A quick guide to what little gift to get your uke obsessed love one for Christmas. (Or what you might like to get for yourself because everyone else is getting you socks).
A good set of strings is the fastest and cheapest way to improve the sound of any ukulele. But if you’re buying them for someone else, be careful. Type in ‘ukulele strings’ on eBay and you’ll get a dizzying variety.
One particular problem is buying the right size. If the person you’re buying them for has a number of ukuleles, you don’t need to worry – they’ll probably have one of each size. If they’re a relatively new player, your best bet is to buy strings for a soprano ukulele.
Ukulele Tuner: Intelli IMT-500 Tuner
“Ever tried tuning in a room with lots of noise or in the dark?” asks musicguymic.
I can’t say that tuning my ukulele in the dark is a big problem for me. Tuning in a noisy environment, however, is. The Intelli tuner clips on to the end of the uke and picks up the pitch by vibration of the uke itself – avoiding any confusion with ambient sound.
It’s a chromatic tuner i.e. you can tune to any pitch you want. This means that, as well as ukes, it can be used to tune guitars, mandolins, banjos etc.
The cheapest I’ve seen these advertised is musicguymic on eBay.
The perfect present for: those who torture you with out of tune playing, ukulele group members, regular live players, buskers, multi-instrumentalists, those with noisy kids/housemates, those who play the uke while potholing.
One for the serious uke player, this. Because they’re made of wood, ukuleles can warp and crack over time as they dry out. Humidifiers stop this happening.
Someone who’s getting their first, cheap ukulele doesn’t need a humidifier. But if you know someone lucky enough to be getting a good quality uke (particularly a vintage one), I’m sure they’d be very pleased to get a wax and humidifer set to go along with it.
The perfect present for: a uke collector, someone’s who’s getting an expensive uke for xmas.
I’m very guilty of speeding up as I play (and generally wandering out of time) and so are many players. I know I should use a metronome but I don’t. It’s probably because I’ve only got a nasty little, electronic metronome that emits a sharp ‘bip’. If I had a nice vintage metronome, I might use it as often as I should.
Cadenzia Palmer Pocket Metronome
Baldwin Tempo-Matic Metronome (yes, it’s electronic – but it’s gorgeous).
Guitar picks are death to ukuleles. They sound too harsh. Felt picks are made for the uke’s more delicate disposition. Besides, they’re a cheap stocking filler.
Perfect for: recovering guitarists.