Friday, May 8, 2009

Ukulele Encounters on the Burlingame Ave.

Wayne Jiang self portrait with ukulele

It's a bit hard to fathom in the current state of the economy but I have been blessed with a consistent flow of work, and a bit more. Yesterday, I got a call from my longterm client who needed another small job squeezed in. It was a small storefront and canopy for a new "Trina Turk Boutique" at 1223 Burlingame Ave., in Burlingame, CA. I had to make an urgent trip across the bay for a jobsite meeting with the general contractor earlier today.
I have worked in the steel industry for quite a long time. Starting as a draftsman in high school and getting a job with Universal Detailing Company in Fremont, Ca somewhere around 1980. Since then I have had the good fortune of working in several aspects of the trade including estimator and project manager. The project management background really comes in handy in these impromptu meetings where the general contractor is trying to make sense of the quickly produced and incomplete set of design drawings. Instead of sending it back for clarification from the architect they squeeze the remaining design details from each of the subcontractors - the one's that work out all of the problems and resolve all of the missing design for free.
Well this unexpected travel had me pulling my car to the boulevard curb just as Wayne Jiang was walking by with a small case in his hand. I had met Wayne and his wife 2 or 3 times at the UCSC. (Most recently where he did a spectacular ukulele/dulcimer duet with his wife at the UCSC open mic.) I called out to him and we spoke about the Tangi sopranino he was carrying. He said you can get one for $100 if you go straight to the factory to buy (his tip!)
Wayne is also quite a talented and prolific painter. If you click in the title above it will take you to his site. I have taken a fairly thorough look at his paintings and enjoy, in my humble and uneducated opinion, how he shows a everyday or arrangements with lighting from different angles in a quite spectacular way.
Wayne also has great enthusiasm for music and instruments. We spoke for about 15 minutes about dulcimers. He gave me some resommendations that I am going to post here for my future reference.
WAYNE's RECOMMENDATIONS (for a Dulcimer purchase)
1) Don't get an old dulcimer. They may be beautiful but don't have much volume.
2) Good dulcimer: McSpadden (shorter scale, good action, not loud).
3) Good dulcimer: Folkroots.
4) Good expensive rarer dulcimer: Simerman (really good, no longer made).
5) Good expensive dulcimer: Bonnie Carol (similar quality to Simermans).
6) Wayne recommended spruce top, walnut sides.

1 comment:

  1. this is Wayne, Bonnie Carol dulcimer is the one with the shorter scale not McSpadden. Also a mid-high price dulcimer that has big sound like Simerman is Modern Mountain Dulcimer.

    also if you want to get a similar dulcimer like folkroots for better price go to Laurel Mountain
    Mary Amber the luthier for Laurel mountain was one of the luthiers for Folk Roots. She really nice to dealt with. She does very beautiful work. her site is

    Here are website for the different dulcimer makers I mentioned