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Friday, October 31, 2008

New Uke On Its Way - Well, New For Me


I just won a Ebay auction for this Ukulele, got it for about $25 plus shipping and handling, I love Ebay most of the time. Anyway it is a baritone Uke, which I had been looking to add to my non-existent collection. So this will be my Third Ukulele, I now have a Soprano, Concert, (which is my everyday instrument) and a Baritone. I ordered strings for both the C tuning and the G Tuning. I am thinking of stringing it as a traditional Baritone, but I may go with a low g, C tuning, if it looks like it can handle it.

The Uke is a Crestwood, which I know very little about, but I got it mainly to determine if my hands could get used to the size. Also wanted to see how I could rap my head around the different tuning.

My thought process was this, I play a lot of praise songs in G, so I thought I could have this ukulele there to play the song in G, for some reason playing G and D and D7 on my C tuned uke causes me intonation problems, it could be the Uke it is more probably my lack of technique. Either way I was hoping having a Baritone in my arsenal would a nice compromise. Wish I would have it for this weekend, we are singing to songs with Praise Team this weekend and both are in G.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My everyday Instrument.


The Oscar Schmidt, OU2, made by Washburn is my everyday instrument, it is a Concert Sized Uke with GHS string, which is how it came from the store. I bought this instrument from 8th Street Music in Philadelphia. The store is small and packed, that is good thing, they have a great website, which is how I knew they had ukuleles, which are hard to find, and from what I can tell anything on their website, they have in the store and you can play it. Which is so important to anyone trying to decide about purchasing an instrument.

I am new to stringed instruments, I am more at home with the Piano or Singing, but my wife is guitar player from way back, and she has given me valuable insight as I learn more and more about playing a stringed instrument.

If you live in the Philly area I would highly recommend stopping by 8th Street Music if for nothing else, than the experience of it all. What I liked about it is it has the feel of the music store that used to be in my hometown as I was growing up and where I took Trombone lessons more years ago than I want to remember.

New Blog! or How I learned to play the Ukulele at my advanced age!

I just had to start a blog about my Ukulele experiences.

I first learned to play the Uke about 15 maybe 20 years ago, I was had the lead in a community theater production of A Thousand Clowns. I had to learn one song, Yes Sir, That's My Baby. I learned it, then I didn't pick it up for 20 years.

About 1 year ago, we started singing Praise Music at our Church, and after just singing, which is what I am by the way, a Singer, I decided I needed to maybe learn the guitar, but I have played the guitar before, and the steel strings hurt so bad, so I thought maybe learning the Ukulele would be better, Nylon Strings, only 4 Strings, and relatively inexpensive. I did not want to spend a fortune on my first instrument.

I had told my wife that I was thinking about learning the Ukulele, she is a music teacher and was taking a class at Villanova University and one of the other classes was selling the folk instruments used in the class to recoup the cost of the instruments. So my wife bought a Mahalo Ukulele, and I started to learn.

I have to say, I had a blast, it wasn't too long that I was playing silly songs and accompanying myself.

I also found that my short and stubby fingers did not work well on a Soprano, so I learned about Concert, Tenor and Baritone Ukuleles.

About a month after I got the Mahalo, my wife and I took a day trip into Philadelphia, to Independence Hall and the Constitution Center. BTW, this is a trip I highly recommend to anyone that is going to be in the Philly area, or if you have lived here all your life and don't go into town make the effort.

Since we were going to be in town, my wife suggested that I look for a music store in Philly that might have Ukuleles that I could play. We found 8th Street Music, which by the way is not on 8th Street, it is on Arch and I think it is between 11th and 12th streets.

We stopped there, and they had some ukuleles, but they were not in tune, and I had trouble getting the Oscar Schmidt Soprano they had on display in tune. We asked someone what else they had and they had a Concert Oscar Schmidt, in the back. They brought it out, we tuned it up, and boy did it sound much nicer than what I had.

My wife bought it for me for our Anniversary, which was coming up in a few weeks. It had black GHS strings, and I just really like the sound.

I was hooked, now I am planning to add a better Soprano, a Tenor and a Baritone to my collection.

In the future, I will be posting reviews and descriptions of my Ukuleles, and talking more about my time learning to play such an unusual and fun instrument.