Spent much of the day practicing a new song. I’m trying to not bite off more than I can chew, and only spend a few minutes at a time learning new parts, then taking a long break before resuming again. I think my brain remembers a lot better that way. It’s also good to relax the muscles a bit since my wrist still isn’t 100%. Actually, I don’t think it will ever be 100% again, but the pain is definitely manageable and more of an annoyance than a hindrance.
I do take care to always wear a wrist brace which helps to keep my wrist in the correct angle to lessen the pain. But I’ve also found value in the wrist brace for better ukulele playing. The brace keeps my wrist straight which forces my fingers to curl more, which in turn causes my fingers to press the strings more precisely. The result is that the notes sound cleaner when I play. Win-win!
Today’s photos is of the omiyage that Mariko brought for me from her visit to her hometown of Osaka. It’s a bit of a mix this time, with a wash-cloth that I’ve been mentioning for a few months now, the big bottle of shochu that we’ll enjoy together, and the unexpected darumas (very cool style!).
But the pièce de résistance has to be the ukulele songbook of Ghibli tunes. It’s awesome! The first part of the book is finger-style solos, and the second part is chords and lyrics. I can’t sing, so you might think the second part is not useful, but to the contrary, having the chords right there will be great for referencing when I practice the finger-style versions. And speaking of the finger-style versions, they are the right level for me. The arrangement is not too simple and not too complex. However, I think there will be room to embellish a bit which is why the chords in the second half of the book will be useful. The songbook also includes a CD for reference. I’ve already started on ひこうき雲, which is the heart-breaking (lyrics) 1973 song from Arai Yumi and used as the ending song in The Wind Rises. It’s kind of perfect for the movie. 😭
Tonight I replaced the strings that came with my Kala Pineapple Ukulele with some Aquila New Nylgut strings. The original strings were supposedly the “Super Nylgut”, but who knows? So I decided to go ahead and try the other strings. They sound great, but I honestly don’t know if they make that much of a difference. They do seem a little firmer, louder, but squeaky. I think the squeak will go away after they pick up some oils from my fingers, but I do like the overall sound. And knowing that they are, in fact, Aquila strings make me feel good too.
Tonight I did a little watercolor of my pineapple ukulele. And by little, I mean A5 size. You see, since I switched to the A5-sized binder, I’ve been waiting for the special Carl 20-hole punch to arrive so that I can add any kind of paper to the binder without using tape or glue. I am excited to be able to add watercolor paper at A5 size, or actually any size A5 or smaller.
So tonight I created this on a hand-cut piece of watercolor paper, then used the new hole-punch, and added it to the binder. I think it is going to work out nicely!