Distribution of playing across your collection?

modwitch

reckless novice
UU VIP
Joined
May 11, 2024
Messages
654
Reaction score
2,522
It has come to my attention that some of you have more than one ukulele 😂. I come from violin, where most people only have one instrument, so I am fascinated by this. I realize some of this may be collecting ukes, rather than playing them. (No judgment, I have a yarn collection). But I’m curious how your playing time distributes across your collection, and what factors drive that distribution.

So. Size of herd, and what do you play most, and why?
 
I try to play all of mine in the classroom, and they’re all strung and tuned variously, for different repertoire.

HF-3, low G Taropatch, for playing and teaching slack key songs
HF-3 and HP-1, high G standard tuning, for any music written for high g tuning.
HF-2, low G Wahine, for one specific song I teach in Wahine tuning
HF-1, low G tuning, for simple melodies that require a bit extra range.
 
I'm not an expert but it seems the only thing in common with violin is the number of strings and sometimes the case size. Mostly they all look and sound the same although like any instrument there are levels of sound quality. I have a small uke family and for the most part each has a different voice and I enjoy changing up. Like ukeclass, I teach, and also lead Uke Jams and play in an all ukulele band so I get lots of opportunities to play them all!
 
I try to play all of mine in the classroom, and they’re all strung and tuned variously, for different repertoire.

HF-3, low G Taropatch, for playing and teaching slack key songs
HF-3 and HP-1, high G standard tuning, for any music written for high g tuning.
HF-2, low G Wahine, for one specific song I teach in Wahine tuning
HF-1, low G tuning, for simple melodies that require a bit extra range.
Okay, that’s a really cool reason to have a herd! And you clearly have a brand preference 😁
I'm not an expert but it seems the only thing in common with violin is the number of strings and sometimes the case size. Mostly they all look and sound the same although like any instrument there are levels of sound quality.
Violins all look and sound the same? 😆😆😆😆. That sentence would cause a war in a violin forum 😁. They actually really vary in tone (separate from quality). A big factor is that they’re arch bodies, and the required carving of the front and back introduces a ton of variance from one instrument to the next. Which causes deeeeep stress to players trying to pick just one violin. Tone and playability both vary a lot, and bows are also highly individual and react very differently to different violins. Ukes seem to be a very different mentality, where you can just change instruments to get the voice you want.

Which of your ukes do you play when it’s just you at home alone?
 
Okay, that’s a really cool reason to have a herd! And you clearly have a brand preference 😁

Violins all look and sound the same? 😆😆😆😆. That sentence would cause a war in a violin forum 😁. They actually really vary in tone (separate from quality). A big factor is that they’re arch bodies, and the required carving of the front and back introduces a ton of variance from one instrument to the next. Which causes deeeeep stress to players trying to pick just one violin. Tone and playability both vary a lot, and bows are also highly individual and react very differently to different violins. Ukes seem to be a very different mentality, where you can just change instruments to get the voice you want.

Which of your ukes do you play when it’s just you at home alone?
As I started my comments "I'm no expert"! Thanks for the education, maybe they have lots more in common than I thought. When it's just me at home I still play them all, not on the same day but each time is a different batch.
 
I have six tenor ukes, all the same type, thinline cutaway, with reentrant/hi G tuning, each differ by their wood. I also have twelve bass ukes, all the same model, violin/Hofner style, all with the same strings, each differ by their finish. My uke group of about thirty meets on Zoom twice a week, and we meet in person every other Sunday and Wednesday in the back yard of one member. On the opposite Sunday, I play uke with a group of eight or so acoustic guitarists in a local park. That gives me plenty of opportunity to rotate through all my instruments.

I love collecting, and the main reason I choose the same configuration is, I have nerve damage to my neck spinal cord from radiation treatments for cancer many years ago, and these instruments are the most comfortable to play, and make it easy to switch from one to the other. I don't refer to it as UAS, ukulele acquisition SYNDROME, I say UAP, ukulele acquisition PASSION.

Ukulele Collection.jpg

Bass Collection 12.jpg
 
I have a reentrant for those kind of pieces, my 5 string lutulele which I enjoy playing Renaissance and early music pieces on, a cedar-top lam that's current strung in fifths but will likely migrate to being something I can use for Choan's alt tuning book when I get it (eventually), my low G Moon Bird that's really my go to for a lot of playing, and I've ordered a fifths tuning CGDAE from Tukanu which I'll be playing all the fifths stuff with. I also have a tenor that rarely gets any love because I don't really play tenor, but it was a gift from a family friend who built it and it is gorgeous and sounds lovely, so I periodically bring it out to noodle on (that's detuned a full tone).
 
