New Ukulele Strings

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/100 sec, ISO2000
“Martin Ukulele Strings” Cedar Park, 2021

I got some new strings for my concert ukulele and they sound fabulous! I don’t have a very discerning ear, but I can tell that these Martin M600 fluorocarbon strings are a bit brighter than the Aquila strings that came with the ukulele originally. For only about US$6, it doesn’t cost much to give new strings a try, so why not? And these are sort of clear which makes my ukulele collection a little more varied. Fun fun fun!

Ukulele Days

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/60 sec, ISO500
“Ukulele Morning” Cedar Park, 2021

I’ve been playing my ukuleles a lot lately and have learned a new song: ひこうき雲. This song is by Yumi Arai and was recently featured in the Studio Ghibli film The Wind Rises. It’s a sad and beautiful song.

So now that I have memorized it, I can concentrate on playing it cleanly, which is very difficult for me. But that applies to all the songs I’ve learned! 😂

I hope you had a good day!

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.