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Chris Tarman
02-06-2011, 05:16 PM
After a much-longer-than-normal drive home over the mountains, due to a LOT of snow, I'm back from the Denver Uke Fest.
What a great weekend! Friday night, the festivities started with a stripped-down version of the Ooks of Hazzard opening up for Led Kaapana. The Ooks were great fun, and Led was mind-blowing on slack-key guitar (and no slouch on ukulele either!).
Saturday was the main event. I met MGM in person (and bought a new uke!), and attended a clawhammer workshop by Aaron Keim (maker of Beansprout ukuleles, and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire for The Boulder Acoustic Society), and a strumming workshop taught by our very own Aldrine Guerrero. I hung out and visited with folks, and met a lot of great people. One thing I wish could be different... I am sure there were several UUers there, but there was no way of identifying them! I did meet Ukunuke accidentally, and ended up hanging out with her for the rest of the festival. We went into the main auditorium just as they were starting sound checks for the concert, and we grabbed some good seats and just hung out. I don't know if some of the people running things thought we were artists or what, but we were sort of treated like "elite". I went to grab a couple of beers from the VIP area (we DID both have VIP passes), and some guy handed me a whole six-pack!
The concert was great, and all the artists were wonderful. I was particularly impressed with The Boulder Acoustic Society and Aldrine (and his impromptu guitarist Aaron- Great job!). The full version of The Ooks of Hazzard played (5 ukes, accordion, U Bass and cajon), and were tons of fun. Danielle Ate The Sandwich were great... EVERYONE was great! I knew NOTHING about the last act, Leftover Cuties, but WOW! I had so much fun watching their drummer... you just need to see them to understand!
Most of the groups playing used ukulele in rather unconventional ways, and I thought that was fantastic. I enjoy seeing it in new contexts. The M.C. for the night was from a local hard rock radio station, and I had the feeling that he was surprised by the things the li'l ukulele could do!

Here's a crappy picture of Aldrine and me. 20097 He was very nice and gracious, and even plucked my '50s Martin Style 1 a little bit on Friday night. I'll never wash that ukulele again!
AND! The entire event was relatively terrorist-free! (See my earlier thread: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?41215-I-would-have-rather-had-a-Tiny-Tim-joke...)

janeray1940
02-06-2011, 05:18 PM
Leftover Cuties are great! They play a lot of free shows right in my neighborhood, nice to see that they are getting opportunities to play elsewhere now too.

So... tell us about the new uke!

Chris Tarman
02-06-2011, 05:33 PM
Ahh, yes! I got so wrapped up in the concert review that I forgot to say much about the new uke. As some of you know, I've been nosing around for opinions about the Kiwaya KTS-7 for a while, since I totally love the Martin Style 3 look, but can't afford one, and apparently can't get my local drummer acquaintance (who owns one but doesn't play ukulele at all... it's just hanging on his wall!) to sell me his. Anyway, I asked MGM to bring one if he could... you know, so I could try one out and think about it. Well, I thought about it for maybe 2 minutes. I haven't had much chance to play it yet, since the festival was so noisy and there was no place to go and jam (the one fault I can think of with the festival), and since I didn't get to our friend's house were we were staying until about 1:30 AM... and then spent the day driving in less-than-pleasant conditions. But I think I like it. Of course, the strings it came with are terrible, so if anyone has any suggestions as to what I should string it with, let me know! Mike suggested Worths. I've never tried them, but I've been wanting to. So far, my overall impressions of the Kiwaya are: 1) It's beautiful. This one has really nice-looking mahogany with a satin finish which is very rich and lustrous. I'm looking forward to seeing if it gets polished up from playing. 2) It FEELS like a Martin. I haven't gotten to really do a thorough A/B/C comparison with my 2 vintage Martins, but it sure feels familiar right away! 3) It's loud. I can't wait to hear it with GOOD strings. I'll have to wait for better strings to really see what the tone will be like, but so far, even with whatever black strings it came with (Mike said they're Hilo), it doesn't sound bad at all!
Mike is going to ship me the case later, since he didn't have room to bring cases to the festival (or many, at least). Also, I'd like to thank him for letting me park my 2 ukes and my bag behind his table several times throughout the day. They really need a "Uke Check Room" at these things!

janeray1940
02-06-2011, 05:58 PM
(who owns one but doesn't play ukulele at all... it's just hanging on his wall!)

Argh. That instrument *wants* to be played!

Before I fell head-first into a new Kamaka the other night, I was seriously contemplating a Kiwaya (the long neck one) for my next purchase. Excellent choice!

ukunuke
02-06-2011, 06:22 PM
Wow - we had fun, didn't we???

Chris Tarman
02-06-2011, 06:24 PM
Wow - we had fun, didn't we???

Yes, indeedy!

TCK
02-06-2011, 06:56 PM
since I totally love the Martin Style 3 look, but can't afford one, and apparently can't get my local drummer acquaintance (who owns one but doesn't play ukulele at all... it's just hanging on his wall!) to sell me his.
Epic fail on your friends part- mine will be played into sawdust. Good on you though- can't wait to hear the Kiwaya!

aaronckeim
02-06-2011, 08:16 PM
It was great to meet you Chris, and I am glad you had fun at our fest. That Kiwaya is great, but so was that Martin you let me play. (but not as cool as my myrtle myamoe soprano!) see you next year!

beergeek
02-06-2011, 09:05 PM
Chris...I have now had both Worth Mediums (clear and brown) on my KTS-7 and I think I like the CM's best so far. If the Kiwaya's FEEL like vintage Martin's that explains the fatal attraction to vintage Martin's for me ;)

mm stan
02-06-2011, 11:01 PM
Aloha Chris,
Mahalo for sharing....Looks like it was an awesome time up there...Congratulations on the new Kiwaya....just can't wait for a video.....Happy Strummings..MM Stan

cletus
02-07-2011, 01:53 AM
Alright, Chris! I'm glad you had a great time and a safe trip home through the hills .
Congrats on the new uke, looking forward to hearing some sound samples/videos with it.
Hooray for MGM!

dkcrown
02-07-2011, 02:27 AM
Sounds like it was a great time Chris

Chris Tarman
02-07-2011, 07:15 AM
It was great to meet you Chris, and I am glad you had fun at our fest. That Kiwaya is great, but so was that Martin you let me play. (but not as cool as my myrtle myamoe soprano!) see you next year!

It was great to meet you too, Aaron, and BAS totally rocked! And yeah, your myrtle soprano was pretty sweet! I'd never played a myrtle wood uke before. It's got really interesting grain, and sounded nice (as near as I could tell in the cacophonous lobby of the festival). Is it always that yellowish? If that's even the word I want....

aaronckeim
02-08-2011, 03:58 AM
Myrtle is a lot like Koa and Walnut, meaning that every board is a little different. That uke was white when I built it, but its been on the road full time since then and darkened quite a bit. peep through mya-moe's site and you will see several different myrtle colors and grain patterns.

http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/uketracker.php?trackingNumber=345&submit=Track

joeybug
02-08-2011, 05:24 AM
Sounds like a great time was had by all!