Get the Full Experience

West Colfax Academy is all about your student! Your child can choose from a long list of instruments to learn to play, or study voice and singing. In fact, West Colfax Academy is the only school in the Colorado that offers such an extensive list of instruments and options in one location. 

The Academy also offers biannual recitals with no participation fees, and an annual showcase so that your student can really shine and show off what they have learned. Your student will also earn trophies, certificates, and awards for their achievements throughout the year! West Colfax Academy gives your child many ways to show off what they have learned, and truly feel celebrated for their progress.


Flexibility to Accommodate Your Schedule

We all have busy schedules to juggle.  West Colfax Academy works with your schedule by offering lesson times seven days a week! They also have friendly office staff on-hand seven days a week to assist you. The academy offers early morning and lunch time lessons as well. No matter your schedule, you can easily find a time to add lessons at West Colfax Academy into your family’s schedule!

Highly Qualified Teachers

The academy includes a staff of 20 music teachers. So this means that whichever instrument you and your child choose, there are multiple teachers available to work with your child. All teachers have either college training, or professional performance experience. Combined with their enthusiasm for their students, your child will get a one-of-a-kind experience catered to their interests and abilities. 

Comfortable Atmosphere 

West Colfax Academy has over 9,000 sq ft of studio space and many areas for parents to relax.  Also, the music retail store is interesting and fun for the family to spend time looking at the instruments.  In Golden Music there are musical instruments for your younger children to play with while you wait for big brother or sister. Or you can observe (or even sit in on) your child’s lesson any time you’d like!


A Long History of Proven Results

West Colfax Academy at Golden Music has been serving the Denver-Metro area for over twenty-three years. In that time, over 3000 families have trusted the academy to teach their child and foster a love of music. Take a look and the testimonials page to see for yourself why so many families love West Colfax Arts Academy!

Try It For Yourself!

We can’t say enough great things about this school! If you have a child interested in music, this is place to be! For more information, contact us at 303-279-1111
How Do I Tune My Ukulele?

How To Properly Tune Your Ukulele

 

The open strings of the ukulele are as follows:

• G: the 4th string (most to the left on the fretboard)
• C: the 3rd string
• E: the 2nd string
• A: the 1st string

This is when you are have your ukulele in standard tuning, this is what you need to play most of the songs.

 Electronic Tuning

Using an electronic tuner is by far the easiest and most accurate way to tune your ukulele.  We sell them at Golden Music.  We have the Snark for Ukulele or a Chromatic Tuner.  Because the ukulele has a "C" string, you cannot tune it easily with a guitar tuner.  The guitar strings are E A You can find many of these tuners online and also in your local music shop. They aren’t that expensive and will make your life a lot easier. When buying one, make sure to buy one that is made to tune ukuleles or a chromatic tuner (tune different notes). Tuning your ukulele with an electronic tuner is pretty straight forward. You put the tuner on your lap of clip it on the headstock and pluck the strings. It will then show the note you are playing. Use the tuning pegs to get the desired note.

Standard Ukulele Tuning Method
This is also known as “relative” tuning, why? Well, because you will tune the four strings relative to each other. This is a perfect method if you are playing on your own and you want to have all your strings sound good together, but it isn’t that accurate. This will cause issues though if you are playing with other people. I will guide you through the steps.

1. You will use the first string (A) as a reference to tune the other three strings, this is why this method isn’t that accurate. You won’t notice it if you play alone though, but you will if you play along with songs or friends.

2. Place your finger just behind the fifth fret on the E string (second string). That’s an A note. Now when you pick the first string (A), it should sound the same. You can adjust the the second string with the tuning pegs on the headstock until they sound the same.

Can you tune a ukulele with a guitar tuner? There are a variety of guitar tuners on the market. Clip-on tuners are the most versatile tuners used for guitars that can also be used to tune a ukulele. This multi-instrument tuner is very useful for getting your ukulele tuning just right every time.

How to Tune the Ukulele with a Guitar Tuner
The issue with tuning the ukulele with the guitar tuner is just that there are several types of them. With some types you can easily do so while with others you cannot. Let’s compare tuners so you can see whether you can use the one you have and if not, you can consider getting a brand new one you can actually use with the ukulele.

Pedal Tuners

Pedal tuners are plugged in to the guitar. No microphones are necessary. These and all other types of tuners that require plugging in are not suitable for acoustic instruments such as the ukulele or the classical guitar for the obvious reason that the instruments have nowhere to plug in. This is unless you’re using an electric ukulele of course. If you have an electric or electric/acoustic ukulele you should be able to use a pedal tuner without a problem.

