Remember to click G+1 if you like a post... It will make me happy :-)

31 December 2012

Maccaferri "Islander" Ukulele

This week I've been getting to know a gentleman by the name of Mike Simpson who hails from Sacramento, California. Mike has been collecting ukuleles for the last 30 years and has amassed a museum's worth of instruments. Little by little he's been revealing some of them on Google+. I've been in awe, marveling at the diverse range of instruments that he has in his possession... what a lucky man! There are some fantastic examples of all types of ukulele, but it is the plastic ones that I want to talk about today. Mike has very kindly allowed me to post some of his pictures here. Be sure to look him up on Google+ where you can find the original pictures and of course have a chat with the man himself!

The Maccaferri  "Islander" Ukulele - Patents Pending
Manufactured 1953-69?

28 December 2012

Happy Bloody New Year! (2012)

My blogging buddy Darren laid down the gauntlet for me to write an original New Year song this week. I've only gone and done it!

Yes... that's exactly what you think it is...

I didn't have any time for second takes or to add much in the way of layers. The music and lyrics came to me this morning and after a trip out to the take the kids swimming, I put it all together. Tada! Apart from the singing (which I never like), I'm pretty happy with it. You can hear one uke, one acoustic guitar, one electric guitar and a bass. Oh yeah... and don't forget that godawful singing! Ha ha...

Have a Happy Bloody New Year everybody! Be safe!

27 December 2012

King Uke on 2012

As 2012 draws to a close I think it only fitting that we celebrate some of the fantastic things that have happened over the past year at The Ukulele Blog. It's been a good year - I've enjoyed your company! Let's see if I can make any sense of it...

ACB Warriors

Milk & Alcohol (2012)

I warned you fairly recently that there might be a collaboration with Bug407 in the pipeline. For those with a short memory, Bug is the musician behind Don't Take Life 2 Serious.

I'm pleased to say that it has happened!

Milk & Alcohol - Bug, Slowpaw & King Uke

The tune we settled on is a cover of one of my favourite bands: Dr Feelgood. Watch Bug's fantastic video below to hear us ripping up the classic Milk and Alcohol...

26 December 2012

Old Lang Syne on the Clifton Ukulele

I made a post on my son's new ukulele yesterday and +Thiago Medeiros asked for a demo. Ever one to please, here's a video. Given that we're almost at the end of the year, I figured that I'd do a version of Old Lang Syne for you. It's the first time I've tried the webcam on my new laptop and to be honest, the sound is pretty poor. It's also the first time that I've tried to play this tune. :-D

J-Uke tried his Clifton uke out for size

25 December 2012

Clifton Soprano Ukulele

My son J-Uke was lucky enough to receive a ukulele for Christmas. It was a gift from his biker-Grandma... that and his TT Racing T-shirt. I'm sorry to say that he hasn't touched it... but I have ;-) Whilst he's busy with his new Star Wars droid set, I'm going to share a few photos with you. I'd better be quick!

Lidl's Clifton Ukulele Set

Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter

I saw a Slam Pickmaster in a shop in Launceston this summer and convinced myself that though incredibly cool, I could live without one. You see, I only use Jim Dunlop nylon plectrums. They don't break. Short of losing them, they will last me forever.

Look what I got for Christmas!

Pickmaster by Slam Designs

23 December 2012

Snow (2012)

In recent years I've started a Christmas tradition of writing and recording original Christmas songs. I surprise myself each year with the results. I'm onto my third year. In all cases, the songs are put together and laid down in a matter of hours... The first year's entry was started and finished on Christmas Eve!

Remember this guy?

This Christmas I thought that I might have left it too late; I've been so busy that I didn't think that I'd magic up the time. Even so, I sent a message to +Daniel Hulbert to see if he was up for a collaboration and I'm pleased to say that he was! I think that this was exactly what I needed to help me to get this in bag. Thank you Daniel you crazy talented ukulele-making machine! I really hope that we can create some more music together.

