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Are ukuleles a real instrument?

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PHJim 16 Aug 14 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Stim 16 Aug 14 - 04:05 PM
PHJim 16 Aug 14 - 01:30 PM
GUEST 16 Aug 14 - 01:55 AM
GUEST 16 Aug 14 - 01:44 AM
GUEST,Stim 15 Aug 14 - 10:53 PM
Bill D 15 Aug 14 - 07:41 PM
GUEST,gillymor 15 Aug 14 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Rahere 15 Aug 14 - 02:07 PM
Don Firth 15 Aug 14 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Desi C 15 Aug 14 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Rahere 15 Aug 14 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Aug 14 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,gillymor 14 Aug 14 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 14 Aug 14 - 07:13 AM
GUEST,Desi C 14 Aug 14 - 05:21 AM
Don Firth 14 Aug 14 - 02:29 AM
Don Firth 14 Aug 14 - 02:08 AM
Backwoodsman 14 Aug 14 - 01:48 AM
GUEST,# 14 Aug 14 - 01:39 AM
Don Firth 13 Aug 14 - 10:31 PM
wysiwyg 13 Aug 14 - 03:53 PM
Don Firth 13 Aug 14 - 12:10 AM
GUEST 12 Aug 14 - 10:58 PM
wysiwyg 12 Aug 14 - 10:10 PM
PHJim 05 Apr 13 - 08:52 PM
GUEST,Lavengro 05 Apr 13 - 02:53 PM
Stringsinger 05 Apr 13 - 11:22 AM
Johnny J 05 Apr 13 - 05:18 AM
Johnny J 05 Apr 13 - 05:16 AM
Mark Ross 04 Apr 13 - 08:37 PM
Don Firth 04 Apr 13 - 08:13 PM
PHJim 04 Apr 13 - 07:07 PM
Leadfingers 03 Jul 12 - 07:23 PM
Ebbie 03 Jul 12 - 03:41 PM
Don Firth 03 Jul 12 - 02:29 PM
Leadfingers 03 Jul 12 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Melissa 03 Jul 12 - 12:43 PM
harpmolly 05 Sep 05 - 11:19 PM
Wilfried Schaum 05 Sep 05 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Fogie 05 Sep 05 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Dazbo 05 Sep 05 - 06:03 AM
Peace 05 Sep 05 - 03:00 AM
Wilfried Schaum 05 Sep 05 - 02:54 AM
M.Ted 04 Sep 05 - 11:36 PM
GUEST,Barry Finn, keeping company at wife's office 04 Sep 05 - 05:05 PM
Little Robyn 04 Sep 05 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,Barrie Roberts 03 Sep 05 - 10:21 PM
Don Firth 03 Sep 05 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,DB 03 Sep 05 - 11:45 AM
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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: PHJim
Date: 16 Aug 14 - 05:09 PM

Ah yes, Ukulele Ike.
George Harrison did own one of the Formby banjoleles, but when the Formby family offered to buy it from him he gave it back to the family.

Here's George playing Ain't She Sweet with two other guys.
Ain't She Sweet


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 16 Aug 14 - 04:05 PM

You left out Cliff Edwards and Lyle Ritz, PHJim.

And, not to put too fine a point on it, but, though George Formby did play the ukulele, mostly, he played a Ludwig Banjolele, which doesn't even really look like a uke.George Formby's Ludwig Banjo Uke

At the bottom of the page is a picture of another very famous George, holding Formby's instrument. Not surprisingly, most of his music sounds pretty good when played on the uke, too.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: PHJim
Date: 16 Aug 14 - 01:30 PM

unnamed GUEST who posted at 01:55 AM on Aug 16, 2014: You obviously have not listened to much ukulele music; nor have you bothered to read the posts that came before yours. Have you ever listened to Gerald Ross, Stu Fuchs, Marcy Marxer, Cathy Fink, Abe Lagrimas Jr., James Hill, Jim Gritt, Az Samad, Sarah Maisel, Jake Shimabukuru, Glen Rose, Manitoba Hal, Ben Harper, Daddy Stovepipe or Del Ray? If not, go look 'em up on Youtube and see if you still think the only thing a uke is good for is playing old George Formby songs. Ukes are great for old George Formby songs, but that's sure not all they're good for.

