Aguado Dionisio — Study in A Minor (arranged for ukulele)

Got my new tenor ukulele and it’s an absolute­ly gor­geous instru­ment, although I’m sure that’s relat­ed to the cost1. After a few weeks of try­ing out the Aquila’s they came with, I put on some Worth brown strings with the low‑G.

Study in A Minor is a great piece to learn because it’s rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple (so I don’t get dis­cour­aged too eas­i­ly), but there are three tricky parts to focus on improv­ing. They’re also each dif­fi­cult in their own way, grad­u­al­ly work­ing the dex­ter­i­ty or flex­i­bil­i­ty in a cer­tain fin­ger or two.

I want­ed to film this as a record of the way the ukulele sounds now; it’s a sol­id lace­wood spruce body, so the tone will devel­op over time as the wood matures. Also, so I can have a quick ref­er­ence of what it sounds like with longer nails on the pick­ing hand (which were prompt­ly cut after, because they were dri­ving me nuts). It’s rel­a­tive­ly clear sound, where­as with­out nails it’s sort of “wet”.

I first learned this on a sopra­no ukulele, and I had to retrain my fin­gers to stretch on the tenor. It was a BIG dif­fer­ence, and I did­n’t think my fin­gers would stretch far enough at first.

It feels amaz­ing to prac­tice some­thing for weeks, and to final­ly have it click one day. Then you nev­er want to stop play­ing cause you’re afraid you may lose it the next day.

  1. Jesse says I paid “real instru­ment” price for it. []


  1. is there some kind of thing you could put on the ends of your fin­gers to mim­ic long nails with­out actu­al­ly hav­ing to have long nails?

    There MUST be!

    There you go…

    I’m a super genius.

    • I’ve seen indi­vid­ual fin­ger picks before (usu­al­ly for ban­jo play­ers), but they’re way too long and they nev­er go under the nail like that. Cool!

      I’m just won­der­ing if they’re safe for ukulele strings, because you don’t nor­mal­ly use a plec­trum for ukulele. Or if you do, they’re usu­al­ly made of felt cause the strings can eas­i­ly be scratched, warped, or bro­ken.

      • I’ll have to take your word for it.…

      • The strings can eas­ily be scratched? We used to jab the string with a pick to cre­ate a dry note, or to hard stop a note. You must have some pret­ty expen­sive vin­tage strings… always the con­nesieur like your par­ents :)

      • They’re not eas­i­ly scratched (although that does hap­pen just from fin­ger­nails), I think it’s more of being dam­aged and stretched beca­sue they’re not steel-strings, they’re usu­al­ly made of nyg­lut (syn­thet­ic glut) or flu­o­ro­car­bon.

  2. After read­ing your descrip­tion of the var­i­ous types of sound, I remem­bered being fas­ci­nat­ed by the con­struc­tion of instru­ments in one of my favorite movies, “The Red Violin”.

    • I loved that movie! It def­i­nite­ly helps one appre­ci­ate the con­struc­tion and beau­ty of an instru­ment.

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