A couple of customers came to visit today, one to collect her new Venezuelan Cuatro and the other to see what his will be like.
In the fist clip, Jennifer Maidman and Geoffrey Richardson, members of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, play a Penguin Cafe Classic, ‘Paul’s Dance’. Jennifer is playing a Tenor Ukulele she purchased from us a while back. It is tuned a D F# B, as is the Cuatro.
The second clip is taken from the ‘jam’ session they proceeded perform and on this occasion Jennifer plays my ‘Cool Hand Uke’ a Tenor with a low G string, but tuned ADF#B.
Many thanks to both of them for the impromptu concert.
It occurred to me that I’ve not posted any progress reports of late, what with all the tree felling going on but work in the shop has been progressing well. This week, no less than three instruments will get finished, the first of two Venezuelan Cuatro’s, a Cool Hand Tenor and a Cutaway Tenor, all featuring rope binding.
Using locally produced timber was taken to the extreme one day last week, when what was probably the closest tree to the workshop was felled. It was a Sycamore that had self seeded some 100 years ago along the main drive opposite to the entrance of the Craft Village.
Needless to say, we watched it’s demise, even video’d the act, and, surprise surprise, obtained the best part of the trunk for Ukulele parts!
Well, ‘Mob Rule’ is perhaps a bit over the top, but the response from many of the 20 odd people that attended last week’s inaugural Quex Ukelele Club meeting has been an overwhelming “MORE!” That is, more meetings and more often than originally envisaged.
So, we have decided to double the frequency from once a month to twice a month, effective immediately. Where it was the second wednesday, it is now the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.
Same time, 7pm and the same place, Quex Barn, just off Park Lane in Birchington. We look forward to seeing you there and having as enjoyable an evening as the first one.
In the workshop, I’m going to have to make myself a new Ukulele, as the Tenor that I have been strumming of late has been sold. “It sounds so nice” the customer said, so I explained that it had been played a bit and that it decided it liked music!
You see, that’s the best explanation I have heard for an instrument ‘opening up’. The wood spends 1-200 years being a tree, and then goes through some traumatic changes. Once it has been turned into an instrument, it takes the wood a little time to decide that it likes music, and then it joins in with the harmony.
From time to time we get asked about exotic timbers. The most popular timber for making Ukuleles is a wood called Koa. It is one of the Acacia family and is native to the Hawaiian Islands (among other places) where the Uke was invented. The reason it was used was quite simple. It was local and available.
Of course, today, Hawaiian Koa is still available in small quantities, but at a high price. Think in terms of a set of boards for a soprano starting around the £60 mark and going up from there!
However, ‘local and available’ were the criteria for using this timber in the first place, and here in the Garden of England, Continue reading Exotic woods→
The ‘tidy up’ I mentioned in the last post turned out to be a three day job! That is mainly due to a complete re-arrange of the workshop. A bit more space was needed and there was none. None that was usable that is. Moving from the smaller unit a few months ago, things had been put where they fitted without too much thought about the way we would be working and the place had become somewhat cluttered.
The thing that triggered this effort was the purchase of a new Planer – Thicknesser. It is something that is a basic requirement in any form of woodworking shop, but something that funds had precluded until now. Bench models are available, capable of handling widths of 6″ and 8″, but with the need to dimension timber for Continue reading A Change of Luck?→
Although I’m not advocating that anyone should make unnecessary journeys, the Craft Village is still accessible with care. Today was spent having a mass tidy, along with a bit of snow shoveling. Isn’t it weird that cleaning up seems to increase the amount of mayhem, at least to start with. I’m sure with another day, all will sort itself out and room to swing a cat will once more emerge!
Quex Instruments maker, purveyor of local timber artifacts