Everbody's got their reasons...
  • I use different tunings (re-entrant, linear, Bb with high and low F, DGBE);
  • Tonewoods get paired up with different strings, to try to give each ukulele it's own voice and timbre. Some want to whisper, some want to bark. Depends on size too;
  • I try to "rotate" but often it comes down to what I feel the tune needs at that given moment. My "3 of the week" usually all differ enough to cover the most. And if not, I just take another one.

I try to avoid not picking one for a longer period. If that happens: it's probably best we say goodbye and go our seperate ways.

As for now, they all get their fair share of playing, and I don't really see any voids that make me needing (not wanting) something more or else.

But like I said: for now.
 
As I started my comments "I'm no expert"! Thanks for the education, maybe they have lots more in common than I thought. When it's just me at home I still play them all, not on the same day but each time is a different batch.
Sorry if my tone came across as laughing “at” you - I’m here asking beginner uke questions, and I have some assumptions that would make folks here giggle, and it was fun to see one going the other way.

Batching the ones you play is totally the kind of intriguing detail I was hoping to hear. Do you pick your batch based on feel, or what you think you’re going to be playing, or you have a color coded vault system.. ?
I love collecting, and the main reason I choose the same configuration is, I have nerve damage to my neck spinal cord from radiation treatments for cancer many years ago, and these instruments are the most comfortable to play, and make it easy to switch from one to the other.
Your collection is so interesting because it allows you to really change up tone without affecting playability. I think that’s wonderful!
I have a reentrant for those kind of pieces, my 5 string lutulele which I enjoy playing Renaissance and early music pieces on, a cedar-top lam that's current strung in fifths but will likely migrate to being something I can use for Choan's alt tuning book when I get it (eventually), my low G Moon Bird that's really my go to for a lot of playing, and I've ordered a fifths tuning CGDAE from Tukanu which I'll be playing all the fifths stuff with. I also have a tenor that rarely gets any love because I don't really play tenor, but it was a gift from a family friend who built it and it is gorgeous and sounds lovely, so I periodically bring it out to noodle on (that's detuned a full tone).
You’re just dangerous. This could easily be future me 🤪.
I try to avoid not picking one for a longer period. If that happens: it's probably best we say goodbye and go our seperate ways.
This is one of the things I’m curious about - do you find it’s obvious when a uke is no longer meant to be yours?
 
I can answer that with a quote of something earlier I wrote:
What I try to avoid is not picking one for a longer period. If I catch myself doing that, I urge myself to pick it up and play it for a couple of days. Sometimes motivated with putting on new strings or something like that. Uke gets a treat, I try to re-kindle the love: make me remember why I have you? Works most of the times. If not, it's probably best we say goodbye and go our seperate ways. Happens not very often anymore, honing the bunch since long.
Most of the flock is growth, for reason of (wanting) variety. Some were replaced, for better. Just a few were considered as obsolete.
 
It has come to my attention that some of you have more than one ukulele 😂. I come from violin, where most people only have one instrument, so I am fascinated by this. I realize some of this may be collecting ukes, rather than playing them. (No judgment, I have a yarn collection). But I’m curious how your playing time distributes across your collection, and what factors drive that distribution.

So. Size of herd, and what do you play most, and why?
I am also relatively new (only been really focusing on playing for about 8 months, but you would not know that from the size of my current collection. I have about 19 ukuleles (some are in stages of being bought and sold). All of them (except a sopranissimo) are played at least weekly by someone (not necessarily me). The stores near me in New England do not have much selection of ukes to choose from. After I got one good player Ohana set up by Mim, I bought other used ukes to try out different sizes, materials, makers and level of quality. I loved reading through everyone’s posts and learning about the kind of ukes that work well for them. Every time I sit down to practice and play I use at least 3 different instruments. There are some ukes I love so much (e.g. my Pops Wow soprano, KoAloha concert, Pohaku Deco concert, and my Cocobolos) I have to intentionally put them down and move on to my other instruments. I play soprano, concert, and tenor, which makes it far too easy to accumulate instruments.

Before my son was born I was a workaholic and all I did was work. After he was born, I spent all my time at work or with him. This is the first thing that I have had that is all my own in decades. Sometimes I feel some guilt about it, but I keep telling myself it is ok for me to have something that is for me.

