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Minimus Ukulele

I was looking at various Facebook pages the other day when I came across Rod Arthur’s page for the Minimus Ukulele. As I’m always looking for different ukuleles this one really appeals to me. I asked Rod for his story and this is below:

My name is Rod Arthur and have been playing ukulele for 40 years (before the revolution) I’ve also worked as an actor for 40 years (feel free to google me if it’s of interest) Woodwork has always been a hobby and in 1997/8 I went back to college to take my advanced city and guilds in furniture making. There followed 9 years making furniture as a parallel  career to my acting. Then stopped for a variety of reasons. In 2010 I broke the neck on my baritone uke and decided to build a replacement, soon to discover that it wouldn’t work, so set about building my first uke. Despite the fact I steam bent 5mm thick beech it worked and I still have it, trust me you could go to war with that uke and win. At the start so 2016 I dedicated my workshop to making ‘The Minimus Ukulele and after a huge learning process I’m now satisfied with the product and sell them. They cost £120-125 depending on choice of friction tuner. The cases are £15 pound (I don’t make them). Postage in UK is £5. They are a bolt on neck construction. The scale length is 26cm. The overall length is 39-40cm depending on choice of headstock design. The width at the nut is 36-38 mm (same as a concert).”
Have placed my order.

Strumstick ukulele

 

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Strumstick uke

 

 

When in Canada a few weeks ago I saw a ‘Strumstck’ in a music shop in Corner Brook (see below). This is a 3-stringed instrument (tuned D-A-D) and supposedly great for the musically inept (meaning me, probably!) so thought I’d give it a try. Still trying to find time to do so.

However, when I looked at their website I discovered that they produced a ukulele version of this instrument – shown here on the right.

This instrument attempts to take the uke back to its origins of being steel strung gCEA tuning. It produces a wonderful sound.

Hopefully over the next few weeks will upload a video of me playing it. But for the time being will be taking it to the next local acoustic night to have a play.

These instruments are available on Amazon.

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Strumstick

Mya-Moe – are they the best?

Having just started playing with a Kala resonator uke I have to say I’m happy with it although some reviews have said it’s not so hot. It is an entry level uke, so you get what you pay for.

Looking around I came across this site:

www.myamoeukuleles.com/model%20resonator.php

Love the look of these resonator ukes on this site and would be lovely to own one but the price is daunting. Maybe when I’ve cut my first massive no 1 selling album (dream on) I will get one.

From their website:

There are very few companies that make wood-body resonators ukuleles–the design and construction challenges are significant. The resonator cone is extremely delicate. The strings pass over the bridge/saddle which is attached to the cone. The tension of the strings, in combination with the angle to the tieblock, determine how much downward pressure is placed on the cone. It is the precise control of this downward pressure that determines the acoustics of the resonator. Too little pressure and the sound is distorted–less pressure still and the cone buzzes. Too much pressure and the voice becomes choked–more pressure still and the cone will be damaged. After much testing and evaluation, we determined the perfect amount of pressure to place on the cone, and we carefully control that during the construction of each instrument.

We custom-turn a wooden soundwell to support the resonator cone. This provides level support for the cone while allowing it to freely resonate.

 

After careful testing, we chose a National cone for it’s clear tone, long sustain, and lively voice. The result is a resonator ukulele that still retains the acoustics of a wood-bodied instrument. Our goal is to bring out the voice of the wood, while providing passive amplification. This instrument sounds wonderful when played solo fingerstyle, and it shines when put up against the volume of a banjo or mandolin in a music circle. For a more woody tone, choose woods such as koa, mahogany, sycamore or mango. For a more punchy tone with more of the resonator cone component, choose the brighter woods with spruce tops. The hand-shaped neck, radiused fretboard, meticulously leveled frets, and individually dressed fret ends deliver the playability that every serious musician should demand.

“THIS SOUNDS WONDERFUL WHEN PLAYED FINGERSTYLE, AND IT SHINES WHEN PUT UP AGAINST THE VOLUME OF A BANJO OR MANDOLIN.”

Are they the best, leave us your thoughts and recommendations.

 

The Noah Baritone

Web site link:  Introducing the new Noah Baritone!

One day I’ll own a hand made UK uke but until then I can dream – and pass on any news I get.

Matt at Noah Ukulele (from their blog) says – It’s been an exciting week at Noah HQ – lots of new ukuleles have arrived  ahead of what is going to be a busy and exciting summer at various ukulele festivals around the country. After lots of requests over the past couple of years, I’ve finally added a baritone to the Noah range. As with all Noah instruments, it is completely solid – with a Spruce top – and definitely has that lovely rich, warm sound that you look for in a baritone instrument. For now, we’ve only made 10 and as a result they won’t be made available on the website shop, but will be coming with me to festivals. If you’re not able to make it to any festivals, and are keen on getting hold of one, then please contact me at matt@noahukuleles.com

I’ve also brought back the Noah Campanella  – a Super Concert with a pin bridge which proved to be very popular when we first made them in 2014. Again, we’ve only made 10 so if you are interested then please get in touch.

As well as the Campanella and Baritone, we’ve also made more of the existing three series – Mahogany, Monkeypod and Rosewood / Spruce in all sizes. I’m completely in awe of Mr Anh and his family’s work and I honestly feel that they have improved further on the ukuleles which they made last year. I’m extremely taken by the Mahogany Series this time round – we managed to source some lovely curly mahogany for them which I think people are going to love.

If you’re attending any of the following festivals look out for Noah:

Ukulele Festival of Great Britain – June 18th

Ukulele Festival of Wales – June 25th / 26th

Rye Ukulele Festival – July 3rd

Spa Strummers Festival – July 9th

Isle of Wight Ukulele Festival – July 23rd

 

KALA Chrome Resonator Sunburst Tenor Ukulele

Just taken delivery of my latest uke – a lovely resonator from Kala. I’ve spent many an hour pondering over which uke to use instead of my Clearwater electro/accoustic uke. I’ve no complaints about it but as I tend to use the back of my fingernails to strum the Clear water doesn’t give the oldest sound. I also wanted to use that uke with a low g string so the Kala will remain with a standard high g string. This now sits alongside my Risa solid electric tenor uke which sounds amazing. Have promised myself – no more uses (for this year, anyway!)

 

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Kala tenor resonator
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Risa electric tenor