Posts Tagged ‘uke’

Ukulele Care & Maintenance – A guide to looking after your Uke

We are often asked how do I look after my ukulele?  and how do I clean it? Here eagle Music answers in simple terms the important do’s and don’ts regarding general care of your ukulele, storing, cleaning and transporting your ukulele safely.

Eagle Music Shop has a fully equipped on-site workshop facility and offers a full set-up and repair service for stringed instruments.

Storing

In general musical instruments like the same environment as their player …conditions where it is not too hot or hot and certainly not wet or damp! Keep your ukulele clean and free from dust,dirt and moisture …In a UK home, its OK to leave your instrument on a stand between playing sessions, in fact we encourage this as it makes you pick up the instrument more frequently to play and practise. Buy a decent quality stand to keep your instrument ‘out of the way’ in a corner of the room. Never leave it near a radiator or in a window where direct sunlight can fall upon the instrument and bake it! Also, never leave your instrument stored in a cold or damp place eg. cellar, loft or out in the garage

Cleaning

Each time you have played your ukulele give it a wipe over with a lint free cloth to remove finger marks. the strings can be cleaned with Fast Fret, martin or Dr Kyser string cleaning lubricant, all these products can be bought ‘off-the-shelf’ from Eagle Music. From time to time you may want to polish your instrument, always check that this is suitable for the finish on your instrument eg. On a modern gloss finish, always choose a non-smear wax free polish. Always remove finger and body marks from Nickel plated or gold plated hardware and use the special impregnated cleaning cloths that are available for this purpose. Never use abrasive cleaners as this can remove the plating! Chrome hardware is much easier to keep clean and is much harder wearing.

Transporting

Care of your ukulele during transportation really depends on where it is being transported to, and how it is being transported. Hard-shell cases and Gig bags have their pros and cons. It can be said that a padded gig bag is sufficient to take your instrument out to the pub or a jam session.But please note, when using a gig bag, you must always remember that your instrument can still be damaged if you don’t take extreme care of how you handle it, how you put it down and where you leave it, other persons can sit on your gig bag! Also, If you are a gigging musician, It wouldn’t be a good idea to put your gig bag/ instrument in the back of a van or in the boot of a car with PA gear and other hard objects! We recommend a hard-shell case always for gigging musicians.

If you’re travelling by by airplane we recommend a hard-shell or even better a flight case. Also, for added protection  ‘bubble wrap’ your hard-shell case before letting it go in the hold of an airplane, the handling of baggage at airports can be very rough! Our Hiscox range of lite-flight cases is excellent or you could have a more expensive flight case made by Keith Calton.

Check out our Black-Ice and Extreme Protection range of well thought out quality gig bags. For hard-shell cases check out our Leader, Hiscox, Deering, Kinsman etc. range of top quality brands.

Ukulele buyers guide by Eagle Music including explanations of uke types

All the different types of ukulele including soprano, concert, tenor, baritone are all explained here by Eagle Music with their relative tunings.

There are three critical but simple decisions that you our valued customer should make when buying a banjo:-

Buy from a Specialist Company… that will set up the instrument correctly
Eagle Music is Europes leading ukulele specialist shop

Buy the Best Quality instrument… that is within your budget
Eagle Music carry Europes largest selection of world class ukulele brands

Choose the Correct Ukulele… for the kind of music that you want to play
Eagle Music’s specialist musician sales team  will ensure this for you

The notes below will help you choose the ukulele that is the right model for you.

Types of Ukulele Simplified

The four main popular sizes of ukulele are (From the smallest to the largest) soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. So, when choosing your ukulele consider what size is most suitable for you and also the sound/tone that you will get from the instrument.

Steve Noon of Eagle Music Shop writes … My guitar teacher father put a ukulele into my hands at a very young age, from that day on I never looked back, I went on to play ukulele, piano, guitar, mandolin and banjo and was a professional musician by the age of twenty!

The ukulele is the ideal musical stepping stone that will take you on to playing a whole range of stringed instruments. The smallest size soprano uke is ideal for ‘child size fingers’. The chord shapes are the same as the first four strings of the guitar. Britain’s George Formby society has created much interest in the ukulele with local branches now spread all over the country. Many people link the ‘Banjo’ to George Formby who was in fact a great ukulele player. George played the Ukulele banjo and his syncopated ‘split stroke’ right hand rhythmic playing is the goal of many players! As a leading UK retailer, we supply dozens of highly playable ukes to schools, a highly playable colourful starter kit costs around twenty pounds, thanks to the high tech modern far Eastern factories!

We sponsor schools and events and attend festivals throughout the year in the ukulele and banjo world.

