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View Full Version : The Problem and What I Love about the Ukulele



keenonuke
04-28-2019, 04:16 AM
Lately I have been thinking about the driving force behind my purchasing and thinking about Ukuleles. Well I love them and they are a new passion. When I shared with my best friend about the ukulele she declared that I had found My instrument. Although I have played other instruments none have grabbed me till the ukulele. And it is Love at First Sight. (If this is TLDR you could skip to the end video link).

One of the things so great about the ukulele is the infinite variety. There are so many sizes to chose from and even then there are combinations with long necks, longer scales, wider or thicker bodies. There's different nut sizes and radiuses. There are body modifications like the cutaway or side port. There are different body shapes, ie the pineapple. And there are the cousins of banjolele, etc. There's different string combinations - 5 string, 6 string, etc.

There's different wood combinations, and even the use of metal and different metals.

And each variation has a different sounds. Even the use of different strings changes the sound. It's all a Wow, how great is that.

Oh and each Luthier or manufacturer puts their own special spin on the instruments.

Plus we the ukulele community span the globe. One can converse with someone in Europe, Asia, the US, Latin America, etc.

It is this variety that helps to feed UAS. One can have the wish to try another like a box of chocolates with different flavors. Another problem is unfortunately manufacturers stop making a particular model and so it can be "get it while its hot." Or a luthier will stop making a particular style or stop completely. Hence the "he who hesitates is lost." .

Happily each day I play most of my ukuleles and when I am too tired at night I enjoy videos of ukulele playing. Yes I got it bad. But then again my music teacher says he has 20 guitars - or so he says :-)

One of my favorite videos of late is titied "10 Reasons Not To Buy A Martin D-18" it is a humorous look on UAS but for him GAS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ebA5PN3n5Y

Bill Sheehan
04-28-2019, 04:35 AM
You're so right, K !! I just love the "portability" factor that the ukulele offers. I played in several different bands throughout the years (as a guitar player), and eventually re-discovered the ukulele (it had been my first introduction to the "stringed instrument" back in 1965 or so). I have grown to appreciate how cool it is to be able to find "gig" situations where I can literally grab my uke and go, when it's time to do the engagement. I had the honor last week of taking my little Kala Travel Soprano over to a local Alzheimer's care facility, where for the duration of about an hour I just strolled around the facility and asked random residents if they's like to hear a song or two. It was great fun, and I'm pretty sure some people's day was brightened, even if only in that moment. And best of all-- no hauling of gear! There's something neat about making a go of it with only the most basic of tools-- your voice and your instrument. I used to relish the organizing, hauling, and set-up of tons of equipment for those band gigs, but as an older guy now, I'm lovin' the totally unplugged wandering minstrel approach!

RafterGirl
04-28-2019, 05:51 AM
I came to the ukulele with no previous music experience except percussion in my high school marching band & a guitar I had at age 13 that I never learned to play. However, I have always loved music & wished that I could play an instrument or sing better. My first uke was a suggestion from the music therapists at the children’s hospital where I work. Something to take camping. 2 years & a lot of Ukes later, I have found my instrument and my joy in music. The size, portability, variety, and downright fun is perfect for me.

kohanmike
04-28-2019, 06:54 AM
This thread actually follows the "Your story: how ukulele found you." (https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?125081-Your-story-how-ukulele-found-you) I played guitar for almost 50 years, but since taking up the ukulele on a whim five years ago, I haven't touched my guitars, which feels like a Mack truck now. I also play bass uke and mini bass guitar, all so much more comfortable and convenient. I joined a seniors group that meets twice a week and gigs a couple times a month, including an Alzheimers day care center, and UCLA/Mattel Children Hospital where we give away ukuleles from The Ukulele Kids Club that we donate to.

This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

Rllink
04-28-2019, 07:58 AM
If I couldn't play old sixties and seventies songs that people can sing to on a ukulele, I wouldn't get invited to anything. :)

Kenn2018
04-28-2019, 08:13 AM
I was invited by a friend to come to a ukulele club meeting to listen to them play. And maybe participate at the beginners' table using their learner ukes. One visit and I was hooked.

I like to sing and was in choir throughout school until college. (My wife and I were in the community choir here in town for two years before it folded.) Yet I never learned to read music.
In college I did a little strumming on a guitar to some folk songs 50 years ago. It never took hold.

Bought myself a Fender Nohea on Amazon because I had some gift cards. Didn't know anything about ukes; just that koa was "the best wood" and the Fender was "all-koa." (Laminate.) It took a pair of vice grips to barre the first fret. Thanks to Barry Maz' website and books I learned about setups and action and a bunch of other things. Bought some books, watched some videos went to uke club. And I am slowly learning to play. If you were generous, you'd say I was an mid-beginner. With aspirations of becoming an intermediate. Trying to learn some theory to go with learning to play.

Oh, and I caught a bad case of tenor UAS...

