Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Ken Middleton || This Land Was Made for You and Me (Wine Country Ukulele Festival)
I had a good chance to talk with Ken. He's a representative for Ohana Ukuleles and here he's playing his Ohana tenor with Worth Mellow White Strings. I like the Ohana product line and have a concert CK-35G strung with a low G. I also have the peg type tuners which I prefer over the tuning "ears" that stick out beyond the headstock edges. I think these "ears" have a heavier feel.
Ken was a music teacher and probably a pretty cool teacher. He has a very mellow way about him but he definitely has strong opinions about what he likes. He also will drop into an enthusiasm about ukuleles quite quickly. He taught me how to change a 4-string ukulele into an 8-string ukulele. (It's a secret!)
No, it's not really a secret. But sometimes there's a convergence of knowledge. I asked my new Australian buddy, Richard G., how the heck he got so much volume out of his travelling soprano Lehua ukulele. Richard can really shred the strings. He uses a steady strum that looks like he's flexing all (4) of his fingers on each strum. But he told me he uses only the index and middle fingers. Richard "digs in" a bit and gets great volume -- also exemplifies what Ken Middleton was saying about an 8-string ukulele.
By playing with two fingers slightly spaced apart you achieve 8-hits on the strings. (2 fingers across the 4 strings.) Test it and if you have the inclination drop me a line and tell me how it works for you. Try mixing 1-finger strums and 2-fingers strums around [and why stop there? 3-fingers, 4 fingers, 4 fingers followed by a thumb].