Time for a look back at 2015 through the eyes of Got A Ukulele. This is a feature I try to run at the end of each year, but missed it for the end of 2014 as you may recall I was stuck in a hospital bed! Been looking forward to getting back to normality though!
So 2015 started relatively slowly, but has been a great year for the website. It has now had over 8.9 million page views and the backbone of the site, (the reviews) have gone from strength to strength I think.
Let's look back at some of the highlights!
As I say, a slow start, but I had to start with a delayed review of one of my favourite CD's of the year, from Mr Phil Doleman - Old Is The New New. Also on the review bench was a look at one of the most marvellous instruments I have had.. and one that was delivered to me in a hospital waiting room by the Luthier in question - the Tinguitar solid tenor ukulele...
Also in January, I gave you my choices for Ukulele Tuning devices and the first UK Uke Magazine was born!
As a blog that likes to cover ukulele offerings for all price points February saw reviews of a couple of bargain ukuleles. The first one was an absolute stinker in the form of the Stagg US10 Soprano, and the second was a far better offering In the form of the Alic soprano.
February also saw the launch of a new string set from Aquila called Lava, and I had my first 'Got A Ukulele Rant' of the year about Snake Oil in the ukulele world.
Rants were a big part of March, including my exposing ukulele dealers who are less than honest in their product descriptions, The nonsense of claiming that solid wood ukuleles are always better than laminates, and how I don't really get Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome.
On a more positive note, Moselele released a great solid wood version of their Bambookulele and I explained what I mean by over building ukuleles..
A quiet month, but I did get to review a cracking ukulele from the Snail Brand, and one from Lani Ukuleles. Oh, and a certain busker upset David Cameron with a ukulele..
In May I reviewed my first ever Baritone ukulele on the site in the form of the Pono MB-e. I also wrote a piece on ukulele humidity and how there is a lot of bad advice in this area.
I also caused quite a stir with my post about using Fishing Line as ukulele strings and the month ended with the rather fabulous Grand Northern Ukulele Festival, featuring the likes of Aaron Keim, The Mersey Belles, Manitoba Hal, Chee Maisel and Mike Hind.
Rants again in June. This time questioning why the ukulele world can be so down on people liking anything different, 'tutors' who try to avoid using the first finger to barre and the constant myth that the ukulele is easy... All three led to masses of comments which is always a bellwether that I am on to something..
In June I also reviewed the rather marvellous Ike Soprano from Wunderkammer and Makala launched the Waterman Ukulele and also very kindly donated one for me to give away.
A quiet month ( a man needs a holiday!) but I did get to review a tenor instrument from PSI ukuleles and also give you a round up of ukulele albums that had been on rotation in my CD player.
A mix of review - from the sublime soprano from DJ Morgan Ukuleles to the most controversial review I have ever done - the Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele. That latter one led to more comments and complaints than any other I have done, ranging from telling me I was just plain wrong to saying it was a nice sounding instrument. On reflection - no, my view is unchanged. It's absolutely terrible.
Holiday month again, but I thoroughly enjoyed doing my first head to head review comparing a range of similar sopranos from Kala, Ohana and Lanikai.
A range of reviews this month. From the disappointing Vox Ukelectric to the rather lovely Kala Comfort Edge Tenor.
I also returned to the rants with my confusion with why people claim the ukulele is magical, and I finally got around to featuring a ukulele player I have wanted on the blog for ages - Ukulele Russ. Ending the month was a look at the Luna Tattoo Concert.
From the ridiculous to the sublime in November. The Vintage VUK20 was one of the worst instruments I have ever tested, and the Beltona Tenor resonator was one of the very best. Oh, and the pUKEs released a new single which is always a good day!
Always a busy month in life generally, but we ended the year with yet more reviews. The Mahalo 2500 Kahiko, the Kala Travel Concert, and finally one of the fastest read review posts I have ever put up for the oh so pretty Cocobolo tenor.. A smashing instrument. The end of the year soured slightly by some trolls thinking that one mans ukulele reviews are akin to the Cuban Missile Crisis... but... ah well.. the ups and downs of a public website I suppose!
2015... 88 posts... 2.6 million page views this year.... over 8.9 million in total....
Those were the highlights of my year. My thanks once again to readers and supporters of the site and brands who have kindly loaned me instruments to write about. It really is rewarding, and the site it has been a lot of fun this year. I have plenty more ideas in the pipeline for 2016 and instruments already stacking up on the review bench from the likes of Deering, Cordoba, Mahalo and Aiersi already.. All is left is for me to wish YOU all the very very best for the coming year in whatever you do. Hope the site remains of interest!
Take care all.
© Barry Maz