My apologies to any of the artists whose name I mis-spelled or any of those great ukulele players whose names I forgot. I'm sure there are many super players I've never heard of as well.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Aug 14 - 01:55 AM

Ok for playing Georges Formby songs, not much else!


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Aug 14 - 01:44 AM

Every uke player I know seems to hsve a little electronic tuner on headstock and tune to 440hz so I would not hqv2 though tuning was a problem.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 10:53 PM

You are incredibly wrong about the uke's ability to produce tone, Rahere. It is a bright, crisp, and loud instrument.

Given that, a lot of people don't have their instruments tuned properly, which can be nearly fatal, given the instrument's register. And a lot of people try to play the uke like a little guitar, which isn't, while others try to play it like a little banjo, which it also isn't.

Some people claim that the name "ukulele" means something like "jumping flea", which I can neither affirm nor deny, however, it should pretty much sound like that. (or you could say popcorn which I prefer to fleas)

The key to playing the uke is learning to make it speak properly (same as with all instruments) and the fundamental is a simple down stroke with the index finger(called a one-stroke roll). A lot of people don't get it right unless someone shows them how, and most of those people don't know they don't get it right.

After that, people get tripped up by fretting. The ukulele is essentially a rhythm instrument, and you need to work out a fret and release movement that plays off the finger role. The old Hawaiian music was all drums, and the jumping fleas are playing drum rhythms.

The thing is, until you've got the instrument in tune, and you've got the downstroke and the fretting together, you won't get the full effect of the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 07:41 PM

I can't believe this thread has been revived without anyone mentioning Jake Shimabukuro (take a couple hours and follow what he does... there was even a full hour program on him and how uses the instrument to teach & reach young people.)

   Not many people don't take it that far, but there's no doubt the instrument is as real as they come.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 02:37 PM

Doc Watson's first instrument was a strand of bailing wire stretched between a fence and it's post. It probably didn't sound too bad in his hands.
Here's more Ton doing Singing the Blues, the old standard that Bix made famous. He seems to represent the whole band with his little uke.

Click here


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 02:07 PM

Aw, I never criticised banjos. Nor do I play a geetah. And I'm still trying to think of a suitable use for a uke. Got it. Britain's Got Talent.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 02:01 PM

Compare the tone of the Renaissance guitar CLICKY #1 and the tone of the Yamaha guitalele CLICK #2.

They sound pretty similar to me.

Remember that Renaissance guitars, lutes, vihuelas, and such—and the classical guitar, up until sometime in the mid-Twentieth Century were strung with gut. Sheep gut. Byproduct of the slaughter house. Nylon strings came in right after World War II (ref: article in a copy of The Guitar Review, a magazine published by the New York Classic Guitar Society back in the 1960s).

The Renaissance guitar was pretty much the ukulele of its day, and regarded as such—except by a few composers who wrote some pretty nice stuff for it. And they got flak from other composers and musicians for "wasting their time and talent on such a worthless instrument."

Like I said above, the music comes from the musician, and a good musician can get music out of some of the darnedest things. PCV pipe!?? I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't heard it!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 01:34 PM

The kind of people who decry Uke's Banjo's etc in Folk clubs are usually the same type wo spend 5-10 minutes tuning up between every song, playing way over long boring songs on their oh so expensive branded guitars (they always mention the make) and generally bore the audience to death. So play your Uke with pride


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Rahere
Date: 15 Aug 14 - 04:20 AM

You should go further, leeneia: it's a worked example that a good musician can probably get something out of a rubber band stretched across a tea-tray, and that ukes as they stand have a technical problem, deficient tone because they're not designed for tight stringing. On occasion he got something halfway approaching a decent tone from it, but he could not mask the tendency to buzz - if that's the name for something so slack - and sound like a bee in porridge.
The thread suggested earlier that they have things in common with the baroque guitar. Only size: the guitar has bracing to take better strings and that gives tone.
You might argue that it's what it is: I'd argue that if so, then it should be left where it is and not find its way into performance. Fun, perhaps, but nothing more.
The same might be said of many early instruments, but as we now know how to do it, there's really no excuse not to. And now, permit me to get back to my bowed psaltery...