Non-chromatic Guitar Tuners

These tuners are not suitable to tune the ukulele either because they are designed specifically for the guitar. What they do is they try to recognize which guitar string you are playing and then tell you whether it is high or low. These tuners are designed specifically to identify the notes of the guitar’s open strings. I do not recommend these tuners to anyone and especially not to beginners.

Chromatic Tuners

These tuners, on the other hand, are capable of listening to all notes. They are designed to listen to whichever note you play and indicate which note you are closest to. By doing so it tells you whether your string is flat or sharp as compared to the desired pitch.

Clip on Chromatic Tuners

The best types of chromatic tuners for the ukulele are the ones that clip on to the head of your instrument. These are designed to attach to the ukulele like a clothes peg and feel the vibration of the note you are playing. Since these tuners work by assessing the sound vibrations, they don’t discern between instruments. And so you could use such a tuner for any type of guitar (classical, steel, bass, electric), ukulele, violin and so on.

This is the kind of tuner you should invest in. Here are some recommendations. You can see they are not that expensive and one will stay with you for many years. I’ve used one with my classical guitar for over a decade and I just changed the batteries a couple of times.

The Open Strings

Every sound you will ever make with a stringed instrument depends on the tuning of its open strings. The ukulele is no exception: every sound follows from the sound of the open strings so it is imperative that you get the tuning just right!

First of all, it is absolutely critical to understand the set up of your open strings. Take your time to read this section carefully as it is crucial to your understanding of your instrument!

Sit down with the ukulele and strum the open strings. Now, the string closest to your face (or your chin) is tuned to the note G. The one below it is a C, the one below that is an E and the thinnest one is tuned to the note A.

That should be easy enough. Now with this standard tuning, all four strings are within the same octave. In SPN (short for scientific pitch notation – a system that numbers all the possible octaves in music from 0 to 10), the octave in which the ukulele is tuned to is specifically known as the fourth octave. What is important to keep in mind is that, in SPN, a new octave begins on every new C note and so the note C4 is the lowest note in its octave.

Read that again because it is crucial: the note C4 is the lowest note in its octave!

It is important because it means that the ukulele’s lowest note is the C (what is known as the third string) and not the G (the one closest to your chin and known as the fourth string). This is a feature unique to the ukulele. In every other string instrument such as bass, guitar, violin and harp, the strings get progressively thinner and higher in pitch.
Here are the open strings of the ukulele in standard notation. Even if you do not read music, observe how it is the note C that is the lowest note but the second in line. The note G is actually the second highest.

As a beginner you might find this to be counterintuitive (and to some extent it is) but you will get used to it in no time at all. I wanted to go through that with you because it is an absolutely crucial aspect of knowing the ukulele.

Now that you know how the strings are set up, it will be time to tune them. Remember that to raise the pitch of a string, you must tighten the string and to tighten it, you must turn its tuning peg to the left. To lower the pitch of a string, you must loosen that string and to loosen it, you must turn its tuning peg to the right.

How to tune the ukulele with the keyboard

In reality, you can actually tune your ukulele with anything that produces a fixed pitch that you can compare to. In this sense, the keyboard also makes the perfect tuner (and there are many keyboard apps as well).

It is not a problem if you are not familiar with the keyboard. To orient yourself around the keys, just find the note known as the middle C. It is more or less the note C that lies in the middle of the keyboard. In SPN, that is note C4.

And as we’ve said the note C4 is the lowest sounding note of your ukulele (assuming standard tuning). The string tuned to G4 is the same sound as the fifth white key above C4; E4 is three white keys above C4 and A4 is six. Note that when counting distances between notes, the first note is always counted as number 1.

How to Use Online Ukulele Tuners
Now that we tackled the issue of guitar tuners, let me just tell you that a simple way of tuning the ukulele is online or by app. There are many good ones out there and they are quite easy to use. These tuners work in one of two basic ways: it listens to you or you listen to it. Or you can use an online ukulele tuner like this one: https://www.fender.com/online-ukulele-tuner.

In the first type, you play a note and the app listens through your microphone. It will then assess whether your string is pitched in tune. If not, it will indicate that it is either flat (meaning you need to tighten the string to raise the pitch) or it is sharp (meaning that you need to loosen the string to lower the pitch).

