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View Full Version : Resonator's limits ?



mrStones
09-09-2016, 02:29 AM
Hi everyone,

I recently saw the Kala Resonator. Seems quite lovely (at least in the youtube video) and really affordable, but there is some arguments online about the purpouse of a resonator ukulele.
Some tells it is good only for blues and bluegrass, other says it is a good all-rounder, but honestly I can't figure how could be play (just for example) play "Greensleve" or a piece of classical music on a reso.
My imagination says "it would be weird", but I have no experience at all.

So the question is : is the Reso Uke really limited in purpouse or it is just a "urban legend"? Does anyone had experience beyond bluegrass and blues with a reso ?

Thanks in advance

Pirate Jim
09-09-2016, 02:46 AM
Instruments are just tools for making music. If it sounds and feels good to you, then it's good! There's a real tendency to get hung up types of instrument, I've found in particular around bluegrass. Look up Chris Thile - he plays mandolin and uses his "bluegrass" mandolin to play incredible classical pieces as well as bluegrass music. For that matter, check out people like Jake S who plug their uke in and shred it like an electric guitar.

If you like how it sounds and plays, then play away and don't worry about what's right/wrong or normal/weird!

bacchettadavid
09-09-2016, 03:29 AM
I am a supporter of historically informed performance, but I'll go ahead and put my foot in my mouth. Music is for sharing, and the ukulele is a great tool for sharing music.

One of my jamming buddies plays some very unconventional Dowland on his dobro, and he can make your heart ache or soar when he gets going. Paul Buskirk recorded an album of mandola music in the 90s called Nacogdoches Waltz. On that album are sublime versions of "Greensleeves" and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring".

Play music you love, on an instrument you love, and play so much it becomes something beautiful.

RichM
09-09-2016, 03:47 AM
Hypothesis: It is impossible to play Greensleeves on a resonator ukulele

Materials: Beltona resonator ukulele, Blue Snowball Microphone

Findings: https://soundcloud.com/richm9999/greensleeves

Conclusion: Experiment failed. It *is* possible to play Greensleeves on a resonator ukulele

Croaky Keith
09-09-2016, 04:14 AM
I think resonators came about before the wide availability of microphones.

They were built to amplify & project the sound, compared to an ordinary instrument.

They tend to have a rather metallic sound which suits some music better than others.

I like the sound, but I don't think I would buy one. :)

DownUpDave
09-09-2016, 04:27 AM
Hypothesis: It is impossible to play Greensleeves on a resonator ukulele

Materials: Beltona resonator ukulele, Blue Snowball Microphone

Findings: https://soundcloud.com/richm9999/greensleeves

Conclusion: Experiment failed. It *is* possible to play Greensleeves on a resonator ukulele


First off RichM I did not know you had a Beltona resonator........I love those instruments. Second of all you did a very good job on the playing of Greensleeves but...........I agree that the Experiment failed. If I had to listen to classical pieces sounding like that I would be put off but that is just my personal taste.

sukie
09-09-2016, 04:32 AM
Hypothesis: It is impossible to play Greensleeves on a resonator ukulele

Materials: Beltona resonator ukulele, Blue Snowball Microphone

Findings: https://soundcloud.com/richm9999/greensleeves

Conclusion: Experiment failed. It *is* possible to play Greensleeves on a resonator ukulele
Dammit, Rich.

Personal opinion only -- I totally dislike them. Especially at ukulele club.

RichM
09-09-2016, 04:43 AM
First off RichM I did not know you had a Beltona resonator........I love those instruments. Second of all you did a very good job on the playing of Greensleeves but...........I agree that the Experiment failed. If I had to listen to classical pieces sounding like that I would smash the resonator to bits and I love the sound of resonators.

My point was pretty simple: all instruments have the same notes on them (within a certain range of course). You can play any kind of music on any kind of instrument. Whether or not people will like to listen to it is always going to be a matter of opinion and taste. To say you can't play classical music on a resonator uke is just silly; of course you can. You may not like the way it sounds. Or you may.

Bela Fleck has created a remarkable career playing music from every genre on the 5-string banjo. When he started, most people thought of the banjo as a bluegrass instrument, and probably would have thought of Fleck as a novelty act. But Fleck is a virtuoso musician who chose the 5-string as his primary instrument. To segregate instruments because you "can't play [insert genre] on it" is unnecessarily limiting. Be bold. Try new things. And be a better musician than me :). Like this guy:


https://youtu.be/JwuIj33gtfo

mrStones
09-09-2016, 05:08 AM
Thanks everybody !