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 09:55 AM

Thanks for the link, gillymor. That's impressive playing.

If you've been on the Mudcat a while, you know that certain instruments elicit snotty remarks: banjo, spoons, ukulele, bodhran come to mind.

So what's wrong with these instruments? Two things: they were originally the instruments of poor people, and often the poor people were non-white. That's all there is to it. Meanwhile, it's possible to make really awful sounds on a violin, harp or flute, but those instruments are not ridiculed because they represent $$$.

I agree with Don. The value of an instrument depends on the skill of the musician.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 07:50 AM

Ton Van Bergeyk would probably call it a real instrument.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 07:13 AM

Ukuleles must be real instruments because you have to 'tune' them - a deeply mysterious process which completely baffles me - I haven't got the faintest I idea of even how to start 'tuning' something. Then you have to play 'chords' on them - another deeply mysterious area which I know absolutely nothing about - when people start going on about 'CBG' or something, I haven't got the faintest clue what they're talking about.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 05:21 AM

Yes definitely a 'real' instrument. One that snobbish musicians look down on but maybe that's even more reason to get one ;)


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 02:29 AM

Sometimes a "musical instrument" designed for non-musicians and for idiots falls into the hands of someone who IS a musician and is a bit inventive as far as playing technique is concerned.

What could be simpler than an autoharp? Press a button for the chord you want and strum the strings.

Then along comes the Stoneman family or the Carters and it becomes a virtuoso instrument.

The music one can get out of ANY instrument depends on the musician.

I once knew a guy who turned a bunch of kitchen-ware (pots, pans, colanders, and such) and a couple of lengths of PCV pipe--into a small orchestra. Or take a good look at the odds and ends that make up a jug band (jugs, washtub bass, washboard....).

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 02:08 AM

The Yamaha GL-1 guitalele that I mention in an above post sounds very much like a small Celtic lap-harp, if played with the fingers like a classic guitar, rather than strummed like a uke is usually played.

I posted some links to the Yamaha GL-1 guitalele being played on YouTube. You can hear it for yourself.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 01:48 AM

Hula-hoops, deeley-boppers and cabbage-patch dolls spring to mind.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,#
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 01:39 AM

"Are ukelele's a real instrument"

Yes and noooo. It sounds fucking awful except to the poor of ear, but then it sounds terrible to the aforementioned.

I understand it's spelled ukulele, no offence meant.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 10:31 PM

...Uh....

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 03:53 PM

The salesman who demo'd what I bought tossed off a little Stairway to Heaven when his fingers got bored noodling the girlygirl, prettypretty tones for me. It might have been my temporary deafness-- weeklong ear buggers.....

I'd asked him to crank the onboard vol and bass amp he'd plugged into, so I could HEAR.... and the sparkling clarity apparently sent him over the edge, if there is one, between folk and rock.

;-) What is folk music, again?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 12:10 AM

With the exception of the Spanish vihuela, which has a waisted body like a guitar, but otherwise was not much different from a six-course lute (tuning and technique of playing), the first instrument to bear the name "guitar" was the Renaissance guitar. Not much bigger that a baritone ukulele, it had four courses (double strings, except for the top string, which was single). The serious musicians of the day played the lute, any of a number of different viols, or the virginal, which was a precursor to the harpsichord, and they looked down on the Renaissance guitar as "an instrument for young ladies and servant girls to strum on."

Not unlike the way the ukulele is generally regarded today.

Back in the Fifties, at the University of Washington, while loafing in the student union building lounge between classes, I heard a young guy who said he was from Hawaii entertaining a small group of friends by playing a uke. He didn't strum, he played it "finger-style," like classic guitar, and he was getting some real music out of that little thing.

