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Archives for: March 2012

4th Annual Reno Ukulele Festival - March 30 - April 1

Next weekend starting on Friday March 30 begins the 4th Annual Reno/Tahoe Ukulele Festival where I will be teaching as well as performing.

On Friday and Saturday, at 3:00pm, I will be teaching my “Stress Free Soloing” Workshop which is a must see for those who have wanted to venture into the world of soloing but have no idea of where to start. In this workshop I won’t bore you with technical details regarding scales and modes which typically come to mind when thinking about soloing. What I will do is present and demonstrate some techniques, and more importantly, a “process” you can employ to create simple yet melodically pleasing solos by using the notes within the rhythm chords being played. If you are familiar with “chord inversions”, which are simply different places on the neck to play the same chord, then you will achieve success in implementing this process very quickly. However, for those that know the first position chords but are not yet familiar with playing inversions up higher on the neck, fear not as our first order of business (after tuning of course) will be to learn the chord inversions for the two examples that will be demonstrated during the workshop. So regardless of whether you are a beginner or a seasoned strummer, if you would like to break out of your comfort zone and attempt to create a simple solo for your next uke club jam then this workshop is for you.

The workshop handout has been prepared as a stand-alone document that you can take with you and refer to over and over as necessary as you work through the process to create your own solos. Additionally, all but one of the examples in the handout have been recorded and are available for download from my Dominator Ukulele Tabs website. After attending the workshop if you are interested in practicing the solo examples presented in the handout then I recommend downloading the files and looping the rhythm section files, practicing the examples presented as well as improvising other solos that you come up with as you work through the techniques presented in the handout.

Alternatively, you can loop sections from your own music library of mp3s or record your own rhythm backing tracks, map out your solos, and begin experimenting with applying these techniques to the new chord progressions.

None of us are going to be shredding like Eddie Van Halen after studying the material in this workshop. But hopefully, the information provided will help you look at the chords you are playing and see the possibilities for creating your own simple yet melodically pleasing solos.

On Saturday at 2:00pm I will be performing on the Festival Stage. A wristband is required to access this area.

On Saturday evening I will be performing with the Ukulele All-Stars in the Celebrity Ballroom. Doors open at 8:00pm. Kris Fuchigami is headlining the evening and if you haven’t had the opportunity to see him perform you don’t want to miss it. He is a phenomenal player, musician and composer as well as one heck of a nice guy.

This year there are over $6000 worth of ukuleles being raffled off including a Dominator soprano that I just completed refurbishing. I built this soprano a number of years ago and the top became damaged. I thought it would be a good lesson in top replacement and a good candidate for a raffle prize for the festival. I removed the damaged top and replaced it with western red cedar and decided to add a black MOP rosette around the sound hole. Originally, the uke had a hand rubbed oil finish but the reincarnated instrument has a hand rubbed gloss lacquer finish. Here are the specs and a couple photos. Don't forget to buy loads of raffle tickets at the festival.

13.5” scale length soprano
Cherry back and sides
Western Red Cedar top
Width at nut – 1 1/2”
Mahogany neck w/carbon fiber reinforcement rod
Ebony finger board – 12 frets clear
Ebony peg head overlay with White MOP logo
White MOP Pearl combination side and FB markers at 5th, 7th, and 10th
Black MOP Rosette
Ebony through Bridge
Corian nut
Compensated bone saddle
Planetary geared peg tuners
Hand rubbed gloss lacquer finish
Worth Brown strings

Kalei Gamiao - The Unknown - Video Tutorial - Part 5

Things have been crazy busy lately with the Ukulelestar contest and my company Leadership Conference followed by my performance at the premiere of Jake’s Documentary Film at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. However, I took some time last evening to record the 5th installment of the tutorial series for Kalei Gamiao’s “The Unknown”.

Next weekend (March 30 - April 1) is the 4th Annual Reno/Tahoe Ukulele Festival where I will be teaching my “Stress Free Soling” Workshop and performing on the festival stage as well as the Celebrity Ballroom stage on Saturday evening. I will try to get the final video for this tutorial completed sometime next week. If not, it will have to wait until after the Reno festival.

If you’ve been working on the previous 4 videos you should be ready to tackle this one. We are almost there. Take your time and most of all, have fun with it.

Dominator to Perform with Jake Shimabukuro

Hi Everybody,
I was so excited to find out that Jake has selected me as the winner of the CAAM Ukulelestar Contest held by the Center for Asian American Media. In the link to the left is a blog from the CAAM website where they announce me as the winner including Jake’s original Tweets from his Twitter account after making his decision. I will perform with him on stage at the Castro Theater this coming Wednesday March 14th in San Francisco, California. Show starts at 7:30pm.

I want to thank each and every one of you who voted and/or commented on my video. I was extremely humbled by the gracious and heartfelt comments. Your enormous show of support was simply overwhelming. I hope you can join in on the fun and attend this great event. The premier of Jake’s new documentary film, Peace, Love, Ukulele is going to be fantastic followed by a concert where I will join Jake for a few tunes. Wish me Luck!

For information about tickets contact the Box Office or call 415-865-1588.