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.

Textured Leather Pick Plectrum Holder 2 Leather Picks for Ukulele Banjo JCow
Textured Leather Pick Plectrum Holder  2 Leather Picks for Ukulele  Banjo JCow $13.91
Time Remaining: 2d 1h 52m
Buy It Now for only: $13.91
Timber Tones Leather Tones Black Ukulele Pick Single Pick
Timber Tones Leather Tones Black Ukulele Pick Single Pick $5.00
Time Remaining: 2d 4h 48m
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 $7.58
Time Remaining: 2d 6h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $7.58
Leather Pick Plectrum Holder Gift Pack Keyring Includes 1 Leather
Leather Pick Plectrum Holder Gift Pack Keyring Includes 1 Leather $13.91
Time Remaining: 2d 7h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $13.91
Leather Pick Plectrum For Ukulele Banjo Jumping Cow Warm Tone Black 25mm
Leather Pick Plectrum For Ukulele  Banjo Jumping Cow Warm Tone Black 25mm $3.78
Time Remaining: 3d 5h 27m
Buy It Now for only: $3.78
Timber Tones Leather Tones White Ukulele Pick Single Pick
Timber Tones Leather Tones White Ukulele Pick Single Pick $5.00
Time Remaining: 3d 10h 15m
Buy It Now for only: $5.00
3 x Korala Leather Plectrums Picks for Ukulele Banjo Bass Guitar Acoustic etc
3 x Korala Leather Plectrums Picks for Ukulele Banjo Bass Guitar Acoustic etc $7.58
Time Remaining: 5d 3h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $7.58
Leather Pick Plectrum Ukulele Banjo Jumping Cow Warm Sound Dark Brown
Leather Pick Plectrum Ukulele  Banjo Jumping Cow Warm Sound Dark Brown $3.78
Time Remaining: 13d 3h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $3.78
Leather Pick Holder Key Ring + 3 x Ukulele Picks Jumping Cow Gift Pack
Leather Pick Holder Key Ring + 3 x Ukulele Picks Jumping Cow Gift Pack $11.33
Time Remaining: 13d 5h 14m
Buy It Now for only: $11.33
Ukulele Accessories Varity Leather Picks Fingerboard Conditioner Titanium String
Ukulele Accessories Varity Leather Picks Fingerboard Conditioner Titanium String $70.99
Time Remaining: 13d 19h 13m
Buy It Now for only: $70.99

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.

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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.

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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?