Archive for June, 2012

New uke day tomorrow!

Posted: June 28, 2012 in Performances, Reviews, Ukulele

Just had a call from Rachel at Eagle Music Shop here in the UK that she has shipped my new Koloa KU-650 baritone uke out today.  Can’t wait to get my hands on it.  I’ll be stringing it up with a set of Ken Middleton’s new High D Living water strings after having seen his lovely ‘noodling’ vid on UU forum – check it out here:


I’ll be putting up a review of my new uke in a little while………


My new JJB pickup is now installed in my Hamano tenor and it sounds awesome.  I can’t recommend these pickups enough and Jessie’s service is second to none.  Take my advice, don’t even consider an under-saddle pickup before you try one of these babies.  You can find full details on JJB Electronics’ website.

Before anyone asks, I paid for the two pickups I have purchased from JJB and my comments are based solely on my experience of the product and the service from JJB!

Installation was an absolute cinch as I asked Jessie to provide me with a pickup with a short lead, terminating in a 2.5mm jackplug.  I ran this into an endpin jack that had a 2.5mm socket to take the lead from the pickup.  It really was almost plug and play and no soldering was necessary.  I think the whole operation took about 30 minutes.

I was going to describe the process in detail but as we all know “a picture paints a thousand words” and a vid is just plain awesome.  Check this out…


I used double sided tape and the pickup is still there after 3 weeks so we will see how it goes.  Incidentally don’t go and buy a special luthier’s endpin jack reamer (you know who sells them for $69.95!).  Here in the UK I bought a 1/2″ step drill from fleabay for £5.00 that did the job perfectly.

Check out the Marlow Uke Group website.  Brian started this group in February of this year and up to 40 members regularly attend on alternate Monday nights.  Unfortunately Monday night has been difficult for me of late because of work commitments but I’m looking forward to getting to a meeting soon.

Brian has done an amazing job on the website and in my opinion it’s one of the best sites around for information for beginners.  As well as the really well produced songbooks, Brian has put a wealth of help on the site from chord diagrams to strumming patterns – only recently he has added a brilliantly clear section on finger-picking including a couple of really useful ‘Travis’ patterns.

Well done Brian for bringing so much pleasure to a lot of people and thanks for all your hard work on the website!

Another great evening was had by all present and we even got some applause from the main bar. Yep we knocked out a few of the old favourites again but what makes this session so special is that Martin takes every opportunity to introduce us to those little techniques and chord embellishments that can transform the mundane to something much more interesting and entertaining. Yesterday we were all ‘pushing’ chords like mad and its amazing how such a simple technique can make your playing sound so much more ‘Formbyish’.

The other great thing about this session is that Martin’s mate, Sparky, from their terrific blue grass band Papa Truck is generally around to add his unique vocal style to the proceedings. Ever heard ‘I’m a believer’ sung in cod-opera style?

Check out Papa Truck at or on YouTube