Play At Your Level to Get to the Next Level

Compare two songs and determine where you fit in. “Oh, Susannah” meets “19th Nervous Breakdown.”

keith richards ukulele

With a little dash of “Prarie Lullaby.”

19th Nervous Breakdown vs. Oh Susannah: Video automatically transcribed by Sonix

19th Nervous Breakdown vs. Oh Susannah: this mov video file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Warming up: Prairie Lullaby

See you sleeping.


Stop right there, A Prairie Lullaby by Jimmie Rodgers. Hey, welcome, everybody. Happy Monday. Welcome to Ukulele Practice Time with Danno at 12 01 on the dot.

So I'll tell you what I was playing, although it's not what I want to focus on today. That's a Prairie Lullaby. And there's a couple of nice features in there.

The verse in the minor key — and then you get to the major key cares of the days have fled my little sleepy head.

And it makes you feel relieved as you switch into the major. But as Annie was saying, it sounds like a cowboy song and it sounds like a lullaby.

And I listen to this song for years before I realized that that's exactly what it is. It's a prairie lullaby and it's a parent, a cowboy probably, singing Saddle Up Your Pony, The Sandman's here. So the cowboy singing to his little sprat in the sleeping bag. The Sandman's here to guide you down the trail of dreams. Tumble into bed, my little ol' sleepy head.It's a prairie lullaby.

I just love that kind of stuff. The amount of thought and creativity that goes into this. So that's my slow introduction.

Lynn says.

There you go, being Leon Redbone again, you're right. I actually did learn that song in the right order. I knew that Prarie Lullaby from Jimmie Rodgers, the singing brakeman, but Leon Redbone covered it. And I probably am more inclined to sing like Leon Redbone than I am to sing like Jimmie Rodgers. I can't quite do the Jimmie Rodgers yodel the right way.

Folk songs, Rolling Stones songs, and wisdom

All right, so very often I like to focus on a skill, very often I like to focus on a song, and very often it's kind of — Mondays tend to be this way for some reason, a little more catch as catch can. And what I had today started off as A tidbit of wisdom that I thought I would share with you, and then as I was messing around with songs with that tidbit of wisdom in my mind, I realized that there's some overlap for a folk song and a Rolling Stones song.

So I want to cover all all three of those things, folk, stones and wisdom and what is my wisdom? My wisdom, I hope, is inspirational wisdom, which is this:

Anne Elk

I have a theory, this is my theory and what it is to you, and the next thing I'm going to say would be my theory and. The thing that I am about to say is going to have been my theory, all right. And I felt a little bit of Monty Python, I sometimes can't resist.

You already know everything you need

My inspirational wisdom for you is you already know everything you need to know to play enough ukulele to keep yourself satisfied and content for the rest of your life there. That's it. You already know enough. You don't need to learn anymore. How's that for wisdom coming from a ukulele teacher? Do you know what I mean? If you know three chords and three strums. You've got 20 million songs that you can play if you've got three chords and and one strum, and even if you're one strum is just down on the one beat, you've got enough.

Here's Prarie Lullaby.

The skill cycle

I might add in some things that I know how to do, but I actually like the simplicity. So I don't want you to ever feel like your lack of knowledge is holding you back and maybe holding you back from certain things. But it's not holding him back from playing ukulele. It's not holding you back from making music, and it's not holding you back from playing songs that you love you may need to find Songs that fit your skill level for now, and the great thing is it's a self-perpetuating cycle as you find songs that you can't play. You realize that there are skills that you need to play those songs. You start to learn those skills specifically. In order to play a song that you want to play.

Rinse and repeat, so here's an example I'm going to close in on the Ben, could we bring up the close up Cam? Thinks that's been my producer.

Re: 3 chord songs

All right. So you know, the whole concept of the three chord songs, right?

So many folk songs have the three chords that we call the one, the four and the five chords.

Most of the time in ukulele world, we play those with common ukulele keys like the KFC and the three chords in the key of C or C, F and G. Very often we play an F because that's a pretty ukulele friendly key.

And the three chords there are F, B flat and C, so these are the same three chords just in different keys.

They're relatively the same. They're the same relative. They're the same relative to each other. Less common for ukulele players is to play in the key of a.

I'm going to choose to use the key of A today, not because it's a good singing key for me, in fact, you'll see just the opposite, that it's a pretty bad singing key for me.

But A is a good key for rock and roll, and I'm going to show you the overlap between rock and roll and folk music today and overlap the overlap. So the three chords and the key of A are A and we count up from A, that's our one B, C, D is our four chord and it is our five chord. So.

Experiment with Folk v. Rock

All right. So this you know what this is friends. This is an experiment today. I'm building it like it's going to be a big revelation. And it's it's not that. It's that it was something I was goofing around with. And I thought it was kind of fun. And it ties in with that little tidbit of wisdom. Like Jim says, I'm satisfied with my skills. And you may or may not be. You never know when something's going to slip through.

But with that little tidbit of wisdom about. The amount of knowledge that, you know, can be applied in so many different ways, that's the example in the experiment that I want to share today.

Oh, Susannah!

At that point, I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knew.

So that's an old folk song, right?

And I played it with a E A and then D

Well, what about the Rolling Stones?

three chords play D and E, but this is how I got to it today.

Do you recognize that fancy little opening?

You're the kind of girl you need at certain dismal dollar parties center of the ground. It seems to me that you have seen action to you, though, you try to just keep your eyes, at least kids, and stop.

