Sunday, April 5, 2009


I've had this blank blog canvas open for nearly a week now. At the March Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz open mic. meeting Bob Brozman stopped by to play us a song on his National Resonator Ukulele and let us know about a ukulele workshop that he was holding at his house in the hills nearby. Bob is a professional musician that has been performing for a long time and many YT videos keep springing up of his many performances.

He and his wife Haley, put together the workshop in a very professional manner. There was so much interest that they decided to add a second day. Bob is originally from New York, he said that he was a bit of a cross of Groucho Marks and (can't remember).

There were about 30 of us in the Saturday workshop and he went right to work with his 20 page hand written workbook. The pace was set for an intermediate player to be just a little behind. Which kept it challenging and interesting at the same time. There was a lot of material and he wanted to give us as much inspiration as possible. We went thru simple strums, double strums, triple strums, rasquedos up and down, and other finger and thumb strum variations in about 1/2 hour. There were two pages and we played successfully in some part and he gave us instructions for further home practice.

Next he opened up the "Slack Key Sounds in C" page that was slammed and crammed full of information that can last a lifetime. These were essentially string-pair melodies. Steven Strauss had taught me about this many moons before and I had noodled around with them. So I felt a familiarity. Bob wowed us with the potential that these melodies can make. Bob plays them loud and lightning fast, whereas Steven gets a soft and soothing sound from songs like Moon Glow or Moon of Manakoora. I am saying, these string pair melodies are simple, powerful, and useful for any genre.

Example, pluck the strings in pairs... (I hope it lines up)

A... X X X X X X X X <-- Don't play the A-string
E... 0 1 3 5 7 8 10 12 <-- PINCH
C... 0 2 4 5 7 9 11 12 <--PINCH
G... X X X X X X X X <-- Don't play the G-string
I have found portions of these used in the recently departed John King's Ukulele Solos and Duets book (songs: Hene and Aloha Quickstep). They are fun songs and relatively easy to learn. [You can see Hene on the Berkeley Ukulele Club Song Book, See ukulinkies to the right.]

The string pair study was fun and almost worth the price of admission. But, we still had about 3 hours to go.

(more later)


  1. When you refer to string pairs, are you speaking of thirds or sixths?

  2. Hello Kim, these are thirds perhaps if we look at it sideways GCEA = x00x = xCEx C is a 1 and E would be the 3rd. Next pair is x21x = D and F, etc. Bob Brozman may not play both notes simultaneously. He does some quick picking and moving between pairs. Whereas Steven Strauss frequently plays pairs mixed in his songs. Nice to hear from you. I should post more about Bob's class in a separate blog. HU