17 December 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - Beach Closed

I'd been hoping that I could get my Sharkfin Ukulele finished before Christmas, but it ain't gonna happen! Construction has officially stopped. I've tidied up my tools and packed them away. I've also tried to vac up all the sawdust... hope Mrs Uke doesn't look too closely at the carpet... :-s

Everybody out of the water!!!

This is the last update of 2012 on this subject....

16 December 2012

Party Time Inflatable Ukes

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to ensure that you've got your Christmas list in order. Need some ideas for that special someone in your life? Struggling to come up with the perfect idea for your Secret Santa? Have I got the thing for you!

Hawaiian Guitars? They look more
 like ukes to me..

Monsters (2010)

I'm on a bit of a South American kick this week. There is a lot going on in that neck of the woods. I don't usually jump about much in my film reviews, but there are a couple of things on my mind that I'd like to call out.

Air Strikes Continue in Mexico!
Monsters, Vertigo 2010

14 December 2012

Don't Take Life 2 Serious (2012)

Not long ago I joined Cigar Box Nation. For the uninitiated: CBN is a worldwide network of people who specialise in building their own musical instruments. As the name suggests, there’s a heavy focus on instruments made from old cigar boxes, but as I've discovered, there is actually a lot more going on than just this. It’s just as well really, because I haven’t actually built a cigar box uke myself!

When life gives you blind lemons... play, play the Blues...

To be honest, I still feel like a bit of an impostor, but in my defence: Daniel Hulbert said it would be okay to join. Would it help if I said that I am considering building a "KingBoxer?"

11 December 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - A Bridge too Far

I've moved indoors to try and finish off my Sharkfin Ukulele build. I don't think that Mrs Uke has realised. Please don't tell her... she'll have my guts for garters! I sneaked the workbench upstairs whilst she was out at her Wrestling classes. :-O

I will NEVER give in!!!!

7 December 2012

Who'd Win?

As if we needed reminding... Intolerance is alive and well and it lives on the Internet. People get a bee in their bonnets about the smallest of things and before you know it, everything's been escalated out of control and it's handbags at dawn. I usually keep a safe distance... usually... ;-)

Who'd Win... Zombies versus Vampires?

6 December 2012

100,000th Visitor

We're all a bit tearful here at the Ukulele Blog. Earlier today we welcomed our 100,000th visitor to the site. I've checked the records and the hit came in the early hours of the morning from a sleepy suburb of Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

I immediately hopped on a plane to congratulate the winner.

Imagine my surprise when none-other than Thiago Medeiros answered the door. We drank a little, talked about tanajura, and I awarded Thiago a Ukulele Blog custom "dead hand" ukulele! What a wonderful guy!

Thank you Thiago.

Here's to another 100,000 visits!

Thiago Medeiros accepts his prize!

4 December 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - Building Bridges

Hot on the heels of yesterday's update, I've been inspired to do a little more on my Sharkfin ukulele build. In case you're wondering about my bad back... it's feeling a bit better... it'll probably be fine by the time I have to return to work tomorrow :-(

Brown-trouser Time!

Dead Man (1995)

I can't remember who put me onto Dead Man. It was a recommendation from left field. I bought the DVD, but never got around to watching it... That was until today!

Practice makes perfect!
Dead Man, Miramax 1995

3 December 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - Strings

Today's update isn't meant to be happening. I should have been out and about with Ma and Bro, but a bad back has laid me low. I feel like crap. Still, with the benefit of pain killers, I managed a little bit of ukulele-building therapy...

Jawas Rock!

1 December 2012

Sin City Headhunters

In the same week that I learnt that my mum has joined a biker gang (yep, you heard me right!), I happened to be rifling through my hard disk and came across a few pictures that had me chuckling to myself. Some of these I've shared with you before. Some are brand new. Let's see if I can make sense of all this... There is a bit of a sync going on here...

Sin City Headhunters

25 November 2012

Enzo e il Cattivo Tempo

It seems that I'm fast becoming an ambassador for great Italian music. I recently hooked up with a gentleman by the name of Enzo Azzara who hails from Ragusa, Sicily. Enzo fronts a duo called Enzo e il Cattivo Tempo (Enzo and Bad Weather) with Peppe Mazzei. The band formed two years ago, but Enzo tells me that he and Peppe have been playing together for fifteen years. I must say... it shows.

