In disappointment over the apparently failed purchase of a used KoAloha D-VI (he never got back to me with a video) I bought myself a sympathy gift.
In the unlikely case that you don’t know what these things do, they can record a phrase of music on the fly and essentially allow you to do unlimited multi-tracking – live. So the curse of the solo uke guy (that is, a thin orchestration with no bottom end) is somewhat removed, and you can impress the drunk guy in the front row with your mighty one-man-band skillz.
I bought it intending to chunk out a rhythm track, lay down a basic chord progression and then sing and solo over that in live performances. It works like a charm for that, although I’ll need a bit more practice and guts to get it just right for the stage. The margin for error is pretty small, and if you make a mistake, it’s repeated endlessly. I can hit it about 70% of the time. Good enough for open mic, but I’m still not quite ready.
I expected to use it on maybe 2 songs – it was a total impulse buy and I was already having a little buyer’s remorse after a few hours. But…
What I didn’t expect was the pure utility of the thing. By day two I realized that while live performance is cool (provided I can pull it off), for simply practicing and writing this do-hicky is amazing. The ability to lay a progression down and instantly hear it repeated while I work out melody was unexpectedly useful. And for practicing solos, it’s worth its weight in choco-tacos. With the batteries in (as opposed to the 9v converter) all I need is a pair of headphones, a cable, and my uke and I can practice my face off anywhere – No amp required.
So while I may never get the balls to perform with it, it’s surprisingly handy as an everyday doo-dad. I expect I’ll use it at least a few times a week even if I never put it on stage.