Monthly Archives: January 2007

“Tech notes” about Herb and Daniel’s playing…

I’ve been asked a couple questions about the way these incredible two guys play. Here’s what I saw at the workshop (and, at the end of the post I’ll explain their take on how to play the famous reggae-type strum IZ uses in “Wonderful World/Over the Rainbow”). Note: There’s a full account of these workshops on the earlier posting, just below this one.

Daniel said he is a classically-trained guitarist and I’d say his playing style reflects that. He used no pick, just his fingers. His right hand nails were not very long (just peeking over the top of his finger pads). He typically maintains a hand position for picking in which each finger is positioned over it’s “own” string. That way, he says, he doesn’t have to think about where to put the fingers, they’re already there, ready to play. He does not “brace” with his little finger on the soundboard. He uses a strap to hold his ukulele in place so he can roam up and down the fingerboard.

Workshop in Sacramento with Herb and Daniel

It was an afternoon of new strums, arpeggio patterns and plenty of learning when Herb Ohta, Jr. and Daniel Ho presented two ukulele workshops in Sacramento on January 21. The workshop, arranged by Hawaii’s Music Live (415/452-8720), drew folks from as far as the Bay Area and Grass Valley (as well as me, from two hours away in Paradise!).

The beginner course focused on the very basics of ukulele and quickly ramped up to a variety of more complex strums. The workshop’s song for the day was “Pineapple Mango” from the duo’s new CD, Ukuleles in Paradise 2. We played the chord progressions for that song, sampled its tablature (the first time some of the folks had ever *seen* tablature) and were the “back up” for Herb and Daniel as they played the song with improvising and flourishes.