View Full Version : Excelsius: The Uke is in the Mail...

06-19-2013, 05:08 AM
I just bought an Excelsius/APC soprano for my son. I was pleased with the reputation and skill that is evident in the instruments made by Antonio Pinto Carvalho, and by the sound of the Excelsius in videos by WS64. The version I bought is Australian Blackwood (acacia) rather than European acacia or koa. I am looking forward to its arrival, which will probably take a couple of weeks.

If anybody has any recommendations or reactions based on experience with Excelsius or APC instruments, I would like to hear your comments.

WS64 said that his Excelsius (a concert) was his favorite, and I took that as high praise.

I play classical duets with my son, so I am very eager to hear how this instrument is going to work when we play together. :)

06-19-2013, 06:18 AM
I play classical duets with my son...
Out of curiosity, what material are you using? I haven't been able to find much for duets.

06-19-2013, 11:12 AM
I am using Rob MacKillop's book of duets for ukulele - all J. S. Bach (the Bach Book). I also find arrangements here and there. Herman Vandecauter arranged one for mandolin and uke (basso continuo part) of Telemann's "Affetuoso".

It will take us awhile to get through the J.S. Bach material. I hope that someone does some more arranging in this vein.

Daniel Estrem has been playing and recording duets with a guitarist. I hope that one of these days he makes these arrangements available as sheet music. ... Daniel, if you're out there ... there is a market forming!!!

Usually the duets are for soprano and baritone or guitar. My son and I switch out on which parts we play. I have a Favilla baritone and it is a lot of fun to play these pieces. In the Bach pieces it is frequently the baritone that has the challenging and faster parts. I have my baritone strung with non-wound Living Water strings and it really sounds great.

06-19-2013, 11:48 AM
Here are some links to some of Daniel Estrem's duet recordings.


Here is a link to Rob MacKillop's Bach Book.


Here is another book with duets by the incomparable John King (RIP)


06-19-2013, 12:12 PM
Thanks for the links, Tsani. :)

I bought MacKillop's Bach book without realizing that the second part was written for baritone. Nothing wrong with that, but I don't know any other bari players, so if I find someone who wants to do the duets, I'd be stuck on the bari and I actually prefer tenor. :o

As a long-time classical guitarist I can read standard notation just fine on the bari, but I learned gCEA uke with tab, so playing duets with just SN is not something I can really grasp easily. I actually do have a bunch of mando/guitar duets somewhere (I used to play mando).

If you and your son can both read from SN, there's tons of stuff out there for violin and guitar (mando being tuned the same as violin).

And Daniel Estrem hasn't just been playing with a guitarist, he is the guitarist! What an incredible talent on both instruments. Really great arrangements and I, too, wish he'd get around to publishing them. Guess his day job as a dentist in Minnesota keeps him pretty busy, though. :p

06-20-2013, 04:26 AM
Hey itsme, unfortunately neither my son nor I can play from SN, so we do use TAB. I was taking lessons from a classical guitarist for awhile and I was hoping to transition to SN because it opens up so many more possibilities, but life and work caught up with me and I had to suspend my lessons. I really miss them.

Not being able to read from SN is pretty limiting, especially because you are at the mercy of whoever is writing the TAB. My teacher was always ripping the arrangements - mainly because he hates the campanella style.

I hope you can find a partner to play guitar or baritone for you for the duets. I am really enjoying it. The Bach can be pretty challenging, but it sounds so good when you can pull it off, and I enjoy the practice. My only problem is that I just cannot find enough practice time in my schedule to advance toward performance as quickly as I would like.