All About My Ukulele

Something I have fallen in love with over the past few months is my ukulele. I sometimes get questions from people online about my ukulele so I thought I could write a whole post on it today. Do know, I am not a proffesional nor do I know a lot about ukuleles. In fact, I hardly know anything. All I can tell you is how I have experienced learning the ukulele so far.

Why did I choose to play the ukulele?

I think the ukulele is not an instrument you immediately think of when you are picking an instrument to learn. However, if it’s your first ever instrument; a ukulele is a nice start. For quite some time I had the thought of wanting to play an intrument. However, I have always had the guitar in mind. Two songs that really encouraged me to pick up an instrument were Missing You by All Time Low and The Strays by Sleeping With Sirens. Both two of my favourite bands, both really great and meaningful songs. However, I never thought I would be good enough to be able to play a guitar. At this point I had discovered a few people on Youtube who played the ukulele and that gave some ideas. I thought perhaps the fact that a ukulele is a lot smaller than a guitar meant that it was also a lot easier to play and cheaper to buy. So I did.

Which ukulele do I have?

I have the Diamond Head DU-250 which is a soprano ukulele. There are four main ukulele sizes and mine is the smallest. Which one to get really depends on what you want to do with your ukulele. If you are anything like me and you had no idea there were different sizes you just want ‘that one you see everyone on Youtube play’, you probably mean a soprano or a concert ukulele. The concert one is a little bigger and has a harder sound to it. I advise you to do think about what you really want to do with your ukulele once you have it and try and find the right one for it. Prise wise, ukuleles can differ a lot. You have very cheap ones and very expensive ones. If you are just starting out, I would advice you not to but an expensive one right away. Mine was around 40 euros and honestly, I feel like it sounds just as good as expansive ones. Perhaps I have to do some more tuning but that’s okay for me.

ukulele-sizes-1

Is it difficult to learn how to play a ukulele?

When I first started playing my ukulele, it was the hardest freaking thing ever. I struggled a lot. But then I remembered something. I have this 5 Seconds Of Summer DVD in which Michael, my favourite member said: ”I almost gave up on playing the guitar cause it was so hard to do. I am glad I didn’t give up.” This is something that always motivates me whenever I struggle to play. Even famous guitarists struggle. Just don’t give up. Keep practising. Keep getting better. I have to say, I still struggle. But I keep practising everyday and I keep getting better everyday. However, to answer this question: No, the ukulele is in fact not a difficult instrument to play. It just takes some getting used to. Fairly quickly I taught myself a few basic chords and strumming patterns and with that I am able to play so many different songs. If you are new to playing an instrument, a ukulele is a great start.

Why do I enjoy playing the ukulele so much?

I like playing the ukulele. However, the thing that made me love it was Twenty One Pilots. As you may know, Tyler also plays the ukulele. Seeing him play it and hearing his songs motivated me a lot to improve. In all honesty, if it weren’t for Twenty One Pilots, I would have probably already gotten bored of playing. Not only do they have a lot of great songs to play on the ukulele, Tyler also taught me something important. I am a very emotional person. That is just a fact. Whenever I feel any negative energy inside me, whenever I feel a negative emotion, I can go and use that negativity to do something negative. That is and always will be an option. But how about we take that energy, that focus, and aim it at something else. Something more positive. Take that energy you have and use it to create. I use my ukulele to aim my emotions on something positive instead of negative. That is what I love about playing.

How do I learn to play new songs?

I am a self taught ukulele player. I have never had any lessons nor do I know how to read music notes. Here are some places I like to go to learn new songs:

  • www.ukutabs.com On this website you will find ukulele chords to so many songs. You can also transpose them to make them easier if you need to. It’s easy to use and understand so you can get started right away.
  • The Ukulele Teacher Probably the best ukulele channel on Youtube. The ukulele teacher has taught me most I know about playing the ukulele. He explains chords, strumming patterns, tuning and even more.
  • Matthew Hedges A slightly smaller channel and not just ukulele tutorials, however very useful to me sometimes. Like me, Matthew is a massive Twenty One Pilots fan so he has some tutorials on that. Watching his, or anyone’s covers can be very instructive too. It might give you some ideas to play and if you look closely, you might even be able to see which chords to play.
  • Isabelle Hyde  She is probaby one of my favourite people ever. She is so talented and once again, a Twenty One Pilots fan, like me. So most of her covers are Twenty One Pilots songs. She has, in my opinion, a very creative way of playing songs. She uses strumming patterns you wouldn’t think of right away. That is why I love watching her covers to get some inspiration and ideas to play songs myself.

Some tips on how to play the ukulele.

The most important thing before you start playing is tuning your ukulele. I struggled a lot with this. I find it very hard to hear when exactly my ukulele is tuned in the right way. I would advise you to either get a tuning app or an actual ukulele tuner. This has helped me a lot. Tuning is obvioulsy done with the tuning keys. The basic way of tuning is G-C-E-A. Meaning that if you hold your ukulele, the string closest to your face is G, the next one C, and so on.