RafterGirl
04-28-2019, 09:54 AM
This thread actually follows the "Your story: how ukulele found you." (https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?125081-Your-story-how-ukulele-found-you) I played guitar for almost 50 years, but since taking up the ukulele on a whim five years ago, i haven't touched my guitars, which feels like a Mack truck now. I also play bass uke and mini bass guitar, all so much more comfortable and convenient. I joined a seniors group that meets twice a week and gigs a couple times a month, including an Alzheimers day care center, and UCLA/Mattel Children Hospital where we give away ukuleles from The Ukulele Kids Club that we donate to.

This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly West near the Beverly Center
9 tenor cutaway ukes, 5 acoustic bass ukes, 11 solid body bass ukes, 9 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 34)

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers

The kids at the children's hospital where I work have recently gotten a bunch of donated ukuleles. Huge thanks to the Ukulele Kids Club. Music is a big part of the healing process for our kids.


I was invited by a friend to come to a ukulele club meeting to listen to them play. And maybe participate at the beginners' table using their learner ukes. One visit and I was hooked.

I like to sing and was in choir throughout school until college. (My wife and I were in the community choir here in town for two years before it folded.) Yet I never learned to read music.
In college I did a little strumming on a guitar to some folk songs 50 years ago. It never took hold.

Bought myself a Fender Nohea on Amazon because I had some gift cards. Didn't know anything about ukes; just that koa was "the best wood" and the Fender was "all-koa." (Laminate.) It took a pair of vice grips to barre the first fret. Thanks to Barry Maz' website and books I learned about setups and action and a bunch of other things. Bought some books, watched some videos went to uke club. And I am slowly learning to play. If you were generous, you'd say I was an mid-beginner. With aspirations of becoming an intermediate. Trying to learn some theory to go with learning to play.

Oh, and I caught a bad case of tenor UAS...

Ukulele clubs are a great way to learn a little music theory by osmosis....along with the fun & fellowship aspects. After attending my first uke club jam, I was smiling from ear to ear. "I've found my people.. and they're all playing a ukulele."

Jerryc41
04-29-2019, 04:42 AM
"Reasons not to buy" don't work on me. :D

glennerd
04-29-2019, 05:41 AM
"Reasons not to buy" don't work on me. :D

spoiler alert > Didn't work on the guy in the video either! ;)

70sSanO
04-30-2019, 08:56 AM
I’m 67 and started playing guitar when so was 13. Got my first real ukulele (not counting a plastic one I had as a kid) in 2007. I effectively stopped playing guitar in 2007. For me the guitar was a better instrument to accompany singing; but I had pretty much stopped singing at that point.

The ukulele allowed me to play instrumentals that I could never play on the guitar and it was so much easier to play. The funny thing is there are still such low expectations of the ukulele by most people that if you play almost any instrumental on it they are blown away. That’s not my motivation, but it is funny. And play the same thing on a guitar and it is, meh. The guitar is so competitive and the expectations are sky high. For me this just makes the ukulele fun.

John

John boy
05-01-2019, 07:05 AM
I agree with all points in this thread. And the title of the thread could very easily drop the first three words ("The Problem and")!

Jerryc41
05-01-2019, 07:12 AM
One of the things so great about the ukulele is the infinite variety.

Yes! If there were just one size and one style, I'd probably have two ukes. Instead, I have an assortment of styles and sizes. When I buy Stewart's ice cream on sale, I usually buy at least three flavors. When I get tired of eating one flavor, I dish out another. Variety is the spice (and the expense) of life.

RafterGirl
05-01-2019, 09:36 AM
My mom lives with me. She is in her 80s and is a watercolor artist. She sometimes gives me good natured grief whenever a new ukulele arrives at the door. I’m sure you can all identify......” Another ukulele? Why do you need another one?” I just smile and reply.....”You don’t paint with just one brush and one color do you?” She laughs, and then wants to see what the new one looks like & sounds like.

Jerryc41
05-01-2019, 10:11 AM
My mom lives with me. She is in her 80s and is a watercolor artist. She sometimes gives me good natured grief whenever a new ukulele arrives at the door. I’m sure you can all identify......” Another ukulele? Why do you need another one?” I just smile and reply.....”You don’t paint with just one brush and one color do you?” She laughs, and then wants to see what the new one looks like & sounds like.

One of my dogs gets very excited whenever a package arrives. First, he hears the UPS truck coming down the street and starts barking. I usually walk down the driveway to meet the driver. When I get back inside with package, he's all over it. He watches me open the package(s) and then examines each item. The other day, I received a large dog bed, and both dogs were thrilled to see that. I guess it was like a ukulele to them. :)

Bill Sheehan
05-01-2019, 10:17 AM
My mom lives with me. She is in her 80s and is a watercolor artist. She sometimes gives me good natured grief whenever a new ukulele arrives at the door. I’m sure you can all identify......” Another ukulele? Why do you need another one?” I just smile and reply.....”You don’t paint with just one brush and one color do you?” She laughs, and then wants to see what the new one looks like & sounds like.

Hahahahaha! Great reply, Rafter! Your mom sounds like a pretty cool lady!

