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Im a thirty something guy based in the UK, who for the past 25 years has dabbled with acoustic and electric guitar. Dont consider myself a great player of either, but have a large repetoire of songs, and have busked, jammed and gigged with friends many times.
About 2 years ago I decided on trying the ukulele, mainly because a couple of artists I really like (Loudon Wainwright and George Harrison) play or played ukulele. I had previously tried to pick up the Mandolin, but struggled learning a whole new set of chords due to the differing tuning. It struck me that the beauty of the uke for me was that the chord shapes were pretty much the same as those for guitar (albeit playing chords a few steps higher)
As with most uninformed beginners, I bought myself a bottom of the line Mahalo - and boy did I regret it! It was really only good for firewood, hard to keep in tune, frets out of place and sounded horrible. Even so, I stuck at it and found that I could indeed master the chords quickly. I put together a repetoire of uke songs to learn and found myself hooked.
The quality of the uke was the problem, and after much debate (and saving!) I bought myself a Flea ukulele from the Magic Fluke co - and from that point on, everything changed! This instrument was an absolute joy and since that time I have bought several more ukes, and gigged with them.
I'm not a technical player, just a strummer and singer, but its great fun.
Anyway, in thinking back to my initial foray into uke, and the shocking instrument I ended up with, 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.
I hope that this blog is just that, and if I can get new players going on this great instrument, then I have done my job.
The ukulele really is an instrument for everyone - its quick to pick up the basics (I could get anyone playing a song in 30 minutes) and really gets people talking.
I also run the new blog about Pashley bikes which can be read HERE
Other than the Uke, I just love great great real music (No X Factor or Pop Idol here thank you very much) - if its real, be it folk, rock, country, dance, classical or jazz, I love it. For example
Vocals: Jeff Buckley when he says "child" in the 2nd verse of "Lover You Should Have Come Over", and his line "She's a tear that hangs inside my soul forever" in the same song. Female - pretty much any vocal line by Sandy Denny
Lead Guitar: Gotta be Zappa - particularly his space guitar on "Sharleena" and his solo work in "Pojama People". Beyond that, cant beat David Gilmore.
Bass: John Paul Jones bassline in Ramble On by Zeppelin or anything by Charlie Mingus
Keyboards: Superstition by Stevie Wonder (what else?)
Drums: all the drumming on the Melvins "Kicking Machine"
Horns: Miles Davis - Sketches Of Spain