View Full Version : When a ukulele is a fiddle

09-23-2015, 09:15 AM
We just recently returned from a 7 day Alaskan cruise and I naturally had to bring along a ukulele. I am pretty much a diehard tenor guy at the moment, although I own and play the other sizes. My issue was transporting a big tenor in a big hardcase. I am so glad I own a Collings UT2 with fitted case, they are aboit the size of a concert hard case.

I would go up to the front lounge early every morning, grab a coffee and play for about 1-1/2;hours. I would find an out of the way corner so as not to bother others. Everyone that heard me play enjoyed it and when I asked if it bothered them they would say please continue. Even had some of the staff hang around to hear the sounds of a ukulele.

The funny part was walking back to our room around 8:00 am through a packed dinning area. Everyone would take notice of me carrying the black hard case. Most people thought it was a violin. One guy just flat out said" My dad played fiddle, man that is a hard thing to learn. I tried a bunch when I was younger but never could play the fiddle". I just smiled at him and said " me neither".

When people asked if it was a violin I would answer "no a ukulele". Everybody had a warm response to that, most saying....oh nice, how great, what fun.

We need to feel good about our instrument because others seem to be very receptive to the ukulele...........what fun......what fun indeed.

This is a case size comparison. It does look like a black violin case.


09-23-2015, 02:49 PM
A cruise, a ukulele = absolute bliss! I am quite envious Dave, thanks for sharing mate.

09-23-2015, 02:57 PM
Sounds like a wonderful trip!

09-23-2015, 03:43 PM
I saw the thread title and leapt to a conclusion, possibly due to my buying an anonymous US$20 fiddle today with the intention of bolting on an 'iuke neck and turning it into a violele. ;) If I had walked Antiques Row in the opposite direction, I could have obtained a much better fiddle for two bucks more -- but I didn't think I could smuggle *two* such into the house without attracting unwanted spousal attention. And I probably don't need two violeles.

09-23-2015, 03:46 PM
Lovely anecdote, thanks for sharing.

09-23-2015, 04:25 PM
A cruise, a ukulele = absolute bliss! I am quite envious Dave, thanks for sharing mate.

I am always envious of your playing skills so that makes us even. ;) Well not quite even but I will keep practicing

09-23-2015, 04:37 PM
Nice story. Thanks for taking the trouble. :)

09-23-2015, 04:56 PM
Nice story. Thanks for taking the trouble. :)

The trouble was trying to fit into my pants during the last couple of days.

On a cruise you arrive as a passenger but you leave as cargo.

09-24-2015, 01:33 AM
I enjoyed reading it -- and it indeed sounds like you had an amazing time! When I read the title, I wondered (just like Koko) if you had somehow turned a soprano into a fiddle! :)

Very brave to play in public! One day... one day!

09-24-2015, 04:23 AM
Very cool Dave, sounds like a really great time. I travel a lot with my uke and constantly get asked if it's a violin, especially on routes in Asia. I'm now at a point where i just say "yes" because i have found that all the silly restrictions against guitars (which some airlines group ukulele with) don't apply to violins so "absolutely, it's a violin".

09-24-2015, 03:48 PM
I am not sure I am glad I read this post. Time will tell. I have several mandoleles of different body shapes; a ukealaika from a 1945 German made balalaika; banjoleles 4 and 5 string, but had not even thought about my grandfather's old violin encased on a shelf. I can genuinely thank you for the new idea. The journey will be enjoyable, regardless of the final destination. I have several violin cases which have been adapted inside for a ukulele. I think it would be fun to open a violin case, remove a violin and then strum and fret it like a ukulele. My Ashbory bass does not have frets, so I know about the adjustments need to play over rather than behind fret positions.

09-25-2015, 02:03 AM
Dave, that's a great story! I bet you will be part of people's cruise memories forever.

09-25-2015, 04:54 AM
Part of their gladness was probably because it wasn't a fiddle.
Very likely. A ukulele, even when played not so well, sounds good. A poorly played fiddle can sound like a cat being tortured. I know...luckily my granddaughter gave up the violin and is switching to the uke.

Patrick Madsen
09-25-2015, 05:59 AM
That's a wonderful cruise thru the passage. Best little carry along uke I have is the Griffin Pinecone. A concert hand carved little guy that throws out the most beautiful sounding voice and can be carried in a backpack or small bag.

09-25-2015, 06:02 AM
I was on the elevator Sunday, carrying my uke from the hotel room to the car, and someone asked me if it was a violin. When I told him that it was a ukulele, he seemed to suddenly become disinterested. I thought that was interesting.

10-20-2015, 07:31 AM
I was on the elevator Sunday, carrying my uke from the hotel room to the car, and someone asked me if it was a violin. When I told him that it was a ukulele, he seemed to suddenly become disinterested. I thought that was interesting.

Many people still regard ukulele as a cheap beach instrument. People think I am joking about how much I spent on mine.
I feel insulted when asked why I don't sing and dance with this toy. Thinking of bringing on my upcoming River cruise but afraid I get that same question.

10-21-2015, 03:53 PM
That's great Dave! I still get silly grins from people when I tell em it's not a fiddle, it's a uke. Then they ask me to play some Tiny Tim. I just smile and tell em I never bothered to learn Tiptoe.
I used to tell people it was a machine gun, but with all the shootings lately, people are just a little too sensitive for that.
Once a hospice client asked me if it was mine, and I told him "no, I stole it." Then he asked if I could play it, and I said "no, it's just a counterweight for my nursing bag."
He called me a smartass.

10-21-2015, 04:20 PM
I wonderful way to relax in the morning, on a lovely cruise. And a wonderful to share the ukulele love with people who haven't been turned on to it yet.

I play some very bad violin and it is really hard to learn. Another reason why I love ukulele so much - it is easy to get started on, but you can take it to a complex level if you choose, or you can learn a few chords and be happy strumming. It offers the best of both worlds.

10-21-2015, 11:39 PM
I think it depends where you are...
I live in Hawaii, seeing ukuleles is a daily occurrence and not unusual at all. Seeing a violin is more unusual!
When I would play my tenor in California, more than one person commented, hey you're pretty good on that little guitar...
In the Midwest, going through the airport most people would ask if it was a mandolin in the case.
We would love to do an Alaska cruise someday, and I am sure I would bring an Ukulele!

10-22-2015, 04:04 PM
I know of several violin and mandolin players who tune their ukes in fifths. It can be a bit disconcerting to watch them play that way - even though I play the fiddle and the mandolin. It's sort of like "when is a ukulele not a ukulele"? But live and let live. They sound great.


10-22-2015, 04:50 PM
Yeah, I've been asked if I was carrying a violin. Haven't gotten the disappointed look yet about it being an Ukulele. By the way, should it be "an" Ukulele," or "a" Ukulele? In speech, "an" sounds right if you pronounce it "ookalele," but "a" sounds right if you pronounce it "youkulele." Just saying.

10-23-2015, 02:15 AM
OK, so is it "a" ubulele," or "an" ubulele? ;)