You see, I’m quite attached to the one I have because it’s my first and it’s BEAUTIFUL and didn’t want to give it up for a higher end model. I was elated that it took just a bit of inexpensive tweaking to get a far richer sound out of it.
I upgraded the strings to a set that sounds oh-so-sweet. It has a new shoulder rest, which turned out to be essential for me due to an old sports injury. Last will be to replace the stock bow with a carbon fibre bow. I've found one that should work well for a low price. It even comes in metallic green. (Woohoo!) Those things, combined with consistent practice, should do the trick.
In my music resurgance and research, a more recent passion developed. In looking at inexpensive mandolins, which I've been interested in since forever, I came across a celebration and memorial video of Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole.
"Iz" is also known as "the voice of Hawaii."
Listening to Iz, accompanied by his tiny ukulele, I was so dazzled I ended up jumping tracks and went after an ukulele (ooo-koo-lay-lay) instead of a mandolin. I don’t regret it. I found one I liked, got it for my birthday and have been practicing on it faithfully nearly every day--usually multiple times a day.
Not since I was a kid have I been so consistent in music learning and practice. I gotta tell you, it feels just as exciting and wonderful now as it did back in the day.
I realize how much I’ve missed music being such a huge part of my life, and what wonderful therapy for body and soul it’s always been, not only from my own playing but that of others, too.
Speaking of others...
My sister (Nee, of On Story Street) took an interest in the new instruments and both of us have been taking turns spending practice time with them. But, with us taking turns, of course, we weren’t able to play together. So, I started watching prices and sales and within a few days was able to get her a new uke from the same company for the same price, but with an added bonus of a guitar strap, soft-case and an extra set of strings.
Her new uke arrived a few days ago, and it sounds every bit as excellent as mine does. To our surprise, the order had a tiny foul in that the uke I ordered for her was identical to my own, a concert size. The one she got is a tenor, making it slightly larger than my concert uke, but sounds so good, we decided to keep it.
In just the few days she’s had it, we’ve been able to make short practice sessions together. Our fingertips are finally acclimating. Since getting past most of the finger-discomfort, we’ve been having a great time.
I’d also purchased Nee a set of Aquila Lava Strings for her uke, but bought them in concert size. However, Aquila is so cool to ensure their strings are plenty long, they’ll probably fit without issue. They sound beautiful on my uke, but Nee’s strings sounded very good straight from the factory, so we've decided to let them settle and maintain with them for now.
It’s a common practice within many subcultures to give inanimate objects a name. Such is the case with swords, bows, autos, ships, knives and even musical instruments.
Meet Wabash and Sparrow, our new ukes from the Kasch ukulele series.
The hyperlink will show you a Kasch Concert size uke “for beginners” but the “for beginners” aspect is misleading. It’s a uke for anyone. Beginners and experienced musicians play all sizes of ukes.
Sparrow is made of sapele wood. Wabash is made of zebra wood.
Sparrow is a tenor uke and Wabash is a concert uke. Tenor and Concert refer to size. These are two of the mid-ranged sizes. A step up from Sparrow would be a baritone. A step down from Wabash would be a soprano.
Wabash is slightly higher in pitch than Sparrow.
My thanks to Nee for being so patient while I got these shots. She didn't fuss about the hot weather and didn't flinch to shoo away the fly that landed on her hand while she sat and I clicked away at the shutter button.
Below is a short slideshow of some cool features that come with Kasch ukes.
Kasch is an excellent company to buy a first uke from because although they’re inexpensive they’re of remarkably good construction and sound quality. It also allows you to spend less money on an instrument you may end up not wanting to learn to play. If Kasch has a company website, I’ve not been able to locate it but, I was able to find some good reviews on Kasch ukes before investing in one.
Below is one via Jack from Ukulele Place.
Uke nation on the increase
Ukuleles are known as humble instruments that produce beautiful sounds. They continue to gain ground in popularity for many reasons, several in particular below...
🎸 You can get a quality sounding uke without spending a fortune.
🎸 The music they make can be adjusted to preference by the type of strings used and the size of the uke.
🎸 Uke strings and accessories don’t have to cost a fortune either, such as straps, plectrums (picks, if you want to use them), gig bags (cases) and stands or wall-mounts to hold them when not in action.
🎸 They’re small, light and easy to take along pretty much anywhere. They even have great-sounding ukes that are made of clear polymer and can be played in the rain without damaging them. They come in a wide array of bright, see-thru colors and look uber cool!
🎸 They sound wonderful with or without electrical enhancement.
🎸 They’re easy to learn for both littles and big’uns.
🎸 There are scads of free resources to help newbies become adept ukulele musicians.
🎸 They’re fun to play!
🎸 They provide prescription-free therapy to enhance physical and mental well being.
To give you an example of how good ukulele music feels and sounds, here are two of my fav uke musicians, Bernadette (teacher) and Nanoha (student) practicing for a competition entry into a fellow uke enthusiast’s YouTube channel.
Yup, I voted for them.
All of the the entries were soooooo good, but ya know I just gotta applaud the little one for giving such an excellent performance. Bernadette is always producing fun vids that make it easy for you to learn to play on your own. Please consider subscribing to her channel, or recommending it to any other uke enthusiasts you might know.
☙ Thank you IZ (Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole) for leaving a legacy that ignited my passion for these amazing, Hawaiian guitars.
Her life was a bright testament of God's grace and glory-- full of miraculous and supernatural experiences that are the attributes of a life lived for Christ.
I miss her much, yet I am endlessly encouraged by the same Spirit that is sovereign and alive in me. Even when grief is at the door, He remains an undiminished source of comfort, joy and peace.
Our separation is temporary and I look forward to seeing my friend again. We'll meet up "just inside the Eastern Gate, over there..."
'Til next week,
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marcoujor, Virtual Buskers Guild
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