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70sSanO
08-10-2015, 05:55 AM
Whenever I am in the San Diego area I always make a point to stop in a Moze Guitars in La Mesa. In additional to having a nice selection of new and used guitars and amps, they also sell ukuleles. One of the brands of ukuleles they sell is Fred Shields, who is a local luthier.

On this particular trip, I happened to see something odd… a 3 string ukulele. I had never seen one before and I ended up buying it.

It uses the less the possessive and more tolerant “Dog Has Fleas” tuning as opposed to the exclusive “My” dog. A 3-string uke also ends any indecision on whether to use linear or re-entrant tuning.

While playing it, I discovered something fairly remarkable. You can still get a nice ukulele sound without all of the “D” and “E” chord headaches that haunt some people. My wife has wanted to learn to play, but some chords have stopped her from enjoying the process. I am hopeful that this will be a good place for her to begin.

As for me, I’ve played finger style with melodies built around semi-open chords for years. This has been good in some ways, but it has been a long time since I actually just strummed chords for any length of time. This little 3 string is actually a lot of fun to just sit and strum and it does make chording even easier.

I found this clip on Fred Shield’s website…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmqztq0t8Gg

John

PhilUSAFRet
08-10-2015, 06:13 AM
I'm a little up in the air about it at the moment, but they are "cooler'n S..t" Looks a lot like some of the "strum sticks" I've seen.

river_driver
08-10-2015, 08:55 AM
reminds me a bit of Loog Guitars http://loogguitars.com/

CactusWren
08-10-2015, 09:57 AM
Yes, if three strings proves too difficult, then consider the unitar:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/WYwKDjpGpDE/hqdefault.jpg

(yes, being a smart$$, but all in fun)

The Big Kahuna
08-10-2015, 10:12 AM
All the greats own a 3 stringer.

And me...

82244822438224182242

river_driver
08-10-2015, 11:17 AM
Yes, if three strings proves too difficult, then consider the unitar:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/WYwKDjpGpDE/hqdefault.jpg

(yes, being a smart$$, but all in fun)
Also called a diddleybow. I've got one - a blast to fool around on, but a bit of a challenge to make something recognizable to others as music on!

k0k0peli
08-10-2015, 11:39 AM
All the greats own a 3 stringer.

And me... Doesn't that thing have to be registered with the local police?


Tune it EEA and call it a Balalaika....the Russians have been doing so since about 1730 ish ...no ..not half - past five I was going to do that with an extra mandolin but proper balalaika technique requires extensive thumb-fretting. Neither mando nor 'uke necks are quite right for that. If I find a beat-in balalaika I may bolt the neck to a tambourine, turn it into a banjo-laika or maybe a banjo-don't-laika, hey?


..or folk tuning GBD...like the tuning of Russian Guitar ...or American Banjo ...or just keep it CEA and strum it or pickit .... Or try AAD or DAD (dulcimer) -- another of my schemes is to string that extra mando suchly and call it a chromatic dulcitar. A brave | foolish | loony bloke might work their way through all these tunings (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stringed_instrument_tunings) and see what feels good. Might help keep string companies in business, too.

70sSanO
08-10-2015, 09:05 PM
Interesting responses.

Not how I remember this site.

John

PhilUSAFRet
08-11-2015, 12:12 AM
Interesting responses.

Not how I remember this site.

John

Always interesting responses here John, especially for something that's not "traditional." None of them are personal. :cheers:

VegasGeorge
08-11-2015, 02:46 AM
Actually, it sounds a lot like a mountain dulcimer to me. I have one, and Shield's instrument looks like it would be ergonomically easier to handle and play than the standard lap top version.

k0k0peli
08-11-2015, 04:16 AM
Actually, it sounds a lot like a mountain dulcimer to me. I have one, and Shield's instrument looks like it would be ergonomically easier to handle and play than the standard lap top version. Tuned AAD or DAD it becomes a dulcitar or actually a dulcilele and yes, it's easier to handle than a lap dulcimer. I've rigged one mandolin that way.

Wicked
08-11-2015, 05:00 AM
You could tune it like a single course Cuban Tres (G,C,E)... Or perhaps (C,F,A) to keep the tension where you want it.

CactusWren
08-11-2015, 06:02 AM
At night at Toro restaurant (I play there on brunches), there is a duo with a singer and a tres player. The tres is such an awesome instrument. He had a beautiful one he commissioned. Years ago, I "made" one myself by modifying a Seagull 6-string guitar.

By the way, Mick Goodrick recommends practicing extensively on one string--which he calls a unitar as a way to familiarize yourself with the fingerboard, modes, how to move up and down the instrument, and as a roundabout way to understand the benefits of position playing. I believe Albert King made a "unitar" as his first instrument. Actually, you can make good music on one string. Three is an absolute luxury!

