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View Full Version : New Rob Collins Tenor - performance and review



Ken Middleton
05-05-2012, 12:24 PM
Here's a review of my new new tenor. It was made for me by Rob Collins.

The claw-hammer tune in the first two and a half minutes is Oh Susanna.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frlioEphXXM&feature=colike

OldePhart
05-05-2012, 05:26 PM
That's a beautiful uke, Ken. Really nice sound. Loved that clawhammer at the beginning, too. Have you by chance done a how-to vid on clawhammer? I tried to follow your right hand but it's kind of tough when you're playing at speed.

Keep 'em coming,
John

Patrick Madsen
05-05-2012, 07:39 PM
Very nice Ken. Is the fretboard flat or radiused. There sure are some amazing luthiers out there. Also some amazing players as you just demonstrated.

TCK
05-05-2012, 08:06 PM
You need to send me that uke for a week or so- I can't tell if it is the uke that is stunning, or the playing. I strongly suspect both, but would like to be sure.

Ken Middleton
05-05-2012, 08:10 PM
That's a beautiful uke, Ken. Really nice sound. Loved that clawhammer at the beginning, too. Have you by chance done a how-to vid on clawhammer? I tried to follow your right hand but it's kind of tough when you're playing at speed.

Keep 'em coming,
John

It sure is, John. I'm very pleased with it. I love the wood combination. It is exactly to the spec we decided in advance. And the sound is sparkly and clear. I have it in D tuning though and that makes a difference, particularly in this style of playing.

I do a workshop where I teach "proper" claw-hammer technique. On this video and the last one, I stray from the "rules" quite a lot. I know it is hard to see too and it doesn't help when I use my middle finger instead of the pointer, like most players do. I am going to be doing workshops on intermediate to advanced techniques this year and I may do a video.

There are some excellent tutorial videos out there already though, John. They focus on good technique. There are, of course, those by Aaron Keim. And I particularly like this one by my friend Rev.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxVtV2wojyo&feature=colike

Ken Middleton
05-05-2012, 08:23 PM
Very nice Ken. Is the fretboard flat or radiused. There sure are some amazing luthiers out there. Also some amazing players as you just demonstrated.

No, I definitely wanted a flat fretboard. I should have mentioned that in the video, but I always forget to include something.

Rob has certainly become an excellent luthier. He works from Hebden Bridge in the UK. He is very keen to get things right and do things the traditional way. For instance, he bought a tool to enable him to do the rosette that I wanted. He likes to use interesting wood combinations. Much of the wood he uses is salvaged too. Very little bling.


You need to send me that uke for a week or so- I can't tell if it is the uke that is stunning, or the playing. I strongly suspect both, but would like to be sure.

It is an interesting instrument, TCK. I am pretty sure you would like it. And yes, it is stunning. A lovely combination of timbers: western red cedar, Brazilian cedar, Indian rosewood, ebony and maple. The sound is punchy, well-balanced and crystal clear.

estreya
05-05-2012, 08:25 PM
Sublime. There's something about a song that's been known to us for nearly the whole of our lives, a simple song that's become part of our genetics. When a song like that is played with such superb style, we feel it in our blood and in our bones. Beautifully done.

estreya
05-05-2012, 08:28 PM
Ha! Middle finger, no offense ... too funny! I love it.

Ken Middleton
05-05-2012, 08:44 PM
Sublime. There's something about a song that's been known to us for nearly the whole of our lives, a simple song that's become part of our genetics. When a song like that is played with such superb style, we feel it in our blood and in our bones. Beautifully done.


Ha! Middle finger, no offense ... too funny! I love it.


Yes, Foster wrote some wonderful songs. Nowadays, we have to leave verses out or change some words, of course. I don't like having to do that, but we have to conform to political correctness. I wish I had the courage to leave the words alone, but I certainly don't want to offend.

I recorded Oh Susanna before, as a fingerpicked vocal. I was weak - I changed the words.

And I always use the middle finger. It's longer.

garywj
05-06-2012, 12:55 PM
Great review and playing Ken. I always enjoy your posts. Thanks....

Steedy
05-06-2012, 01:54 PM
Wow, what a great-sounding uke! Beautiful playing as well.

Political correctness be damned!

Ken Middleton
05-06-2012, 08:48 PM
Great review and playing Ken. I always enjoy your posts. Thanks....

Thanks very much. It is a splendid uke.


Wow, what a great-sounding uke! Beautiful playing as well.

Political correctness be damned!

Thanks for listening.

Some people get offended because I don't pronounce the word "ukulele" the way that they like (and I never will). But I think some people might be offended with good reason if I kept the word "darkies" in a Stephen Foster song that I sang. The state of Kentucky don't include it in their anthem.

Nanci Griffith had something interesting to say on the matter:

"I think we're losing something in not repeating his (Foster's) lyrics or in adapting them, changing them to make them more politically correct, because he was trying to blend some things and create an awareness that we need to remember. It's part of black history and it's part of American history and you can't change history. It's good to reflect on it. I think it's more important to study history as it is, lest we ever repeat ourselves."

His Sinfulness
05-07-2012, 12:26 AM
... I think some people might be offended with good reason if I kept the word "darkies" in a song Stephen Foster song that I sung. The state of Kentucky don't include it in their anthem.

Nanci Griffith had something interesting to say on the matter:

"I think we're losing something in not repeating his (Foster's) lyrics or in adapting them, changing them to make them more politically correct, because he was trying to blend some things and create an awareness that we need to remember. It's part of black history and it's part of American history and you can't change history. It's good to reflect on it. I think it's more important to study history as it is, lest we ever repeat ourselves."

The uke is beautiful, your playing is inspiring, and your scholarship/philosophy is great. Really love your posts. Thanks, Ken.

Ken Middleton
05-07-2012, 02:04 AM
The uke is beautiful ...

Yes, it is. It was made exactly to my spec. I love the woods: red cedar, Brazilian cedar, maple, Indian rosewood, ebony.

Some people would be horrified to learn however, that it already has lots of scratch marks on it. This is partly to do with my playing - I buy ukes to play, not to admire. But it is also because it has a French polished finish. I love the looks of French polish on nice woods, but it is definitely not as durable as the plastic finishes on most mass-produced ukes.

FriendlyFred
05-08-2012, 12:44 PM
This uke looks and sounds really good.
I like the way you played in the beginning.
Now you have a reverb of a big church.

Ken Middleton
05-08-2012, 08:33 PM
Thanks for watching, Fred.