|Big pants or small ukulele?|
I floated the idea of taking a ukulele away on holiday with me. Mrs Uke instantly shot me down. This is the picture I posted at the time as I pondered ways of sneaking one along without her noticing. All was not lost! Perhaps this would be an ideal opportunity for me to buy a new ukulele once I got to America! Of course, I never mentioned this idea to Mrs Uke ;-)
My dream acquisition would have been some sort of vintage plastic American uke like a Maccaferri, but I vowed to keep an open mind on my travels ;-) Unfortunately, in the end there were no ukuleles to be had. I think I only saw one the whole time I was in America... A Lanikai, in a hock shop in Carson City. I checked CraigsList and everything else I could think of and nothing! What on earth is wrong with you America? Perhaps I should have done my homework before setting off?
This might seem like an odd picture to stick in a music-themed blog post, but hold your horses... it will all make sense soon... promise!
Good friend Daniel Hulbert is famous for lots of things, but one thing in particular is a ukulele he built incorporating an Altoids tin. He shared his plans and a number of you out there have built your own versions. Check out Daniel's recent addition to his blog where he's started to share "fan" videos.
Whilst I was on my travels, I spotted an Altoids tin and bought one thinking that I might have a go at making an Altoids uke myself. Chuffed to bits with my impulse acquisition, I posted the above picture on Google+ only to discover that Altoids are sold in the UK too. It's worse than that... They're actually made here! Ha ha... What a numpty! In my defense, they seem to be made and marketed mainly for export, but, yes, I am a fool! :-D
Don't be surprised if I start talking about my new Altoids project some time in the future. Here's what it might end up looking like...
Virginia City was one of the highlights of this holiday for me. I enjoyed visiting the sleepy little town so much that I did it twice! You might remember that it was one of the locations I sang about in a song I wrote earlier this year with Pancho called "Outlaw". It wasn't an accident that I mentioned it... I've been to Virginia City before... 16 years ago... and I loved it that time too! ;-) There are a lot more shops in Virginia City today compared to 16 years ago, but it's still special.
The picture above is a quick snap I took as I was pottering about up and down the main high street. It's a bit blurred, but you can make out that it's a picture of a 3 string electric cigar box guitar. That's nice, but what makes the picture for me is the cowboy hat. Do you think the two are a set?
Here are a couple of shots of a nice-looking mandolin. It's in far better nick than the one that was given to me last year. I'm no expert in mandolins, but looking at the inlay and tailpiece, I think that this might well be a Weymann Bowlback Mandolin, probably made in the 1920s.