Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A pink ukulele? You can't be serious! (1)

I'm currently the owner of a pink ukulele. It and I happened to be in the same place - it, unwanted and unloved, hanging on the wall in the reclamation depot attached to our local refuse tip, and I, on the way to the tip, (been watching "Hoarders"... nothing like it for making you want to de-clutter...) was there just for a browse. How could I possibly turn my back on it, an orphan uke - it hadn't even been taken to a charity shop... the price? Just a few pounds. I looked it over, tuned it by ear and had a strum. Nothing wrong with it, the tuners held and you could see it had not really been played - no finger marks on the fretboard at all, though the frets had the first signs of rust. Of course I didn't need it... in a shop, I would not have given it a second look, but it was an unloved orphan and I simply had to adopt it.

So the Little Pink Uke came home with me. I snipped the cheapo strings off, gave the frets a quick rub up (they shine nicely now) and restrung it with a spare set of Aquilas. And then the newly-loved little uke just had to have a name... Annie! Little Orphan Annie! No, I agree, not very original... but then, she won't mind and she won't come when I call her either!

How long she'll stay, I don't know... perhaps she'll become the summerhouse uke, ready to lend out to interested folk... but one thing I didn't really expect - this baby, this little pink Mahalo has perfect intonation - yes, you read that right, perfect intonation - every fret, all the way up the fretboard! No, you don't expect that with a Mahalo, or any cheap ukulele. It just goes to show - what people will throw away.

Round about the same time, I had cause to give some serious thought to the subject of little coloured ukes, and pink ones in particular.

Curious? I hope so! More of that next time. I do like my blog posts bite-sized - easier to write, quicker to read! I suspect that you do, too! Thanks for dropping in!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

John Bianchi original, "Going Back To My Dreams"

It's so long since John Bianchi posted a uke video that I really was afraid that perhaps he wasn't playing any more - too busy blowing his trumpet with a band! Well, clarinet and saxophone, actually! Multi-talented! So to see this video of John singing one of his original songs with his vintage Martin was a lovely and very welcome surprise. And it's a corker of a song! I enjoyed it so much, I watched it twice over right away.

Watch it here on Youtube....

John excels at the songs of the 20's, 30's and 40's, he plays these songs so well and his voice is perfectly suited - I've been posting his videos on here for as long as I've been writing this blog - very nearly four years! His playing, on banjo-uke as well as wooden uke, has been an inspiration to me from the word "go".

Now of course - this is an original song which takes its style from and pays great tribute to those old songs from way-back-when.... and you know what? I think it's every bit as good. It deserves to be played all over the place! I do believe he has a few more like this in the pipe-line - and I can't wait to hear them!

That band.... The Buck And A Quarter Quartet.... next time you're in New York!

("Genre: Traditional jazz and classic pop from the teens, 20s and 30s...and a few vintage-themed originals..")

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Meet my new baby - D J Morgan mini-pineapple uke - "Morganino"! in maple....

A new baby always brings joy, admiring smiles, cries of "How cute!" and "Oh what a pretty little thing!" and new ukulele babies are exactly the same... none more so than a pretty sopranino. So meet my new Pineapple baby - Polly!

I knew Dave Morgan (D J Morgan Ukuleles) was building some... and I am over the moon to be the proud owner of number MP12 001 - the prototype!

The scale length is exactly 295mm, and the total length is 450mm... a typical Martin-style 12 frets to the body soprano has a scale length of 350mm, total length 515mm.
Here she is next to her big sister Sprucey Lucy - (14 frets to the body, not 12.)

Visually I like a lot of things - Dave (Morgan) has the artist's eye for balance and style... the overall look is perfectly balanced; the pineapple shape is a pleasing one and it's echoed in the shape of the sound hole. The solid maple fretboard looks just right. It's interesting that maple turns to a rich honey colour over time, and this uke will do that.

This little uke is built of solid maple with a poplar neck and finished with a matte cellulose lacquer. She's not only really pretty, with the maple grain and the signature Morgan stripes on the headstock (green veneer, suggestive of pineapple leaves) but she sounds amazing!

In spite of the short scale length, she sounds just great in C tuning, but I've tuned her up to D tuning and she really sings! Listen for yourself.... I haven't tried tuning her up further to Eb yet, but I will...

This is what she sounds like in D!

The build quality is impeccable... and Dave makes everything himself except for the frets and the tuners. Simply - can't fault 'em....

So.... this is a prototype but Dave is going to be building more... he tells me he's aiming to use sustainable woods for this line of ukes and also to keep the price very affordable. So watch out... the Morganinos are on their way!

Thanks for dropping in, I really appreciate it... do come back now!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

World Ukulele Day? What is this?

Some things make me realise what an awkward cuss I can be.... for example... World Ukulele Day....? What is this? Why? I just don't get it. What is the point, can someone tell me please?

For more than four years, every day has been Ukulele Day for me... and it just so happens that yesterday, on World Ukulele Day... (says who?) I simply did NOT play a ukulele.

At all.

So there.

Thanks for dropping in, even if it was only to hear me having a grump. Stay and have a read of some back posts, you're very welcome!