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actadh
07-14-2015, 06:17 AM
This is the first summer since 2001 that I haven't taught at all. The extra time from not being in the classroom - either in person or virtually, prepping, grading, office hours etc. - is doubled because I also don't have to spend time thinking about teaching. So, that translates for me into more ukulele time!

Of course, it also means I can't feed my UAS since I don't have an overload teaching contract, which has bought all the previous ukes.

Instead, this summer I have been focusing on what I have in my ukulele stable. And, discovering the beauty and peculiarities of the half dozen instruments I currently own is also very rewarding. I coax the very best out of each instead of playing with an eye on a future acquisition that of course would do it much better.

So, that means extra time on the ukulele. That ukulele, in my hands - right now!

Can't do a Bb on that uke because the fret is too high or low? I can try out other chords in the same family and maybe make the song my own.

This other uke sounds thin, so will strumming the strings differently over the sound hole instead of where the neck joins the body makes a difference instead of just re-casing it?

Not a fan of the strings on this third one for strumming, but, you know, those strings do help while learning to fingerpick this song as they are more tactile.

This one is really quiet, but that makes it perfect for babysitting a sleeping grandchild.

I still read all the reviews here in UU, and occasionally pull up the websites of online vendors and make wishlists. But, being in the moment with what I have has resulted in a very rewarding summer for me.

Fleacia
07-14-2015, 10:37 AM
Thanks for sharing this, Laura. I've been forced (initially unhappily) into a similar situation. I have one uke that is playable, and neither the know-how nor money to fix the other one yet. So I've gotten to know and appreciate the qualities of my concert, what sounds good and why, what feels best with strings and playing position, and a lot of just having fun too. And I remind myself, as past experience has sometimes shown, the next uke isn't always better. Maybe it was in my hands all along! :)

janeray1940
07-14-2015, 10:47 AM
The best uke is the one in your hands, right now - I like that, and I like my three ukes, and really hope that I've entered the un-UAS part of this journey myself. My UAS has been pretty minor-league compared to many in these parts; on the one hand, it's been a learning experience, but on the other, it's been quite a drain of time and energy and, yes, cash.

Andy Chen
07-14-2015, 01:49 PM
While I have a custom Hive on the way, my UAS is safely in remission now and, like you Laura, I'm really appreciating each and every one I have.

It wasn't originally because of circumstances, but now it has turned out to be necessary to stay off uke purchases because my two daughters just started swimming and music lessons.

k0k0peli
07-15-2015, 02:00 AM
The best uke is the one in your hands, right now In photography we say: The best lens is the one you use; the worst is one you don't. Doesn't matter that optical masterpieces exist -- it's the glass that's actually on your camera that delivers. So with instruments: The best axe is whatever you play. If its sound is a little thin, then play songs that need a thin backup. ;)

We stopped at wonderful Kline Music across from Sacramento City College yesterday. Played many instruments. Played a Pono tenor. We agreed that the thousand-buck Pono sounded only marginally better than my wife's hundred-buck Alvarez. And the Alvarez is paid for. Which is the 'better' instrument for her? The one she plays, sure. I quashed my UAS. There was a nice Makaha baritone for under US$70, sounded much better than my quiet Harmonia bari, and quite affordable -- but I just don't feel a need for a stronger-voiced bari right now. We *could* buy more ukes now, but we have enough to keep us busy awhile. Just as each lens has its own flavor, so each uke has its own voice. We play, and listen to them singing.

strumsilly
07-15-2015, 03:54 AM
yep, if you can't be with the uke you love, love the uke you're with.

dsummers
07-15-2015, 04:48 AM
Believe me, I understand about UAS. I started around early 2009 and averaged about 1 a month until recently (I just retired fairly recently- and have slowed down considerably) and now have about 50 (all sizes). Almost all of my ukes were acquired online (and a few trades) some very expensive and I am so fortunate that IMO all are really great ukes. I had only offered ukes for trade before in the past but now is the time to start selling these beauties ( and some trades for the right ones) and keep a few of my select for myself of the various sizes. Now that I've gone thru my UAS it's time to start really learning and playing the ones that I love.

turtledrum
07-15-2015, 06:28 AM
What I love so much about this thread is that it gets both at the heart of summer and the joys of watching our ukulele journeys unfold.