I have an adult group ukulele class. In the fall it was all mothers who got into ukulele through their kids. Our class just joined up with a more established mostly older retired group with more experience. I have been loaning ukuleles (other than my 6 special no loan ukes) to the other members of the group who want to try a different size, a different wood, or a different brand. I think two of them like the ukes I loaned them and want to buy them from me. Another person used the loaner ukes to figure out what sizes, woods and brands she likes before she buys a new one.

Now that I am starting to figure out what I really like. I am going to try to slim down the collection to less than 10. We will see …
 
Last edited:
Okay, that’s a really cool reason to have a herd! And you clearly have a brand preference 😁

Violins all look and sound the same? 😆😆😆😆. That sentence would cause a war in a violin forum 😁. They actually really vary in tone (separate from quality). A big factor is that they’re arch bodies, and the required carving of the front and back introduces a ton of variance from one instrument to the next. Which causes deeeeep stress to players trying to pick just one violin. Tone and playability both vary a lot, and bows are also highly individual and react very differently to different violins. Ukes seem to be a very different mentality, where you can just change instruments to get the voice you want.

Which of your ukes do you play when it’s just you at home alone?
If good ukes cost as much as good violins I would likely just have one, or would never have started at all.

The “buy in” to start playing the violin would have been far too intimidating for me. The laid back and informal nature of ukulele lured me in and only afterward did I realized I liked it enough to spend significant money on instruments. The UAS snuck up on me.
 
Before son was born I was a workaholic and all I did was work. After he was born, I spent all my time at work or with him. This is the first thing that I have had that is all my own in decades. Sometimes I feel some guilt about it, but I keep telling myself it is ok for me to have something that is for me.
I feel this so hard. It’s a way to center back in who I am, even if my kiddo is in the room. We will be better parents because we do this. I believe that, absolutely.

I definitely experiment to learn, and as soon as I realized I preferred soprano scale, that meant there wasn’t anything to experiment with locally. It’s awesome that you can be the ukulele library for your group! Some things are way easier to figure out when they’re in your hands.

As for violin, there are “reasonably” inexpensive student starter instruments (like $600 starter kit). But they sound bad, and beginner violinists sound bad anyhow, and decent resonance is my reward for persevering, so I refuse to play violin-shaped objects that don’t actually resonate. I like 100 yr old German trade violins - they’re the ones that were sold for $5 in the Sears catalogue. Humble, but a lot of them have really nice tone. But that’s still like $2000 for a “low midrange” instrument and bow. So imagine my glee when I found out what $500 will buy me in the UU marketplace 😂
 
Last edited:
Patty, you and I share violin heritage and classical music playing on the ukulele. We're very dangerous 😈
Did i now that you played violin?
I will admit to having TWO violins, one good one which is played a lot and one for playing at friends houses, small gatherings, etc.
I can foresee me getting one more tenor if for nothing but to have it string in low G
 
I am like the violinists. I was taught not to get sketchy instruments. When I was a teenager working at a grocery store for $3.35 an hour, I financed a flute for $23.89 a month which took years to pay off. That's just how we did it. I wouldn't even dream of getting a sub-standard flute for less money. I've brought that attitude over to my ukulele life. My 3 ukes all cost four digits. That's just how I roll
 
Did i now that you played violin?
I will admit to having TWO violins, one good one which is played a lot and one for playing at friends houses, small gatherings, etc.
I can foresee me getting one more tenor if for nothing but to have it string in low G
Yes, folks good enough on the violin to play where other people can hear them often have two. I’m not thst good, lol. Played for a few years as a teenager (but rarely practiced because I was not a fan of etudes), and started again about 18mo ago.

Your collection mostly isn’t ukes. A lowG one seems reasonable to add 😁
 
I am like the violinists. I was taught not to get sketchy instruments. When I was a teenager working at a grocery store for $3.35 an hour, I financed a flute for $23.89 a month which took years to pay off. That's just how we did it. I wouldn't even dream of getting a sub-standard flute for less money. I've brought that attitude over to my ukulele life. My 3 ukes all cost four digits. That's just how I roll
I bought a $47 uke in December because a couple of friends got one too and we were going to learn to strum together. The next thing I bought was a luthier made soprano, so I definitely share your lean toward good instruments. But at that point I imagined I was getting one good ukulele. I think I’m done at three, though!
 
Top Bottom