Thursday, March 18, 2010

Four Stringz = Too Many?

I've noticed what might be labeled a "trend" with formerly hard-core ukulele aficionados. It seems that we are gravitating to instruments that have 3 strings or less! My evidence? Well, me for one. I just received this instrument in the mail(link):

It's a dulcimer neck on a Grizzy kit ukulele body. A uke-cimer? Dulcilele? Anyway, I can't play it anywhere close to this good. But I'm gonna try.

More evidence? How about UCB's resident troubadour, GrumpyCoyote (link):

Yep, that's a 3-string Strumstick he's picking. Pretty awesome, huh? And I've heard a rumor that RussBuss is rockin' out lately on a 1-stringed thingy. Can't confirm that tho.

But why is this happening? I blame subterfuge on the part of some ukulele newcomers who came to the uke from these other instruments. They spent time convincing us they were ukers through and through, but then start injecting other instruments into their videos. Like Ctrymaus (link):

Who can resist this?

As for the future, look for my dulcimer cover of Bucks Fizz's "Land of Make Believe". And RussBuss will soon tug at your heartstrings with a touching cover of "Faith" on the erhu.

Until then, enjoy this amazing performance by Joni Mitchell playing "California" on the dulcimer (link).


Grumpy Coyote said...

Funny stuff - Glad you got that dulcilele from tinyguitar - the tone is great. Way better than my MacNally. I am VERY tempted to get one of his sycamore customs. Fine builds and very inexpensive – and he’s one hell of a player.

Dulcimers are about as simple as it gets, and I tend to like simple music. As for the so called "trend" - I'm not convinced yet. I don’t think you can pull of “Hey there Delilah”, “I’m Yours”, or anything by John Mayer on the things – so it may still be safe from the tide.

Although I will say, when we started playing uke regularly, uke was still fairly uncommon. Now you see them damn near everywhere, hear them on every car commercial, and can’t swing a cat on American Idol without hitting another arrogant wannabe douche with a uke. I’ll be the first to admit it sucked some of the fun out of it. Not all – I love the uke and play and write on mine daily… but popularity takes a bit of the charm and surprise away. Especially popularity by suburban rich kids with shitty taste in music. There. I said it.

Here’s to the obscure and annoying. Bring on the Erhu invasion!

Mugambismonkey said...

Joni Mitchell can play on a garbage can and (some) people would love her! I for my part am not leaving the 4-string track. I loves my ukeses, my precious!!

Baron said...

I will dedicate my life to become the next cheesy pop megastar of the dulcimer and strumstick, playing nothing but Jason "2 fingers up" Mraz and John Gayer, until seemingly good natured cheerleaders and teenboppers pukewith disgust when they hear the twangy sound of that mountain instrument.

Then we can all pay our ukes in peace.

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