12
Apr 14

Installing the Songbook Application (Video Tutorial, Part 1)

Topics:

  • Verify Your Web Server & PHP Environment
  • Download & Install the Songbook Application
  • Enable Adding Songs
  • Troubleshooting MacOS Permissions
  • Enable “Pretty” URLs
  • Set Songbook Listing Page’s Title

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24
Mar 14

Introducing Fullscreen ChordPro Song Editing With Song-a-Matic

A short video tour of Song-a-Matic’s “full screen” editing mode (full video transcript follows)

Topics:

  • Syntax Highlighting Explained
  • Help Window
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • ChordPro “Snippets” (EZ Autocomplete Cheats)

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10
Feb 14

Teaching Kids The Ukulele: UkeGeeks In The Classroom

Sometimes one really can’t see the forest for the trees, especially if you’re the park ranger. Take, for example, this awesome idea from grade-school-uke-club-organizer-extraordinaire Charisse:

“I host (volunteer) a ukulele club at my kids’ school.  I’m teaching 3-5th graders how to play ukulele and I find myself making lots of song sheets for them. [I plan to] “trick” the chord maker into printing blank chord pics above the lyrics. It’s been a good learning tool for the kids to have to write in the fingering for the chords, but my handwritten diagrams are so messy.”

OK, that’s awesome! And turns out it’s easily done. Here’s how.

whats-the-chord-kids-ukulele-exercise

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11
Sep 13

Using the Visual Chord Builder

One area that’s always dogged the UkeGeeks song editor (aka “Song-a-Matic”) has been custom chords. Until now the only way you’ve been able to define your own chords has been by hand typing klunky ChordPro “define” tags. Sure, it gets the job done, but who can remember the syntax? (trust me on this, I’ve the memory of a gnat and am always referring back to the documentation).

Chord-Builder-Editor-Overview

  1. Chord Name. Should match the chord names you’ve used within your song [ChordName]
  2. Add Dots. Pick this tool to draw dots on the fretboard. Clicking on an existing dot deletes it.
  3. Set Fingers. Pick this tool to add the recommended finger to an existing dot. 1 to 4 correspond to index through pinkie finger. Repeat clicking a dot removes the finger number from that dot. Click the tool to cycle through the fingers. The “zero finger” removes finger numbers.
  4. Starting Fret. The number of the first fret on the diagram.
  5. Slide Up. Moves all dots “up” (towards the top of the diagram) by one fret.
  6. Slide Down. Moves all dots “down” by one fret (towards the bottom of the diagram)
  7. Chord Diagram. This is your drawing surface. Click with either the Dot or the Finger tool.
  8. ChordPro Define Tag. This is the chord definition statement that will be added to your song.

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04
Feb 13

Ukulele Song Editing With Auto-Format: Plain Text to ChordPro in Minutes

AutoFormat-ChordPro-from-PlainText

This 3 minute video tutorial covers the difference between “plain text” songs and ChordPro formated ones. It also demonstrates how the UkeGeeks editor can automatically do the conversion for you (as well as introducing a few common tags).

Sounds tre fantastic, no?

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27
Jan 13

Fitting Your Song Onto A Single Page – Song Editor Tutorial

Have a favorite ukulele song that you’d like to fit onto a single printed page (or save as a one page PDF for you iPad)? Quite a common task and, fortunately, quite easily accomplished.

This tutorial shows a few of the features in the Uke Geeks song editor that allow you to size, position, and scale your song to suit your needs.

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05
Aug 12

Fingering Diagram versus Tablature

zoomed-how-to-read-ukulele-tabs-and-chord-diagrams

Just as pictograms preceded our phonetic written language, every ukester quickly learns to read “fingering diagrams” before learning tabs.

Fingering Diagrams are just pictures of the ukulele’s fretboard, zoomed-in, showing where to place your fingers. They’re awesomely intuitive!

Tablature (aka “tabs”), on the other hand, aren’t immediately obvious, being a hybrid of diagram (the four lines are, in fact, your uke’s four strings) plus written instructions (the column of numbers indicating the fret to press on each string).

Whereas a fingering diagram shows where to place your fingers (which frets to press down) tablature tells you which frets to press.

That’s it — that’s the difference!

The “trick” for either method is to know the orientation: if you can locate the G string you’ll be fine.

For fingering diagrams hold the ukulele away from your body, but facing you — this will place the G string on your left (the A string’s to your right). See top picture.

Now, still holding your uke at arm’s length, rotate it counter-clockwise 90° to a horizontal position — this puts the G string on the bottom. This is how the lines in tablature are drawn; “A” at the top, “G” on the bottom (see bottom picture).

Now all that’s left is jotting down which frets to play, so, using the simple, triangle shaped G chord as our example we’ll begin with the “G” (bottom) string:

  • the G string is played “open” (you don’t press any frets at all) so we write “0
  • on the C string we press down the second fret, so we write “2
  • on the E string we press the 3rd fret, so, yup write “3
  • finally, the A string. We need to press the second fret, so, sure, write “2

Congrats! You can read tablature!

By the way, this is how chords are written, G string to A string, so we wind up saying a G chord is:

0232

Why use tabs? Well, it’s a very compact way of writing lots of chords (or single notes), but more on that later.