A real eye—or ear—opener!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 10:58 PM

A curse on ukelele players! They are trying to take ove4 the world.


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Subject: Kala CE Ukulele
From: wysiwyg
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 10:10 PM

I'm with Uke and Julian's upthread remarks.

I saw a midsized uke pkayed at a song circle and its owner answered a lot of folks' questions while I drooled at the size and portability my dear tabletop autoharp cannot provide. I am very short and my arms are disproportionately very short. With an ample bazoom no way can I have fun with geetar and my fingertips have never been able to stand steel strings.... so today I fell for a nylon stringed, mahogany beauty: Kala CE Concert-Sized with pickup and onboard tuner. Thanks Hardi! No autoharp stand!!!

~S~



Kala KA-CE Concert Ukulele w/ Pickup


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: PHJim
Date: 05 Apr 13 - 08:52 PM

Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer have done a great deal for the ukulele's resurgence.

Snowdrop on clawhammer uke   Dark Eyes Hot Club style uke


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Lavengro
Date: 05 Apr 13 - 02:53 PM

This is as real as it gets! Love these guys. A little drunk, and a little brilliant.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kBPHeJiMXo


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 05 Apr 13 - 11:22 AM

Here's one thing that ukes can do. They can play almost every chord that a guitarist uses.
They are capable of sophisticated harmonies. You can play jazz chords on them.

In the hands of a great artist, almost any instrument can be "real" and effective.

They are wonderful as voice accompaniment. They were very popular in the States in the Twenties because they could reproduce the popular music of the day as did the tenor banjo.
They were portable........and they sound great on the beach.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Johnny J
Date: 05 Apr 13 - 05:18 AM

Oops, please note I meant to say *campanella*. Too early in the morning!


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Johnny J
Date: 05 Apr 13 - 05:16 AM

Yes, it's a real instrument but there aren't many *real players*.

However, the instrument does have a lot of scope and possibilities and is much more challenging than it first appears if you want to get beyond the "three chord" tricks.

Even for accompaniment, some of the rhythms can be quite complicated... more so than I would normally do on guitar.... but, while occasionally effective, don't always suit the songs or tunes IMHO. That's a matter of taste though.

I've also been learning "melodies" and "tunes" (Call them the same thing if you wish but I would differentiate. If you are used to playing guitar, this isn't too difficult but if you are a fidler or mandolin player you have to take into account the interval differences. However, even then, you are half way there.

I DO find interpreting other musicians' arrangements a little more challenging at times especially when it comes to the use of tablature versus written music or a combination of both.
It is possible, as you will know, to play the same notes at various different positions on a guitar, ukelele, and even to a certain extent on fiddle although most trad tunes tend to be played in the first position.
So, how I would play a tune myself by ear or from the standard dots is not necessarily the same as the arranger has shown on the tablature. There are many possibilities and the high "G" string is often used to produce a "Campanale" effect. So, there's a lot of string crossing involved when it would often be easier or more natural just to remain on the "E" string but play the "G" on the third fret.

However, no doubt I'll get used to it if I want to become a "real" player.
:-)


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 04 Apr 13 - 08:37 PM

" It's hard to tell when you see someone with a ukelele, whether they're really playing it, of just fooling around.' Will Rogers

I'll drink to that.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Apr 13 - 08:13 PM

There's an instrument out there that bears a serious look. It's the size of a tenor ukulele, but it has six strings, like a guitar. It's tuned up a fourth from a guitar (like a guitar with a capo on the fifth fret), and it goes by the name of "guitalele" (preferred) or "guitarlele." It's sort of a hybrid.

As to whether one can play serious music on one, give these a listen:

Lute piece by John Dowland .

Lagrima, by Tarrega (I play this one on the classic guitar).

O'Carolan's Receipt. Sounds almost like a lap harp.