In the second type, the app plays for you the note and you must use your ears to make your string match the given sound. It is not too difficult to do this even for the first time. Listen to the desired pitch and just as before loosen the string to lower it or tighten it to raise it.

While these apps are helpful, the clip on chromatic tuners we mentioned are probably the best solution. They are portable and they don’t require access to the Internet or access to your microphone (and that comes in handy when you are in a noisy environment that interferes with it).

That is really all you need to know about tuning.

Conclusion

In summary, keep in mind that the tuning of the ukulele is G4 – C4 – E4 – A4 and remember that the lowest sounding string out of them is C4.

The best physical tuners are:

• Chromatic – meaning that they recognize every possible note;
• And Clip on – meaning that they attach to the head of the instrument like a clothes peg to detect the vibrations of the instrument.

You can also tune with a keyboard as long as you orient yourself around the keys using the middle C, which is also known as C4 in Scientific Pitch Notation (SPN).

And you can use the online apps as long you have access to a device, can rely on your microphone and on your own hearing.

 

What types of Ukuleles Are There?

The Sizes

ukulele sizes ukutabs

There are four main sizes in ukuleles. Soprano, concert, tenor and baritone.  The soprano is the most  common size and the smallest at 20" long.  It is the typical classic sound of ukuleles.  The next bigger is only 2 inches larger at 23", called the concert Uke.  It has more room between the frets and sounds the same pitches as the soprano, but with the bigger body, makers a richer, louder sound.  Gaining in popularity is the Tenor Ukulele, at 25" and sounds a bit like a classical guitar.  Most professionals play the Tenor size.  The largest is the baritone. It has the deepest tone, but is the least popular as it's not as portable as the others.  The tuning also differs from the other sizes, it has a more guitar-like tuning.

different ukulele woods

There are many woods used on ukuleles from: mahogany, mango, koa, rosewood, cedar, acacia… At Golden Music, we have three ukulele lines we carry, Lanikai, Kala, Mr. Mai plus Yamaha's GuitarUke...  simply hundreds of ukuleles for your to pick from!!

Can You Tune A Ukulele With A Guitar Tuner

First of all, you need to check if your Guitar Tuner is Chromatic, meaning it has all the notes, or does it have capacity for Ukulele?  The problem is that the Ukulele has a "C" string and the guitar doesn't.   Many tuners are setup for just guitar and only have the guitar strings.

Then there are some that hear the sounds easier:  there are Pedal Tuner, Clip On Tuners, and Audio Tuners.

Pedal Tuners - Pedal tuners are plugged in to the guitar. No microphones are necessary. These and all other types of tuners that require plugging in are not suitable for acoustic instruments such as the ukulele or the classical guitar for the obvious reason that the instruments have nowhere to plug in. This is unless you’re using an electric ukulele of course. If you have an electric or electric/acoustic ukulele you should be able to use a pedal tuner without a problem.

Non-chromatic Guitar Tuners - As we mentioned above:  These tuners are not suitable to tune the ukulele either because they are designed specifically for the guitar. What they do is they try to recognize which guitar string you are playing and then tell you whether it is high or low. These tuners are designed specifically to identify the notes of the guitar’s open strings. I do not recommend these tuners to anyone and especially not to beginners.

Chromatic Tuners - These tuners, on the other hand, are capable of listening to all notes. They are designed to listen to whichever note you play and indicate which note you are closest to. By doing so it tells you whether your string is flat or sharp as compared to the desired pitch.

Clip on Chromatic Tuners - The best types of chromatic tuners for the ukulele are the ones that clip on to the head of your instrument. These are designed to attach to the ukulele like a clothes peg and feel the vibration of the note you are playing. Since these tuners work by assessing the sound vibrations, they don’t discern between instruments. And so you could use such a tuner for any type of guitar (classical, steel, bass, electric), ukulele, violin and so on.

The Open Strings - Every sound you will ever make with a stringed instrument depends on the tuning of its open strings. The ukulele is no exception: every sound follows from the sound of the open strings so it is imperative that you get the tuning just right!

Sit down with the ukulele and strum the open strings. Now, the string closest to your face (or your chin) is tuned to the note G. The one below it is a C, the one below that is an E and the thinnest one is tuned to the note A.