Summer is for being....not wanting. So why not stay in the moment with both our dreams as players and the ukuleles we have? No matter how many chords or songs there are waiting round the bend, why not even take the time to relish once more that first uke song that pointed the way?

Thanks, Laura, for bringing these thoughts to me today.

actadh
07-15-2015, 06:38 AM
yep, if you can't be with the uke you love, love the uke you're with.

That captures it. I spent most of last year impatiently waiting for the next ukulele. This year, I went back to those that I played while waiting. One in particular - a 1940's Silvertone soprano from eBay for less than $100 - went on a road trip with me and was played every day for two months while I was away last summer. But, I spent those nights dreaming of that Opio I was saving up to buy.

I play the Silvertone now, and the beauty of the 80 year old wood grain is astonishingly beautiful. The resonance is different than my other newer ukes. Last year, I thought I needed something else. This year, i search out songs that complement that unique tone

Nickie
07-16-2015, 05:16 PM
I'm staying out of ukulele shops, well, music shops altogether....I owe more money than I have. Time to quit. I'm down to 3 and will probably sell the one I don't play. The one I play the most is the fourth out of 14 that I've owned. I wish I'd had it modified a long time ago, instead of searching for something else. I could have saved hundreds. Not that I'm not playing, I like what I have, and when I see price tags, I have to lean on a wall and fan myself....
Finding a good repair luthier that doesn't charge much is priceless....

Mivo
07-17-2015, 12:52 AM
When I dabbled a little in electronic music, I realized after a while that limitation enhances creativity and learning. I had spent quite a bit of money on synthesizers, both software and hardware, as well as other tools and accessories (microphones are very collectible!), and while I had all this "stuff", I didn't get anything done. I just jumped around a lot, consumed by thinking about doing things, but not actually doing them. When I limited myself to a tracker (old-style music making software, popular in the eighties and early nineties) and one synthesizer, I started to actually come up with things that resembled tracks, and I went deeper into what these tools were capable of than I did before.

I caught myself starting to slide into the same trap with the ukulele. Instead of practicing and using what I had, I spent more time on reading the forum, watching ukulele videos, staring at the most beautiful ukuleles (that are way outside of my financial and practical comfort zone), agonizing over sizes and strings and tunings, pondering how to best practice instead of just practicing, and so forth. Still not really free of those, but I'm more mindful of practicing, and more (sometimes!) aware that it's not more or new or different ukuleles that I need, but that the key for me is more "doing" time: more practicing, more appreciating, more "getting to know".

Ukejenny
07-17-2015, 05:49 AM
I tend to agree, Laura, that being in the moment is a very good thing. What you have on hand can make for a grand experience. Focused, thoughtful intention makes life interesting, and can make it incredible.

k0k0peli
07-17-2015, 08:03 AM
When I dabbled a little in electronic music, I realized after a while that limitation enhances creativity and learning. A century of 12-tone / serial music and a half-century-plus of synthesizers have 'freed' composers and musicians from structural and instrumental limitations -- but I haven't noticed a huge body of monumental work based on such freedom. (And I've heard a *lot* of it.) Too much 12-tone and synth music is noise. Too often, if we can do *anything*, we end up doing *nothing* significant.

Working within tight limits forces us to ingenuity. To force my photographic creativity, I shoot for extended periods with a single plain-vanilla lens, what I called my lens-of-the-month club. To force writing creativity, I stick to narrow themes. And to force some musical creativity and discipline on my next travel adventure, I may haul along only my Puerto Rican cuatro-prima, like a 10-string 3/4-size guitar tuned in straight fourths, bB-eE-AA-DD-GG, and try to master its chords. Or maybe take only my Kala KA6 6-string tenor 'uke strung G-cC-E-Aa -- melodic picking on it is rather strange.

All my instruments strewn about only tempt me to play one for a few minutes, then another, then another... (But sitting back and looking at the beautiful wee buggers sure is pleasant.)


