New Kala KA-C Concert Ukulele

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/11, 5 sec, ISO400
“Soprano and Concert Sizes” Cedar Park, 2020

My new Kala KA-C Concert Ukulele arrived, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with it! I knew that the mahogany wood and cream binding would be the same as my Kala pineapple ukulele (which I love), but I was not expecting the metal tuning knobs to feel so nice, and the sealed gears were completely unexpected. Also, the new ukulele comes with a peg to attach a strap… a welcome surprise! I attached a fabric ribbon that I had saved from some packaging and it matches the cream-colored binding perfectly.

Like other Kala ukuleles, this one comes with Aquila Super-Nylgut strings which are good quality so I will not have to replace them. It’s fun to go through the new ukulele tuning process which can take several days as the new strings stretch out. I noticed that Kala included a note in the box to explain that it could take a few week or so to hold tune… I’m sure many ukulele beginners aren’t aware of this and might think they got a poor-quality ukulele, which isn’t the case. I bet this little note prevents many potential bad reviews or calls to customer service. 😀

Anyways, the ukulele sounds wonderful. The longer neck and more widely-spaced frets force me to stretch my fingers a bit more. With my small hands, it’s more challenging to play the concert size vs soprano size, but when I switch back to the smaller ukulele, it’s a lot easier! I suppose it’s like when baseball batters put the donut weight on their bats while warming up in the on-deck circle. When they go up to bat without the donut, the bat must feel super-light.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/25 sec, ISO800
“Soprano and Concert Sizes” Cedar Park, 2020

I knew the soprano size fits me much better, but I wanted the concert size so I could play the notes higher up on the fretboard that the the soprano ukulele’s smaller fretboard cannot provide. The sound that the concert-size ukulele is supposed to be louder and fuller, and I’m sure that’s the case, but honestly my ears can’t tell that drastic a difference between that and the smaller ukulele.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the Kala KA-C Concert Ukulele. It’s certainly an upgrade over my old Hilo brand concert ukulele, and a great addition to my ukulele collection, which is now dominated by the three Kala ukuleles.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Kala Concert Ukulele” Cedar Park, 2020

Here’s a bonus photo of the cats enjoying the shape of the ukulele box:

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“In the Boxes” Cedar Park, 2020

Ukulele Time

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/30 sec, ISO6400
“Ukulele Detail” Cedar Park, 2020

I’ve been playing my ukulele every couple of days now, which I think is a nice “pace” for me. I don’t like to play every single day for very long because my left wrist still hurts a bit, and also I’ve read that longer gaps between session while learning a skill helps with the long-term memory. So, I won’t practice a song that I am learning every day, but maybe every three or four days. Once I have the song memorized, I might play it once or twice every day to work on parts that need clean up (there are A LOT of those parts).

I’ve recently memorized Al Woods’ arrangement of La Vie en Rose. I really enjoy playing that song, which reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Wall•E, and it’s fun to note my progress in playing it more cleanly, and also find better fingering combinations that make it easier.

On the new song front, I am starting on Ukulenny’s arrangement of I Will by The Beatles which is another of my favorites. The very last chord uses the 14th fret, which a soprano ukulele doesn’t have, so maybe this is a good excuse to pull the trigger on that concert ukulele that’s been sitting in my wishlist? 😋

I love playing the ukulele. I may not be very good, but it’s fun, relaxing, and keeps my 52-year-old brain active.

Ukulele Time

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/4, 1/10 sec, ISO3200
“Ukuleles” Cedar Park, 2020

Besides working, I’m spending my day following the news, finding causes to donate to, and educating myself. It’s honestly tiring to keep up and task-switch. But I do have my ukuleles to help with my own well-being. Currently learning “Rainbow Connection”. I think it’s an amazingly beautiful song.

Wrist Brace for Better Ukulele Playing

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/45 sec, ISO6400
“Learning a New Song” Cedar Park, 2019

Spent much of the day practicing a new song. I’m trying to not bite off more than I can chew, and only spend a few minutes at a time learning new parts, then taking a long break before resuming again. I think my brain remembers a lot better that way. It’s also good to relax the muscles a bit since my wrist still isn’t 100%. Actually, I don’t think it will ever be 100% again, but the pain is definitely manageable and more of an annoyance than a hindrance.

I do take care to always wear a wrist brace which helps to keep my wrist in the correct angle to lessen the pain. But I’ve also found value in the wrist brace for better ukulele playing. The brace keeps my wrist straight which forces my fingers to curl more, which in turn causes my fingers to press the strings more precisely. The result is that the notes sound cleaner when I play. Win-win!

I hope you had a nice day! ☺️

またね~

☺️

Goodies from Japan and Ghibli Songbook for Ukulele

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/125 sec, ISO1250
“Goodies from Japan” Cedar Park, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today’s photos is of the omiyage that Mariko brought for me from her visit to her hometown of Osaka. It’s a bit of a mix this time, with a wash-cloth that I’ve been mentioning for a few months now, the big bottle of shochu that we’ll enjoy together, and the unexpected darumas (very cool style!).

But the pièce de résistance has to be the ukulele songbook of Ghibli tunes. It’s awesome! The first part of the book is finger-style solos, and the second part is chords and lyrics. I can’t sing, so you might think the second part is not useful, but to the contrary, having the chords right there will be great for referencing when I practice the finger-style versions. And speaking of the finger-style versions, they are the right level for me. The arrangement is not too simple and not too complex. However, I think there will be room to embellish a bit which is why the chords in the second half of the book will be useful. The songbook also includes a CD for reference. I’ve already started on ひこうき雲which is the heart-breaking (lyrics1973 song from Arai Yumi and used as the ending song in The Wind Rises. It’s kind of perfect for the movie. 😭

またね~