Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cowboy is very busy???

This post isn't going to make much sense unless you're either Taiwanese/Chinese or if you are a fan of Jay Chou (周杰倫, the guy who played Cato in the recent Green Hornet movie).

So I was watching some videos on Youtube a couple of nights ago trying to re-learn Ukulolo (still one of my all time favorite uke arrangements), and some of the related videos were made by some people from Taiwan.  So after clicking around some links, I arrived at this instrumental cover of 牛仔很忙, which literally translates to Cowboy Is Very Busy.  I've heard this song many times before, and while I wouldn't come close to counting it as one of my favorite songs, it's so campy and weird it's actually kind of catchy.

So I set out to learn that instrumental version and it turned out to be pretty simple.  Of course, it would take more than a few days to get smooth playing anything, but I tried taking a video of it anyway.  My daughters were near by and decided to join in on the fun by doing silly dances and monkeying around while I played, so I decided to just upload one of  these videos.  The cover is basically just messing around with the ukulele, so I guess a ghetto version is appropriate.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hey Jude

A few years ago I came across an instrumental cover of the Beatles' Hey Jude by WS64 on Youtube.  I thought it was a great arrangement and later found that someone had tabbed it on the Ukulele Underground forum.  The tabs were not totally complete, but there was enough to help me learn this arrangement.  So I've been playing this on and off for a couple of years now.  It's pretty easy and fun to play, and although I stopped playing it for a while, I recently started playing it again and it came back to me pretty quickly.  I've been meaning to record a video of this song, but haven't really tried to find time to do it until now.

I decided to play it on the Leolani super-soprano I have laying around the couch lately.  This ukulele was the very first ukulele I bought during a trip to Honolulu at the Aloha Stadium flea market.  I probably overpaid for it at $125, and it is the one responsible for starting the UAS madness for me.  I had loaned it out to someone for a couple of years, and last year it was returned to me.  Playing around it over the last couple of months, I was surprised by how nice it sounded to me.  Even when I was an inexperienced beginner, I found other ukes such as a Flea I once owned to be better sounding.  But today, for some reason, this Leolani is actually holding its own even against the solid wood ukes I own.  The fact that it's a laminated ukulele means I can just leave it out all the time, so it's very handy.  I'm glad it has returned to my possession after a couple of years away.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bring Your What???

Your Adz, that is.  So I have no idea what Adz means and I'm too lazy to google it, but I managed to learn a reasonable facsimile of this song from Jake Shimabukuro's "Peace Love Ukulele" album a few months ago.  The video was recorded a couple of months ago, but I haven't had time (read: lazy) to post it until now.  I'm pretty sure I played the main riff incorrectly, but I haven't tried to learn the correct way.  In fact, I don't think I can play this song all the way through right now because I haven't played it at all lately.  Maybe I should try to re-learn it at a later date.  Perhaps wait until Jake's "Peace Love Ukulele" tab book is released! (I just learned about this tab book today.  Too bad it won't have Blue Roses Falling in it.  I get many messages via Youtube asking for Blue Roses Falling for some reason)

Anyway, here's the video.  I think I've reached my ceiling as an ukulele player as I don't feel like I've improved in the last year or so.  That's OK though.  Considering I'm playing stuff now that I never dreamed that I would be able to play when I started playing the ukulele, I'm happy just being a hack!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! (2012)

Aloha!  And happy 2012!

Holy buckets!  I can't believe it's been almost half a year since I've posted on this blog.  If you've been reading this blog, you probably figured that I've moved on from ukuleles.  After all, not only have I not written any posts here in a long time, I've also not been active at all on the ukulele forums.  But, while it's true that my online ukulele presence (ha, I said presence...) have been minimal, I've been playing my ukuleles as much as ever.  So why have I not been updating this blog or visiting uke forums very much?  Basically there are a couple of reasons.  First reason is that I have 3 kids that are now 1.5, 4, and 6 years old.  Those of you out there with kids might be able to relate.  I have to say my kids are actually very well behaving for the most part, but because of my wife's work schedule, I have to take care of the kids by myself quite a bit, so it seems like I never feel the motivation to type these posts when I get some free time.  Also, as a byproduct of this, I don't seem to have time to record one of my ghetto videos to post here (although I do have one recorded a few months ago that I haven't had a chance to upload).

The second reason is that I've basically been UAS-free.  Since this has kind of been a blog about my UAS advantures, this means I don't have a lot of content I can post.  The last ukulele I bought was the Les Paul, but that was pretty much just for shiznits and giggles.  The last real ukulele I bought was the Mya-Moe.  While that ukulele was received in April, I ordered it in 2010, so I think that qualifies me to the no-new-real-uke purchase club for 2011 right???  Anyway, I really have been satisfied with the ukes I own now, and hopefully it stays that way.  I mean, why would anyone need 15 ukuleles???

So, what does the future hold for the ukulele ghetto?  I'm not sure.  I do want to keep it going, and while I don't have a heck of a lot to post about, I have been dragging my feet on a post about Eddie Vedder's ukulele album (pretty old news now), and besides the one ghetto video I have recorded, I could probably do another one or two now.  I guess we'll see if I can get around to it.

Now for some ukulele related new year resolutions:

1. I'd like to learn a few new songs to play.  I'm playing the ukulele pretty much everyday right now, but I mostly cycle through stuff that I've already learned.  The songs I play the most now are Kalei Gamiao's "Shore Break", "Bohemian Rhapsody", and WS64's version of "Hey Jude".  I'm not sure what new songs I'd like to learn, but hopefully I get motivated to learn some new ones real soon.

2. Continue to be UAS-free.  This has been pretty easy, as I've been happy playing the ukes I have and haven't looked at ukes online for a while now.  I do have a potential temptation in the form of a trip to Hawaii this year, but I do plan to bring the Glyph with me, so hopefully that takes care of my ukulele playing needs on the trip.  Still, when you are in ukulele paradise, it's hard not to think about getting another one.

3. Play more of my ukes.  Right now I rotate through my concerts pretty good.  The King LS-concert and Glyph gets the lion's share of playing time, but the Mya-Moe is also getting some decent playing time.  My tenors have not been played a heck of a lot though, and I plan to make it a point to play them more.

Anyway, I have no idea what I'll be posting on this blog down the road.  Hopefully I find some energy to devote to this blog and post more.  But whether or not I do, I hope you guys who stumble upon this blog continue to enjoy playing the ukulele.  Ukulele is in my blood now, whether you see me much online or not, I'll always be strumming.

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: