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rar jungle
03-10-2012, 01:48 AM
Hi, it's been a while since I've posted here,

I drive a cab in Kona, for the Four Seasons hotel. Thursday evening, after waiting for 5 hours in the hotel parking lot with no rides, I got a call to pull up to the lobby and give someone a ride into town. I pulled up and two pretty ladies got into my cab carrying an ukulele and guitar. I said: " Oh you got an ukulele, I got one too!" And so we started chatting about ukuleles, and the girls asked me how long I had been playing and stuff. Then I asked them the same thing, expecting they were just tourists and amateurs. It turns out I was driving Taimane Gardner and Jazzy Jazz. I hadn't recognized Taimane at first because the lobby area was so dark, but now I was a little in awe, as Taimane is one of the best ukulele players in the world.

As we drove and talked on this full moon night, with lightning flashing in the distance, I kept thinking about something I had with me in the car, something that as far I know is the first of it's kind. For the last six months I've been working on a new kind of ukulele. I've created what I suppose is best called a "powered" ukulele. It's a tenor ukulele with a pickup, and built-in amp and speaker. It's battery powered with the amp and speaker located just inside the sound hole. It goes quite loud, and can sound either pure and clean, or nasty and distorted. So happening to have a prototype of this ukulele in the cab with me, I finally got up the nerve to ask them if they wanted to try it out. Keep in mind that I am pretty much the only person who has ever really played this thing, and now the first person to test drive it is Taimane Gardner. So I was pretty nervous, but it turned out they were really happy to try it out. They jammed on it and sang for the next 20 minutes as we drove. Yes they both seemed to love it, and had fun playing it. Jazz said it was the funnest cab ride ever. It was definitely my favorite ride I've given, and Taimane and Jazz are the sweetest people, in addition to being amazing musicians.
P.S. If anyone's interested, these ukuleles will hopefully be available for sale in three or four weeks.

stmace
03-10-2012, 03:01 AM
Good Story!

stevepetergal
03-10-2012, 05:02 AM
I love a "Brush With Greatness" story. How wonderful for you. Thanks for sharing this.

SuzukHammer
03-10-2012, 05:33 AM
For Reals??

pulelehua
03-10-2012, 11:15 AM
I used to play with a guy who had done a similar thing: uke and amp inside the body. It's a great thing to behold. His is pretty crunchy. Developing a clean one I think could be a popular thing.

KimosTherapy
03-10-2012, 11:27 AM
WOW!!! Great story!!! Gives me '"Chicken Skin!!!"

Seems like you've got something pretty good going on with your "Powered Ukes":nana: Good for you, Brah!!!

Mahalo for sharing!

Aloha,

Kimo

coolkayaker1
03-10-2012, 12:40 PM
I'm with Kimo. That's a close encounter of the pretty kind...two lovely ladies. Taimane fan here.

You now have to call your new uke the Taimane model.

mm stan
03-10-2012, 12:43 PM
You lucky bugga..ha ha TG model ukes.. now that is a name.. great story and a mini concert in da cab..wow

lancemanion
03-10-2012, 01:20 PM
You lucky guy, the only famous person I've given a ride to is Kenny Loggins. Sounds like you has much more fun.

Trinimon
03-10-2012, 01:22 PM
Damn! That's an awesome story! I'm hoping to catch her perform when I'm in Oahu this summer.

localmana
03-10-2012, 01:30 PM
I really enjoyed and appreciated your story...definitely a chicken skin moment. What a "gift". Thanks again.
Alan

mds725
03-10-2012, 02:43 PM
Great story! You caught her before she becomes so famous that she rides in limos instead of cabs. maybe you can get her to endorse your ukes when you start selling them....

rar jungle
03-10-2012, 11:02 PM
Great story! You caught her before she becomes so famous that she rides in limos instead of cabs. maybe you can get her to endorse your ukes when you start selling them....

yeah, that's not a bad idea. i really wanted to ask her if i could videotape her playing my ukulele, but i didn't have a proper camera, and the ukulele is not that cool looking yet. it sounds good, but looks kind of bland.

rar jungle
03-10-2012, 11:04 PM
I really enjoyed and appreciated your story...definitely a chicken skin moment. What a "gift". Thanks again.
Alan

yeah, it was definitely chicken skin moment. thanks for reading!

rar jungle
03-10-2012, 11:13 PM
I used to play with a guy who had done a similar thing: uke and amp inside the body. It's a great thing to behold. His is pretty crunchy. Developing a clean one I think could be a popular thing.

Wow! That's amazing somebody else has done a similar thing. Yeah, it was hard to get it to sound good at first. The first tries were very crunchy. And some moments of parts flying across the room, etc. ...not because I threw them on purpose.

hoosierhiver
03-11-2012, 04:26 AM
She put on some great performances in Bangkok and is a very approachable nice person.

rar jungle
03-12-2012, 04:31 PM
I used to play with a guy who had done a similar thing: uke and amp inside the body. It's a great thing to behold. His is pretty crunchy. Developing a clean one I think could be a popular thing.
Now that I think about, I am curious as to exactly what you mean by "crunchy"? I had a lot of trouble to stop audio feedback. That was the main problem, and even the guys at the music store didn't think it would be possible to build this thing without having it feedback like crazy. But now after trial and error I've got it to the point where it only has feedback at the highest volume setting, and even then it is minimal. So I am guessing feedback was your friends main problem? If you got his email or anything, it would be really nice to correspond with him, if possible. Thanks!

mm stan
03-12-2012, 06:46 PM
yeah, that's not a bad idea. i really wanted to ask her if i could videotape her playing my ukulele, but i didn't have a proper camera, and the ukulele is not that cool looking yet. it sounds good, but looks kind of bland.
Too bad you didn't have your cell phone camera...yeah UU member Keef would have died to be there..

coolkayaker1
03-13-2012, 02:19 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhW8rlkzLyE&list=HL1331683283&feature=mh_lolz

My favorite Taimane video.

southcoastukes
03-13-2012, 02:28 PM
Playing an 8-string w/ 5 strings?

