Daily Archives: October 12, 2011

My public baritone ukulele debut: “Till There Was You”

I’ve been teaching myself to play baritone ukulele for almost a year; I started with a soprano uke, but my fingers were too large and I felt like an angry, uncoordinated giant whenever I tried to play. Hulk smash puny stringed instrument!

I sized up to a baritone, which is much less plink-y and more like a guitar, an instrument I’ve tried several times. Four strings is considerably simpler than six.

The idea of sharing the music beyond a very small circle is something I’ve talked myself out of a number of times. Not because I’m afraid of your feedback, but because I derive so much enjoyment from playing this damn thing that sharing it with others was barely a consideration. I could totally suck at it, and I’d still be having fun. Happily, I don’t totally suck at it.

Some of the most sublime moments in the last several months saw me sitting at a table while playing the uke and looking up chord diagrams online for songs I heard on the radio as a kid. The afternoon when I figured out the guitar hook from Heart’s “Barracuda,” I broke out laughing. When I found myself playing “Agua de Beber,” I was a little impressed with myself. And the day I played along to “Stairway” and blazed through the final verse, shaking my imaginary mop of hair? I felt like a complete badass.

Although I can sing and play, that seemed a little ambitious for a debut. Instead, here’s Meredith Wilson’s “Till There Was You.”

Till There Was You

I’ll try to add a few more from time to time. Many of the songs I’ve learned are here, but there are others I’m adding to the repertoire. Stay tuned.

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