New Gear – Melodica

melodica-ukebrewOkay, I’m pretty excited about this one so… Let me just start by saying “Melodica”? It’s called a Melodica. That name is way too cool. It must have been created in the 60s. We’ve come a long way from instrument names like “Piano” and “Lute”.

The Melodica is a keyboard that’s small enough to be hand held (so also very portable) and is played by blowing into it. The wind moves over reeds to make the sound so it sounds a lot like an accordion.

My current favorite genre of music is what I like to call Sad Electric Cowboy and I think those bands frequently try to layer in extra sadness with long drawn out wailing notes. This is frequently accomplished with fiddle or accordion.  (more…)


New Uke!

outdoorUke-ukebrewI decided to spend this year’s birthday money on an Outdoor soprano in “natural”. I’ve wanted one since I heard they made a clear uke and I love the idea that it’s built to be extremely robust and durable. I love it. Solid 2 thumbs up from me on the overall. It’s a bit quiet, probably because I’m used to tenors. It’s a bit clicky, which has been the case for all the plastic ukes I play. It does have high frets which will cause it to go out of tune if you’re not gentle but that’s not an issue for me. So I’m really happy with how it plays and sounds and I love the fact that I can just put it in my messenger bag with all my other stuff (so without a case), take it anywhere and not worry about beating it up. I’ll do a more thorough review on the gear page at some point… I promise.

New Uke – Bugsgear

I gotta new uke!

bugsGear-ukebrewI’ve been looking at plastic ukuleles for a while. I love the idea having a uke that’s a bit more robust and practically impervious to the elements… like water. Of course there’s the Outdoor Ukulele, which I think is probably at the top of the food chain, and I fully intend to get one of their tenors when they come out (they come in clear!). And if you click around you’ll find a handful of options like Woodi, Kora Explore and a couple others. I settled on the Bugsgear for a couple reasons I’ll detail on my Gear page at some point.

This one is in purple, or “neon magenta” as my daughter calls it and it really glows. I love the color. It’s a soprano and being a tenor guy with big hands I’m really surprised at how easy it is for me to play the small size. It’s a little quieter than my bigger wood ukes but that’s to be expected I guess. Other than that I couldn’t be happier. It sounds, looks and plays great.

One note about acquiring this uke… it wasn’t that easy. I did my research, found a bunch of reviews online, zeroed in on this make and model but didn’t see anywhere they were on sale other than the manufacture’s site in Japan at 90 bucks a pop. No Amazon, no eBay. Apparently most of the reviews I was seeing were from bloggers in the U.K. where apparently the ukulele is much cooler in general so more stuff gets marketed there. So I kept my eye out for them on eBay and finally happened upon some. I think they are gaining steam because I see more of them on there now but they look like a newer model with a black fingerboard. I really wanted the 100% purple so it looks like I found this just in time.