Title: The Complete Ukulele Course! Taught by Ralph Shaw
Label: Ralph Shaw Productions
Target audience: First time ukulele players
Ralph (King of the Ukulele!) Shaw has two popular DVDs on the market. The newer Essential Strums for the Ukulele and his first instructional DVD that I’m reviewing here.
Introduction (1:50) – Ralph introduces himself and talks about why he enjoys playing the ukulele.
Tuning & Getting Started (9:10) – Talks about tuning your uke in GCEA tuning, keeping the tuning pegs tightened, how to hold the instrument, and how to hold our strumming hand.
Strumming in 4/4 Time (6:11) – Explains what 4/4 time is and demonstrates strums with four beats per measure and accenting different beats.
Tremolo, Chords in F & Ornaments (6:38) – Demonstrates how to play tremolo strumming, how to play the B flat chord and ornament notes while strumming various chords.
Learn Froggie… (3:24) – Teaches Froggie Went a Courting, a two chord song. He throws in different strumming techniques and ornament chords.
3/4 & 6/8 Time Plus Chords Up The Neck (6:00) – Talks about 3/4 time being ‘waltz time’ and 6/8 time being ‘jig time’ and shows different ways to strum in these timings. Also shows how you can move chords up the neck by using a bar.
Right Hand Rhythms (7:05) – Demonstrates string damping, George Formby split stoke strum, thumb rolls and triplets.
Learn “Hello Ma Baby” (5:07) – Teaches the song “Hello Ma Baby” and how to do a turnaround in a song.
Melody Playing (10:50) – Strumming methods for pulling out the melody in a song.
Total running time is approximately 60 minutes.
Click thumbnails to see full-size images
The video and sound quality in this video are very good. Ralph is pleasant to listen to and teaches the various techniques in an understandable and easy to learn way. I do think it would be better if there were chord diagrams for the chords being played instead of having to explain where each finger goes on which string. I always find that a little bit tedious to listen to.
This DVD is good for players just starting out. It shows a few different strumming methods and teaches three simple songs. A booklet is also included that shows the words and music for the three songs. Ralph packs a lot of information into a short time. It leaves you wanting more, but I guess that’s a good thing 🙂 I recommend this video for anyone just starting out, but not for someone that has been playing for more than a couple of months as the information will probably not be new to you at that point.