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Thread: Your story: how ukulele found you?

  1. #171
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    272

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    This has been great reading! Thanks to the op for starting, and for all the wonderful contributions to this thread!

    As you can see from my join date and post count, I don't post much. I have probably told all or most of this before, but why not again!

    3 years piano at 9 in order to be allowed to take drum lessons. Played drums from 12 until i sold my drum set at around 24 after getting married. no place to play in a small apartment. Always loved music, especially classical, since I was young. Drummed a little over the years, but not much.

    remember those music clubs you could join and get the automatic selection every month unless you said no by a certain date? Well a Christopher Parkening Classical guitar CD came one time, and I did not try to send it back. It sat in the wrapper for almost a year. One day, home with our young first born of five, i was tired of the other music I had been listening to, and opened up the CD. Wow! I loved that music. I discovered Julian Bream when working at a mall. The muzak track in the background had some classical guitar. There was one piece i loved but never found out what it was until seven years later. Mallorca by Isaac Albeniz.

    I tried several times to teach myself classical guitar. Seemed hopeless, and could not persevere. But the love of that sound never left.

    So fast forward, coming home from work one afternoon I was thinking about music again, in the fall of 2009. I had recently been reading to our kids the C.S Lewis book, "the Silver Chair" from the Narnia series. In that book there is a scene where a witch was hypnotizing her victims with the aid of strumming on a Theorbo. For some reason, after everyone was asleep, I decided to google it. maybe I could strum a theorbo too! A Brazilian musician's video came up on youtube, demonstrating that instrument. Cool, but not for me. But, in the sidebar was a video of that same musician playing a barque guitar. never heard of it.

    But this video enchanted me.



    So, maybe baroque guitar would be small enough for me to play? ( I had not yet become aware of fractional sized guitars.) Then I looked up how much they cost... afraid not.

    What to do? Not wanting to give up my dream of playing classical and related music somehow, I was getting desperate. I recalled seeing a ukulele on a friends wall years ago. That was small also, and surely less costly than a barogue guitar? But suddenly, Tiny Tim flashed into my mind! Internally, I did my best Luke Skywalker "I'll never join you!" voice. But, as I said, I was desperate! With no one to see me, I typed into the youtube search bar two words. "classical" and "Ukulele". The rest has been wonderful history! I found Ukeval, and Rob MacKillop, and others, and even the tabs for that Canarios by Gaspar Sanz. (probably time to finally learn it!)

    I bought my first Uke, a Kala tenor, in November of 2009

    I could go on about all that the Uke has meant to me and my family. I have begun writing songs, have lead music in church, played and sung in a retirement home for a while, and have learned how to just make music, and recover from my choking fearful perfectionism.

    That is how the uke found me. My life is so much richer since it did.

    Last edited by engravertom; 05-11-2018 at 05:29 PM.

  2. #172
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    FL, USA
    Posts
    833

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    I enjoyed your post, engravertom. I must have missed the theorbo when I read the Narnia series, long ago. Watch this video. and see if it doesn't bring a smile to your face:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8p9rolham8

    These people are just having the most fun imaginable playing baroque music together!

    bratsche
    Last edited by bratsche; 05-12-2018 at 01:33 PM.
    A bunch of stringed instruments tuned in fifths. And a bunch of cats!


    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

    GearGems - Gifts & apparel for musicians and more!

  3. #173
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    272

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    Quote Originally Posted by bratsche View Post
    I enjoyed your post, engravertom. I must have missed the theorbo when I read the Narnia series, long ago. Watch this video. and see if it doesn't bring a smile to your face:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8p9rolham8

    These people are just having the most fun imaginable playing baroque music together!

    bratsche
    Thanks for that! I smiled indeed! A delightful performance!

    I enjoyed your story as well.



    Oh, and looking at the book again, the theorbo is not mentioned. maybe I had an older edition, or i was misremembering that night I did my youtube search. in any case, it all turned out very well!

  4. #174
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Yangon, Myanmar
    Posts
    720

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    It was 2007. I was newly divorced and trying to get more in touch with my creative side. I'd played guitar since high school, but my ex-wife didn't allow me to play guitar while she was at home.

    Through the medium of MySpace, I found new friends, some of whom were ukulele players. I knew I wanted one. One night after an open-mic, I left my favorite guitar in my car. Someone broke in and stole it and suddenly I had an empty guitar stand. It was like an empty chair at the dinner table.

    At the time, I was also discovering a love for another hobby, video-making. I challenged myself during the month of March 2007 to make a new, original, entertaining YouTube video every day of the month. On 31 March, the last day of the "March of Joko", Piggie and I went out to buy a uke.