And you know, Suzanne. Don't you cry for me, because I know that I do don't seem to work.

This seems to make matters worse.

I didn't mean to do the whole song, I couldn't stop myself. Do you see the overlap?

Overlap between the two sngs

All that extra noise from the Rolling Stones song is all still built into the same three chords of Oh, Susannah, you could play well.

I come from Alabama, the kind you got. Let's see.

Let's see if I can make it make this work.

You know, the kind of person that you are, the kind of person you meet. And certainly there's no doubt that there's some of the crowd. Down the stairs.

Oh, Suzanne, so they're not meant to completely, directly overlap, that's kind of a fun game to play, to sing the tune of one song with the words of another. But it's the same three chords, folk song that Dr..

In Rolling Stones.

You can see me now, I can't stop myself into it. You're the kind of person that certainly does not good to up. Down.

Playing at YOUR level

It's that little walk up we talked about last week, so that's my point, that if you were a basic player, you'd be looking at something like, Oh, Susannah, and you'd be doing it with a simple little strummed up. But but but once you made that recognition that it's the same three chords to let you play 19th nervous breakdown there, I wanted to name the name of the song. Then you would see that without any new skills, you'd be able to play a new song in a completely new style. I'll strum it the same way. Krista, thanks for the question about E chord. I'll answer that in just a second.

So here's our Susanna that.

Rolling Stone seems, you know, the kind of knock got got to get that tune out of my head. You're the kind of person that certainly does make the same strum. Say everything.

Just a new tune that goes over the chords. Now, to prove my point that I was trying to make about the way you learn skills in a loop.

If you had the basic strum down that guy and the girl.

And you know, the song 19th Nervous Breakdown by the Rolling Stones, you're going to start to feel dissatisfied. It's not enough. So what you saw me do when I played it was I rocked it up a Look.

But not much is not much different than the old Susanna's strum, but I started throwing in some of the things that are specific to that song, a song, you know, a pop song. We know the recording. A folk song. Everybody knows that the way they learned it, that's what a folk song is. But because of the well-known recording of a pop song, you can start throwing in things that make it sound more like that.

That riff

So I'm still on the A chord. But do you see how I get that? I'm not getting the exact riff from the Rolling Stones songs because I don't have the right low strings that a guitar has.

But that little riff is built around the A chord.

So at the beginning of the song, you are the kind of person you need.

It's a dismal double. There's they're doing something like.

So I'm just throwing in a little note and a little bit of finger style.

But it still is an A chord. So that's a great example of how you don't need to learn a whole new thing.

You only need to learn a little bit of a new thing. I already know the A chord.

You could even just do a simple finger style like that to get the feel for it.

I'm trying to get it as close as I can to the recording. And what I came up with is.

The kind of person you meet is made of.

So I'm going to show you how I do the E chord and then I'm going to show you how I did the Little Stones —

Following my own advice

That was my favorite part to figure out. And I'm doing exactly what I'm telling you to do, which is I wanted to learn the song, so I learned these little tricks in order to play the song. It doesn't make as much sense to me to do it the other way around.

Danno's E chord

So I've shown you my chord in my E chord for for the old timers here. But I'll give you the real quick nutshell version.

Christa, I think you nailed it with your perception. I'm playing a barre. And I'm trying to mute string one. I want strings for three and two to ring out, and I want to string one closest to the ground to be muted. So what that entails is a little bit of a lift if I press hard to get all four strings. So I left just a little bit at the floor side to lessen the pressure and create a mute.

And it works on a D chord.

My longtime friends here know that this is one of my what's the opposite of a pet peeve? It's it's that it's the opposite of a pet peeve.

It's one of my favorite things that a lot of people disagree with me because it takes a bit of precision. But once you get it. Oh, it speeds up your D and your E sometimes maybe even in this song, you may have seen me play D this way.

But most of the time, I'll cut it off.

And in a song like this, I wanted to do that because. I couldn't fiddle around with other shapes and get the riff in there, too, so that's how I do the E and then the little riff is thrown in to remember a long time ago we talked about the two shapes that let you do all those riffs, those Chuck Berry Buddy Holly riffs. There are only two shapes.

There's a diagonal shape and a double barre shape.

And there are others, of course, but those were the main two. So I'm doing that diagonal shape.

Plus, the barre of the E —

And I was pretty pleased figuring that out to.

Wrapping up the overlap

So how about that, folks? Pretty useful, pretty unusual. You may or may not care to actually learn 19th nervous breakdown, but do you see how much thinking can go into a song like that? If you looked at the chords on the Internet, it would say A D and E and you would say to yourself, are the three chords of rock, the three chords of folk? I use the same chords for Susannah, but then you start asking yourself, what can I do to make it more interesting for me, the player make it more fun or make it more authentic.

It you know, these are all overlapping qualities. And the more boxes you tick, the more interesting it will be for you as the player. So that said, I think that's a nice place to wrap it up. I'm always happy to take questions on this stuff. I love to play all different styles of music on the ukulele, and it's one of my favorite things as a teacher to get across is that we're not stuck playing old Hawaiian songs or 1920s ditties. Our rock and roll is never going to sound quite as authentic as a guitar player, but it gives us something to shoo t for.

And however close you can get on your ukulele, it's going to be a pleasant surprise to you and your listeners are so good. Thanks for the nice comments. Everybody stay healthy, wealthy and wise, OK? And we'll be back tomorrow. Same time.

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