Goodbye from Ukulele Guy hello from Adventures in Nerdery

Howdy gang.  So, it's officially been a  year of making videos for Adventures in Nerdery so I've decided that it is time to retire Ukulele Guy.  This will be the last video that I add to the YouTube channel and probably the last blog post as well.  It's been a fun ride and I met lots of rad people, heard a lot of rad songs and learned a lot about Ukuleles.  But, dry your eyes friend!  I'm making more videos than ever over at Adventures in Nerdery so  you should come check it out.  In case you aren't convinced, dig on this video that explains what I do over there.  I bet you are gonna like it!

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Where have you gone?!

Yeah, I get it. I understand that I pretty much dropped off of the face of the earth. But, it's only because I've been doing important work. That's right, I've been making a difference, y'all.

I've been playing VIDEO GAMES!

No be fair, I've also been crazy busy with work, my old heavy new wave band (VOLUMEN) had a reunion show at the last Total Fest, here in Missoula and I still occasionally play ukulele with Jerry in our novelty act.

But, fret not, ukulele-loving folk, because Jerry and I have been making recording our Tuesday video game sessions and the results are (sometimes) hilarious. Also, each week we switch instruments to play the theme song, so there is still some ukulele up in this piece.

Here, check out the outtakes for this week's episode and you'll see me playing my Kala Pocket Ukulele while Jerry pretends to play bass.

If that tickles your fancy, you should watch the full episode. Or, if 17 minutes is too big of a commitment (believe me, you won't regret it), then check out this 7 minute episode featuring Chicken Lady!

The premise of "Who's Better?" (that's the name of the series, by the way) is that we challenge each other (and occasionally a guest star) to a video game battle. The winner gets bragging rights for the week. I designed the contest because I figured it would just legitimize all of the Jerry-bashing I already do. But... so far it hasn't been going my way.

Ok, well, I hope you join us. I promise to keep putting ukuleles up in there.

Kickstarter for a rugged, durable, plastic ukulele

I've said it before. Sure, everyone loves a beautiful, handcrafted and high quality ukulele. But, when you play an instrument as portable as the ukulele, it seems like a shame if you aren't actually taking it anywhere. In the past, my favorite portable ukuleles were my Mahalo Economy ukuleles. I mean, if they get crushed or warped or I accidentally drop it in the river, it only cost me like $20 to begin with. So, it's not the end of the world or anything. Well, if traveling with a ukulele sounds appealing to you, then you should check out (and FUND) this Kickstarter campaign. High quality, plastic ukuleles, yo!

The Plastic Ukulele Kickstarter

I'm going to donate $145 because then you get one with geared metal tuners (assuming they reach their funding goal).

To Pick or Not To Pick (the Ukulele, that is)

Now, I don't want to start a big ole flame war with regards to the best way to strum your ukulele.  Especially considering that I definitely don't do it the "Right Way" myself.  As you might have seen from my videos, I play the ukulele by whipping my hand around and having my fingernails strike the strings.  This is actually how I play guitar as well.  The reason for both of these things is that I was originally a bass player who never learned to use a pick.

Many people will argue that the "correct" way to play the ukulele is to hold your hand flat, over the strings (as if you were waving hello to the ukulele or something) then bend your index finger to point it towards the strings.   Now, I guess you are supposed to use that finger to do most of your strumming.  Nuts to that, I'm too old to learn a new thing.

Or so I thought.  You see, I took a little break from ukulele to play bass in a Cure cover band.  And, as it turned out, there were two Cure songs that are picked so fast that I couldn't approximate it correctly using my "hand whipping" method.  Those songs were Primary and Hanging Garden.  You wanna see what I mean?  Check out this live footage of the actual cure.

Good grief!

So, it was settled, I had to teach myself to use a pick and so I did.  Well, now I'm wondering if I can't translate some of this to ukulele?  Especially considering that they only picks I could really make use of were the .50mm versions of the below pick.

I guess I need my picks to be floppy.  So, I was stoked when I found out about these leather ukulele picks!  I'm going to get a few of them and see how they go.  I'm hopeful that the leather pick will translate to a softer picked sound as well.  I'll let y'all know.

Leather Ukulele Pick Rawhide Uke Made In USA Real Not Laminated Stiff Play
Leather Ukulele Pick Rawhide Uke Made In USA Real Not Laminated Stiff Play $5.00
Time Remaining: 1d 14h 2m
Buy It Now for only: $5.00
Leather Pick Holder Plus 2 x Leather Ukulele Picks Jumping Cow Gift Pack
Leather Pick Holder Plus 2 x Leather Ukulele Picks Jumping Cow Gift Pack $11.62
Time Remaining: 2d 15h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $11.62
Leather Pick Plectrum for Ukulele Banjo Jumping Cow Warm Sound White
Leather Pick Plectrum for Ukulele  Banjo Jumping Cow Warm Sound White $3.88
Time Remaining: 3d 20h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $3.88
Kiwaya Genuine Leather Ukulele Single Pick Medium
Kiwaya Genuine Leather Ukulele Single Pick Medium $4.25
Time Remaining: 4d 20h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $4.25
Kiwaya Genuine Leather Ukulele Pick 3 packs Medium
Kiwaya Genuine Leather Ukulele Pick 3 packs Medium $12.50
Time Remaining: 4d 20h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $12.50
Timber Tones Leather Tones Tan Ukulele or Bass Guitar Pick Single Pick
Timber Tones Leather Tones Tan Ukulele or Bass Guitar Pick Single Pick $5.00
Time Remaining: 6d 4h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $5.00
Textured Leather Pick Plectrum Holder 2 Leather Picks for Ukulele Banjo JCow
Textured Leather Pick Plectrum Holder  2 Leather Picks for Ukulele  Banjo JCow $14.26
Time Remaining: 6d 11h 58m
Buy It Now for only: $14.26
Timber Tones Leather Tones Black Ukulele Pick Single Pick
Timber Tones Leather Tones Black Ukulele Pick Single Pick $5.00
Time Remaining: 6d 14h 54m
Buy It Now for only: $5.00
Black Leather Pick Plectrum Holder Holster Never Lose Your Pick Plectrum Again
Black Leather Pick Plectrum Holder Holster Never Lose Your Pick Plectrum Again $7.77
Time Remaining: 6d 16h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $7.77
Leather Pick Plectrum Holder Gift Pack Keyring Includes 1 Leather
Leather Pick Plectrum Holder Gift Pack Keyring Includes 1 Leather $14.26
Time Remaining: 6d 17h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $14.26

Rare breed of the ellusive Swagerty Treholipee (black and red?!)

So, I got an e-mail from a nice person asking if I had ever seen a Treholipee in black and red.  If they hadn't included pictures then I think I might have misunderstood them to mean the dark orange Treholipee that's one of the common colors.  As far as I knew, Swagerty only made the following colors of Treholipee:  Orange-Red, Yellow, Green and Brown.  With that in mind, I opened the attached pictures and had my mind blown!  Look at how rad this thing is.

Red and Black Swagerty Treholipee - Check out that Fretboard!
Red and Black Swagerty Treholipee - Check out that Fretboard!
Red and Black Swagerty Treholipee - Check out those pegs!
Red and Black Swagerty Treholipee - Check out those pegs!
Red and Black Treholipee - Another Fretboard Shot
Red and Black Treholipee - Another Fretboard Shot
Red and Black Treholipee - The whole package
Red and Black Treholipee - The whole package

 

Have any of you guys ever seen one of these?  What's the deal?  My guess is that it was a custom or limited run that Swagerty did?  I highly doubt that someone did this on their own because the pegs and fretboard look to be plastic (like all of the Treholipees I have ever seen).  Any idea on what these would sell for now?  I would say that Treholipees go for around $150 or so, but I would expect this to fetch more than that.  Anyway, neat!  Let me know if anyone has more information.

If you are looking for Treholipees on eBay, then check out these auctions.

