Category Archives: Uncategorized

Born in the U.S.A.

Kala U.S.A. Custom Shop Handmade #1 Uke

Kala U.S.A. Custom Shop Handmade #1 Uke

 

Behold the Kala Custom Shop, made entirely in the U.S.A., serial number 1 Ukulele.

This is the first of what hopefully is a long line of handmade Kala Ukes built right here at home. We told you about this new Kala line earlier this month.

Kala says this one is not for sale, as it is going into the company’s collection. But number 2 and forward should be available for sale.

No word yet on pricing or availability.

This was was shipped to Summer NAMM for all the world to ogle.

And it’s a beauty.

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This is Definitely Not a Good Way to Use a Ukulele

Don't try this at home kids!

Don’t try this at home kids!

 

I’m not sure if this video is real, but it sure seems to be. The guy probably thinks it’s way too real. Ouch!

This is definitely not a good way to treat a Ukulele–or a boyfriend for that matter.

I feel sorry for the guy. And the Ukulele.

 

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Top 10 Ukulele No Nos

Moore Bettah Doubleneck Tenor Ukulele

Moore Bettah Doubleneck Tenor Ukulele

 

The Ukulele has been around for more than 100 years and in that time it has evolved in many ways. There have been trends over the years–some practical and some downright silly. With some you say “Ok. That makes sense.” And with others you scratch your head and wonder who thought of them and why.

Herewith are my Top 10 Things That Should Never, Never, Ever, Not At All, Don’t Even Think About Doing It, My God Why? Things that should not be done to a Ukulele (in no particular order):

1. Double Neck Ukulele

A Ukulele with two necks? Why? What’s the point? Who buys these things anyway, Jimmy Page? Please stop. Just don’t

2. Electric Ukes

The Ukulele was developed as an acoustic instrument. Obviously, since there was no electricity at the time it was developed. I guess you could call it progress, but I just don’t see the point of an electric ukulele. Sure, some are real cool and sound great. But I don’t get it. The Ukulele was meant to be acoustic. Electricity is not needed. If you play live in front of lots of people and need to be heard, you could always mic your Uke. And in a similar vein, adding an EQ to a Uke seems like a waste of time. Running a Ukulele through an amp changes the character of the sound. It no longer sounds like a Ukulele. It sounds like an annoying, tiny high-pitched guitar.

3. Metal Strings

This, I guess, is in keeping with the above. Since the Ukulele is meant to be acoustic, there is no need for metal strings–at least on an acoustic Uke. I get it for an electric Uke. But on an acoustic Uke metal strings just sound horrible. Not to mention they can trash your fingerboard and warp your neck. Just say no to metal strings.

4. More than  Four Strings

It’s a Ukulele, not a little guitar. You don’t need five, six, or eight strings on a Ukulele. If you do need more than four strings, buy a guitar. Then you can choose from six, seven, eight, nine, 10 or 12 strings. With more than four strings, your little instruments starts to veer off from that beloved Ukulele sound and enter into Harp territory. Blech!

5. Funky Shaped or Placed Soundhole

It’s called a Soundhole because it’s a round hole that projects the sound from the Ukulele. It’s not called a Celtic Cross Hole, or a Star Hole or a Squirrel With Nut Hole. Funky shaped soundholes may look cool, but it’s just an affectation. And, depending on the shape, they can negatively affect the sound quality of the Uke’s sound. If you want to fancy up your soundhole, get some Abalone Rosettes.

Similarly, don’t put the soundhole on the back of the Ukulele! How do you expect it to be heard if the player is covering up the soundhole with his body? And don’t put the hole on the side or bottom of the Uke. The Soundhole is placed on the front “soundboard” (you think they call them that for  no reason?) so it can project outward and be heard.

6. Make Them Look Like Tiny Guitars

Don’t. Just don’t. They are not tiny guitars. The Ukulele is a totally different instrument, even if it does resemble a small acoustic guitar. Electric Uke makers are generally guilty of this, but there are a bunch of acoustics out there that fit the bill too.

7. Funky Shaped Ukes

Ugh! It’s bad enough some manufacturers make the soundhole in weird shapes. But entire Ukuleles have been made in strange shapes. And it needs to stop. I’ve seen Flying V Ukes, Snail-shaped Ukes, and one shaped like a Mutant Goldfish Cracker. There’s no need for this people. Just stop. Please.

8. Slotted Headstocks

Yes, that’s right. I said it. There is absolutely no need for a slotted headstock on a Ukulele. It’s not a classical guitar. They just look ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that they’re a pain to restring. Thanks a lot Jake! Some companies are smart about it and offer slotted headstocks as an option. Others offer certain models only with a slotted headstock, which is think is a stupid marketing decision. One of my favorite Uke manufacturers does this and I think it’s unwise.

9. Macramé Bridges

Ok, they’re not actually called Macramé Bridges, they’re called Tie Bridges. But you have to have some wicked Macramé skills to tie your strings these days. And when did this happen anyway? What ever happened to just tying a good old-fashioned fat knot on the end of the string and running it through the bridge? When did stringing a Ukulele get so fancy?

10. Big Ass Ugly Slapped On Logo

The logo is an integral part of the Ukulele. It may not add anything to the sound of the instrument, but it sure adds to the look and appeal. It should be elegant and understated. It can be inlaid, painted on, a sticker or burned into the wood. It doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s aesthetically pleasing. One of the biggest offenders in this area is Lanikai. They recently changed their logo from This nice, classy understated logo to This butt ugly logo on some models. And they have the nerve to call it their “Prestige Lanikai Logo.”

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