A ukulele itch usually takes the form of an intense urge to explore some hitherto unexplored area of ukulele playing - a different size of instrument, a different wood, a new or highly acclaimed make or uke builder. When it comes to wooden ukes I have been very restrained - I haven't bought one for exactly a year. I've bought banjo-ukes, but that's another matter! No, the last wooden uke I bought was a soprano, and I went for a Kiwaya KTS-4. It's Japanese, beautifully made and I love it; a Martin style O copy, it stands well against similar instruments. It gets equal play time with my concert uke, a Tanglewood laminate with a beautiful tone - and both are strung with Ken Middleton's Living Water 100% fluorocarbon strings. Simply beautiful, a bell-like chiming sound....
But - there's this itch now.... to explore electro-acoustic. And I was wondering whether my preference for concert and soprano sized ukes over the tenor still stands. So, a few weeks ago now, I phoned Mike, the ukulele friendly bloke at my favourite music shop to find out what electro-acoustics they had in stock? A Luna tenor and a Lani concert. And along I went to have a play. They know me up there - and they don't mind me strumming and picking away for an hour... I've bought four ukes in the last twelve months from them already, including a very nice vintage banjo-uke and a gift for a friend...
Well, eventually I was decided, about the tenor versus concert thing anyway... and I'm still more comfortable with the concert size. There isn't actually that much difference in the fret distances, but I found that I do still prefer a concert or soprano uke.
I told LSH.
A couple of days late, I was badly in need of cheering up. Now, my wonderful husband is not generally in favour of me increasing my little family of ukuleles - he just doesn't get it... they don't, do they? But he disappeared "to get petrol" and returned with the concert electro-acoustic he knew I'd been trying out in the shop. Well... I was overwhelmed, of course - what a lovely surprise, what a kind and thoughtful gift. The tears fell. And off we went for a couple of days away in the Lincolnshire countryside.
We stayed in Horncastle, an historic little town renowned as a centre for antique shops. Wandering around exploring on the first evening, we happened across a shop, the windows all barred - I peered inside - vintage guitars - everywhere. In rows, on the walls - and just in view of the window, one ukulele, a soprano. It had a fitting for an amp lead... an electro-acoustic uke! More than that I couldn't tell - but it looked like a spruce top. It looked interesting - very interesting.
Want to know what happened? I'll tell you... later... I promise!