Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Fun: Ukulele Madness!

Ah, there's something about Ukulele's that just puts a smile on your face!
I heard about this Uke documentary on NPR this morning and looked it up- I can't wait to see the whole thing...

Long ago in my misspent youth I played a little guitar, but kinda' set it down for a while. When I moved up to the islands here in Washington State my buddies had big music jams every Friday, they were called "Train Wrecks". The music got wrecked, the people got wrecked, and occasionally the instruments got wrecked. I started collecting guitars and playing again.
-But here's where the Ukulele comes in:
When my training partner Corey and I started traveling to martial arts seminars, we had to spend a lot of time sitting in the pickup truck waiting for ferry boats. Sometimes for hours.
Now, a guitar is too big to fit in a Toyota pickup with two big guys and the occasional dog, so I started bringing Ukes. We didn't know a single Hawaiian song and still don't. We play rock and blues. After the martial arts seminars we'd get in line for the boat back to the islands, grab some beer or wine, and have some perfectly horrible music jams as the ferry boat plowed it's way through the dark waters. Pretty soon, everybody in the Dojo was playing Ukes too.

Well, there was a short craze where the guys were buying and selling some really nice Ukes on E-Bay, I mean some expensive stuff. But soon, my friends who are cabinet makers and woodcarvers started building their own instruments.
In fact, Jim started collecting exotic woods and even started building electric Ukuleles. These are just like mini-electric guitars, but with four strings in Ukulele tuning. Here's one of our rock guitar friends, "The Paulinator" taking one of Jim's electric Ukes for a test drive:

Paul is a lead rock guitar player and doesn't even play the Uke, but you can see how easy he transitions to this smooth little instrument.
If you want to see more of Jim's custom-built Ukuleles, both acoustic and electric models, check out his website "Monkey Wrench Music".

1 comment:

daniele.perkele said...

Home made Ukuleles? The electric one looks like a dwarf Lespaul! Now that I think about it, I should get one myself!