Thursday, May 7, 2009

Where no Collings (uke) has gone before...

...At least that what I think. This week I'm in Taiwan visiting some family and decided to bring the new Collings ukulele with me during the short trip. The picture you see is the Collings uke with Taipei 101 in the background. Taipei 101 was the tallest structure in the world when it was built (I'm not sure if that's still the case) and some serious engineering needed to be done on it since Taiwan is in an active earthquake zone.

The ukulele is pretty much an unknown instrument in Taiwan. I don't even know what its name in Chinese is (or if it even has a Chinese name). I know there are some ghetto (i.e. bad quality) inlaid ukes being sold on ebay that are made in Taiwan, but I'm willing to bet that 10 out of 10 people you run into on the streets couldn't tell you what a ukulele is around here. Being introduced into the market very recently, I'm guessing this is the only Collings ukulele that has ever set..(foot? heel? butt?)...onto Taiwan. But then again, stranger things has happened, so maybe, maybe not.

Having spent a little more time with the Collings UC-1 now, I'm continued to be impressed with it. I've had to adjust to the narrower nut width (I prefer 1.5", Collings is 1-3/8") and the 12-fret joined neck (only other 12-fret join ukes I have are sopranos), but the sound is excellent. I love loud ukes and this one definitely has that covered. It also offers very nice feel and vibration feedback that is similar to some of the custom ukes I have. I've been spoiled by the as-low-as possible action on the William King concert and Kepasa Gypsy Rose, so the Collings doesn't feel quite as low as it probably is. But it's still very easy to play and I have not encountered any action related difficulties with it so far. All in all, I'm still very happy with it and it makes a hell of a travel uke.


Jonathan Fung said...

Actually there is a word for it: "烏克麗麗" phonetically. :)

Uke4all said...

Nice Pic! Have fun in Taiwan!!

bobtw said...

check out David Chen and the Muddy Basin Ramblers if your around long enough, they play a resonator Uke, as to I in my band down here in Taichung WaySoon.

Nice collection by the way.

GX9901 said...

Cool, bobtw! Unfortunately I will not be able to go to Taichung this time. So there are bands in Taiwan with ukes huh? Very nice!

GX9901 said...

Jon: Yar! 烏克麗麗? Not sure I'm a fan of that translation. :p

I did find another one online: 夏威夷四弦琴.

Anonymous said...

Aloha from Hilo,Hawaii. I own/play several ukes. I am abou tto complete my first ukulele- koa concert w/cocobolo fretboard. I will be building a superconcert next. You have an awesome collection. If you ever come across a Legend brand ukulele from Hilo..pick it

HaileISela said...

hawaian violin is nice^^ what about this: 跳躍的蚤? (I have no idea of chinese, no idea how to pronounce that...)

Which uke should I bring on my next trip to Oahu???

What's the maximum you'd spend on a ukulele case for your best uke?

If you could steal one of my ukes, which one would it be???

How curly do you like your koa? (preferably on a uke)

What's the maximum number of ukes a perfectly sane person should have???

Poll: How often do you play the ukulele???

Poll: Which guitar company's approach to ukes do you prefer???

Poll: What's your favorite type of headstock???

Poll: The new basic Collings concert uke (UC-1) sells for about $1k, your reaction is: