Playing the ukulele is fun, and playing jazz ukulele can breathe all new life into the instrument. It’s a different style, it’s interesting to play and to listen to, and it shows off the diversity of the instrument quite well. Even though it still offers the uke sound, it will definitely have that jazzy flavor that you love.
Learning how to play jazz can be difficult, especially when you are starting with an instrument not generally equated with the genre. However, you can find a number of resources that will be able to provide you with the information and the skills you need to turn your ukulele into a true jazz instrument. Learning the rhythm, tempo, melody, and getting the mechanical skills down is just the start.
One of the great things about playing jazz uke is that you aren’t simply learning songs. You can learn a variety of different jazz chords, which you can put into patterns. Once you have the chords and patterns down, it becomes easier to improvise, as well as to learn some of the standard pieces. In fact, once you know the patterns and chords, you can even start to write some of your own songs, something which is often the goal of most musicians.
While it is not necessary, some players who play jazz uke like to use a low G string on their instruments instead of the standard G. It simply gives the uke a different sound, and can help to make the jazz chords sound a bit truer to form. You may want to try it to see how it sounds to you, but don’t feel as though it is something that you need.
While the field is small, there are some phenomenal players out there who are helping to bring this specialized genre to the forefront. One of the most popular players is Lyle Ritz, born in 1930. He was part of The Wrecking Crew and was a big part of the American pop music scene from the 60s through the 80s. In 2007, he became a part of the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum, as well as the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
Another one of the top names is Benny Chong. He is a self-taught ukulele player who has been playing since he was just eleven years old. He played for nine years, and then barely touched the instrument for nearly thirty-five years. However, when he became part of a tour called “Art of Solo Ukulele”, his love for the instrument was revitalized, and he eventually put out a CD and a television special.
These are just a couple of the musicians working in the field of jazz ukulele. Take the time to learn about other great uke players who are in this field and listen to their music. You might just find that jazz uke is what’s been missing from your life.Return to Home Page
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