Here’s one for those uber uke fans out there… It’s an egg slicer in the shape of a ukulele. The Tropical Tunes Slicer is a kitchen gadget shaped just like your favorite instrument – right down to the strings. Well, true uke fans will scratch their heads when they take a close look at this slicer as it has 8 “strings” instead of 4. And the strings are steel instead of nylon. But hey, it’s a cute little gadget that might bring a smile to your face every time you use it. The Tropical Tunes Slicer is priced at $11.99 and is available from ModCloth.
People who play guitars and other stringed wooden instruments often covet vintage instruments because they usually have better tone due to years of vibrations from being played. But no one wants to wait 50 – 100 years for their newer instrument’s sound to “open up” and resonate more. ToneRite is an electronic device that uses special frequencies to vibrate the wood, simulating playing the instrument without actually strumming the strings. There are versions of the ToneRite for the guitar, violin, mandolin, viola, cello, ukulele and double bass. The unit is placed to come into contact with the bridge without touching any of the instrument’s varnish. According to the claims, two to three “treatments” of 72 hours will result in added volume with a fuller and more balanced sound. The price for accelerated aging is $149 for guitars and $199 for ukuleles.
I’m actually waiting for a custom ukulele and think it would be interesting to try a gadget like the ToneRite to see if their claims are real or just imagined.
For more info, visit ToneRite.
If you love the ukulele but you really want to kick out the jams, the answer could be an electro-acoustic uke. An electro-acoustic ukulele allows you to plug into an amp and crank it up to pump out some real volume. You can also play with your amp’s settings to find your unique sound – and you could even use pedals to increase fuzz, reverb and numerous other sonic effects. Read the rest of this entry »
Ohana Ukuleles is reissuing 2 ukuleles: the SK-28 and the CK-28. The Ohana SK-28 is a vintage re-issue of the Portuguese model first introduced to Hawaii in 1879 by cabinet-makers Manuel Nunes, Augusto Dias and Jose do Espirito Santos – the first ukulele luthiers. Ohana’s CK-28 is a concert-sized version of the SK-28.
Both models feature a sound hole rosette, rope binding and inlay along the fingerboard and headstock which are closest to the Dias model, although Dias’ original had a figure eight-shaped headstock. During an intensive development process of the two models, Ohana aimed to closely mirror the original binding, inlay embellishments, as well as the size and shape of the original Dias/Nunes/Santos models. Additionally, Ohana used premium all-solid mahogany wood to produce the SK-28 and CK-28 models, as well as the vintage rub-on process on the finish to give the ukuleles both a special vintage look and sound. They are priced at $369 and $469 respectively.
If you are interested in learning about the history of the ukulele and C.F. Martin Company’s role in it, you might want to check out a new book from Hal Leonard Books. The Martin Ukulele details how the famous Nazareth, PA guitar company started producing ukulele’s back in 1907 though the 4-stringed instrument’s roller coaster ride of popularity in the 20′s and 50′s, the drop to almost obscurity in the 1990′s and now the current rejuvenation in the last several years.
Written by Tom Walsh who is co-founder and board member of the non-profit Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum, this book features many photos including some of the company’s rarest ukuleles and also provides a list of the model numbers of each style of ukulele ever made by the company. It’s a history book and a ukulele reference book all rolled into one 214 page color illustrated volume.
The Martin Ukulele by Tom Walsh is available now for $30.00 from book stores and online through Hal Leonard Books.
MONO Cases offer protective gear for keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars / basses. Now they are introducing a ukulele case. The M80 features their patented headlock protection that suspends the headstock of the uke in the case. This adds extra protection from impact in the event of a drop. The M80 also features an ABS inner shell that offers hardcase protection in a fraction of the weight. The outer case covering is called Sharkskin and provides a waterproof barrier between the outside and the padded inside of the case. A shoulder strap allows you to wear your uke on your back for those quick dashes through the airport or a leisurely walk to your next gig. Protection doesn’t come cheap, MONO’s M80 is priced at $140 and is available in soprano and concert sizes. I’m surprised that they don’t also offer a tenor size, but hopefully they are coming soon.
If you ever find yourself getting bored playing your ukulele, just watch this video of James Hill from a concert in 2011. He takes one ukulele + 2 chopsticks + plastic hair comb + rubber thimble + non-slip pad and a piece of tape and turns the whole shabang into something crazy and fun. Watching it makes me hungry for Chinese food. Weird
Freakonomics was a best selling book from a few years ago that explored the hidden side of everything. Interesting book, but it neglected an important subject – ukuleles! Miles Ramsay has created a new uke blog called Ukeonomics and it offers some tips, tricks and tools to help you elevate your ukulele knowledge and skill. The site is a fun resource for links to how-to projects that range from building a uke wall hanger, to making your own hard shell case. Miles also provides links to some popular tab files and he also has his own Esty shop that sells a variety of felt picks. Ukeonomics is pretty new, so there isn’t a lot of content available yet. But from the looks of things, he’s off to a good start.
Last fall Carl of Uke of Carl asked if I’d feature his site in a news post on Ukulele Review. I said I’d be happy to and then promptly forgot to do so. Oops… Today while cleaning out my email inbox, I found that message to Carl and decided not to put it off any longer.
Uke of Carl has a unique collection of TV, Movie and Game theme songs that have been tabbed for the ukulele. Most of songs include a video of Carl playing the tune. You can watch the video for free and the tabs are also free – with one caveat. You have to email Carl and ask for each tab file to be sent to you. They aren’t available for download directly from his site. He also asks for Paypal donations, but says they are not required.
In addition to tabs, Carl offers instructional eBooks of various topics such as Jewish Ukulele, Group Ukulele vol 1&2, Christmas Duets and more. Unlike the tabs, the eBooks are not free and range in price from £5 – £8.
Have you ever purchased a Ukulele eBook or tab file online?