I caught myself starting to slide into the same trap with the ukulele. Instead of practicing and using what I had, I spent more time on reading the forum, watching ukulele videos, staring at the most beautiful ukuleles (that are way outside of my financial and practical comfort zone), agonizing over sizes and strings and tunings, pondering how to best practice instead of just practicing, and so forth. On the photo forums are many folks more devoted to collecting and discussing cameras and lenses than actually using them. Hey, there's nothing wrong with collecting. [/me tries to sound convincing] Nothing wrong with accumulating huge piles of photographic or musical or other artistic gear and tools. Or power tools. Some folks collect electric drills. Groovy. Nothing wrong, right? Except that someone else *could* be putting those to use. [/me resists liberal guilt]

actadh
07-20-2015, 05:53 PM
Working within tight limits forces us to ingenuity. To force my photographic creativity, I shoot for extended periods with a single plain-vanilla lens, what I called my lens-of-the-month club. To force writing creativity, I stick to narrow themes. And to force some musical creativity and discipline on my next travel adventure, I may haul along only my Puerto Rican cuatro-prima, like a 10-string 3/4-size guitar tuned in straight fourths, bB-eE-AA-DD-GG, and try to master its chords. Or maybe take only my Kala KA6 6-string tenor 'uke strung G-cC-E-Aa -- melodic picking on it is rather strange.



I love your line - working within tight limits forces us to ingenuity. That is the essence of writing good poetry, or songs. Working within a structure is not necessarily a limitation, but allows us to test the limits and find all that we can achieve.

UkAlele
07-20-2015, 09:14 PM
Hi,

Ukelele Acquisition Syndrome is definitely very expensive if not kept under control.

I started off buying the Makala Soprano and then... and then... Today I've got about ten ukes of different sizes and makes.

My answer to UAS was to continue with UAS but learn to build them yourself with upcycled wood and parts from other instruments. At present my build focus is on perfecting the micro ukelele build process. It's very therapeutic and rewarding. The instruments get sold or given away for charitable causes in the end. Upcycled bits and pieces keeps costs down but allows new ukes to be created.

Regards

Uk-Al-lele
https://youtu.be/QtLFjkZcnaQ

81700

stevepetergal
07-21-2015, 02:33 AM
To be where you're at is a goal. Sounds like you've arrived.

Jerwin
07-21-2015, 02:47 AM
My UAS got regulated after buying a guitar. :)

bunnyf
07-21-2015, 03:23 PM
After 5 years or so of playing, I think I have also reached a state of un-UAS. Over the past few years, I have gifted to my children ukes that I did not play much for one reason or another (mainly sizes that I did not care for). I takes a while to know what it is you want. Now that I have a better idea of what I like, I have pared down. I have one LoPrinzi soprano, one small luthier-built a/e baritone, a vintage Favilla baritone (my daily player) and completed my last desire with a Taylor guitar. DONE. I'm retired now and don't see myself purchasing anything else. I will just enjoy what I have and concentrate on improving my playing. I actually prefer having less, I feel somehow lighter, more liberated and less distracted.

Teek
07-21-2015, 08:40 PM
There's a lot of wisdom here and it's good to read.

I cured my UAS with guitars, lol. But I loved the journey through both. Now I know what I like, and also that if any instrument just sits in its case and I'm not practicing or playing them then it's kind of a waste. I know what my preferences are now and also that how playable something is for me is the primary importance, more so than the price or who built it. I have half on a list to re-home, then I will re-examine what's left and likely trim down some more.

I would love to have a home where I had room for all the ones I have now but the closet is packed and most of the guitars are HUGE and sit out, which I'd rather they didn't. The sagest comments here suggest that the best uke or guitar is the one you will play and I agree, even though I have a collector's heart. Some years ago I would have loved to have an entire wall full but the older I get the more obvious it becomes that stuff owns us, not the other way around.

As a camera enthusiast I also agree that the best glass is the lens you are using right now. If you aren't out taking photos then what's the point? I just got a nice 24-85mm DX lens for my Nikon D7000. I have around 9 old lenses for my old F4s and some translate over to the DX format just great, some don't, but I don't want to dump my F4s yet since we go way back. This is my 3rd DX lens, and I got it used for about half retail and am really tickled with it, since I didn't have a lens yet in that range for a DX. That's my current walk around lens. I would have loved to been able to trade a uke for it! I look at the prices on the pro gear, and there was a time when I was taking pro level shots on the Grand Prix jumper circuit, but it's like looking at MBs and DeVines. I don't need those to enjoy dinking around on a uke, and I'm too old to go back into equine sports photography so don't bother lusting after lenses anymore either.

TL;DR = Stay in the present moment, enjoy what you have right now, bless it and have gratitude for it, and let the future take care of itself.