Sunday, 4 August 2013

So - about that ukulele itch for an electro-acoustic.... what happened next?

Yes, I was telling the tale of my latest ukulele itch the other day. The post was 22nd July if you want to look it up.... but the itch was for an electro-acoustic... and as I was feeling really low one morning, (not about ukes....!) LSH (Long-Suffering-Husband) had gone out early and bought me one as a surprise, to cheer me up. And it did. I burst into tears.

Later that day, when we'd arrived at our away-break in another town, I'd seen a very interesting little uke in a shop window.

So, to continue the tale.... it was evening, we'd been walking; the shop was closed, barred and dark, but I could see this pale little soprano uke hanging on the wall, tantalisingly close to the window - the only ukulele among racks and racks of vintage guitars. It looked like spruce, and I could see the hole for an electric lead.... "We'll pop in there in the morning, and you can have a look!" he murmured... we did.

I asked to see the uke.

Nice, I mean really nice-looking - spruce top, maple back and sides, gloss finish, binding, friction tuners - oh yes, I liked it... and it was electric. Passive pick-up... on the headstock, "Clearwater". Here they are on Amazon... purrty, ain't they!

Well - a used uke - at a fair price. Rather less money than LSH had paid for a brand new Lani electro-acoustic. I did like it, dear readers, I really did - especially when I plugged it in to an amp. And I liked the sound... but of course, I'd only been given a brand new electro-acoustic concert by my darling husband the day before. And you know, like most partners who don't play, he doesn't really "get it", the idea of owning more than one uke - and with the one he's just bought me, I'd got five wooden ukes. So I put it down and bought a little second-hand practice 5 watt amp, and a lead so that I could plug my own new uke in when I got home.

We left the shop with the amplifier and lead, and had a lovely day - went to the sea at Skegness, drove up the coast - sunny skies, pretty Lincolnshire scenery; lovely, lovely day. We even lay on the beach for a while... and the next afternoon we went home.

The day after that, I'm noodling around on my new uke for the first time... and noticed a fault on the top, near the edge... two shiny marks the size of a large coin on the matt spruce surface. The marks would not come off. Not impressed. Glue? Probably. But perhaps it would come off with a bit of appropriate attention, I thought. Next thing, checking the tuning carefully - usual drill; tune with the tuner, then check the G, C and E strings against the A by fretting at the second , ninth and fifth frets... uh-uh, something wrong - teh G string particularly was very sharp at the second fret. I checked the intonation, all up the neck, with the tuner, comparing the accuracy against my other ukes. It was unacceptably out. That's poor for a mid-range brand new uke. I knew I'd never be happy with it, never want to play it... and my heart sank. It was such a lovely, thoughtful gift from my husband, who just wanted to see me happy. I had to tell him that it would have to go back to the shop...

And back it went, full refund given. Back at home, Long-Suffering-Husband suggested that I give Old Hat Guitars a call, and buy the Clearwater. I got straight on to them... and waited for an hour, heart in mouth, for the chap to call me back, as he couldn't find it.... and guess what? You've got it - it had been sold the day before. Just my luck - I was gutted. Really gutted.

So there it rests, I now have an amp and a lead, but no electric uke! I had one as a gift from my husband, which turned out to be faulty, and another nice one has simply slipped through my fingers.

Perhaps I won't get one now. It's all gone a bit sour, and the itch has gone away.

If it doesn't come back, the amp will go.

And that red lead - I didn't know it was red until I opened the package. It was that sort of day.... red lead - yuk.

Shame. (Sigh)

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