It’s been a few days now since my new Lanikai concert ukulele arrived. I began my adventure into Ukuleleland by tuning my instrument. But I have concerns.
I hope I don’t forget how to play the guitar once I figure out how to play the ukulele! I remember what happened when I took French in college. I had an eight am class, and due to the fact that I was only half awake, my addled brain reverted to Spanish words, which I had learned in junior high school. In a pinch, we remember the old stuff.
But sometimes the old stuff can get fuzzy once it is challenged by the new stuff. It’s easy to get mixed up when presented with something new that is similar to something familiar. This “prior knowledge,” which we educators call “what you already know pretty well,” should help us to learn something similar.
Well, it did help me to remember to use a pneumonic device to learn the four strings on the ukulele. They are G, C, E, and A. My pneumonic is “Goats Can Eat Anything.” I don’t remember using a pneumonic for the guitar strings, though. I just kept repeating them over and over every time I tuned the guitar, and they stuck.
This time I needed some extra help in order to keep from being confused between the guitar strings and the ukulele strings. I do remember using a pneumonic to learn the notes on the music staff in seventh grade. FACE for the open spaces, and EGBDF, “Every Good Boy Does Fine” for the lines of the staff.
Once you learn what notes the strings on the ukulele are supposed to sound like, you have to decide how you are going to recreate them in order to tune your instrument to those notes. I didn’t know where my husband kept his tuner, so instead of digging around in his closet (a scary endeavor), I looked on the Internet.
I found this great site with a tuner. It was easy to use, but as soon as I began to play chords, the strings slipped out of tune pretty quickly. They stretch a lot at first, and you just have to be patient and keep re-tuning when the notes turn sour. Next time, I will talk about ukulele chords, which are different fingerings from a guitar, naturally!