When you are just starting out, the basic chords to learn are F, G, Am and C. These are, first of all, very easy to play and, second of all, very common. You can play so many songs with just these four chords so make sure you know them.

Besides chords, strumming pattern is also important. It’s the thing you do with your other hand basically. You will see that strumming patterns often look something like this: dddudu. D = strum down. U = strum up. Some basic strumming patterns that you can use for most songs are: DDUUDU & DDUDUDU. I started strumming with a guitar pick. For me this was easier. Especially very quick strumming patters are easier with a guitar pick. However, at the moment I prefer to use my thumb to play. It gives a softer sound which I like more but the way you like to strum is totally up to you.

All of these tips are nice. However, there is one thing that to me, is the most important thing to know. Whatever instrument it is you play, know that there is no wrong or right way to play it. Music is self expression so whatever it is you need to be able to express yourself, do it. Don’t let anyone tell you, not even your favourite band member or your own mind, that what you are doing is wrong. The only way to know if you are playing your instrument right is by asking yourself the question: do I truly enjoy playing? If your answer is yes than you are doing it right!

I hope this post was somewhat helful and that I answered at least some of your questions. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below! You can also tweet me, or snap me, or ask me on Instagram if you like.

I will see you tomorrow!

Toodlepip!

My Christmas Playlist

It’s time. Today I am officially allowed to use the C-word. (I meant Christmas, obvioulsy.. what did you think of then??)

It’s the first of December and we all know what that means: Christmas jumpers, advent calenders, Tyler Joseph’s birthday, but most importantly; the official start of blogmas! I haven’t done any blogmas posts last year and most of my blogmas posts from the year before that are gone. However, I am doing another attempt this year. To be honest, I have no idea how this is going to go. I am ridiculously busy with school and it’s only going to get worse the closer to Christmas we’re going to get, so just bear with me okay?

If there is one thing I am always way to early with, it has to be Christmas music. I love music. I love Christmas. What better combination is there? Actually, there are lot of combinations better than that because in all honesty, Christmas music is really not that great. However, sometimes the Christmas spirit is so strong, I can actually stand to listen to some Mariah Carey, Michael Bublé or even Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

Let’s start with the good ol’ classics. Okay, not all of these are classics but these are perhaps the most popular, well-known Christmas songs. And some other random pop-Christmas songs:

This wouldn’t be a BlogginAnne post if it didn’t inlcude some of my fandoms. Do know; not all of the songs listed below are Christmas songs, some just give me a Christmassy and cozy feeling:

I hope that this somewhat helped you out if you were still looking for some Christmas music. Another tip for you: Punk goes Christmas. That is all I need to say. I will see you tomorrow!

Toodlepip! x

Twenty One Pilots // music favourites

If there is one thing I cannot live without, it has to be music. If you know me, you might know how I can get pretty obsessed over a band or singer once I have started listening to their songs. My taste in music is literally all over the place. Ranging from teen-girl idols One Direction to the screaming Mexicans of Pierce The Veil. Maybe because my music playlist is so varied, it is not so weird that I have recently fallen in love with mixed-genre band Twenty One Pilots.

tumblr_static_9lwnsm5wv4g8s04w0gc400k80

For the ones who don’t know them; Twenty One Pilots is a band of two guys; multi-instrumentalist and singer Tyler Joseph and drummer (and sometimes trumpet player) Josh Dun. Tyler Joseph started out on his own, singing and writing songs which he gathered on his first album called No Phun Intended. Later on Nick Thomas, and Chris Salih joined him forming Twenty One Pilots. The trio brought out the self titled album Twenty One Pilots. However in 2011 Nick and Chris decided to leave the band but not long after that Josh joined Tyler resulting in the Twenty One Pilots we know now. So far they brought out three albums; Regional at Best, Vessel and their newest album Blurryface.

As a fairly new fan, I have been educating myself on the band, the fans and all the little facts, made up words and inside jokes of the fandom. Here is what I have learned so far;

  1. TØp or tøp: An abbreviation of the bands name. The ø is just because it looks cool.
  2. Skeleton Clique or Clique: This is how the fans call themselves. Skeleton comes from Tyler and Josh wearing skeleton suits during shows.
  3. Fueled by Ramen: The record labed with which they signed.
  4. Power to the local dreamer: A phrase that is often used to emphasize the fact that the fanbase of Twenty One Pilots are people with big dreams who have the power to accomplish those dreams.
  5. Sick as Frick: Basically means awesome. It started with Tyler’s love for the word frick, which is just a nicer word for the F word.
  6. Friend or Fren: What everybody in the clique calls each other. It’s a term of affection probably coming from their song Kitchen Sink.
  7. We are Twenty One Pilots and so are you: A phrase they end their shows with, again to show affection towards the fans. Fans often call Twenty One Pilots ‘our band’ reffering to the fact that they are also a big part of it.

