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Thread: Ukulele Festival Hawaii

  1. #1
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    Default Ukulele Festival Hawaii

    The festival is live now. Enjoy!
    https://youtu.be/_cbCg9KNaX0

  2. #2
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    This was an outstanding event with great uke playing featuring the top uke producers. Some observations: while I am familiar with KoAloha, Kamaka, and Kanile'a and have visited their factories several times, I have little knowledge ok Koolau so it was nice to see them featured as well. I was very impressed by their beautiful sound that was a great compliment to the players. They were the most outstanding of the ukes featured. My second observation was that some players played through mic and others were plugged in. The ukes of players with mics all sounded much better than those who were plugged in. The plugged in ukes all sounded more similar to each other and generic, and I don't think that this way of amplification helped to bring out their quality. I don't think I would ever put a PU into one of my higher end ukes.

  3. #3
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    Some of the best and well-known ukulele players are in Hawaii (of course!). What is really awesome is how they form a close knit group of friends and perform together. This has been really apparent during the past year with all the online content and sessions. They are talented and welcoming!

    This is the first of a few monthly sessions as this 51st Ukulele Festival goes online. Link to this one (and others) is here:

    http://craigandsarah.com/minifest

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post
    My second observation was that some players played through mic and others were plugged in. The ukes of players with mics all sounded much better than those who were plugged in. The plugged in ukes all sounded more similar to each other and generic, and I don't think that this way of amplification helped to bring out their quality. I don't think I would ever put a PU into one of my higher end ukes.
    This is an interesting observation for a virtual event. I only caught the tail end of Abe (who was using a mic), but I can imagine how this negatively changes the perception of the music.

    To get a good pickup sound you've got to be playing through a speaker. Don't know why. It must have something to do with hearing the sound in a space. Any time you record directly into a computer with just the pickup and listen back it sounds terrible. Plug the same PU into a PA system and it sounds alive. It's rarely as nice as a mic, but at least it's got depth and personality.

    Does anybody have close connections to Craig and Sarah/Roy Sakuma and could mention this so they can reach out to the artists? It would probably improve the quality of the production significantly and allow the featured instruments and artists to really shine. Even a crappy mic would be a huge upgrade from DI.
    Brad Bordessa

    6th Sense Course - Learn to play double-stop 6th harmonies

    Listen to my ʻukulele podcast!

  5. #5
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    Thank you for sharing that link, Merlin. What a great kick-off to what is sure to be a wonderful concert series.

    The Ko'olau 'ukulele featured in the video truly are special. I think the UAS bug may be biting you soon.

    As far as pick-up vs. microphone...condenser microphones are not useable in certain live situations. Pick-ups present a compromise between convenience and sensitivity that is useful in most live amplification, but a good pick-up/preamp system is less effective than a decent microphone and preamp when it comes to capturing "authentic" sound. Brad is right; you really need to play through a speaker when using a pick-up. For some perspective, my live 'ukulele rig (K&K Aloha Twin-equipped Kanile'a -> Pettyjohn preamp/compressor/EQ -> Schertler Unico) can produce quite a believably acoustic sound live, but when recording, I prefer the results I get from mic'ing the instrument and/or the amp's speaker (possibly mixing in some of the pickup sound from the Unico's line out).

    Having said the above, there is still a place for PUs in high-end 'ukulele if you intend to play live. I recently started gigging out more on Ko'olau and Rieck tenors, neither of which has a pickup, and I'm currently toying with whether to use a one-mic setup (more restrictive but also more accurate) or contact microphone (more flexible) to amplify these nicer ukes.
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

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