Friday, February 4, 2011

Re-Discovering Tuning to the Key of D

     I started playing uke tuning in the key of C,and even tho I've been playing for a little over a year,I was having a horrible time memorizing chords,and forget reading music-which I can do on mandolin and baritone uke,but something seemed amiss with the tuning I was using.      So,I took one of my ukes & restrung it with a set of Black Diamond strings made for D tuning (A D F# B) and a wierd thing happened. It suddenly felt right,I've had no problem reading music for it in this tuning and chords are easily memorized. What did I do-play uke in a prior life or something? Genetic memory kicking in? My grandmother played banjo ukulele but I have no idea what tuning she used,nor did I ever hear her play. I did inherit her banjo uke tho.
     There's an amazing amount of vintage sheet music out there made for this wonderful tuning in addition to a copy of May Singh Breen's "New Ukulele Method" Man I wish there were more uke books made like that today-she shows you 3 ways to play each chord,and offers a wealth of musical knowledge in an easy to understand format. She truly wanted ukesters to understand their instrument so they could sound fantastic. There seems to be a lot of books in C tuning that teach such bare bones about playing it's no wonder the public looks at as a toy rather than a instrument to be taken seriously. 
     If you're also having a rough time learning & you're using a C tuned uke,I'd give the D tuning a try. For those who are at home in C tuning,there's a wonderful book that is influenced by May Singh Breen-you'll see the link to it on this page. 

1 comment:

  1. Sherrie, you mention above about a C-tuning book that was influenced by May Singhi Breen and that the link to it is on you blog page, but I'm not sure which book you're talking about.

    For years, actually decades, I've used the D tuning, taught to me by May Singhi Breen's book, which was my uke bible. However, I've been working with a uke class and am now using the C tuning, which feels a bit weird after all these years, but is what the teacher uses, so I'm adjusting.