    Blogging about a momentous life change as I switch careers and continents--> Leaving America

  5. #175
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Walla Walla, WA
    Posts
    751

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    Quote Originally Posted by bratsche View Post
    I enjoyed your post, engravertom. I must have missed the theorbo when I read the Narnia series, long ago. Watch this video. and see if it doesn't bring a smile to your face:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8p9rolham8

    These people are just having the most fun imaginable playing baroque music together!

    bratsche
    Thank you for that! Absolutely beautiful.
    Tiny Tenor spruce/mahogany
    Kiwaya KTC-2 mahogany concert
    Flight Travel soprano

  6. #176

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    Well you askedÖ..
    My wife teaches preschool. Iíd like a ukulele for Christmas, the kids will get a kick out or it, she says. So, for Christmas I gits her a cheap ukulele. I says, you learn on that and I buys you a fancy ukulele. She twanges on the ukulele a bit. I happen on a deal for a fancy tenor ukulele a month later so I buys fancy ukulele for her and keeps it in my office at work as a surprise.
    So, does she try to learn to play the ululele? Why no. She starts a Masterís program at the fancy college in Oxford, OH. I says, are you gonna learn to play that thing? She says, no time with fancy college courses. So the fancy ukulele waits in my office at work, and waits, and waits.
    Just so happens the next year my boss says to me. Hatchet Chuck, go work out of your home, so I says okee-dokee and packs my stuff and fancy ukulele and heads to the barn. My wife sees fancy ukulele case and, whatís that she says. That be the fancy ukulele for when you learns to plays and I gives it to you to replace the cheap one, I says. But I then says, Iím gonna sell it cause you ainít learnin cause you takiní fancy Masterís degree studies. Donít sell it she says Iíll try after my fancy college classes is done. You learn to play it she says. So I do.
    Turns out, Iím a pretty poor guitar strummer, but a fair ukulele slinger. So I plays the ukulele and Iím called Hatchet Chuck on the UU forum. The better half graduated 6 months ago with a fancy Masterís degree. She still hasnít picked up one of MY ukuleles to learn. So I strum away. I gave the cheap ukulele to boys across the street.
    It takes a gentleman to suffer ignorance and smile.
    Tenor Lanikai LKP-T
    Tenor Kala KA-ATP5-CTG (Thank you Mrs. Hatchet Chuck)
    Soprano Watermen, (black)

  7. #177
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    312

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    I had walked away at age 33 from a drumming career that included gigs at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and many other "dream" venues, as well as recording sessions for SONY Records and for many TV and radio jingles. I thought I was OK without music for about 15 years, but I couldn't figure out why my body was always shaking and my teeth always chattering. A long-time musician friend who was much older and still playing told me there was music in me that needed to come out. But I knew that banging drums alone in my basement wasn't going to scratch that itch. I needed to make real music.

    One day, I stumbled upon a YouTube video of George Harrison playing a ukulele and it was like lightning striking. It took me about a year to finally pull the trigger, but I saved a couple of Amazon gift cards (didn't want to make the commitment of spending actual money) and I bought a $40 Johnson uke. It was completely bizarre and mysterious from that point on, because after a decade and a half of making no music at all with any instrument, I picked up the uke and started playing as if I had been playing all my life.

    Unfortunately, I never got a whole lot better, but I play well enough to fool people into thinking I know what I'm doing and - more importantly - I've got music back in my life.

  8. #178

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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    I never got a whole lot better, but I play well enough to fool people into thinking I know what I'm doing and - more importantly - I've got music back in my life.
    Very nice story.
    It takes a gentleman to suffer ignorance and smile.
    Tenor Lanikai LKP-T
    Tenor Kala KA-ATP5-CTG (Thank you Mrs. Hatchet Chuck)
    Soprano Watermen, (black)

  9. #179

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    engravertom, Thanks for that story. Very special. So do you play classical music on your Ukulele?
    Last edited by HatchetChuck; 05-16-2018 at 04:23 AM. Reason: bad spelling
    It takes a gentleman to suffer ignorance and smile.
    Tenor Lanikai LKP-T
    Tenor Kala KA-ATP5-CTG (Thank you Mrs. Hatchet Chuck)
    Soprano Watermen, (black)

  10. #180
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Steamy Hilo, HI
    Posts
    14

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    I've also looked into baroque guitars, and I'd love to have one some day. I took lute lessons in the mid 1990's, but I live in a poor climate for owning a lute so I put aside the idea of getting one for the last 15 years. Baroque guitar has a similar sound, and looks a bit more comfortable to hold and easier to transport than a big-bellied lute. Frank Wallace once came to our college town and played vihuela - very similar to a baroque guitar - I loved it.

    I arrived at the ukulele because a few months ago I randomly got the urge to buy an electric guitar, and try to play some of the wonderfully raucous metallic sounds of my youth. Then somehow I suddenly had several electric guitars...and a bass...and a guilele...and most recently a ukulele. The guilele and ukulele are more convenient instruments to practice with, for getting my fingers trained to playing. I'm a raw beginner.
    Last edited by bkrownd; 05-16-2018 at 06:03 PM.

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