The Yamaha GL-1 guitalele is a very nice instrument, well made, and they sell for about $100.00. I have a friend who owns one and she gets a lot of music out of it. I would have one myself, except that my bratwurst-sized fingers find the fingerboard a bit cramped. My fault, not the instrument's. Nancy has no problem with hers.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: PHJim
Date: 04 Apr 13 - 07:07 PM

There is some good info, but also some misleading info in this thread. The most common tuning for soprano, concert and tenor ukes is gCEA. I like this re-entrant tuning for chording. Often players will employ a "low G" tuning which is GCEA, like the top four strings of a guitar, capoed at the fifth fret. If you play a lot of single string melody, this might be a good tuning for you.
Some folks like to tune their ukes, especially sopranos, a full step higher to aDF#B and some instruction books are written for this tuning.
An 1950s entertainer named Arthur Godfrey popularised the baritone ukulele, which is a larger uke, tuned like the top four strings of a guitar DGBE, sometimes called "Chicago tuning".

I notice that this thread was started 12 years ago, right near the beginning of the current Ukulele revival, so much of this information might be old hat to most Mudcatters.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 07:23 PM

I know people who think a 'Penny Whistle' is not a 'Real' instrument -
Doesnt stop me playing a whistle in three or four keys , playing light classics and jazz as well as folk , and having fun jamming with other very good musicians . AND Confusing Vin Garbutt by playing Scot Joplin's 'The Entertainer' in C and F all the way through .


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Ebbie
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 03:41 PM

A friend of mine came back recently from a Hawaii vacation with an 'ookie'. He now has a second one and has fallen in love with them. He is a talented mandolin player but he now divides his time between them.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 02:29 PM

On the question of the 4th string being tuned an octave higher than one would normally expect:

This is what is called "re-entrant tuning." Some Renaissance and Baroque guitars were tuned this way (the young lady playing the Baroque guitar is a Seattle girl, by the way).

The Renaissance guitar was the first instrument to be called a "guitar." Not a "kithara," "gittern," or other variation of the word. Both instruments are strung in what they called "courses." Doubled strings, like a 12-string guitar, but with the top string (i.e., the highest in pitch) was single, and called the "Chantarelle." The lower pairs of strings were sometimes tuned in unison, sometimes in octaves. And sometimes they were tuned an octave up, like the fourth string of a ukulele.

The Renaissance guitar has four courses and is tuned like the top four strings of a modern guitar (with the possible octave variations as mentioned), and the Baroque guitar has five courses, like the top five strings of a modern guitar (also with octave variations).

As I said, this is called "re-entrant tuning."

I'd love to get my sweaty little hands on a Baroque guitar, but a well-made replica is pretty pricey.

Whether a ukulele is a toy or a musical instrument depends on who happens to be playing it. It has the potential of being a serious musical instrument.

After all, a violin has only four strings.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 01:27 PM

I have recently been reminded that I saw Jerry Jeff Walker (Of Mr Bojangles fame) on Beeb TV playing Bottle Neck blues on a Uke !!


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Melissa
Date: 03 Jul 12 - 12:43 PM

Ukuleles are definitely a 'real' instrument. I hate it when people say that they are just a toy...
I do play one, and have for five years.
I do not know why the uke is tuned so strangely, but it just makes it even cooler!
And last but not least, yes, you should get one. Ukuleles are the most amazing instruments I have come across so far, and the sound in so unique. I am from Hawaii, so ukuleles are part of our culture in a way.
-Melissa


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: harpmolly
Date: 05 Sep 05 - 11:19 PM

Having heard my brother play some kickass riffs on the ukulele, I'd have to say yes.

Also, a few weeks ago I witnessed Eddie Vedder purchasing one. Which he said he was buying for Bruce Springsteen. I kid you not. Now that's something you only see once in a lifetime. *big grin*

Molly


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 05 Sep 05 - 10:37 AM

But P.D.Q. Bach NEVER played the uke, alas!


