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July 18, 2011

PLEASE NOTE:  My “UKULELE BASICS” DVD is currently  available for purchase. . . For more information email me at


A couple of years ago I posted some videos on the 12 bar blues.  One in the key of A another in the Key of C and then in the Key of D.  Over time I’ve received SO many nice comments on these lessons. . . I think people were just honestly amazed at how easily they could be playing this genre of music on the uke in no time at all.  Therefore, I decided to tackle another element of the blues and that was actual blues melodic improvisation.  I’ve done this over the years with the kids in my classroom and It never fails to amaze me at how quickly they would take to improvisation.  I just think there is this primal need in most people to create and when you create something that is satisfying to your ear it makes you feel somehow fulfilled. . . You have gone beyond just copying other’s music but making your own.  The cool thing about blues improv is that you have a limited scale to work in and therefore it allows you to make up your own leads with absolutely error free results. As long as you stay within the bounds of the blues scale and don’t venture out of it you can do NO wrong. . . The blues scale is based on a 5 tone “PENTATONIC” scale.  The Pentatonic scale is found in cultures all over the world from Native American to Irish (Celtic) to Asian. . . There seems to be something universal about this PENTATONIC scale. . . I’m sure musicologists have weighed in on that.  In fact the renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma has released CDs called THE SILK ROAD that shows the commonality between music that journeys along the 5 tone road.  I employed the assistance of one of my students in the school (Anthony).   I’ve known Anthony since he was born and I swear he was making music from day one.  This young man plays Ukulele, Guitar, Keyboard, Drums, Native American Flute . . . you name it and he’ll play it.  Right now he’s working on some new uke tunes to help me with my You Tube videos. . . In fact, he’s even posted his own You Tube lessons.  Check out his lesson on “HEY SOUL SISTER”

So check out my lesson on blues scale improv and enjoy. . .


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