Monday, 16 March 2015

My New Ukulele - A Gretsch

For several months I have managed with only one ukulele, not so difficult but with hundreds of models out there for the taking, I finally succumbed to UAS (ukulele aquisition syndrome). Of course real sufferers will have collections of many more than this running into more than a hundred; if the posts on the internet are to be believed.

Now why? Exactly the question I was asked by my long-suffering spouse. You already have one, why do you need another?

Why does anybody need more than one handbag or pair of shoes ..... enough said, I think.

My first was a Stagg, a concert UC70-S model to be precise. Although I have read many reviews of this brand, I have not seen any for this specific model. It is a british retailer selling instruments manufactured in China.
However, having put Aquila strings on the uke, I believe it actually sounds great. It is not an entry level uke and is not cheap! I can only think the reviews relate to the basic, and cheap models. For me it gives a very mellow sound and one I can easily live with. It keeps its tune, once the strings have settled down, is well set-up and I enjoy playing it.

The only drawback for me was that I had problems with one or two chords because of the size of my fingers.

When I found myself in a music shop last week, I asked if they had a tenor ukulele (which is slightly bigger than a concert ukulele); the shop assistant pointed to an instrument high on the opposite wall inviting me to take it down and play it. Well, I couldn't refuse - could I? It turned out to be a Gretsch G1920. Once I had made a small adjustment to the tuning and started to play, I just had to have it. Yes the very minor increase in the width of the fret board, was exactly what I needed to be able to play those pesky chords. It was more expensive that I had hoped to pay but it had a great sound. Brighter than the Stagg and louder of course, being larger but it also had a domed back to increase the volume. It already had a set of the Aquila strings so no extra cost there.

I thought about it, played it a while longer, and before I knew where I was - I had paid the asking price and taken it with me.

I was on the road to being a UAS sufferer.