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: GUEST,Fogie
Date: 05 Sep 05 - 10:34 AM

It's a well hidden fact that Corelli, Beethoven, Degas,and Picasso all used to play ukuleles and in fact they all gigged together in Prague but it was just before recording came about and NOTHING remains of their efforts.They used to strum till the landlord threw them out -then they would trash the beer-garden. They refused to let Freud join in because of his theory about negative compensatory psychology- he couldnt decide whether to play a micro-uke or a contrabass !I'm sure this is only the tip of the supressed history of this all-encompassing instrument, development of which led to the four string harp, the foot-organ, and Rolf Harris' electric therumin thing. I'm thinking of writing a thesis on it. Any contributions would be most welcome.


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: GUEST,Dazbo
Date: 05 Sep 05 - 06:03 AM

Right, that's it I'm off to get one!


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: Peace
Date: 05 Sep 05 - 03:00 AM

I think this fellow would say yes to the thread title.


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 05 Sep 05 - 02:54 AM

The question should be: Are ukuleles real instruments? or is the ukulele a real instrument?

Physically:
1. You can see them, you can touch them, you can play them: They are real and not virtual.

Technically:
2. Instrument is a foreign word for tool. You can use it for batting back tomatoes, eggs, and foul vegetables - even cricket balls (but only once in most cases). And you can produce more or less harmonic sounds. Yes, as a tool it is also an instrument.


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Sep 05 - 11:36 PM

Your Rigger friend passed a major truth about the uke-is derived from a similar Portuguese instrument called the braguinha, a favored instrument of Portuguese mariners, who carried this instrument with them, versions of it are found where ever they went--


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: GUEST,Barry Finn, keeping company at wife's office
Date: 04 Sep 05 - 05:05 PM

I'm told by an old cape horner(George Herbet, known as the "Rigger from W. Geelong", RIP)that it's also an instrument well worth taking to sea for long voyages. He sang & played a uke (alto,?) & a concertina. He never mentioned having problems with the uke but the concertine he'd have to dry out when nearing the tropics. He started out in the Baltic trades around 1913/14 at the age of 12 or 13. So I don't know when he I don't know when he became a cape or when he strarted playing any instruments. He played pretty nice music on both.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: Little Robyn
Date: 04 Sep 05 - 01:07 AM

In answer to your question:
Why is the top string (vertically speaking) tuned to a higher pitch than the two below it?
One answer could be that if you tried to tune the first string an octave lower, you'd have to use a thicker string that would be too heavy for the little instrument.
I used to have a tenor uke 40 years ago, about the size of a children's guitar, and it was strung and tuned like the top 4 strings of a guitar - ie, the first string was a deeper one and it had a lovely sound. You could just use guitar chords but it was easier to play than a guitar. I wish I still had it but I think it was left at a school I was teaching at.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts
Date: 03 Sep 05 - 10:21 PM

Of course the ukulele's a real instrument! Our beloved Prime Minister plays it -- it must be!! More to the point, anyone who's heard George Formby Jnr in one of his astonishing breaks must know that it's real.
Steve Parkes and I once dreamed up the idea of creating an enormous orchestra of the 'little' instruments --- ukeleles, banjoleles, ukelele-banjos, mandolins, kazoos, mouth harps, thumb pianos etc --- and recording the '1812 Overture' with them. I think what ended the idea was a failure to decide whether to use pop-guns or cap pistols for the cannon in the finale. Still --- if anyone wants the idea, I'd love to hear the result!


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Sep 05 - 02:11 PM

Yeah, I can see why. They're small and easy to pack around, they're handy, they're easy to play simply, and they can also offer a challenge to someone who sees the serious music that is potentially in that little box if they can develop the skill to get at it.

I've been thinking about getting one. Keep it within arm's reach.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukelele's a real instrument
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 03 Sep 05 - 11:45 AM

I was in my local bookshop, yesterday, and some youth shambled in, holding a very tiny guitar-shaped case, and asked if they had "any uke books". The lady behind the counter said that she didn't have any in stock but she could check on the computer and order one for him. He muttered something and shambled out again. This encounter then initiated a conversation, in the shop, in which I learned that ukeleles are back in fashion again - well I never!!!


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