My point was pretty simple: all instruments have the same notes on them (within a certain range of course). You can play any kind of music on any kind of instrument. Whether or not people will like to listen to it is always going to be a matter of opinion and taste. To say you can't play classical music on a resonator uke is just silly; of course you can. You may not like the way it sounds. Or you may.


Thanks RichM yeah I agree. It is possible to play everything on anything. But my question was "is good at", not if it was possible :)
Thanks also for the audio sample. It (to my personal taste) answered to my question.
Of course is subjective, but I didn't really like THE SOUND (I agree with DownUpDave, you were great by the way), so I have to conclude maybe FOR ME resonator is not a good all rounder.

DownUpDave
09-09-2016, 05:11 AM
You are sooooo right that you can play any piece on any instrument. As you say it just boils down to if you like the way it sounds or not.Thanks for the video above, it was awesome.

Mivo
09-09-2016, 07:35 AM
I am a supporter of historically informed performance

Can you elaborate on this? What exactly does it mean, and how does it translate to instruments that didn't exist in their present form (or at all) at the time when a piece of music was written? Something like a guitarlele, for example, or even a resonator like discussed in this thread. These didn't exist when many classical pieces were composed. They are both similar to instruments that existed then, but still quite different (and the woods were different).

Joyful Uke
09-09-2016, 11:27 AM
Is Rich's soundcloud gone? I wanted to hear it!

I do think that the example of Bela Fleck is a great one to demonstrate that, in the right hands, any instrument can break all boundaries that have typically been placed on the instrument, and can be amazing. My hands aren't the right hands, unfortunately. LOL.

Since many of us probably took notice of ukulele when we heard Jake's version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, I'll mention that I bet that a lot of people didn't think that something like that can be played on ukulele. (Some might still think that, if it's not their cup of tea.) But, I think that Jake admirably wiped Tiny Tim off many of our minds, when it comes to ukulele.

Does anyone have any good resonator ukulele YouTube's that they'd recommend?

manfromtexas
09-09-2016, 11:35 AM
I have the very uke you mention and I've been surprised by how well the Hawaiian songs sound on it. That wasn't something I was imagining when I bought it.

Here are a couple Led videos on a resonator

https://youtu.be/dSR4m0Wc7_0

https://youtu.be/ID00rV7qhk4

Booli
09-09-2016, 09:04 PM
Have a look at: http://www.lilrev.com/

Lil' Rev is a professional touring musician, excellent ukulele player, and one of the nicest humans on the planet, and he plays ragtime, tin-pan-alley, Klezmer, Celtic, Blugrass, Blues, Jazz and other forms on his reso ukes...

He's got like 8-10 albums out and a ton of books and DVD's...and tours the world giving concerts and workshops...of which I was fortunate to attend both at the Uke NJ 3, uke fest in August 2015...

Let him be an example of what the reso uke CAN DO, and ignore all the naysayers...

The only LIMIT is your own imagination...and as said by Albert Einstein:


"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds"


(yes, I have a big brain and know how to use it LOL :) :music:)

acmespaceship
09-10-2016, 07:56 AM
There can be a world of difference in the sound of a metal-body resonator uke versus wood-body. Some of the wood bodies can be played to sound like a traditional uke with just a little more sustain ringing the high end.

Playing technique matters greatly. Strum or pick. Fingernails, fingerpicks, felt pick, finger pads, metal slide, glass slide... I have a cheap Recording King metal body, and I can pick it gently and it has a nice sound for blues-tinged folk songs (freight train, freight train, goin' so fast...). My buddies who grab it with their meat hands and strum it hard make it sound like a tank battalion coming down the street.

It's impossible to tell from a few videos what a resonator uke will sound like in your hands. Best to try them all ;)

bacchettadavid
09-11-2016, 04:15 PM
Mivo,

I sent you a PM.

ukulelekarcsi
09-12-2016, 09:47 PM
A lot of instruments were designed for on music genre, but adopted by another: resonator instruments were intended for hawaiian music, but became closely associated with acoustic blues; stratocaster electric guitars were intended for western swing bands, but became the quintessential early rock instruments. It's in the hands and minds, and one can play classical jazz on bagpipes.

Del Rey and Bob Brozman focus (and focussed) on resonator ukuleles, andshow (showed) how many genres were possible.

'Lil Rev once wrote an interesting article on the historical use of ukuleles in 'old time' music, catching everything from folksy music to fast bluegrass. Several dance bands did really employ a ukulele, just not Bill Monroe (who was very strict about his line-ups).