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View Full Version : Buying a "Timple" - pros & cons?



filipinouker
03-18-2013, 09:08 AM
I am currently on holiday in Tenerife and i had the privilege of trying out a Canarian 5-stringed "uke" that they call the "timple". It's a Faycan Timple, model 530, all solid wood and beautiful sounding.

I managed to figure out that the five strings are tuned similarly to the ukulele - gcEAD - i.e., high g, high c, low e, a and d.

Question is: is it worth buying? Is it worth owning?

Are there other timple players out there (I mean, here on UU)? I live in the UK and i doubt there are other timple players where i live in the southwest. How do i learn to play it properly? I don't think it would be right to play Rubber Duckie or Dream a Little Dream on the timple :) and would like to play more Canarian style songs - but, where would i go to learn them?

I guess these questions made me walk away from the shop and I decided to consult you guys here on the forum before i make a rash decision. I already have three ukuleles and my husband is asking: do you really need another one? A fair question, but i tell him that it's actually not an ukulele as we know it!

Any advice / insight / wisdom would be appreciated :)

frisbee fred
03-18-2013, 09:52 AM
The answer to your husband is obviously yes. You do need another one. Though, I leave it to other members to comment on a "timple". Never heard of that instrument before.

filipinouker
03-18-2013, 10:54 AM
The answer to your husband is obviously yes. You do need another one. Though, I leave it to other members to comment on a "timple". Never heard of that instrument before.

;) so easy to be tempted. I do think i am infected with UAS :rolleyes:

But seriously, i don't know how i can learn to play the timple properly (i.e., Canarian music), when all the books for learning how to play it seem to be in Spanish. Plus, when i return to the UK from my holiday, there may be no way for me to progress / develop in the context of other timple players. That's why i'm wondering whether or not to buy it... :confused:

uke4ia
03-18-2013, 11:00 AM
If you get it, don't be afraid to play Sesame Street songs or anything you like on it. After all, it may be up to you to popularize this instrument!

filipinouker
03-18-2013, 11:10 AM
If you get it, don't be afraid to play Sesame Street songs or anything you like on it. After all, it may be up to you to popularize this instrument!

Hmmm... That's a really helpful thought, uke4ia. Will add that to my list of pros!

Barbablanca
03-18-2013, 11:28 AM
I got one in the Canaries, but it was a simple model - cost about €60 - I have actually used it on a Seasons - but with a slightly different tuning.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A24tCIMEBDc

I don't know if I'd go to the trouble of learning all those Canary Islands tunes, I'd just use it for something that you come up with yourself :)

PS If you do get a songbook and need help with the Spanish.. You know where to come ;)

GinnyT11
03-18-2013, 11:32 AM
I got one in the Canaries, but it was a simple model - cost about €60 - I have actually used it on a Seasons - but with a slightly different tuning.
PS If you do get a songbook and need help with the Spanish.. You know where to come ;)

This is one of the best reasons to be a Seasonista or a regular UU member...there's someone who already knows what you want to know, and is happy to help out! Whitebeard, you're a cool guy!

filipinouker
03-18-2013, 11:46 AM
I got one in the Canaries, but it was a simple model - cost about €60 - I have actually used it on a Seasons - but with a slightly different tuning.

That's extremely helpful!!! And the video was just LOVELY (my husband thinks you sound Irish :) )
How do you choose to tune it, then? And with what strings?

The two timples i was looking at cost 180euros and 208euros (incredible sound: very loud and almost harp-like) - here's a description: http://tienda.globalpercusion.com/Producto_7387-TIMPLE_CANARIO_FAYCAN_MOD530.html


I don't know if I'd go to the trouble of learning all those Canary Islands tunes, I'd just use it for something that you come up with yourself

Ah yes, but i'm not as creative and inventive as you are. I'm full of fear and uncertainty, constantly relying on songbooks, etc. :(


PS If you do get a songbook and need help with the Spanish.. You know where to come ;)

You are very kind and i really appreciate this offer! If i do buy it, i suspect i shall "bother" you more than once :)

Barbablanca
03-18-2013, 12:08 PM
I just found an advice page on buying your first Timple (in Spanish) and it says. "Avoid buying Tajinaste & Admira Timples because these are made in China and the Chinese haven't a clue about how they should truly sound!" ..... :o .... Mine is a Tajinaste ;)

The advice on that site can be summed up as "pay as much as you can afford and you'll get the best instrument you can afford"

Good luck with your purchase, if you go ahead with it.

How are you enjoying TF? I've been to GC and Lanzarote, but not been to TF. - I loved Lanzarote... It's a different world where volcanic landscapes abound!

Barbablanca
03-18-2013, 12:19 PM
Just looked at the Timples they have on offer - the model you are thinking of (530) is the best, I reckon. It is made out of local woods, so is probably more authentic than another of their models by the same guy which has a German Pine (read spruce) top.

Your husband is half right. Both my paternal Grandparents were from Ireland.

I tuned mine like a Uke, but with the top re-entrant string tuned to another note. I've been trying to reproduce it for the last fifteen minutes. Hadn't touched it since that recording and it's totally out of tune! Grr..... Should have taken note of it.