Bill Sheehan
05-01-2019, 12:02 PM
One of my dogs gets very excited whenever a package arrives. First, he hears the UPS truck coming down the street and starts barking. I usually walk down the driveway to meet the driver. When I get back inside with package, he's all over it. He watches me open the package(s) and then examines each item. The other day, I received a large dog bed, and both dogs were thrilled to see that. I guess it was like a ukulele to them. :)

Excellent story, Jerry! Seems like all creatures have that instinct to sense (and enjoy) that something fun might be coming their way!

prb035
05-01-2019, 12:08 PM
My mom lives with me. She is in her 80s and is a watercolor artist. She sometimes gives me good natured grief whenever a new ukulele arrives at the door. I’m sure you can all identify......” Another ukulele? Why do you need another one?” I just smile and reply.....”You don’t paint with just one brush and one color do you?” She laughs, and then wants to see what the new one looks like & sounds like.

Thanks for sharing such a lovely story :D

keenonuke
05-01-2019, 12:12 PM
I agree with all points in this thread. And the title of the thread could very easily drop the first three words ("The Problem and")!

The Problem is UAS. I absolutely love the variety of ukuleles but I need to set limits. I've decided I'll only buy one Ukulele a month. I remind myself today is May 1st. There's a whole month. Slow is good. :-) And besides I'm planning on custom ukuleles and Platinum versions. So slow down there will be another great ukulele round the bend. Ahh, UAS what a wonderful thing :-)

Kenn2018
05-01-2019, 07:47 PM
My wife asked me why I needed so many ukuleles? I replied.It's a similar reason to why you have a closet and entire (small) roomful of shoes and purses.

She replied, "Good point. And you could have far more expensive hobbies."

AustinHing
05-01-2019, 09:25 PM
I've decided I'll only buy one Ukulele a month. :-)

That’s 12 ukes in a year! :drool:

Wish I have your problem.

DownUpDave
05-02-2019, 12:41 AM
The Problem is UAS. I absolutely love the variety of ukuleles but I need to set limits. I've decided I'll only buy one Ukulele a month. I remind myself today is May 1st. There's a whole month. Slow is good. :-) And besides I'm planning on custom ukuleles and Platinum versions. So slow down there will be another great ukulele round the bend. Ahh, UAS what a wonderful thing :-)

One uke a month hey........actually once I got going that was about my pace. It's been 5 years since I started ukulele, do the math, hope you got a big house and a supportive spouse. I am blessed to have both. Buy used ukes right here because many will come and go while you figure out what works best for you. When one doesn't work out you can sell it and loose very little. It is like a small rental fee while you get educated.

I do love the portability and have flown a lot with my Koolau tenor in a Fusion Urban gig bag. I have been on a few cruises and people always seem to enjoy the music. I make sure I am respectful of others rights to silence and find an out of the way spot to play.

Ukuleles are not only fun to play and listen to they look beautiful with all the different woods types and they smell wonderful. What's not to like.........and yes they are like rabbits, damn things just multiple:D

Jerryc41
05-02-2019, 02:03 AM
Ukuleles are not only fun to play and listen to they look beautiful with all the different woods types and they smell wonderful. What's not to like.........and yes they are like rabbits, damn things just multiple:D

Yes, the variety makes them hard to resist. In a thirty-day period, I once bought seven ukes, and then a few months later, I bought eight in the same time frame. If only I could sell them that fast. :)

RafterGirl
05-02-2019, 02:45 AM
I think I've had about a dozen in the two years I've been playing. The most I had at one time is 6. Having that many actually bummed me out, because I felt like I was under some kind of self imposed pressure to play them all equally. I think 4 is my magic number. I have one to re-home, and then I think I'll have a perfect family of 4. Two concerts (KoAloha & Moon Bird) that sound awesome, but totally different from each other. Both have pick-ups for variety when I play in my church band or for open mic. One long neck soprano (KoAloha) for that soprano sound with my comfortable concert scale. One travel/camping/playing outdoors concert (Blackbird Clara). 4 ukes in their cases fit the space in my office perfectly. I know I won't stop "looking" at other nice ukes, but maybe I'll stop "searching" for other nice ukes.

PS - Yes, my mom is pretty cool. She just turned 81, and she's still going strong as a watercolor artist. She's been very encouraging of my musical journey & I'm sure I get my love of artistic expression from her.

keenonuke
05-02-2019, 06:04 PM
I know I won't stop "looking" at other nice ukes, but maybe I'll stop "searching" for other nice uke.
When I got the Style 2 Martin Soprano I felt that I'd "found" my Soprano and I didn't need to search for THE Soprano anymore. It doesn't mean I will stop looking (as RafterGirl point out) but the drive has stopped and I remind myself that I have my Soprano.

I think my magic number will be 15. Among my wish list is a Tenor for Low G, 5 String Ukuleles, Resonators, and Pineapples.

A friend has suggested I buy just what I really, really want. Her suggestion has really helped. I noticed when I buy because it's a good price or based upon a review I have a less than 50-50 chance it will be one of my loves.

Happy strumming