tumblr_o6q365S7wL1rqeqruo2_540

Music wise, I personally find Twenty One Pilots one of the best ones out there. They mix nearly every existing genre, from screamo and emo to electric, pop and rap. And somehow they manage to make it sound amazing. But what I personally like most about their music is the lyrics. Their songs start off as poems and afterwards they add a melody and a beat to it resulting in their lyrics to have an incredibly deep (and for most people in the clique; very relatable and helpful) meaning. Here are some cool lyrics from some cool songs I would higly reccomend you to listen to;

”I’m a kitchen sink. You don’t know what that means. Because a kitchen sink to you
Is not a kitchen sink to me, OK friend? Are you searching for purpose? Then write something, yeah it might be worthless. Then paint something then, it might be wordless. Pointless curses, nonsense verses. You’ll see purpose start to surface. No one else is dealing with your demons. Meaning maybe defeating them could be the beginning of your meaning, friend.” (kitchen sink) 

”We’ve turned our hands to guns, trade in our thumbs for ammunition. I must forewarn you, of my disorder, or my condition. ‘Cause when the sun sets, it upsets what’s left of my invested interest,
Interested in putting my fingers to my head. The solution is, I see a whole room of these mutant kids. Fused at the wrist, I simply tell them they should shoot at this. Simply suggest my chest and this confused music. It’s obviously best for them to turn their guns to a fist.” (guns for hands)

”What kids are doing are killing themselves. They feel they have no control of their prisoner’s cell. And if you’re one of them then you’re one of me. And you would do almost anything just to feel free… Am I right? Of course I am, convince me otherwise would take all night. Before you walk away, there’s one more thing I want to say; Our brains are sick but that’s okay.” (fake you out)

”I am not as fine as I seem, pardon me for yelling. I’m telling you green gardens are not what’s growing in my psyche, it’s a different me a. A difficult to be. Stop feasting lumber down trees, freeze frame please, let me paint a mental picture portrait, something you won’t forget, it’s all about my forehead. And how it is a door that holds back contents that make Pandora’s Box’s contents look non-violent. Behind my eyelids are islands of violence. My mind’s ship-wrecked. This is the only land my mind could find. I did not know it was such a violent island. Full of tidal waves, suicidal crazed lions. They’re trying to eat me, blood running down their chin. And I know that I can fight or I can let the lion win. I begin to assemble what weapons I can find. ‘Cause sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill your mind.” (migraine)

”While you’re doing fine, there’s some people and I who have a really tough time getting through this life so excuse us while we sing to the sky  …. We’re broken, We’re broken, We’re broken, We’re broken people, oh. We’re broken people, oh.” (screen)

”I’m only at it again as an addict with a pen who’s addicted to the wind as it blows me back and forth mindless, spineless, and pretend. Of course I’ll be here again; See you tomorrow. But it’s the end of today, end of my ways as a walking denial. My trial was filed as a crazy suicidal head case.” (addict with a pen)

”Tie a noose around your mind. Loose enough to breath fine and tie it to a tree tell it, you belong to me, this ain’t a noose this is a leash and I have news for you, you must obey me.” (holding onto you)

As you can tell by the lyrics above, their songs are quite serious as they talk about serious issues mainly regarding mental health. What I personally find so brilliant and refreshing about this band is that they are not telling you to nesseserily ‘get better’ but they are telling you that it is okay to feel the way you feel. As someone on Tumblr described it; ‘Twenty One Pilots is my favourite band because they taught me that it is okay to not be okay, and that a whole room of people screaming ”we’re broken people” is infinitely more comforting that hearing ”it’ll get better”.’    And this sums up exactly why I have recently started loving Twenty One Pilots so much. They describe how it feels to be overthrown by thoughts; bad as well as good thoughts. They comfort you that it is okay to not be okay. They encourage you to ‘Stay Alive’ because ‘it’s worth it, I promise.’

Something that they specifically taught me is that I can use my hands to destroy but it is ultimately better to use my hands to create. Because creating something means creating meaning and purpose. ‘It’s better to turn your gun to a fist.’ Something else they taught me is that my body is merely a vessel, carrying what truly matters, that what is inside; thought and creativity. ‘I don’t care what is in your hair, I just want to know what is on your mind.’

tumblr_o32jmyG9F81ucj6m4o1_500

As far as I can tell Josh and Tyler are incredibly humble, caring and above all, kind people. They do everything to make their fans feel like belong, feel loved and feel like they are a part of something bigger. Their liveshows are always amazing. They literally end up right in the middle of the crowd. The way they interact with their clique, the way they write the lyrics, the way their music sounds and their personality’s is what, in my opinion, makes them one of the greatest bands currently out there.

tumblr_n8qdaeiUGX1sgl4tfo1_500

All I really want to say here is, if you haven’t ever heard of them, go check them out. If you have only heard Stressed Out so far, go check them out. If you just want to find some great music, go check them out.

Toodplepip!