"Never bring a moustache to a beard fight"
Here's a quick update on my contribution to movember with
expert adjudication by Enzo

24 November 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - Fitting the Frets (Take 2)

Time for another update on my Sharkfin Ukulele build. In my last post I was quite literally fretting over frets. I was tired and had foolishly rushed ahead with gay abandon. My head told me to take things slowly and make sure that I was getting things right. My heart told me to bang 'em in and thunder on. Unfortunately, my heart won out and things didn't go according to plan. I'm sure there is a lesson to be learnt here somewhere.

When you know it's wrong, but you do it anyway...
Photo courtesy of aintitcool

19 November 2012

The Electric Chair Podcast

Some of the more observant amongst you may have noticed that there are a few recurring themes that run through this blog of mine. One of them is zombies. Yep... the Living Dead. They can be sprinters, shamblers, dead, infected... it really doesn’t matter. Stick them in a bleak apocalyptic setting and I'm in my element. Dub it in Japanese, Spanish or Norwegian and I’ll buy you a pint. There really are no limits to how much shit I’ll wade through to find that little nugget of zombie goodness.

The Electric Chair Podcast

18 November 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - Bloody Frets!

It was too nice a day not to do a little bit more on my Sharkfin Ukulele build. Despite the troubles of yesterday, I was still on a high... Things seemed to be starting to take shape!

Burn baby, burn!

17 November 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - 3 is the magic number

I have a quick post for you.  Here's what I've been up to today with my Skarkfin Ukulele build. My last post talked about some shaping I was doing to the neck. Guess what? I picked up where I left off...

The 3 Morphs!

14 November 2012

Movember

I know it's the 14th of Movember... I did mean to do this post earlier, but I just couldn't find the time for it! I want to raise awareness and what better way than to dig through 'the crate' to find sheet music with some great vintage examples of Mos on the cover. You'll find these pictures further down this post.

Daniel Craig - a natural!

12 November 2012

Walking the Dead (2010)

"Everyone here is dead...
Every man, woman and child in this village is dead..."
What a load of tosh!

Hey butcher-boy! Are you dead?
Walking the Dead, Viewtop Pictures 2010

Imagine a small out-of-the-way town in China where the dead are resurrected by "walkers" whose job is to lead them to be buried. What would happen if one of these walkers started killing people instead? Yeah... it makes no sense at all.

11 November 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - Shaping the Body

I spent a bit more time on the Sharkfin Ukulele build today. In my last post on this subject I prepared a blank for the body. Now I wanted to start shaping it. I almost came a cropper, but thanks to the power of Progressive Metal... I managed to pull through!

Progressive Metal Uke
It's the future!

Turturro Turnover

This is a little bit unusual, but I just have to capture this odd little sync whilst it's fresh in my mind...

Turturro Mando-uke
Picture from: www.djangobooks.com

10 November 2012

Hellogram

I have been touched by the icy cold finger of Progressive Metal. You may remember a post I did earlier on this week where I marveled at the wonder that is Hologram Earth. I didn't mention it at the time, but as good as the boys are, I did feel that they were missing a trick not adding in the devilish roar of electric ukulele.


9 November 2012

Dixie Banjo Ukulele

In this post I show you a quick glimpse of another instrument in my possession. I know that this will be of interest to Thiago Medeiros. It's a Dixie! I bet you've not seen one of these before!


8 November 2012

Alvin Keech Banjulele

This post is for my pal Daniel Hulbert who is busy restoring a banjulele. A couple of years ago I was going through a crazy mad banjo uke phase. Truth be told, I think that I might have been a little bit obsessed. :-)


7 November 2012

Hologram Earth

The wonderful thing about having my own blog is that I can write about whatever I want! One week it can be Disco, the next, the merits of having a zombie survival plan. Today I'm going to share with you a few thoughts on Progressive Metal.

