Tag Archives: Soprano Uke

Surf Music on a Ukulele?

YouTuber Juca Coyote playing Dick Dale's "Misirlou" on a Kala Soprano Uke

YouTuber Juca Coyote playing Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” on a Kala Soprano Uke

 

Seems like the perfect match to me.

This is just too cool to be missed. It’s Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” on a Kala soprano Uke.

In case you’re interested, here’s the man himself playing the song.

Awesome.

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And This One’s For The Ladies

Guys with Ukes

 

You didn’t think I would forget about the ladies, did you?

Not a chance.

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You Don’t Look a Day Over 75!

1918 Martin Style 3 Ukulele

1918 Martin Style 3 Ukulele

 

This is allegedly a 96 year old Martin Ukulele. Apparently it’s been in its case under the bed for the past 96 years.

It looks brand new and never played. Even the case looks brand new. But I guess it’s possible that it was purchased new and shoved under the bed and never taken out again.

No matter, it’s still a pretty cool Uke. Probably sounds really nice too, seeing as how the wood has aged all these years.

This one looks to be a Martin Style 3 Soprano from 1918, which has these features:

  • Introduced in 1918.
  • Mahogany body.
  • 7 layer top binding.
  • 3 layer back binding.
  • 5 layer soundhole ring.
  • Celluloid ornament on top, behind bridge (known as the “parend”).
  • 17 fret ebony fingerboard extents to the soundhole.
  • Bar frets.
  • Small pearl paired-diamond inlays at fret 5, 7, 9.
  • 3 lines inlaid down center of fingerboard.
  • Nut of 3 ply plastic.
  • C.F.Martin & Co. on back of headstock.
  • Kite-shaped celluloid peghead ornament.
  • Friction pegs.

In the late 1940s the diamond inlays were changed to dots. Friction pegs were used between 1918 and 1922. They sold for $25 when new.

These Martin Style 3 was discontinued in the 1977.

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Anatomically Correct Ukulele

Anatomy Ukulele, for the medically inclined ukulele player.

Anatomy Ukulele, for the medically inclined ukulele player.

 

If you’ve ever shopped on Etsy.com, you know they have some pretty weird shit available. But this has to be the weirdest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Anatomy Ukulele.

In case you were wondering, here’s the scoop on the Anatomy Uke:

Mahalo Ukulele with nylon strings, customised with a super cute version of the human anatomy, hand painted in acrylic paint onto the front and fret board, carry case included.

The seller is located in England and accepts PayPal only, even though the shipping section lists credit cards as being accepted. Shipping is to the U.K and U.S. only. The Anatomy Uke sells for $163.96 plus $43.15 shipping to the U.S.

Hmmm.

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Is it a Toy, or a Ukulele?

A multicolored Tofukulele made from Lego® Bricks.

A multicolored Tofukulele made from Lego® Bricks.

 

It’s both, actually.

It’s the Tofukulele. A Ukulele made entirely out of Lego® bricks. Well, not entirely out of Lego®bricks. The strings and tuners are not plastic. Well, actually, they are plastic, but just not Lego® plastic. The strings are Aquila’s and the tuning pegs are Grover friction pegs.

And the Tofukulele actually plays too. I guess you can consider it another all plastic Ukulele.

It comes in Soprano size in a number of colors–from white to multicolored. But be aware that it is fretless (without fret lines), so if you’ve never played a fretless stringed instrument, this could be a problem.

If you really must have one, Elderly Instruments is selling them for $275. Seems kind of pricey for a toy that is barely a Ukulele.

According to the Elderly web site:

Truly wonderful soprano ukulele constructed of Lego® bricks. While you will likely want to keep this out on display because of its unique nature, you will also enjoy playing it. Features include a fretless fingerboard, Grover friction pegs & Aquila strings. The design & construction are registered, with Patent Pending. One more very fine variant within the ever-expanding ukulele universe; or perhaps this one slipped over from a parallel universe. Regardless, we are pleased to offer it to you.

The only problem I see is the Patent Pending part. Since the Tofukulele is made out of Lego® bricks, an Lego® is a registered trademark, it’s going to be pretty hard to patent the Tofukulele, unless it is made out of generic plastic bricks. Then there’s the $275 price tag. I don’t think many people would want to spend that much on a toy plastic Ukulele, when you can get one like a Woodi USA, or even a Maccaferri Islander for less.

But it does make a nice wall hanger.