VINTAGE 1960s SWAGERTY SINGING TREHOLIPEE SURFERS UKULELE UKE SOLD FOR REPAIR
VINTAGE 1960s SWAGERTY SINGING TREHOLIPEE SURFERS UKULELE UKE SOLD FOR REPAIR $125.00
Time Remaining: 25d 22h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $125.00
1960s Vintage Swagerty Uke Ukulele The Singing Treholipee Surf Surfer Ukelele
1960s Vintage Swagerty Uke Ukulele The Singing Treholipee Surf Surfer Ukelele $317.99
Time Remaining: 29d 23h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $317.99

Got myself a magical new ukulele

Alright folks, as you might remember from my post, "Yessir, we got ourselves a real band!", my new project is called "Shane Hickey and his Magical Ukulele.... and Jerry".  Well, to really sell a name like that, my ukulele better be pretty freaking awesome.  Also, I'm going to need something that will take the focus off of my playing.  Cause otherwise folks might wonder why they just shelled out $3 to see a couple of hacks.  Heh.

Well, as luck would have it, I found a fella who makes magical instruments.  There is a local luthier named Ryan Rukavina and he does some pretty magical work.  I got wind that he was making a couple of Teleukes (Solid body electric ukuleles patterned after the Fender Telecaster.  When I heard about them, I asked him to keep me up to date on the projects because I was probably interested.  By "probably interested" of course I mean, insanely interested.

So, I was pretty much on cloud nine yesterday when I dropped by Ryan's shop to pick up my new Teleukulele!  I will post some videos very soon so you can hear how great it sounds but, until then, you can feast your eyes on this baby.

Rukavina Teleuke
Rukavina Teleuke

Here's more good news.  If you are looking for your own custom electric ukulele, then look no further.  Ryan also made a brunette to the blonde that I purchased.  Check out the eBay auctions below and you will see it listed with some more of his creations.

No items matching your keywords were found.

Yessir, we got ourselves a real band!

First off, let me apologize for the total lack of posts for the past few months. It's true, I'm a lazy jerk. But, let's not dwell on it. I've got some exciting news and I want to share it right up in yer face!

See, I was working with some fellas on a Cure cover project (in which I played bass) and we wanted to do a show as a bit of a teaser before our real show. Dave, who was the man behind our Cure cover band, asked if I wanted to do some ukulele stuff to open the show. Now, I've played many a show with different bands (playing either bass or guitar), and I've played ukulele in front of lots of folks around the campfire, but I don't think I'd ever played a ukulele "show" at a bar or venue. So, I was pretty stoked and nervous.

I said yes to Dave but immediately decided that the ukulele project couldn't just be me. I needed a band! So, I turned to my buddy Jerry (who had once accompanied me on drums around a campfire "show" in the recent past) and asked if he wanted to be a part of this here thing. I sent him links to the songs that I wanted to do and also showed him this Weird Al video to give him some ideas for drums.

Next thing I knew, I had both a drummer and also a drummer who used a suitcase as his drumset. Total magic! We practiced a total of two times and decided that was enough preparation. We hadn't really decided on a name for the band, but we are now known as "Shane Hickey and his Magical Ukulele.... and Jerry". I think you can probably see where that is going. Anyway, nameless and flush with two complete practices, we were now ready to rock the Bejeebus out of the VFW.

Apparently, though, Jeebus had something else in mind because our little town was crushed under a mighty blizzard that night. It turned out to be a mixed blessing, though. Sure, many folks didn't come down to the show because they didn't care to spend 2 hours digging their car out of their own driveway. But, the folks who made it to the show certainly didn't want to drive in those conditions again, so we had ourselves a captive audience! Thankfully, my foxy wife was onhand with her camera to record much of the show. Now you can feel like you were actually there!

UPS Girl:

Automobile:

Portland Man:

Santa Claus Needed a Drink:

Trailer Park Moms:

Megan Lannegan:

Moderation Town:

Drank Too Much Today:

Punk rock Friends (are broke):

There was another song or two that evening but I can't post everything because there is still a chance that my Mom will read this and the other songs are pretty offensive. Heh.

Video: Dance Hall Days – a Wang Chung cover

You know how it is. You have some songs that are just touchstones. Every time you hear them they transport you back to a certain place in time or maybe just trigger your brain to release extra serotonin or something. Well, for me, one of those touchstones is Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung. If you aren't familiar, check out this video. Note, there are two videos for this song, but the following video is better for reasons listed below the video.

