How to find a uke

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Where to find Ukuleles… besides Hawaii…


UAS: UKULELE ACQUISITION SYNDROME.
They all become like your best friends … each with a unique personality.
• Music Stores / Pawn Shops/ Toy Stores
• Your local luthier: builder of fine stringed instruments.
• Build one from a kit…or from a cigar box or tin can.

How to choose a Ukulele…beg, borrow or steal…before you buy your first one
CHOOSE ONE YOU LOVE for whatever reason.
• Decide on your price range. $5 bucks – $5000
• Tune open strings…then check pitch as you press on frets up the neck
• Tune 4 or 5 ukes and ask someone to play the same song on each one.
• Learn one chord or one little melody and try it yourself…like the feel of it.
• Play a barre chord – can you make it clean with easy effort. Is the string more than .5 cm off the fret board, which makes it difficulty to play.
• Strum loud and clean where the neck meets the body. How long does it ring?
• Fret/play one note on each string; try a vibrato effect by wiggling your finger.
• Look at finger size and width of frets, width of neck. Does it feel good?
• Choose the type and tuning: beginners who do not play guitar will find more lesson links with tenor, concert or soprano tuning.
o Baritone tuned like four guitar strings. DGBE (fewer youtube links)
o Tenor, Concert and Soprano usually tuned to GCEA.

How to buy a Ukulele…and when to upgrade
BE HAPPY … personality and applications vary! They all add interesting sound to a group.
• Buy something that will play in tune, or close to in tune.
• History…maybe you’re attached to your old uke from elementary school.
• Maybe you want an indestructible plastic uke for camping.
• Maybe you want a cheap one, until you find out if you like it.
• Maybe you want the best sound you can afford.

Where to store your uke…anywhere but on the chair where you are sitting
REACH FOR IT EVERY DAY
• Put it on a stand and make it easy to play every day. Put it beside the television and practice soft strums when you watch movies.
• If it is delicate and expensive – store in a case with humidity gizmos.
• Don’t put it where it might get sat on, tripped over or knocked to the floor.

Repairs…Luthier
LEARN TO DO MINOR MAINTENANCE YOURSELF … changing strings etc.
• Luthier: trained artisan who builds and repair fine stringed instruments.
• Several in Calgary. Jake Peters in Didsbury specializes in guitars and Ukuleles.
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Jake Peters

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