I know musicians don't make a lot of money - do you think I should send the poor girl her other 3 strings?

coolkayaker1
03-13-2012, 02:33 PM
Playing an 8-string w/ 5 strings?

I know musicians don't make a lot of money - do you think I should send the poor girl her other 3 strings?

That's so funny...I wondered the same thing! Here's her official website--maybe you can email her with that offer. LOL http://www.taimane.com/main/

rar jungle
05-21-2012, 12:01 PM
I just took 6 weeks off from work to concentrate on my invention of the ''powered" ukulele, which I mentioned in my original post. So I just finished my third prototype, and now feel it's an excellent "powered" ukulele. It sounds great and goes at least twice as loud as a normal acoustic ukulele. It also can be adjusted to play with distortion. So I am calling this new kind of ukulele the "Power Ukulele". And this one I am posting pictures of I am producing as an affordable intro model, and calling it the "Moon Spark".

Yesterday I had my first day back at work at Four Seasons, I sat for 9 hours in the parking lot and gave only one ride, but that gave me plenty of time to get some pictures of the Moon Spark sitting on the cab driver bench. I will get more pics soon, and will get one of our limo drivers, an old Hawaiian guy that plays at hotels around here, to play the ukulele on video for you guys to check out. He really liked the 2nd prototype, the same one Taimane Gardner played. If I can't find him and get him to play it, then on Wednesday there is a group of 50 ukulele players that meet at the Keahou Outrigger Hotel, hopefully I can get video of some of these players trying it out.

This is a version I now feel comfortable making for people, but I am totally interested in any feedback/criticism you might have regarding the look, the name, etc. Besides healthy critiques any creative or crazy ideas in any manner are always welcome.

And just to clarify what this instrument is again, it is an ukulele with built-in speaker and amplifier. I took a name brand ukulele with good intonation and decent quality, and married it with a name brand mini-amplifier, with equally good quality and sound. Other parts were introduced, and heavy modifications to both main components were involved. I worked hard to make the ukulele look slick and be durable, even though extensive modifications were made, so if these pics don't convey that, there will be more posted. If requested there might be some slight graphic design changes to the instrument as well. But anyways, I really wanted to get some pictures out after all this time. I am making these instruments to order now. I've got my first order already from a forklift driver in Hilo, so anybody else interested please send me a message.
38071380723807338074

pulelehua
05-22-2012, 10:10 AM
It looks like it has a bomb strapped to it. Not a bad thing. Just a thing. It would nice if the logo looked more integral to the instrument, as right now it looks like an add-on. That being said, it looks more industrial, which is probably a good thing.

Looking forward to hearing more!

rar jungle
05-22-2012, 12:13 PM
Haha, yeah it does kind of look like a bomb strapped to it in the pictures. I would say the look may best be called "intriguing" if you were to see it in person.

You mean the logo on the headstock? Yeah, I agree it does look sort of industrial. I wanted to have lightning bolts, that's all I cared about.

Oh yeah, one more thing I forgot to mention, you can plug into the amp with headphones to listen that way, and not bother others, or also you can use the headphone output to plug into an external amp. Additionally there is a 1/4" output jack you can plug into an external amp.

Trinimon
05-25-2012, 06:43 AM
So there is a speaker mounted by the sound hole?

rar jungle
05-26-2012, 07:35 PM
So there is a speaker mounted by the sound hole?

Yeah, speaker and amplifier. It goes a lot louder than normal ukulele, and it has really good tone. It feels much different and better than just playing an electric ukulele with an external amp. It seems and sounds much more like an acoustic instrument, but it has more presence and of course volume. And of course it is much more convenient to not have to carry an amp around along with your ukulele.

UK Paulie
05-27-2012, 03:20 AM
Looking forward to hearing how it sounds. Couple of questions though, what is its weight? Can it be played acoustic ie - without switching the amp and speakers on? Also, if this is the final model which you will be selling, what are the specifications? Cheers.

rar jungle
05-27-2012, 08:26 AM
Looking forward to hearing how it sounds. Couple of questions though, what is its weight? Can it be played acoustic ie - without switching the amp and speakers on? Also, if this is the final model which you will be selling, what are the specifications? Cheers.

Hi UK Paulie,
I haven't weighed it yet, but I think it's a little lighter than a resonator uke. Specs are standard tenor. 17" scale, 7.5 cm deep, about 3.5 cm at the nut, 23.5 cm lower bout width, 18 cm upper bout. Undersaddle piezo pickup, end-pin jack doubles as strap hook, Southcoast soft medium strings.

It can be played acoustic, but it's definitely quieter than normal acoustic ukulele, although not as quiet as solid body electric ukulele. Maybe soon I can get some video of it being played turned on and off.

Here are two threads I posted with videos of the ukulele being played:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?65681-Power-Ukulele-Jamming-at-Kona-Airport

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?65763-Power-Ukulele-Jamming-Pt-2-The-Master