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Ukulele Work

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I was on a break with a guy at work playing ukulele (we were waiting for some other people to finish their work so we could get back to it) and I was playing ukulele for a while - maybe twenty minutes or so. The guy I was with eventually turned to me and asked me if I only knew one song.

I had played a bunch of different songs, but since I was just playing the rhythm, he couldn't hear the melody I was hearing because it was in my head.

That said, I couldn't JUST play the melody because then it would sound thin - especially on an ukulele.

So I decided to try to start marrying the two and it's a process that I'm working on, but I wanted to share my progress so far:

We Three Kings

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Very cool, Pappy! Nice work!

Of course you post this while I am jonesing for a tenor ukulele. Now I want one more- Ha! That's a really nice collection you have, including the Kanile'a tenor you are playing in the video.

I'm liking this video as well !

The Kamaka uke you are using in this is sweet! Craft In America, a PBS show, had a nice feature on Kamaka. Great story.

If you're not familiar with him, check out Jim Boggia (local Philadelphia guy!). In particular, his rendition of "Over the Rainbow" is really great. There's video of him doing Springsteen's "Thunder Road" that he goes into that song, that I've seen him perform live. He has some really good ukulele videos posted on YouTube. I think you'd like his style, regarding playing melody and rhythm.

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I haven’t heard of him! I’ll look him up.

The Kamaka is my favorite uke, but it needs different strings with lower tension. Whenever people would come visit Oahu, I would take them to tour the Kamaka factory as there are few things more Hawaiian (and awesome). Even the non-musicians. ESPECIALLY the non-musicians as there is a stigma about ukuleles as toys. When you tour, they give you a cutaway from a sound hole that was turned into a magnet, burned with their logo and the plastic bag is sealed with a sticker that has the year range. I was collecting them, but the kids cleaned the fridge and thought they were doing me a service by taking them out from the bags.

Bummer.

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Uke's are cool. Nicely played, Pappy!

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Thanks, Dave! When I get done arranging these, I definitely feel a greater sense of satisfaction than when I was just relying on someone to write out tab for me. I feel more like a musician.

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Very nice uke playing. That Kamaka sounds terrific. I have a Pono that I like a lot.

I also like Christmas music on the uke. My favorite is All Through The Night.

What I believe is that you can’t play a ukulele without getting a smile on your face. Thanks for sharing your talents.

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I’ve got a couple Ponos and they’re generally what I recommend whenever someone says they want all solid woods but maybe doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg. And they’re absolutely fantastic. My Pono tenor is tuned dGBE so it’s a fun beast of its own and I found a cedar/rosewood soprano that is very much a factory 2nd, but the tone and feel are top notch.

I’m a huge fan of Christmas music because... well, mostly because I think it was so ingrained in me as a kid, but I think there’s a collective consciousness of it from decades of ads, radio, and in-store play so there’s a good potential of all sorts of memories and nostalgia tagging along with the songs and that’s a pretty cool idea.

A lot of it is top-notch songwriting, too!

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Let's get serious about this.......

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Jake’s a wicked good player - more than likely the catalyst for this third wave of ukulele popularity. He seems like a genuinely good person, too. It’s not hard at all to find people in HI that have stories of his kindness and generosity. At one point, he adopted and worked on repairing schools’ old ukuleles that were in various states of disrepair so he could bring them back to the school and reinvigorate their previously-discarded music program. What always got me about these closets full of ukes is that they were all vintage Kamakas and nobody seemed too stoked about it. Like of course they would be Kamakas - they’re made right down the road!

That was a sweet thing to do, though. He always seems stoked to get kids into ukulele.


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