Types of Ukulele Explained

Soprano 4 String Ukulele

The soprano ukulele is the smallest in the ukulele family and has the traditional bright, sweet sound. It is the best choice for children starting to play and can be played by children as young as four years old.

The soprano ukulele is regarded as the ‘original’ ukulele and its smaller size produces that traditional ukulele sound. However, if you have long, fat or stubby fingers you may find it difficult to play because it has small frets. In this case we recommend that you choose a concert ukulele which has a longer neck and wider frets.

Tuning … The soprano Ukulele is tuned exactly the same as a concert ukulele and the popular tunings are G C  E A  (Regular ‘C’ tuning) or A D F# B (known as ‘D’ Tuning) ‘C’ tuning which is the recognised standard and most popular tuning for ukulele. The G string is tuned in relation to 1st, 2nd and third strings an octave higher. Another name for this tuning is ‘Re Entrant’. The ‘high’ G fourth string in relation the the lower octave C third string gives the instrument the distinctive ukulele sound when you strum across the strings.

Tuning your ukulele in ‘D’ tuning (A D F# B) was more popular in the early 1900s, you will find some music books and musical scores written in this tuning from that era. This higher tuning can give a lift to some instruments that sound ‘flat in the lower ‘C’ tuning.
If you are going to sing along with your ukulele, you may want to experiment with different tunings to suit your voice …tuning up your ukulele to a different pitch enables you to sing in a different key while still playing the same chord shapes!

Concert 4 String Ukulele

The concert ukulele is an excellent choice because it has a fuller tone than the soprano ukulele but still retains the traditional ukulele sound, it also has the advantage of having wider frets which make it easier grown ups to play.

Tuning … The concert Ukulele is tuned exactly the same as the soprano ukulele and the popular tunings are G C E A  (Regular ‘C’ tuning) or A D F# B (known as ‘D’ Tuning) ‘C’ tuning which is the recognised standard and most popular tuning for ukulele. The G string is tuned in relation to 1st, 2nd and third strings an octave higher …Another name for this tuning is ‘Re Entrant’. The ‘high’ G fourth string in relation the the lower octave C third string gives the instrument the distinctive ukulele sound when you strum across the strings.

Tuning your ukulele in ‘D’ tuning (A D F# B) was more popular in the early 1900s, you will find some music books and musical scores written in this tuning from that era. This higher tuning can give a lift to some instruments that sound ‘flat in the lower ‘C’ tuning.
If you are going to sing along with your ukulele, you may want to experiment with different tunings to suit your voice …tuning up your ukulele to a different pitch enables you to sing in a different key while still playing the same chord shapes!

Tenor 4 String Ukulele

As you move up through the range of ukulele sizes to the tenor and baritone ukuleles you get a deeper, fuller tone with increased volume. The tenor ukulele is a popular choice for musicians that want to pick out fingerstyle tunes and play solos. In many cases the professionals choice! You have a wider range of musical notes which lends itself to solo playing.

Tuning … The tenor Ukulele can be strung and tuned in different ways. The popular tuning is G C E A  (Regular ‘C’ tuning) which is the recognised standard and most popular tuning for ukulele. The G string is tuned in relation to 1st, 2nd and third strings an octave higher …Another name for this tuning is ‘Re Entrant’. The ‘high’ G fourth string in relation the the lower octave C third string gives the instrument the distinctive ukulele sound when you strum across the strings.

Low G Tuning … Players needing a wider range of bass notes tune their tenor ukulele to Low G tuning. this tuning is an alternative to the ‘re entrant’ tuning that is described above

Low G tenor tuning is as follows: Low G C E A …The Low tuned G string gives you a wider span of octaves.

It is important that your ukulele is fitted with the correct strings for the tuning that you require.

Baritone 4 String Ukulele

The baritone ukulele is the largest ukulele and can be likened to a four string guitar as it is tuned the same as the first four strings on a guitar which are D G B E

NOTE: There are two popular tunings for the baritone ukulele as follows:-

High G Tuning … D  ‘High G’ B E

High G baritone ukulele tuning gives you the same pitch relationship as that on a guitar. Guitarists will find the transition to baritone ukulele from guitar easy and the larger sized neck oof the baritone ukulele wil feel comfortable, on the other hand if you learn to play the ukulele and then move on to playing guitar you will find that many of the chord shapes are the same. (but may have a different name due to the ukulele tuning)

Re Entrant tuning … D ‘Low G’ B E

The G string is tuned (in relation to 1st, 2nd and third strings) an octave higher …The ‘high’ G fourth string in relation the the lower octave C third string gives the instrument the distinctive ukulele sound when you strum across the strings.

It is important that your ukulele is fitted with the correct strings for the tuning that you require.

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