Archives for: November 2006
Two Tenor Ukuleles Completed #003 & #004
I spent the Thanksgiving break completing the two tenors I’ve been working on. I strung the spruce top up yesterday and the mahogany tenor today. From an internal construction standpoint the ukes are braced with the same fan- bracing scheme (3 fans). Though the mahogany is remarkably more resonant and balanced than my first one the spruce top is a cannon. It is significantly louder but maintains clarity whether finger picking or strumming aggressively. I’m stoked; this is such a rewarding process.
The mahogany was supposed to be for my high school buddy from Colorado but every time I sent progress pictures of both ukes he always would comment “hey, that’s my uke on the left, (the spruce top with figured walnut back and sides) right?” So when we got back from Hawaii I told him, before I even finished the ukes, that if he wanted the spruce top he could have it and that I would probably put the mahogany on Ebay to generate funds for some needed tools and other accessories. He has chosen the spruce top so that’s the one he will get. It will be tough to part with it but Pete Howlett was kind enough to send me some really special curly walnut and a really sweet spruce top to make another.
Here are a few pics. The finish is True-Oil. This is the first time I used it. I like it but it’s a little on the glossy side for my taste. I didn’t use pore filler so buffing it out to a satin finish was not an option. Though not as dramatic as the walnut, the mahogany also has some nice rays and flecks in the grain that the pics don’t quite do justice.
I strung them both with Worth Clears. They are still settling in but I plan to record some head on comparisons and post them in the next few days.
EDIT: Here is a side by side sound byte from the two tenors. This is the first time I’ve had Worth strings on any of my own instruments. I like the way they sound but I’m having a little trouble adjusting my right hand to them because they are thinner than I’m used to.
I’m not sure what to think of this particular comparison. In person there is no question that the spruce top is more responsive, has greater volume and a different voice. But I’m not so sure this is evident in the samples. I think my ears are someone numb to the differences since I’ve been working too closely with both of them. Maybe the microphones have something to do with it. I’m using a shure SM-57.
Now, back to work on that soprano.
Christmas Island - Tab
I’ve had several requests for Christmas Island over the past couple of years and just haven’t found the right time to work on it. Manitoba Hal pinged me on it and since the season is rapidly approaching I decided to put a little time into it this evening.
The rhythm you hear in the midi file is just suggested and not exactly how I play it or how Willie K plays it from which the inspiration to do the song originally came from. All the chord changes are there and I’ve included the ukulele solo.
Hope this serves those interested well over the upcoming Holidays.
Click the yellow Tabs link above (at very top of the page above the Dominator Ukulele Tabs Title) and scroll down to access the files.
Back from Paradise with a New Tune
My wife and I just returned from a week in Hawaii on the island of Kauai. Yes, a week just isn't enough. I was able to play with a number of different local musicians and was even invited into the studio to record with guitarist Mike Young who is just about to celebrate his first CD release. If only we could have stayed longer. The song we were playing was an instrumental he composed that was very jazz oriented and he was really excited about how the ukulele complimented the arrangement.
We met some really wonderful people from Petaluma who had just recently been exposed to the music of Jake Shimabukuro. We had some really good times soaking up some spirits and cranking out some tunes.
While cruising around the island on our first full day I had this little melody bouncing around in my head. I noodled around with it before crashing out that evening and at about 5:00am, before the sun came up, I woke up with an additional idea for the tune. I noodled around some more and about an hour later as the sun was coming up the song came together. So I thought it was appropriate to title it "Daybreak in Paradise".
I tried to record another song last night that is climbing the charts in Hawaii right now. It is from the Papa`a Bay Boys debut CD release. My Cakewalk program would not cooperate and after 3 hours or so I had to scrap the entire effort. So I downloaded Audacity, the free audio recorder, and gave it a try today. I had some trouble with syncing up all the tracks and getting a stereo mix so I decided to take a crack at recording Daybreak. I don't have the software figured out yet. The audio within Audacity sounds fine but when it is "Exported" it seems to add some annoying popping noises. Here is the basic track, popping and all. Hope you like it.
Piecelet in F - Jon Prown
Aloha folks. My partner in crime, Jon Prown, has been busy composing on his custom Talsma tenor. He recently composed this original piece he calls "Piecelet in F". This is a very beautiful song that sounds simply amazing and uses FCEA tuning. Jon simply detunes the 4th string down one step and tells me that the string still maintains plenty of tension to stay in pitch and feel good.
Some of the folks were asking for the tabs over at Ukulele Cosmos so Jon entered it into Powertab and sent it over. I haven't been playing much at all while building the few ukes I have in the works but I will definately be working on this one when I get some time. There is a link to Jon's mp3 on the Tabs page for those that have not yet heard the song.
To get the the Tabs page simply use the yellow Tabs link above.