I first met Gerry Long about four years ago at the NoCal Uke Festival in Hayward. At the time, his book, 50 Easy Uke Chord Solos, was still on the press. At first, the uke snob (can there really be such a thing?) in me dismissed his approach, since he advocates using Low-G tuning. I kind of like that re-entrant tuning poses certain restrictions on the uke, and was even heartened to learn that Jake Shimabukuro uses re-entrant tuning on his Tenor in order to preserve the unique sound of the ukulele. I even have a distant relationship with my Harmony Baritone because part of me feels that it's just a small guitar with two fewer strings.
Nonetheless, I still remember Gerry's argument from our initial meeting. Learning that I am also a tuba player, he excitedly noted that I should find Low-G tuning more natural because tuning the G-string down an octave allows you to play chords with a solid root--and that's what the tuba is usually assigned. (On a side note, I figure that being a bass player is also part of what makes Lyle Ritz such an innovative jazz ukulele player. Rather than searching around for the root on the fretboard, I presume that Lyle naturally hears it in his head as he plays.)
Gerry's book has been out for a couple of years now. It comes complete with a CD recording of James Hill playing all 50 of the solos in the book. The book also includes an extra Low-G string so you can restring your uke. Brilliant. Check everything out over on Gerry's site. You can also sign up for his weekly e-mail newsletter, which is filled with lots of helpful stuff and news.
Speaking of which, Gerry's Uke Tip's #8 announced the on-line return of the legendary ukulele publication Ukulele Yes! From the introduction by the new editor (ta da!), James Hill:
"Established in 1976 as an "an Association to promote the teaching and enjoyment of music," Ukulele Yes! became an international network of ukulele teachers with the common goal of fostering musicianship through ukulele instruction. In 1976, a Ukulele Yes! membership—just $10 a year—got you a membership card, a very fetching Ukulele Yes! button, and a subscription to Ukulele Yes! magazine."It's online now, it's free, it's Canadian, ukuleles are involved...what more could you ask for? Link