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Should You Worry About Solid Woods Opening Up on a Ukulele?

In the world of stringed instruments, particularly guitars, if there is one topic that seems to create more disagreement than any other, it's the concept of solid wood tops 'opening up' with time. So in what may prove to cause exactly the same sort of debate, lets look at that concept with ukuleles.

Solid wood ukulele

First up, if you are playing a laminate or plastic uke, then this doesn't apply to you. Nothing wrong with those ukes, it's just that they will never open up with time by virtue of their very nature, as I will explain below. I'm certainly not excluding you for any other reason than that, and I too own laminate instruments. Just beware any salesperson claiming that they will open up and change with time. They won't.


LR Baggs Venue DI Pre-amp - REVIEW

I've spoken before on Got A Ukulele of the benefit of a pre-amp box if you are plugging in to an amplifier. Last time we looked at this model from Fishman which is rather good. Time to look at what may be considered a luxury option, particularly with a price tag of around £300. The LR Baggs Venue DI. But does that cost make sense?

LR Baggs Venue DI

I've been a fan of LR Baggs gear for some time, particularly their Gig Pro series of belt clip pre amp boxes. They just sound incredibly clear and natural with acoustic instruments and far more so than any many other pre amp boxes which can still leave the ukulele or guitar with an electric guitar type sound. Above the GigPro is the Baggs Para DI which adds some more detailed tone shaping controls to the mix. Now we have the Venue DI which takes those technologies and adds more.


Got A Ukulele Beginners Tips - Ukulele Scales and Sizes

Thought it was about time to put up a clearer comparison of the different sizes of ukulele.

And lets stop this nonsense that any one uke size is in any way better than another - they all have their place. It's all about differing tones. It's not about upgrading as they get bigger, or some being easier than others.

Beware the myths!


Moselele Solid Electro Concert Bambookulele - REVIEW

Regular readers of my blog will remember my review of the Moselele Bambookulele from last year. That was a UK created laminate wood bamboo finish uke created by the Moslele Ukulele club as an answer to what uke to recommend their beginners. I loved it and it also went on to do really rather well in sales. Well, Daz Wright from Moselele has been in touch and let me have a look at a new model in their range - this time a solid wood offering with an onboard electrics!

Moselele Solid Electro Bambookulele

So for now this is available through Moselele in Concert scale and comes in at about £140-£150. Considerably more than the original laminate Bambookulele, but then still a GREAT price for a concert scale uke in solid wood with pickup fitted. Oh, did I tell you that it comes with a  really nice branded padded gig bag too? Once again, Daz has challenged the market with a superb value instrument here.


I Don't Really Get Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome...

It's something that you will see mentioned a LOT on social media. UAS or 'Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome'. A tag name given to the fact that there is an assumption that all uke players can't stop buying new ukuleles... Well, a confession. I used to suffer from this, but strangely not any more..

ukulele collection

The concept is not new, and in the world of guitars the term 'Guitar Acquisition Syndrome' (with a far funnier acronym of GAS) has been talked about for years. I suspect it actually happens with all sorts of instruments, or in fact anything that had a community side to it.

So what is it? Well, as simple as the name suggests, it's the compulsive buying of more and more instruments, just because they are there. Think of it like mountain climbers or bird spotters who have to bag more and more of them just because 'they are there'.. (well like mountain climbers and bird spotters but with the added bonus of them costing lots of money..)


There's Good And Bad Ukuleles Whether Solid Or Laminate

Something I am seeing more and more of lately is the misconception that a laminate bodied ukulele is automatically 'junk' and a build made of solid wood is somehow a ticket to guaranteed 'great' quality. Wrong, wrong, wrong. You are buying the myth if you think that.

Kiwaya laminate ukulele
Kiwaya Eco Series - example of a great laminate

I touched on this in my recent blog post about badly described ukes on dealer websites but wanted to go further. You see what prompted that post, and indeed what I think prompts sellers to be 'economical' with the truth is that they are riding on the myth amongst many buyers that laminate equals bad and solid equals good. It doesn't. You see, as with most things in life, there is good and bad in both of those types of uke construction.


UKE - The UK's Ukulele Magazine - REVIEW

If you play the ukulele and didn't know about this publication (called UKE) where have you been hiding? In case you missed it though, UKE is a brand new print magazine, to the best of my knowledge the first of it's kind for the UK ukulele scene. I've got a copy of Issue 1 in my paws, so time to let you know about it.

UKE Magazine

It seems a strange thing to me that we haven't (until now) had a print magazine for the ukulele community over here in the UK. Sure, there are international print versions, but nothing that speaks to this community. Matt Warnes of Omega Music music decided to create this side project and has pulled together and edited this brand new journal on all things uke for the UK. Note - this is not a 'dealer brochure' or 'shop magazine'. Whilst Matt works at Omega, this is not an Omega music publication.


A Little Honesty In Your Listings Please Ukulele Dealers

Not really a rant this one, more a warning to ukulele buyers out there, but something I am seeing more and more in the world of internet shopping for ukes.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I don't believe all is what it seems to be in the world of laminate ukuleles. I despise the increasingly snobbish opinion out there that ALL laminate ukes are a signal of poor quality. (Take a look at the likes of this Kiwaya or this Baton Rouge). In fact I regularly point out that I would rather have a well made laminate like these, than some of the roughly thrown together, thick, heavy 'solid wood' ukes out there at the low end. Being all solid wood is not necessarily a mark of top quality!

But something else is happening which seems, to me at least, to be deliberately misleading. And that is making your sales listings 'appear' to suggest that the uke for sale is solid wood when it is actually laminate. I think that is pretty awful. Not only is it just jumping on the misconception above that 'all laminate is bad - it has to be solid to be worth something',  but also it just comes across to me like they are tying to hide something.


Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain - Flat Foot Floogie

Ok, so this old uke vid has done the rounds on more than one occasion, but I was reminded of it again recently - figured it needed revisiting. A VERY early Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain from way back when in 1989!

Filmed at a Ukulele Society Of Great Britain meet at Digswell, it features early UOGB members such as Jo Brindley, Andy Astle and uke luthier Marshall Stapleton, but also current members George Hinchcliffe and Kitty Lux too.  I think it's an absolute delight and a nice look back at the early beginnings of this much loved group.

Enjoy. (and you thought the current popularity of the uke is a recent thing??)


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