View Full Version : A question so stupid i'm almost afraid to ask it....

03-03-2012, 08:08 AM
OK... i'm ready for the flaming. ''dang this guy is dumb..."

not long ago i bought a new ana ole custom koa tenor uke. i don't have it yet. in the meantime i've been practicing and using an inexpensive kala concert someone loaned me and i have no idea what the strings are on it or how old they are. it probably cost about 75 bucks. i've been practicing scales and chords by just strummng with my right thumb. i've also been practicing a lesson kimo hussey showed on youtube using his first finger to strum down, followed by a down thumb, and then using his first finger to strum up. i've gotten so i can actually do it kind of (certainly can't do it like kimo ....) but i can do it. i call it the ''claw technique..." admittedly, when i try to change chords and do it i suffer from non co-ordinationitis syndrome. also, when i use the first finger down strum it uses the nail of that finger as opposed to the fleshy part of my thumb and first finger.

but i'm getting absolutely NO tone out of the instrument. also, no volume. at all.... is it because of my technique or just this uke? i realize it's a plywood instrument and all that and i'm sure that's a lot of it. my new all koa custom made tenor HAS to sound a bunch better when i get it. and also i probably can't get as much leverage using my fingers as opposed to just using my thumb, at least right now with my current level of ability. but wondered if other people suffer the same situation and if anybody had a experience of what a better instrument sounds like and if that's a large part of it? my new custom ana ole is a tenor and this kala is a concert so that should also help with more tone and volume, and i admit i'm not the greatest player. in fact i'm not good at all....

the only other ukulele i've ever had to compare this one with was an all plastic model that i got for Christmas when i was 4 years old which was over 50 years ago (ok... quite a bit over 50 years ago) and at that time i thought it sounded great and i was a blossoming Segovia of the ukulele world. but i guess i was a little jaded by my 4 year old virtuosity. :)

anyway, thanks for opinions and comments. thought i'd ask before running out and buying a 200 watt amp to sound my no volume problem... ;)

03-03-2012, 08:13 AM
There's nothing wrong with asking a question. Some of the answers might be stupid though!

You can be rough, you know. Ukes are tough. Just keep going, and you will see what works; a description of how to strum over the Internet is a bit like telling someone how to cut a hedge over the phone.

Have you tried a plectrum?

Bob Bledsoe
03-03-2012, 08:17 AM
No worries. Your new ukulele will be a day and night difference from a starter Kala. By the time it gets to you you'll have a strum that works for you figured out. Good choice for a 1st uke btw!

Drew Bear
03-03-2012, 08:59 AM
I think it's safe to assume your $1k+ custom uke will sound significantly better than the loaner you're currently playing. Keep practicing the best you can with what you have and recognize the limits of the instrument. When you finally do receive the Ana'ole, you'll be so amazed at how great you really sound that you can revive your Segovia-like dreams.

BTW, excellent decision to buy the best you can for your first uke. How much longer do you have to wait? I don't know if there are any bad habits you might pick up from learning on a lower quality instrument. For example, you probably won't need to apply as much pressure with your fretting hand on the custom uke.

03-03-2012, 09:50 AM
supposedly it's gonna be done about the end of next week. then it has to get from hawaii to the east cost. so i'm thinking it'll be about 2 to 3 weeks till i get it. i can't wait.... :) it's a koa tenor with an ebony fretboard and koa head with black tuners. i had a custom rosette made for it but other than that it's pretty traditional. if i can figure out how to put build progression pictures on the forum i'll put some up. it's lookin pretty spiffy.

thanks for the comments. i have tried a flat pick but have been working mostly with my fingers since i'm mostly interested in fingerstyle. i think having the loaner has helped though because it's given me something to practice with. i was trying to capo my classical guitar down but the frets are so far apart from the uke it's not really the same. i'm also taking lessons every week and that's helped keep me from getting too far off. i'm sure the new uke will have a much better action that the one i'm playing. it's kind of like pushin on a washboard...