In February 2014, a friend introduced me to a Soprano Ukulele. He left it with me for a week, to see if I liked it.
Now, my life partner, Vasco, is a pretty good guitarist. He’s been playing in rock bands for many years and picks up the acoustic guitar most evenings, just for fun. For much of my adult life, I have been fortunate enough to listen to a fine musician playing a good quality steel-string guitar.
So when I heard the Ukulele, I was aghast! It sounded so tinny, like a toy. Dreadful!
I gave the uke back to my friend at the end of the week with an empty promise of ‘looking into getting one’ even though I knew that it wouldn’t happen. My mind was saying ‘why learn a tinky little thing like that? I can’t jam with Vasco because it’s so damned tinny sounding’.
At the same time though, I’d been surprised at how easy it was to learn 3 chords. Like, really REALLY easy. My sort of easy! And I’ve always really loved being part of music. Being involved, as well as listening.
Fast forward to July 2014. I was browsing the internet and clicked onto aw a video for ‘David’s Song’ on Baritone Uke.
And I was hooked! That was EXACTLY the sort of music I wanted to make. So I jumped onto an Australian music online store and ordered a cheap Baritone Ukulele.
The Buke (my word for a baritone uke, and yes, a concert uke is a cuke and a tenor uke is a tuke) arrived and I unpacked it. Now, I know they have to send these things well wrapped, but heck! The wrapping that came with this uke was nearly enough to fill our recycle bin without any of the regular weekly stuff that we put in to it. I finally got it unwrapped and tuned it. (The tuner came free with the uke and I’d looked on youtube as to how this worked). I was ready to begin.
Once again, I was surprised at how easy it was to learn chords. For the Baritone Uke, an Em chord was one finger, the same as the Am in a CGEA tuned uke) and a C chord was 2 fingers, (F chord shape in a CGEA uke). With Em and C, I had the chords I needed to play Eleanor Rigby! The Zoot version of this has been a favourite of mine since its release in the 70’s, back when I didn’t realise how talented Zoot were but liked the song anyway.
Because the Baritone Ukulele was much lower in tone, I liked the sound much more than the tinny sounding soprano uke I’d tried earlier in the year. Even though the Buke I’d got was a very cheap, laminated version I was very happy with it, and my journey had begun. At the age of 52 a new chapter had opened in my life.
About the Title song.
From Little Things Big Things Grow – Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody. So many Australians don’t know the history of their own country. Whilst the tune of the song never really appealed to me, the (true) story behind this song brings tears to my eyes each time.
C, Am, Em, G. Capo 4th fret to play with the vid. And I do love the fingerpicking options that this song provides. (In the video, it’s a banjo)