It is important because it means that the ukulele’s lowest note is the C (what is known as the third string) and not the G (the one closest to your chin and known as the fourth string). This is a feature unique to the ukulele. In every other string instrument such as bass, guitar, violin and harp, the strings get progressively thinner and higher in pitch.t is important because it means that the ukulele’s lowest note is the C (what is known as the third string) and not the G (the one closest to your chin and known as the fourth string). This is a feature unique to the ukulele. In every other string instrument such as bass, guitar, violin and harp, the strings get progressively thinner and higher in pitch.
Here are the open strings of the ukulele in standard notation. Even if you do not read music, observe how it is the note C that is the lowest note but the second in line. The note G is actually the second highest.
Here are the open strings of the ukulele in standard notation. Even if you do not read music, observe how it is the note C that is the lowest note but the second in line. The note G is actually the second highest.

And as we’ve said the note C4 is the lowest sounding note of your ukulele (assuming standard tuning). The string tuned to G4 is the same sound as the fifth white key above C4; E4 is three white keys above C4 and A4 is six. Note that when counting distances between notes, the first note is always counted as number 1.

In summary, keep in mind that the tuning of the ukulele is G4 – C4 – E4 – A4 and remember that the lowest sounding string out of them is C4.


Choosing a Brass Instrument

Choosing a Horn
The tone is affected by the material

What is the bell made of?

Because the timbre of a wind instrument is determined by the quality of the vibration of the air column that passes through it, the materials used to make a wind instrument will also have a slight effect on the timbre, in addition its shape and length.
Brass, which is an alloy consisting of copper and zinc, is more malleable (easy to work with), and corrosion resistant (resists rusting) than iron or other metals, and since it is also pleasing to the eye, it has long been the primary material used for making the bodies of brass instruments. This is what gives the brass instruments their characteristic tone.

The trumpet, trombone, horn, and other brass instruments have a range of timbre that is determined by the type of brass (determined by the relative amount of each component material) used for the bell.

Ratios of copper and zinc used in yellow brass and gold brass

Ratios of copper and zinc used in yellow brass and gold brass

  Amount of copper Timbre
Gold brass Proportionally high Generally has a broad, rich timbre
Yellow brass Proportionally low Generally has a bright, tight timbre

Sometimes a shiny white alloy consisting of copper, zinc, and nickel-called nickel silver-is used instead of brass. It is even more corrosion resistant than brass, and Kruspe horn bodies are made of this alloy. Yamaha uses a special nickel silver alloy that has a different constitution from that of common industrial nickel silver, and that has a deep, solid timbre.

Even on instruments with a gold-colored brass body, the slides, leadpipe, and other parts are sometimes made of nickel silver because of its wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant properties. This can be seen in the two-tone color of many horns.

The ratio of copper, nickel, and zinc in nickel silver

The ratio of copper, nickel, and zinc in nickel silver

Finished metal tubes are filed and sanded to make their surface smooth as glass, and then they are coated with a polish and buffed with a high-speed buffer to give them that beautiful metallic shine.
At last the stage, lacquer or plating is applied. The primary purpose for the lacquer or plating is to protect the metal from rust and dirt, but it also has a slight effect on the timbre of the instrument.
Lacquer seems to contribute to a solid, dark tone that projects well. Non-lacquered instruments are said to generally have a deep resonance.

Woodwinds - What Are They?

Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments within the more general category of wind instruments. Common examples include flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, and bassoon. There are two main types of woodwind instruments: flutes and reed instruments (otherwise called reed pipes).The Woodwind family does not include every instrument.   all wind instruments are woodwinds. The difference between woodwind instruments and brass instruments (the other type of wind instrument) is actually pretty simple. Woodwind instruments create variations in sound due to the instrument itself. Brass instruments change sound because of the vibrations of the musician’s lips.

The most basic woodwind instruments include reed instruments, such as the oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, and contrabassoon. There are a few non-reed instruments, too, including the flute, piccolo, and recorder. Lots of these instruments have multiple forms (such as soprano instead of alto), so there are a surprising amount of options for woodwind instruments. Bagpipes count, too, although you won’t often see those in a traditional orchestra setting. being used!

woodwind instruments

The changes in sound and tone are due to the length of the instrument. The air travels through the column of the instrument. A high frequency has a high pitch and a short column for the air, whereas the larger instruments with more column space create a lower frequency with a low pitch. Humans hear high frequencies with more sensitivity, which is why it’s easier to notice the high-pitched trill of the piccolo over the low thrum of the bassoon.  (Thanks to the folks at the University of New South Wales for explaining these concepts in a clear manner. For more details, check out their post related to the workings of woodwinds here.)

 

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