1. Gum-chewing violin player looking directly into your soul
2. Sweaters!
3. Sweaters tucked into pleated pants!
4. You can almost hear the video director's instructions to the band. "Ok guys, I need you to look like condescending pricks who are laughing over some hilarious inside joke. Can you do that?"

Sadly, my video has none of that.

Here are my corrected tabs.

 Wang Chung - Dance Hall Days
 tabs by Ukulele Guy

Note: Except for the Chorus, play the F, C and G like so:
F - 2030
C - 0033
G - 0232
 
 F  C  G  F  C  G  F  C  G  F  C  G 

[Verse]
 F              C            G
Take your baby by the hand
 F              C            G
And make her do a high hand stand
 F              C            G
Take your baby by the heel
 F                       C            G
And do the next thing that you feel

[Refrain]:
(play single note)
        F   C G  
We were so in phase
        F    C    G
In our dance hall days
        F    C   G
We were cool on craze
(play chords again)
    F   C        C5       G
When I, you, and everyone we knew
        F     E        A        B     C
Could believe, do, and share in what was true
[Chorus]
             F  C  G                        F  C  G 
Oh, I said             Dance hall days love

[2nd Verse]
F              C      G
Take your baby by the hair
F                      C           G
And pull her close and there there there
F              C      G
Take your baby by the ears
    F             C       G
And play upon her darkest fears

[Refrain]

[Longer Chorus]
             F  C  G                        F  C  G 
Oh, I said              Dance hall days love

                F  C  G                        F  C  G 
Dance hall days            Dance hall days love

[3rd Verse]
   F              C      G
So take your baby by the wrist
    F               C      G
And in her mouth an amethyst
    F               C           G
And in her eyes two sapphires blue
    F                C          G
And you need her and she needs you
    F                C          G
And you need her and she needs you
    F                C          G
And you need her and she needs you
    F                C          G
And you need her and she needs you
    F            C  G
And you need her... and she needs you

[Refrain]

[Chorus]
             F  C  G                        F  C  G 
Oh, I said             Dance hall days love

                F  C  G                        F  C  G 
                         Dance hall days love

                F  C  G                        F  C  G 
dance hall days           Dance hall days love

                F  C  G                        F  C  G 
dance hall days           Dance hall days love 

Origami Folding Ukulele

Well, I somehow stumbled upon this little slice of rad pie.  Heh, I say "stumbled" but you know full well that it's more like "obsessively searching".  Anyway, this bird-shirted origami expert designed a kit so that you too can own your own folding Ukulele!  Sure, it's pretty easy to travel with a ukulele, but wouldn't it be easier if the entire neck folded into the body of the ukulele?  Yup, I thought so.  Check out these pictures.

Origami Folding Ukulele
Origami Folding Ukulele
Origami Folding Mini Ukulele
Origami Folding Mini Ukulele

Pardon me while I wipe the drool off of my mouth.  The frustrating thing for me is how the hell am I ever going to be able to own EVERY unique ukulele out there if geniuses like this guy keep making more?!  Anyway, check out this video that explains how you can fold this baby up.

Sadly, if you wanted one of these before Christmas, you needed to have placed your order already.  But, what better thing to spend all that Xmas loot your parents are going to send you, right?

Adventure Time with Swagerty Ukuleles

I can't believe I haven't made a video with my Kookalele or Surfalele yet.  Blasphemy!  In my defense, I think I was waiting for the new strings to come in.  But, I couldn't resist it any longer.  So, here is a quick video that shows you 3 out of the 4 "Kooky Ukes" from Swagerty.  Don't hold your breath for the 4th one (The Lil' Guitar).  I saw one on eBay recently and it was like $600.  Oof.

Oh yeah, I apologize for the crazy noise during parts of the video.  That is what it sounds like when someone (in this case, my foxy wife) runs the vacuum cleaner in the room above my office.

Oh yeah, if you don't recognize that song, then you should check out this madness.  And, if you like the look of these title sequence then you should totally start watching this show.  It rules!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcTsNKrr4fs