As for creativity. You don't know you are creative until you try to be... then the more you do it, the better you get!

filipinouker
03-18-2013, 12:35 PM
Your husband is half right. Both my paternal Grandparents were from Ireland.

Oooh. I shan't tell him, or he'll be smug :D


I tuned mine like a Uke, but with the top re-entrant string tuned to another note. I've been trying to reproduce it for the last fifteen minutes. Hadn't touched it since that recording and it's totally out of tune! Grr..... Should have taken note of it.

Let me know when you figure it out.
I'm still undecided - i REALLY REALLY like the idea of a 5-stringed Canarian uke (simply because it is special!), but it's now about spending €208 + i.g.i.c. + beginners book + case ! Aaargh. Need to rob a bank!

As for creativity. You don't know you are creative until you try to be... then the more you do it, the better you get![/QUOTE]

Mivo
03-18-2013, 12:52 PM
I saw one a couple days ago on eBay (the only one offered within Germany) and I managed to successfully not buy it! I was also in the $500 range, which made it easier to resist. I did some reading and apparently there are two camps of timple players: those who use four strings and play it like a ukulele, and those who also use the fifth string, with both sides feeling rather strongly about their preference. So, you COULD use it like an ukulele right away, and slowly learn to use the fifth string later on!

If I was on the canaries and had the opportunity to take one home, I would probably do it. I imagine that the re-sell value won't be half-bad, either.

Raygf
03-18-2013, 01:26 PM
I am currently on holiday in Tenerife and i had the privilege of trying out a Canarian 5-stringed "uke" that they call the "timple". It's a Faycan Timple, model 530, all solid wood and beautiful sounding.
I managed to figure out that the five strings are tuned similarly to the ukulele - gcEAD - i.e., high g, high c, low e, a and d.
Question is: is it worth buying? Is it worth owning?
Are there other timple players out there (I mean, here on UU)? I live in the UK and i doubt there are other timple players where i live in the southwest. How do i learn to play it properly? I don't think it would be right to play Rubber Duckie or Dream a Little Dream on the timple :) and would like to play more Canarian style songs - but, where would i go to learn them?

I guess these questions made me walk away from the shop and I decided to consult you guys here on the forum before i make a rash decision. I already have three ukuleles and my husband is asking: do you really need another one? A fair question, but i tell him that it's actually not an ukulele as we know it!

Any advice / insight / wisdom would be appreciated :)


It is always so tempting when you get a well made, good sounding instrument in your hands. I've bought my share over the years, but they end up collecting dust. My guitars and ukuleles get played. Save the money and buy a nice ukulele or just save the money.

filipinouker
03-18-2013, 02:10 PM
... apparently there are two camps of timple players: those who use four strings and play it like a ukulele, .... So, you COULD use it like an ukulele right away, and slowly learn to use the fifth string later on! If I was on the canaries and had the opportunity to take one home, I would probably do it. I imagine that the re-sell value won't be half-bad, either.

Thank you Mivo. Didn't realise that it can be strung and played like a uke too. I shall bear that in mind.

filipinouker
03-18-2013, 02:23 PM
It is always so tempting when you get a well made, good sounding instrument in your hands. I've bought my share over the years, but they end up collecting dust. My guitars and ukuleles get played. Save the money and buy a nice ukulele or just save the money.

You have verbalised my fear - particularly spending a good amount of money (timple, tax, case, songbook) and then the novelty wears off and it gathers dust or becomes a wall decor (i would hate for that to happen to such a lovely sounding, handcrafted instrument!).
I will admit: i play my 3 ukes obssessively - and i ask myself "will i really manage to learn and play a fourth instrument as much as my ukes?" Honest answer is probably no. My work hours are long and sometimes unpredictable.

I guess what's left is a mixture of greed (the human desire to acquire more than what one really needs), a genuine admiration for what is truly a fine instrument and a deep wish that i could have all the time in the world to just play and play and play!

Macmuse
03-18-2013, 03:43 PM
I guess what's left is a mixture of greed (the human desire to acquire more than what one really needs), a genuine admiration for what is truly a fine instrument and a deep wish that i could have all the time in the world to just play and play and play!

I think that definitely is where many of us are at with our UAS. :)

And what do you know, Mimmo makes timple strings! http://www.ebay.com/itm/Aquila-Timple-Canario-Strings-Nylgut-d-1st-a-2nd-E-3rd-C-4th-G-5th-/230909887841?pt=String_Instrument_Parts_Accessorie s&hash=item35c34d4561

I've been learning lute music transposed for uke, as well as baroque... and now I want one of these, darn it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=109-pENkovI <- very nice example
(went hunting on eBay to see if any were out there. Found cavaquinho and braguinha but no timple)

filipinouker
03-21-2013, 09:33 AM
I bought a timple!!!

50635

...and successfully defeated, proudly conquered UAS!!! (however, i did buy a tremolo harmonica :D )

GinnyT11
03-21-2013, 09:47 AM
Very cute! :D

What about two to make earrings?

filipinouker
03-21-2013, 10:07 AM
Very cute! :D What about two to make earrings?

Oh! Why didn't I think of that?! Oh well - that's given me an excuse to visit Tenerife again :)

Barbablanca
03-22-2013, 12:00 AM
That's cheating! ;)