Monday, July 09, 2007

Vincent Cortese: Smackin' it Like Smeck!


[updated and corrected] A few weeks back I attended Vincent Cortese's workshop at Mike DaSilva's studio. Vincent is terrific; catch him whenever you can. The two biggest things I learned during the lesson was one, how to do an authentic Smeckian roll stroke (three fingers: pinkie, index, and thumb only), and two, that about the only thing that Roy didn't do to abuse a uke was to smash it on the floor. The cosmetic condition of Vince's vintage Martin (Vincent sez not one of Roy's --ed.) would bring tears to the eyes of any collector.

Vince wrote in the comments (and I'm bringing it to the main page for all readers):

"Hi, good people.. the uke is a long scale soprano made by a company out of Chicago-Wurlitzer.. I was attending a show by the great and wonderful Tomas Kubinek and he called me up to play his uke.. never played this uke before this performance.. it is a gorgeous instrument.. the Martin I played at Mike's did not belong to Roy, but he did give me the Harmony I used at the workshop.. I have had the Martin only about 3 years.. hope everyone gets some measure of enjoyment out of the video.. best to all.."

Vince taught us that Roy's technique (and "uptight" D tuning) was built for showmanship and projection. This was a guy playing for huge theaters. My main point in all this is that you can't be dainty and get Smeck out of your uke. It's a really percussive style that requires aggressive strumming. I'm going to re-string my old beater Hohner mahogany uke so I can really get my Smeck on while I'm learning.

Do not attempt this on your mint condition 5K. Link

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I could be completely wrong, and Vinnie states in the interview he only has Martins and Harmonies, but this ukulele looks very different... Anyhow, the playing's amazing.

Gary said...

I think I read on the FMM bulletin board that this was a borrowed Ditson?

Anonymous said...

Hi, good people.. the uke is a long scale soprano made by a company out of Chicago-Wurlitzer.. I was attending a show by the great and wonderful Tomas Kubinek and he called me up to play his uke.. never played this uke before this performance.. it is a gorgeous instrument.. the Martin I played at Mike's did not belong to Roy, but he did give me the Harmony I used at the workshop.. I have had the Martin only about 3 years.. hope everyone gets some measure of enjoyment out of the video.. best to all..

Gary said...

Thanks, Vince!

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