Friday, March 15, 2013

Luthiers are fascinating people!

Pretty sure it's somewhere in this wonderful video interviewing luthier Rick Turner that he comments on finding Apple Macintosh computer as a tool.. I'll have to watch it again and note the minute mark.

Chock full of so much wonderful history about guitars, ukes and luthiers!

Entitled to an opinion, but so sadly misinformed... the wonders of the ukulele

What a shame that people choose to voice opinion based on little experience and less fact. Perhaps he's just out to be inflammatory and I shouldn't even bring attention to him (to all 5? of my readers ;).

I mean, he does start his posts with "Grumpy Young Man", after all. But, since it's not possible to leave comments on his post (at least for me is wasn't), I thought I'd just go ahead and say here what I would have left in a comment.

"You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but are sadly misinformed and should back up your lambasting with some actual facts. Please do some research before you bash something you appear to be barely familiar with."

Grumpy Young Man: Keep the ukulele inside the classroom - Columnists - Views & Blogs from @examiner

The ukulele was indeed created in Hawaii, by Portuguese luthiers who adapted their native instruments to this new form. It is based on their reworking of the machete, a small guitar-like instrument similar to the cavaquinho, braguinha and the rajao.

And if this sounds like a child's toy... Mr. Himelfield must be around some pretty astounding children:

Perhaps Mr. Himelfield is familiar with a guitarist named Carlos Santana?

Mr. Himelfield states: "It has all the resonance of an asthmatic flea blowing into a pillow and the clarity of a secret service document with all the verbs redacted."

Mr. Santana seems to be enjoying some pretty resonant, clear and well played ukulele in the clip above!  Brittni Paiva is but one of the amazing young uke players out there these days.

Is it easier to learn to play than guitar? Ohhhh yes. There are two less strings to deal with. Is it any less valid as a musical instrument? NO WAY. Sorry, Mr. Himelfield is fond of quotation marks... the "uke" is as much an "instrument" as a "guitar" or "violin" or... pick your widely accepted orchestral "instrument" or band "instrument".

Because you can't stand egotistical bass players who ALSO get to use just 4 strings, don't lay that baggage on a wonderful, full sounding, versatile instrument like the "uke" because it also has "just 4 strings".

And here are some ideas just what techniques and sounds you can get out of these supposed "toys" (warning - it's a full fledged lesson video - 24+ min):

Jake Shimabukuro's uke isn't resonant at all, is it? :P

Did I say it was easier than guitar? Well, it is easier to learn for many... it may not be quite so easy to aspire to the level of the Jake Shimabukuros, James Hills or Brittni Paivas of of the world.

Sorry you were subjected to the horrors of attempting to play a plastic recorder in school (my son went through that in elementary school as well). There are far better instruments for teaching music to young children, but schools are pretty limited on just about ANY funding for the arts (much to our cultural shame).

I have no problem with people not liking a certain instrument, it's sound, the type of music it may be used to create. That's no reason to malign and debase it as a valid musical instrument.

There are indeed horrible sounding plastic ukes... that is a fact. Not all ukes out in the world are plastic. Expand your horizons a bit Mr. Himelfield and perhaps strive to write informed and informative columns in the future. Ah, but then maybe you'd be less grumpy and have to change that header for your diatribes.