Sunday, 23 November 2014

My Ukulele; My New Best Friend.

I have been playing guitar, on and off, for over 50 years. Some of you may have noticed that I have a thing about Hank Marvin and The Shadows. However I have never really settled down to learning how to play it seriously. I have learnt a few tunes from The Shads repetoire and two years ago I actually played live to backing tracks, in front of an audience at a Shadows Fan Club Meeting. Since then I have hardly done anything with my guitars (yes of course I have more than one!).

I have mostly used it as an accompaniment to my voice, often singing my own songs; but never in public. A few parties, perhaps but only after imbibing a little dutch courage. I did collaborate in my middle-age with song-writers but very little ever came of  these projects.

All in all, a failure to rise to the occasion as a musician.

Then a couple of years ago, I saw Joe Brown in concert and was captivated by songs he performed with a ukulele, especially See You In my Dreams which he performed when closing the Concert For George. A memorial concert for George Harrison. It gave me an itch, and the itch festered until I saw some very cheap ukuleles advertised at Lidl, of all places. I nearly bought one but it was near Christmas and I was told not to bother (well of course, I guessed why). I was overwhelmed however when I opened a present from my son who had bought me an expensive Stagg instrument. I didn't expect it but he has never been one to hold off spending money to buy the right thing, whatever it was.

It did take me a while to feel happy with the new instrument, for a number of reasons, but this month I joined a ukulele group. Basically, the objective of the group is to have a few pints, and enjoy ourselves singing/strumming to the songs we enjoyed in our youth. I have really taken time over the past couple of weeks to get to know my uke. I have restrung it with better strings, played far more songs in more and more difficult keys, and I am getting to feel really comfortable with it. I have even considered adding another uke to give me more flexibility.

I have really enjoyed the group evenings and in talking to the guy who started it, it is possible that it could be taken quite far if things go well. I am excited at the prospects we discussed.

Finally, an example from The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain of what can be achieved with this instrument.


Hope to have more information on this new musical direction in the near future. And, well, my new best friend is happy too, I think.