365 DotU, Day 97: The Return of the Ukulele

Confession time: I am becoming a bit of an instrument hoarder. I am particularly acquisitive w/r/t instruments with the word “tenor” in their names (tenor banjo, tenor guitar, and now…yep, I have one, a tenor ukulele).

Yeah. Whatever. Don’t judge me. Let’s make a deal: you keep your pie hole shut about my little musical instrument obsession, and I won’t mention You-Know-What to You-Know-Who.

Uh-huh. You know exactly what I mean.

OK, so let’s get on with the narcissism (mine, naturally — I couldn’t care less about yours).

Today’s long-awaited (HA!) return to the 365 features (finally!) an actual attempt at (wowzer!) (hey, shaddap, willya?) actually playing one of the tunes from Eddie Vedder’s Ukulele Songs: “Sleeping By Myself.” It went like so:

My challenge on this one was:

1) Learn the darn song!

My right hand technique is a bit slow, so this was something I had to work on. I actually ended up using a really, really light guitar pick, because I simply couldn’t seem to keep the rhythm and tone consistent any other way. It makes the tone a lot sharper and harder than the original, and not nearly as warm or round.

Jeebus. That whole paragraph requires a “that’s what SHE said…”

Also: The chords aren’t quite right. There were a couple in there that I just guessed at. The tab attempts I found online all got them wrong, so I punted. It’s pretty close, I think, but still not entirely accurate.

2) Fuss about with the mixer and a new condenser microphone to get the sound I want!

The ukulele I’m playing is an electric-acoustic model, so instead of putting a mic on it separately or trying to catch uke and voice together, I plugged it straight into the ol’ Mackie. I experimented with a bunch of different level and tone settings before getting it more or less in shape. Then I mucked around a little with compression and reverb in Garage Band (still haven’t worked up the nerve to get serious in Tracktion…tried, just couldn’t feel confident yet). The sound straight from the video actually wasn’t bad, and I almost left it alone, but the limited EQ options in iMovie meant it didn’t sound quite as cool as I wanted it to, so I dubbed the (simultaneously recorded) GB version in.


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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