Not sure what to get this holiday season for the ‘ukulele player in your life? Here are some great things I’ve run across this year (or continue to find useful) to consider wrapping up with a bow.
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This album puts Jake back on the radar, in my opinion. He flew to Nashville and spent time recording with two great studio musicians (drums and bass), creating the songs and sounds on the fly. What they created is very spontaneous and raw. Shimabukuro experiments with odd time signatures and new musical textures on this album truly using his ‘ukulele to its full potential for another journey into the unknown.
Many years in a row these ear-savers have made the gift guide! I take them for granted. They are always in my case and in my pocket for almost every concert I go to. There is no excuse not to protect your ears! Get a pair and wear them. They do a pretty good job at preserving a flat frequency response and will keep a loud band practice going for many hours!
By yours truly for the intermediate and advanced ‘ukulele player who wants a better, more comprehensive knowledge of the fingerboard and how chords dance upon it, ‘Ukulele Chord Shapes is a perfect resource. It includes 173 chord shapes and detailed instruction on how to move them into place to get over 2000 individual chords.
While I’m a devout Worth guy, when I needed some light gauge strings to tune one of my ‘ukuleles up to D6, I tried some Southcoast Strings. Each set has some very useful visuals on scale length and tension included with it on the site. This helped me pick out a LL-NW set that is perfect for my Kamaka HF-3 in D6. The strings are bright, chime-y and well balanced.
With all of the options Southcoast offers, it should be easy to find a set for a player that might want to try a D6 or even a Bb6 tuning for some new sounds.
Full disclosure: I’ve worked for James as a site admin for years, so I’m a bit biased. But I have yet to see anything that comes close to rivaling his precision and knowledge in an end-to-end ‘ukulele course. The Ukulele Way is geared towards the lone ‘ukulele player who strives to play full-fledged solo arrangements. It starts with the semi-basics in book 1 and works up through some seriously complex and stylistic stuff in book 6.
Plus, I can personally guarantee you friendly and helpful support if you have technical questions or trouble!
I don’t have one of these, but consider this an item on MY wish list this year! My experience with Zoom in the past has been very pleasant and I’ve heard nothing but good about their recorders. Combine that with the power and ease of recording on an iOS device and it’s a winning combo. I often like to make videos on my iPod since it’s easy and the video is great, but the sound is a bit lacking. With one of these I could be the new Hollywood!
This is the new case on the block, but from what I can tell it will soon be the next standard ‘ukulele case. Plush red velvet on the inside, nicely fitted black leather on the outside of the fiberglass shell with red stitches. It’s beautiful. It’s also functional. The handle and latches are very sturdy and D-rings plus the included backpack straps allow you to go hands-free in a very comfy way.
This little amp has been on the market for some years now, but I’ve only recently come to appreciate its value. For the money, this is one of the best plugged-in sounds you’ll get for an ‘ukulele. It has two channels – one for your instrument and one for a microphone, plus built in chorus and reverb effects that sound great.
Material things are just material things. The greater gift is human connection, which is what music does best. For me, a song is the most special gift somebody could give. And songs are free for the taking. Just reach out and grab it! (Then remember to write it down so you don’t forget how it goes!)