Why the extra bits and pieces make all the difference...
This entry was posted on August 8, 2014.
When customers aren't complimenting us on being polite, well mannered and devilishly handsome in an understated way, we often get asked the same questions by a number of prospective players buying their first ukulele. I thought I would take a moment today to answer one of them;
'What else do I need?' Who asked that?!?!
Great question, let me answer it for you now. Once you have decided which ukulele to start your journey with I would first and foremost budget an extra £10-15 on which tuner to buy to go with it. Many people can tune by ear and that is to be encouraged but for when you take the ukulele out of the box for the first time or indeed the first hundred times, you won't be expected by anybody to be able to tune it up quickly and or without help. The cheapest option is to buy a pitchpipe. We do a small and discreet pitch pipe by Mahalo that will do the job although you might feel a bit of a lemon blowing into the little plastic tubes around company and although I personally don't believe anybody is completely tone deaf, this may prove to be a little bit distracting and if you are buying the ukulele as a gift for a younger player, the pitch pipes become a glorified Kazoo and divert attention away from the ukulele. The youth of today eh?
A few companies make an electronic tuner under £10. We do one by Korg that at £8.99 does its job but isn't fully chromatic. In laymans terms that means that if you are not already nearly in tune, it is harder to find the right notes to tune the instrument. My favourite tuner is the Snark SN6 which outperforms its price at £11.99. This tuner is fully chromatic, has a clear bright display and looks like it may have been made by the Daleks. As you can probably guess, I have this tuner. The other tuner we do is the upgraded version of the Snark, the SN2. This tuner has all of the features of the SN2 but can tune any instrument, I even saw a video of a Piano tuner using one which shows you how broad the range of notes this tuner can handle. It also has a little heartbeart style metronome which is a pretty neat tool to help you keep rhythm and time. It's only £16.99 as well. Bargain. 'So, we've got a tuner... What now?' If you are completely new to the ukulele I would invest £6 in a chord dictionary. It may seem obvious but fear not if it doesn't. When you play a series of notes together in a strumming or picking motion, the series of notes you are fretting is known as a chord. When you are pretending to be George Formby, Phil Doleman, Ben Rouse or James Hill you will probably want to know a few chords. A chord dictionary will be as useful as anything in that respect. 'What other cool stuff can I get?' I love this question because although the sensible answer is a case, I will let you decide what case or bag you want.
In the modern world, everybody has a million pound idea that may or may not be a necessity but is a real bit of fun. We have a plenty of functional and quirky accessories on the site. Here are a couple to whet your appetite. What is a Capo? - A capo is a device that is used to change the pitch your instrument is tuned to. We do lots of Capo's but if you are just a bit curious go for either the TGI or Kinsman options below. Lightweight, functional and under £10. The Rhythmring/Toe Tapper - This is a great tool to help develop better timing and rhythm and in ensembles sound excellent. The rhythmring is a tiny egg shaker that fits around your ring finger on your right hand and makes you sound like you have a tiny samba percussionist accompanying you. We have also just started doing the toe tapper that accents the rhythm with a tiny shaker on your shoe. Music/Mic stand clamp - We do a couple of different ukulele hangers that attach to a mic stand or surface. The pub prop is the ultimate gift for the man or woman that has everything and the Kinsman stand will offer you somewhere to rest your ukulele on stage without putting it on the floor. I hope that this has been somewhat insightful. Never be embarassed or hesitate to call us instore with questions. We are here to help! Until next time. Alex