In case you can’t wait to hear what a Tofukulele sounds like, check out this YouTube video by the inventor.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Woodi USA Carbon Fiber Pattern Plastic Uke

Woodi USA Carbon Fiber Pattern Plastic Uke up for auction on eBay.

 

It seems that plastic Ukes are making a comeback.

Way back in the 1950s, plastic Ukes were all the rage, thanks to Mario Maccaferri and others pumping out the little plastic bundles of joy.

Today, that tradition is being upheld by companies like Woodi USA Inc., a maker of plastic musical instruments. Their line of plastic Ukuleles is proving to be popular, partly because they are fairly well constructed and mostly because they are very inexpensive–in the $50 range for a Soprano.

Except, apparently, the Carbon Fiber Pattern 2 WU-21G2 Soprano, which is listed on eBay for a whopping $554.99 (as you can see from the screenshot above). Man, that must be some high-tech space-age plastic they used to make that Uke! That particular model is not listed in the Ukulele section of the company’s web site, so I suspect it has been discontinued, or is at least out of stock until new ones are made. But $554 for a plastic Uke? Come on. Even if it’s a limited edition, or even a one-off, what makes it worth that much?

They apparently already sold two of them. But at that price?

I suspect the price is a typo on the Woodi eBay page. Most of their Ukes are listed at $54.99. Apparently the “5” key on their keyboard sticks. They also have the Pattern WU-21F7 Uke listed at $300. Again, probably a typo. Considering the MSRP on all their UKEs is $59.99, those prices are just a bit too high to be real.

But, hey, you never know.

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Heavy Metal Ukes from Dean Guitars

Dean Guitars ML Concert Spruce-Top Ukulele

Dean Guitars ML Concert Spruce-Top Ukulele

 

Dean Guitars, well known in the guitar community for its heavy metal designs, has branched out into Ukuleles. That’s right, Dean is now making Ukes.

The company currently has 9 models to choose from, 6 Concerts, a Soprano, a Concert-sized 6-String and a Concert-sized Travel Uke. They sport the usual woods: Spruce, Koa and Mahogany. But Dean also has two nice Flame Maple designs–a Trans-Green and a Trans-Amber model.

Priced at between $89 and $199, these are obviously laminates, but they sport some unique designs (particularly the two ML Concert models).

“Dean ukes will open this instrument to new customers who may not have ever played one before,” Curse Mackey, Director of Marketing for Armadillo, Dean’s parent company, told Music Trades magazine. “We’re also working with exotic woods and beautiful flame maple tops, so we’ll have a very artistic appeal as well as some uniquely shaped pieces, which is something we certainly specialize in.”

For some reason, the two ML series Ukes come with a padded gig bag, but the others don’t.

“Dean is really pushing the envelope in terms of what the average user thinks when they hear the word ‘ukulele,’” says Mackey. “We’re known for bringing energy, edge, and a rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, so you know we’ll be offering ukuleles for rockers to have some fun with.”

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Soprano Uke Built From Century-Old Detroit House

Soprano Ukulele made from reclaimed Detroit wood.

Soprano Ukulele made from reclaimed Detroit wood.

 

In 2013 Detroit-area luthier Gary Zimnicki was given some advice from a friend–why not use reclaimed wood from abandoned homes to build instruments? So that’s what he did. Zimnicki built a Soprano Ukulele from reclaimed wood. And it’s a beauty.

“…I had no idea how to go about it,” he told Ukulele Magazine. “I wasn’t about to grab a flashlight and a crowbar and just start taking a house apart.”

Luckily he found out about Reclaim Detroit, a project that takes abandoned Detroit homes and sells everything that can be sold–right down to the floorboards–for use in new products and projects.

The Soprano Uke was made primarily from woods that came out of a house in Detroit built in 1910. The maple in the back, sides and neck came from the house’s floorboards. The Douglas Fir soundboard came from a section of ceiling joist. The contrasting dark lines are Black Walnut, from a locally grown tree that was harvested a couple of decades ago. Since the maple was originally used as floorboards in the house, it has some nail holes, but Zimnicki says that’s OK.

“I don’t mind nail holes though, because they can be filled and they serve as a reminder of where the wood originated,”he told the magazine.

A mother-of-pearl likeness of the house is inlaid into the peghead of the Uke.

Zimnicki has gotten enough wood from Reclaim Detroit to build two more Ukes and a mandolin.

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