Hologram Earth

4 November 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - Jiggery-Pokery

Here's a very quick update on my adventures in making my Sharkfin Ukulele. I've been experimenting with a technique for cutting the blank for the body. Today's post is all about width...

Movember is here again! This year I shall be attempting a "Motorhead"
as chosen by my colleagues at work. Please support Movember and
if you do nothing else this month... go for your yearly checkup!
If you do it, then I promise I will...

3 November 2012

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Last night I dug out The Magnificent Seven thinking that it would be right up my son's street. What with cowboys and shooting, how could it fail to please? J-Uke took one look at the opening credits and said: "Oh yeah... The Magnificent Seven... I've seen this... They all die at the end..."

Right.

Count these...
The Magnificent Seven, MGM 1960

2 November 2012

El Pancho & Los Dorados - Appunti di Viaggio (2012)

The wonderful thing about ukulele is that it can be turned to a wide range of musical styles, and despite its small stature and unassuming nature, you don't need much else by way of accompaniment to put a song together.

Well, I have something for you...

El Pancho & Los Dorados - Appunti di Viaggio

29 October 2012

Sharkfin Ukulele - Pattern

It's been a while since I posted any progress on my Sharkfin Ukulele build. That's because I haven't done a great deal with it. I've been waiting for parts and busying myself in other ways. Now it's starting to get cold, I'm going to find it increasingly hard to motivate myself. Will this be a mad rush to beat the snow?

Danger! Electric Uke! 

When I last posted, I'd knocked together a Mark 1 of the pattern and speculated that the tuning pegs would be key to getting everything sweet. How right I was!

28 October 2012

Just Enough Education to Perform (2001)

This week I have mostly been listening to...

The Stereophonics

I've been a fan of Welsh rockers Stereophonics for a long time. I remember them winning the Best Breakthrough Act award at the BRIT awards in 98 and Kelly Jones saying something along the lines of "about f*cking time!" as he snatched the trophy. It was a landmark moment and they've gone from success to success.

"Thank you" - paphotos.co.uk

Into My Arms

Here's another outing for the Kingcaster Electric Ukulele. This time I butcher the fantastic Into My Arms by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I bought the CD single earlier in the week and I've been loving it ever since. It's a love song plain and simple... and a beautiful one at that.

"König Uke"
Here's some art-work by Thiago Medeiros
Thanks Thiago for letting me share this
You can see some of my own attempts below...

25 October 2012

Ukulele Porn

DISCLAIMER: Those of you with a delicate stomach should stop reading now... you have been warned!

I realise that this post might be deemed to be a little controversial, but having thought about it for five minutes, I'm going to do it anyway...

This all started about a week ago when I got messaged by one of my colleagues on Electric Ukulele Land. I was sent a link to an item on ebay with words along the lines of BUY IT! To be honest, I wasn't that sure what I was going to do with it once I'd bought it, but I duly obliged. Yes... I am easily lead. The item in question was a postcard-sized print of this...

Is this ukulele porn?

BA-RA-KA

24 October 2012

RoboGeisha (2009)

I've just finished watching RoboGeisha and you know what... it wasn't half as bad as I was expecting it to be! I think I'm starting to get a bit of a taste for Japanese films!

Plucking Hell! RoboGeisha!
RoboGeisha, Cine Asia Extreme 2009

21 October 2012

A Taste of Barnard Castle

I took a quick break this weekend up to the beautiful lands of Barnard Castle and surrounds. Got some great snaps that I'm going to share with you now. There is a real mixture... and that's just the way I like it! All photos were taken on my phone.

Advert for Lucile Ltd circa 1912
23, Hanover Square, London. W.

14 October 2012

A Taste of Bristol - The Stag!

Yep... I've been to Bristol again. This time it was in the name of impending marriage. Not mine, but that of a very good friend who I just don't see enough of. I think I must have visited every pub in the centre, but I'm not going to share any of those photos with you. Instead, here are a few of the more abstract snaps I took this weekend. All photos were taken on my phone...

