Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mysteries of Friction Tuners, REVEALED!

Barry Maz has posted a nice video explaining the ins and outs of friction tuners. (They're still my favorite: I always feel as though I'm always bumping geared tuners out of tune. Certainly, putting a uke with geared tuners into a gig bag always seems to.) Link

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Get Plucky with the Ukulele

Do you feel plucky, punk? Well do you?

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain's Will Grove-White has a new book coming out on October 6, 2014. Will's site has a bunch of interesting music and trivia and is worth checking out in any event. Link

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vote in the Fall 2014 Ukulele Magazine Video Contest

The swell folks at Ukulele Magazine have posted a video contest. Each entrant is performing one of four songs pre-selected by the editors. Vote for your favorite! The winner receives a new LuLu ukulele. (Disclaimer: yes, I've written for the magazine; no, I'm not one of the entrants.) View and vote here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


A little hard to parse out this article from The Daily Express, but here 'tis. The UOOGB, aka the Original One, tried to keep the knock-off TUKUO from performing in the UK, claiming that the latter's name might confuse consumers and thus infringes on their trademark.

They failed to get the injunction, but it seems that the trademark issue is yet to be settled. A court date is forthcoming.

Maybe the knock-offs should change their name to the First United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra. Think about it.


(Thanks, Random!)

It's Uketoberfest Time!

Happy Fall, everyone! Yes, it's that time of year when our thoughts turn to cider, football, autumn leaves, and, naturally Uketoberfest. We noticed that there are now two such-named events, which we wistfully mention here.

I say "wistfully," because I've learned that the major drawback of becoming a ukulele teacher is that one is never free to go on all these wonderful cruises, burnings, campouts, retreats, junkets, or boondoggles.

Uketoberfest, Springfield, Oregon: October 10-12, 2014

  • The oldest (to our knowledge) Uketoberfest. Across the river from Eugene.
  • Instructors/performers include Aaron Keim, Ben Bonham, Ronnie Ontiveros, Brook Adams, Casey Macgill, and Maggie Matoba.

Uketoberfest, Interlochen, Michigan: Saturday, October 4, 2014

  • Held at the ledgendary Interlochen Center for the Arts. South of Traverse City.
  • Instructors/performers include The Ukulele Kings (Ben Hassenger, Pat Mallory, and Steve Szilagyi), Gerald Ross, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, and Chester Winowiecki.
Helpful footnote: the annual Chicago, Illinois Uketoberfest already happened in August. But then, it's a Ukrainian festival, so while we're sure it was a splendid event, ukulele enthusiasts probably didn't miss too much. - Editor

Kiwi Travel Writer on Kamaka

Sharon Stephenson wrote a nice breezy piece featuring a trip to the Kamaka factory. On new (to me, at least) bit of information from Fred Kamaka is that Sam traveled to Europe at one point to learn about construction. Link

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Give Peace a Chance

In celebration of Peace Day, September 21, 2014, a subset of the UOGB channels John, Yoko, and--the room service guy, I guess.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Doghair Finish Collings Concert

Wow. This is the most remarkable looking ukulele I've seen in years.

"Doghair" finish mahogany, with an ivoroid binding and mother of toilet seat headstock.

It looks like it should be called the Edward Gorey Signature Model. Link

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nick Lucas and Buster Keaton

Apparently taken on the set of The General, here's Buster Keaton and Nick Lucas (who made Tiptoe Through the Tulips a hit). With occasional Chaplin actor Tom Murray holding the cases.


Danielle Pellizzeri Finds Her (Ukulele) Calling

Inspiring story of a Palos Verdes teen who overcame ADHD and established a non-profit aimed at helping kids believe in themselves and their potential via our favorite four-stringed instrument. Link

Read more about her organization, UkeCANdoit here. And check out her original song. Danielle has a great voice, too boot!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wine Country Ukulele Festival Registration Closing Soon!

There is one and only one reason to miss a minute of the fabulous Wine Country Ukulele Festival this year. And that's because you're coming to my ukulele class at Lamorinda Music on September 6.

Yes, I blew it, and scheduled our first class on that Saturday.

But good news! The festival events run from Thursday the 4th through Sunday the 7th. Plus you'll have plenty of time after the class to drive up for the new super-special open mike event Saturday night.

More info at this link.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Sarah Marie Young

A friend of mine mentioned that her niece sang and played the ukulele at her sister's wedding and pointed me to her Soundcloud page. I thought since she was nice enough to point me to the page I'd take a listen. I expected to hear a girl and a ukulele. I did not expect to be completely blown away.

Ever fall deeply in love with a voice at first hearing? I just did.

Sarah Marie Young won the 2011 Shure Montreaux Vocal Competition armed with a baritone uke and the most impressive set of pipes I've heard in a long time. I'm postively intoxicated. Ukulele fans will enjoy her work on Too Late to Say Goodbye, or on Simple Love (video above), but hang around and hear her full range of styles.

I'm cutting this short to go listen to more. Link

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Unlikely Scenario

Something's fishy. Invitation extended, check. Personal hygiene attended to, check. Bow tie tied (no clip-on!), check. Uke tuned, check. Pillows swiped from mom's sofa, check. Gentlemanly greeting at the familial front door, check. All the right bait used. Confounding. Link

(Via Uke Hunt, cont.)

Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean Leads Surf City Ukeshop

Dean Torrence, together with former Beach Boys member Chris Farmer, is leading uke lessons at the Huntington Beach Hyatt now through September 9th, 2014. The class got a nice write-up in the LA Times and you can find more information about workshops and souvenir packages on the Gallery HB website.
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