Monday, 26 October 2015

Cheap Ukulele Floor Stands

One of our group members was at the Grocery Outlet and noticed these, meant for gaming guitars. Each stand holds 4 instruments, plus a pair of drumsticks and a mic. An accessory for turning it into a mic stand is also included.

not a bad price!

The stand extends from 29" to 46", is sturdy, and has cushioned hooks. Here it holds a baritone, a u-bass, and a soprano very securely:

It has been especially useful during group playalongs when we switch instruments:

I'm not sure how larger instruments would fare, but it is perfect for small, lightweight ukuleles. You can also order them online (we have no affiliation and do not earn anything from sharing the link; it's simply a tool that we like and want to share).

Monday, 20 July 2015


A friend sent this video, and now I finally understand why my son has been urging me to go and see Pixar's Inside/Out—"especially the short."

In terms of chord structure, it's a very simple song, so rather than just make the chord sheet available right away, I thought it might be more interesting to make a worksheet for sounding out the chords. The straight lyrics are below, but a printable .pdf file with space for adding chords can be found here.


A long, long time ago, there was a volcano
living all alone in the middle of the sea

He sat high above his bay watching all the couples play
and wishing that he had someone, too

And from his lava came this song of hope that he sang
out loud every day for years and years

I have a dream I hope will come true
that you're here with me, and I'm here with you
I wish that the earth, sea, and the sky up abov-a
will send me someone to lava

Years of singing all alone turned his lava into stone
until he was on the brink of extinction

But little did he know that living in the sea below
another volcano was listening to his song

Every day she heard his tune her lava grew and grew
because she believed his song was meant for her

Now she was so ready to meet him above the sea
as he sang his song of hope for the last time


Rising from the sea below stood a lovely volcano
looking all around but she could not see him

He tried to sing to let her know that she was not there alone
but with no lava his song was all gone


Oh, they were so happy to finally meet above the sea
all together now, their lava grew and grew

No longer are they all alone with aloha as their new home
and when you visit them, this is what they sing:

I have a dream I hope will come true
that you'll grow old with me, and I'll grow old with you

We thank the earth, sea, and the sky we thank, too
I lava you
I lava you
I lava you

If you haven't worked out chords before, it may help to know that this song is in the key of C so will likely have the chords of C, F and G, at least.

And if you aren't interested in working these things out, the full chord sheet can be found here.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Lanikai LU-21P

  • nato top, back and sides
  • rosewood fingerboard
  • soprano-sized, 12 frets
  • factory strung with Aquila nylgut strings

"It has been a great uke to start on: easy to play chords and nice size to hold. It will take a bit of time to let it go since it is my first.  The one Rex gave me does project the sound more, so in time I will be playing that more."

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Magic Fluke Company Soprano Flea

  • birch top
  • composite plastic body
  • injection molded polycarbonate fretboard
  • maple neck

"I had a Concert Flea that I'd gotten off Craigslist. I loved it, but wanted the most compact instrument possible. When a soprano turned up, I bought that and sold my concert. I love it for many reasons: it's durable; it stands on its own, which means it's easy to leave out for impromptu playing; it has a nice, mellow sound. Also, if I loosen the strings, support the neck, and place it on the diagonal, it fits in my carry-on. I don't think I'd have the courage to try this with an all-wooden instrument.
I know a lot of people would not recommend this, but it has actually ended up being gate-checked twice and come through fine."

Sound sample from YouTube user ukemanfischer:

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Lanikai LU-21C

Lanikai no longer makes this exact model, as it has added the "tuna uke" feature, but other websites which still sell the LU-21 series tell us it has
  • nato top, back and sides with white binding
  • inlaid rosewood fretboard
  • chrome die-cast tuners

"I was a cellist, and my husband gave me a ukulele for Christmas one year. I don't know why, except that I had talked about someday wanting to learn because we'd been over to Hawaii. And I always wanted to play with a group of people, and Carla and Blayney were starting to play, so here I am."

Here's a sound sample from YouTube user TomiBone:

Friday, 20 February 2015

Custom DaSilva Concert

"I got it at a ukulele conference in Portland from Mike DaSilva. He custom made it: I ordered it, and we went over and got it.

I have 7 or 8, but this is the one I play. I had him inlay a hummingbird, because I love hummingbirds. They're my spirit animal."

Monday, 16 February 2015

Lanikai K-T

Continuing the stories of our individual ukuleles with this Lanikai, which appears to be a model that is no longer made. It was bought around 10 years ago in San Francisco.

"I purchased the Lanikai at the music store at Haight & Ashbury. I was asked to play ukulele for a I ran and bought an uke and started playing it that day on the streets in San Francisco...and that's how my ukulele days began.

I got this one because I just loved the sound. Because I've been playing guitar, the size I felt was better for my fingers at the time. It's just got a lovely sound. I bought special strings for it. Nice, fine, lightweight. This stays in tune like nobody's business."

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Kohala K3-C

from Kohala's website:
  • Construction: Set neck
  • Body: Java Koa
  • Top: Koa
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 19
  • Scale: 382 mm
  • Inlay: Pearloid dot
  • Bridge: Rosewood
  • Tuners: Die cast chrome
  • Binding: ABS Ivory Body Binding and ABS Ivory/ABS Black/Pearl Headstock Binding
  • Strings: Aquila Concert 

"They were selling them at Costco: a case, a tuner, a strap and a book for $99.99—so a hundred bucks. And I just fell in love with it. I thought it was a great-sounding uke when I picked it up. I put new strings on it, and it's just a great bumming-around/hanging-out ukulele."

A few chords played by YouTube user gtmcfar:

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Makala MK-C

from Kala's website:
  • concert scale
  • agathis body
  • 18 brass frets
  • rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • mahogany neck
  • satin finish
  • geared tuners 

"This is my first ukulele. It was a gift from my daughter, so I have no provenance—I don't know where it's from. I did change the strings on it—it has a low g. Some day I'm going to get an even better one, but this is a very good first ukulele."

A review and demo from Zen Ukes (playing starts around 0:45)

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Kala KA-TEM Exotic Mahogany Tenor Ukulele

One of the benefits of playing in a group is the chance to see everyone else's instruments. In this new series we'll be asking our members to say a few words about their particular ukulele, including why they chose it and how they like it.

Our first up is Carla's KA-TEM, described by Kala with the following stats:
  • 17" tenor scale
  • 26-3/8" overall body length
  • 11-3/4" body length
  • 6-3/4" upper bout
  • 9" lower bout
  • 5-1/4"waist
  • 3-1/8" body depth
  • 1-3/8" at nut
  • figured mahogany body
  • satin finish
  • black binding
  • 19 silver nickel frets
  • fret position marks at 5th, 7th, 10th and 12th frets on neck and top of fingerboard
  • rosewood fingerboard and bridge
  • mahogany neck
  • chrome die-cast tuners with black buttons
  • premium aquila nylgut strings

"I walked into Watermelon Music, and I said, "I want the biggest ukulele you've got." And they came up with this one–it's a tenor.

I like it a lot, but this is my first experience–my first and only. It sounds good to me."

Below, YouTube user raynstudio plays a KA-TEM:

Saturday, 24 January 2015


None of us set out to create an ukulele group and yet here we are, two years into this blog and three years after a few friends took to goofing around at a New Year's Eve party. In that time our group has doubled in size simply by word of mouth, despite our total lack of publicity.

We have been lucky in many ways. So far we haven't had to pay for space, and we all have a schedule which allows us to meet at the same time each week.

But the real luck one has been in membership. When you have people who are cheerful and easygoing; who enjoy playing and socializing in equal measures; who readily share food, drink, information and resources; and who are accepting of each other's differences and bad days; then everything else somehow comes together. We can meet anywhere and at any time because we all look forward to playing together. That may well be the secret of a good ukulele group.