Category Archives: Ukulele

New Sound System + Extras!

Snake Suspenderz at Chateau Valley Center assisted living facility – 2/23/2018

The mighty Snakez have played at CVC a number of times. They hire us about twice a year. For a while we’ve been cobbling together a “sound system” that consists of two street amps and a few mikes. It has worked, but not real well.

Last December I had a surprise influx of cash. One of the things I did with it was buy a nice, portable, four channel sound system (a Yamaha StagePas 600i), suitable for use by a duo act like Hobbit & Hare (my most frequently booked act). While we have a wedding gig on the books out in mid-August, until the other day, had no chance to use the sound system “in the wild.”

Since I first bought it I had thought that it would be possible to “squeeze” enough space to hook up a simple quartet. When this recent CVC gig popped up I suggested trying it. So I pulled out a Behringer Eurorack UB1202 mixer that I’d had (and used) for a number of years and added it to the mix.

We plugged the three vocal mikes into the Eurorack and then fed that submix into one of the main channels on the Yamaha. We used two of the other main channels on the Yamaha to plug in my ukulele and Thadd’s guitar. That still left us with one main channel on each unit. Hmmm…

In a room this size we usually don’t have to plug in a mike for the tuba, as it’s pretty loud acoustically. Unfortunately, the sound system jumped the level up enough that Sketch, at the other end of the band from salamandir, was having a bit of trouble hearing said tuba. Oh well. Live and learn.

Because, in the main, it was a great success.

The picture was taken by Todd, the fella in charge of events such as this. They had decided that Mardi Gras was a month long celebration and this was a Mardi Gras party. Unfortunately, the angle of the photograph only takes in the backdrop they put up for us and misses some of the Mardi Gras specific decorations they’d put up.

You’ll only be able to spot one of the speakers from the sound system, over to the right amidst the balloons. The other speaker is just to the left of Sketch and his drums. The main and sub-mixer we used are both so small that they are entirely hidden behind me. That’s a good thing. That’s why I spent the lion’s share of the unexpected cash on the Yamaha.

Happily, it turns out I made the right decision there.

New Year’s Greetings!

We’ll start off with a New Year’s treating, just to rhyme with the greeting.

For my friends and fans who are also ukulele aces, I’ve just finished a small document on lead playing for the ukulele based on the Pentatonic Minor blues boxes for guitar. This is five, easy to learn, interlocking patterns on the fretboard that allow you to play lead riffs and licks in any key. And, despite its name, there are other genres besides blues that these patterns will work for.

There are several pages of explanation and one page with all of the boxes diagramed out for easy visualization of them and their relationship with each other.

As is usual for my uke documents, this one is a pdf file and can be downloaded for free. Also as usual, if you like it and find it useful, the best way to say thanks is to drop a dollar or two into my online tip bucket (over there in the right column of this page). It’s the slow busking season here, kids, and you’d be surprised at how useful the occasional extra dollar is.

Download Minor Pentatonic Blues Boxes For Ukulele.

Happy New Year and happy picking!