Saturday, April 16, 2011

Barry Maz's New Book

Liverpudlian uke blogger Barry Maz has a new book out. It's called What Ukulele Players Really Want to Know and it's written especially for newbies. Sez Barry:
"In thinking back to my initial foray into uke, and the shocking instrument I ended up with (he bought a bottom-of-the-line Mahalo–the Yugo of ukuleles –ed.), I thought I'd start a blog about the uke in general, but with a slant aimed at providing beginners, or those interested in getting a uke a solid set of advice on the pitfalls."
Barry's book is available on Amazon in both ebook and paper editions. He was kind enough to send us a draft of the ebook. While the book is indeed aimed at absolute beginners, it is in fact pretty comprehensive, covering all the issues likely to nip a the heels of someone starting out: everything from how to pick out your first uke to advice on humidifying your instrument and fingernail care. It is not an instructional guide; there are plenty of how-to-play books out there. It's more of a user's guide, filled with the kind of info you'd eventually pick up from hanging out with a bunch of veteran players for several months but which is all a mystery to someone starting out by themselves. (Note: price advice is given in £s)

We could find only one flaw in the book. And that is that Barry somehow forgot to mention Ukulelia in his list of online references. Despite our (feigned) outrage at this slight, we think Barry's book adds nicely to the available literature for newbs. Don't forget to check out Barry's blog, Got a Ukulele, too. Link


Barry Maz said...

Wow - thanks guys - and I will sort out your (valid) outrage and put a link to your site on my blog!


Ron Hale said...

Hey, don't knock Mahalo, Gary. As soon as their yellow smiley face uke hits I'm all over it. And an amped Tele is hard to beat for sheer rocking cool. Speaking of cool, a pink Flying V is a guaranteed entre into that particular room in the House of Ukulele.

Ian Clarkson presented his tutorial on Bring Me Sunshine with a Les Paul. I've given their round camp style ukes some covetous glances lately. For sheer
fun, a cheap uke beats a
prestige uke every single time.

It's them ukes that we put down as mere "beaters" that we take with us everywhere we wouldn't dare take our
show-off ukes, our 'look at me I gotta Kamaka' ukes, our 'keep up with the Jones' at the uke club' ukes, our 'more vintage than the most vintage of vintage' ukes, that, if we allowed ourselves to be honest enough to admit it, are our favorite ukes.

And don't we sell the ukulele to outsiders as fun? And cheap? Why do we then turn on inexpensive as something to be shunned at all costs?
I say it's time for a return to basics, a ukulele get back to nature movement. Our version of 'smaller is better.' Return to our roots. Relax, and just say no to the pressure that assails us everywhere to "upgrade" endlessly.

You know what's nice, Gary? Seeing photos/videos of brand, spanking new ukers with their brand, spanking new (cheap) ukes, with looks of joy on their faces.

You know what's not so nice?
The thought of those ukers soon thinking upgrade and apologizing for their instruments after experiencing the not-so-pretty reality of the ukulele world.

You see this on video after video, people saying things along the lines of "I know this is only a cheap uke."
I'll bet they were happy with that cheap uke until some idiot experienced player told them they shouldn't be.

And please, new ukers, don't - repeat - don't start
sniffing your instrument and carrying on about it. Just Do Not...

Barry Maz said...

Hey Ron - agree with much of what you say - I adore cheap ukes and own several.

It's just that I have played many Mahalo ukes and compared to Makalas they just dont match up, despite being pretty much the same price.

I always HIGHLY recommend the cheap Makala Dolphin to beginners

Barry Maz said...

Hey guys - not sure if you noticed but I released a follow up to this book which you may be interested in. The success of the first one took me aback, at one point topping the kindle music book chart, so i thought I would write another!

Get in touch through Got A Ukulele if you'd like a copy!

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