Chilling in the lobby, checking the angles

Waghorn Guitars

You might remember my trip to Bristol a couple of months ago. One of the places I'd spotted last time as I walked along the river front was a guitar shop by the name of Waghorn. Peering through the windows I could see a workshop, but even though I was desperate to have a look inside, I just didn't have the time. Oh no! I thought I'd missed my chance!

By some freakish coincidence, I found myself visiting Bristol again this weekend. Better still, it turned out that my hotel was a short stroll from Waghorn! Can you guess what happened next?

Waghorn Guitars - 1 Mill Avenue, Bristol. BS1 4AJ

8 October 2012

Moving

That's it! I'm moving!

Well actually, the song is called Moving and the band is none other than the Von Ukes!

This is me and my kids belting out one of my all-time favourite Supergrass tunes. Don't expect this sort of thing to happen ever again... I'm surprised that they entertained the idea at all. It's not without mistakes or camera glitches. We made it to the end and that is enough.

If you couldn't tell, there's only one instrument: a soprano ukulele... this one in fact.

I'll stick you up the chords I'm playing later. What a way to start a Monday morning! Come on! Get moving...




6 October 2012

Ode to Uke (2012)

I came across an interesting little read this week by the name of Ode to Uke. It's a ukulele instruction manual, but not like any instruction manual you might have read before. Actually, Ode to Uke is marketed as a ukulele novelty book... and a love story! What on earth can it be about? Let me tell you...

"Ode to Uke"

It's about ukuleles! :-D

Sharkfin Ukulele - And we're off!

The second hardest part of any project is starting.

(In case you're wondering... The hardest part is finishing.)

King Uke's Sharkfin Ukulele

I'm happy to say that I have now officially started my Sharkfin Ukulele build. Today it was all about wood. I started with a big bit and ended up with two small bits. Here's how I did it...

4 October 2012

Who Goes There? (1938)

Given the small size of my latest read, it’s surprising how long it's taken me to get through it. Who Goes There? is a novella by John W Campbell Jr and was the story that inspired John Carpenter’s The Thing. Aha! I mentioned that I might get hold of this quite recently... and I've only gone and done it!

Who Goes There?

1 October 2012

[•REC]2 (2009)

It’s a poorly kept secret that I quite liked REC. The Spanish zombie film has a lot going for it. There’s tension, gore, horror, terror and an ending to literally die for. As soon as I’d finished watching it I tooled up and went out hunting for its sequel. REC2 promised to pick up where REC left off. Surely writers/directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza had lost their minds if they really thought they could possibly hope to top their first film? I just had to find out for myself.

If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?
REC2,  Castelao Productions 2009

28 September 2012

Dreaming of the Dark Uke

I'm starting to get that itchy feeling again. I feel the need... the need to build ukulele!

The Dark Ukulele

I've been kicking around a few ideas and I think that I've finally decided what I want to make. Do you want to know what I've opted for?

25 September 2012

Picture-framing

Have I ever told you what a wonderful woman my wife is?

About a year ago I revealed that I'd bought a Yusaku Hanakuma print called Zombie Highway. I'd had this beautiful print shipped over from France only to discover that I didn't have anywhere large enough to hang it up. As a temporary measure, I'd stuck it in the bedroom above the bed. Noone was more surprised than me that I managed to pull this off.

Fast forward a year... The bedroom is being 'refurbished' and my prized Zombie Highway picture has been evicted! "Oh no!" I hear you cry. But get this... My wife's let me hang it in the living room instead! How cool is that!

"Zombie Highway" by Yusaku Hanakuma
A talking point in the King Uke household

23 September 2012

Thriller (1983)

I remember watching thriller on the TV in 1983. It was a landmark moment that I seem to recall involved staying up very late one night in order to see it. I thought it was great. What noone could have guessed back then was how influential the song and video would become. It's a part of world culture. Check out the video of the Philippine prison using it to exercise the inmates. That's a sight and a half!


My daughter has been learning the dance at school and given my son's recent fascination with zombies, we decided to watch it yesterday. Yes, this is the film that reminded the world about Horror! Dancing zombies... whatever next?