The Big Kahuna
08-11-2015, 07:02 AM
You could tune it like a single course Cuban Tres (G,C,E)

I'm going to Havana for a couple of weeks at the end of September...something to bring back, perhaps :cool:

k0k0peli
08-11-2015, 07:10 AM
... Mick Goodrick recommends practicing extensively on one string--which he calls a unitar as a way to familiarize yourself with the fingerboard, modes, how to move up and down the instrument, and as a roundabout way to understand the benefits of position playing. I believe Albert King made a "unitar" as his first instrument. Actually, you can make good music on one string. Three is an absolute luxury! The most basic unitar (fretless) would be the mouth bow. Get various overtones by changing your mouth shape while you press the bent bow against your cheek and pluck away madly. (Try Buffy Sainte-Marie's take on CRIPPLE CREEK (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvyzbZttFBE).) Next step up in complexity is likely the washtub bass.

Various cultures use one-string fiddles and lutes. If I went that way I'd want a fair tonal range with a LONG single string, maybe 1-1.5m. For more volume, double-course the string and call it a unolin. I think I have enough fishline for that.

I have a scheme. Obtain 4 plain yard|meter sticks (the kind lumber yards used to give away) and 4 yards|meters of 3/8-inch | 9mm hardwood strips. Thoroughly glue them together into a long hollow squared form with the strips reinforcing the insides of the sticks' joins. Sand down the corners/edges. Leave a tongue on the top stick for the tuners -- four of them, two each on the tongue's top & bottom, with nuts on each side. Set frets on the top stick, and saddles on both sides of that stick at the base. Rig a tailpiece. Lay a double course of strings over the frets, and two sympathetic strings running down the hollow interior. Tune up and wail away.

Do that with steel strings and it's a unolin d'amore. 'Uke purists may demand composite strings. Unitar purists might put one string over the frets and the others inside for sympathetic vibrations. A unilele d'amore! Use one string on top and two inside and we've got a 3-string unilele, and I'm almost back on-topic here. Whew.

Note: If the tensions of inside and outside strings about match, the instrument *shouldn't* warp and tear itself apart. I hope. And this isn't all theoretical. I used to build dulcimer fretboards this way.

The Big Kahuna
08-11-2015, 07:17 AM
The world needs a TV show called "Junkyard Orchestra" where every week a bunch of people from different genres come together and build instruments from what they find, then have to perform a piece of music afterwards.

I nominate k0k0peli as host.

CactusWren
08-11-2015, 07:25 AM
Well, there is a "Landfill Orchestra" but they don't have much funding. Great story, though.

river_driver
08-11-2015, 08:10 AM
The world needs a TV show called "Junkyard Orchestra" where every week a bunch of people from different genres come together and build instruments from what they find, then have to perform a piece of music afterwards.

First episode, they have to do the theme from "Fat Albert"!

82262

Fleacia
08-11-2015, 09:02 AM
Going back to the OP... My ears hardly tell the difference in Fred's clip between this and a uke. I mean that in a good way - the 3-string has great tone!

My only exposure to another 3-string uke was the Trilele from Wolfelele in Canada. But that's not chromatic, it has only 2 frets (what would be 5 and 7 on a uke), and is tuned to an open C chord, CEG. Fretting the "1st" fret makes an F chord, and the 2nd (uke 7th fret) plays GBD. I prefer a chromatic instrument because that's what I'm used to. But it takes all kinds!

k0k0peli
08-12-2015, 05:51 AM
The world needs a TV show called "Junkyard Orchestra" where every week a bunch of people from different genres come together and build instruments from what they find, then have to perform a piece of music afterwards.

I nominate k0k0peli as host. I accept. I get a P.A., right? Cute, obedient, and efficient? How do I hide her from my wife?

Another possible show: The Iron Luthier, hosted by Chairman k0k0. In each episode, top luthiers compete to cook-up unique 'ukes from a specified pile of components. "Show me what you make, and I'll show you what you are." Time-lapse photography and sped-up videos would show each craft-master feverishly working in their atelier for... how long? Maybe a day. Yes, you have ONE DAY to craft a masterpiece! Two days if glue must dry. When completed, each instrument is passed to a panel of judges (from whatever 'uke band is passing through town) and test-played. Et cetera. Today's challenge: 3-string 'ukes made from ham cans.

Another show: Around The World In Eighty 'Ukes. I haven't worked that one out yet, but it sounds like fun.

The Big Kahuna
08-12-2015, 05:59 AM
How about our very own Gok Wan (Google him) lookalike, Seeso, in a spinoff from Wan's successful UK TV show...

"How to look good naked while playing a ukulele"

k0k0peli
08-12-2015, 06:21 AM
How about our very own Gok Wan (Google him) lookalike, Seeso, in a spinoff from Wan's successful UK TV show...

"How to look good naked while playing a ukulele" For some it would have to be, "How to look good naked with a guitarron"

VegasGeorge
08-12-2015, 04:45 PM
For some it would have to be, "How to look good naked with a guitarron"

LMAO! :biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh: