Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beater Ukes...A Must Have!

      Everyone needs what I call I "beater uke" definition for a good sounding,unlabeled uke that's went thru a rough time cause you can see it in the finish. The one you see here I got off of an online BIN for a mere $9.00 because the sellers thought it was a kids toy. The instrument has some really rough spots where the finish has been scraped off-like it has accidently gotten smacked into something & drug along,and there's a couple of impact dings. Good thing I got it as it was not tunable due to the original tuning buttons disintegrating from age,and one of the nut slots was a hair too low so I cushioned it for now with a teeny piece of fabric. Most would've probably given the seller bad feedback due to it not being in playing condition.The description said it came from the estate sale of an elderly man so I knew this was more than likely a safe buy. I replaced the buttons,and it tunes just fine-very good craftmanship on the inside and while it's the smallest soprano I own,it has the most amazing sweet tone! Out does my beginner level Mahalo. 
      I try to learn life's lessons thru other peoples examples,and while I drool like anyone else over heavily inlaid expensive wood type ukuleles,I doubt I'll ever own one. Why?
     Here's real life example. I know a girl who took up ukulele -purchased a student model,took lessons,and she seemed to be really digging it. Then a music store that was going out of business had one of those rich looking koa wood dripping with abalone instruments with the high gloss finish that you just oooh and ahhh over. She purchased it with the hardshell case,and then something wierd happened.
     She quit playing right afterwards. No,I'm not kidding.
     She had braught the new fancy uke to where I worked & had shown it to me when I was on a break. This thing was gorgeous & I was shocked she let me handle it. Played & sounded great-and in the following weeks I would ask her here & there how her playing was coming. "I haven't played anything" followed by really poor quality excuses,became the norm. Needless to say I quit asking her about her ukulele. That girl played more when the student model was the only one she had. I've seen this happen with guitar players and so on-they get a "dream" instrument and the playing ends. There has to be some mind thing going on with that.
     "Beater" types of ukes are the best ones in a sense cause you'll take em anywhere-no worries about leaving it in the car,or someone wanting to try it out. These are the ones you carry along so you can play while your tires are getting changed,waiting in the car while Aunt Frannie does her shopping,and for taking with you to work so you can play on your lunch hour. In my opinion,every player should own one for the reasons listed above. 
     And don't go by looks-those messy ones can be the best handling and sounding!

1 comment:

  1. What a great post - totally agree!

    I have 3 beater ukes - 2 Mahalos and a Vintage - all cost me about $30 each. They are rough and ready, but I have tweaked them and put decent strings on em.

    No, dont laugh, but whilst one lives in the trunk of my car, the other two live in the two bathrooms in our house. One of said rooms doesnt have a bath, is just a "smallest room" - for guests - the amount of comments I receive from visitors about the uke (positive comments!)

    The other is an actual bathroom, and I have been known to strum in the bath.... I am sure the moisture, heat etc is no good for the uke, but heck - its a beater !