Category Archives: Ukulele

Ukulele Ace T-Shirts

Important Notice!

I started this post way back in May, but stuff happens, y’know? So just ignore the bits that mention dates, like for instance, the next paragraph, and it’ll all be good.

I’ve been mentioning (ok… teasing about) this for a month or so on Twitter. But, due to circumstances I’m going to explain here, I can’t just have folks sending money to my PayPal. This is because these shirts are the first and may be the last of them. (More on that subject later in this post.) I have less than 2 dozen of them left and I don’t want to be issuing refunds because PayPal will have already taken their percentage and I’ll end up losing money on the deal.

(I don’t mind only making a small amount after all is said and done—initial outlay for the printing, packaging, postage, etc.—but losing money kinda defeats the purpose of having them made in the first place.) :-)

They’ve been in cardboard boxes a while. They’ll be ironed prior to shipping!

The Circumstances

I designed them back in 2016 and had the first small batch ran off. These were done by hand, on high quality (Port & Company, 100% cotton) tees, not thin, flimsy, machine printed ones like you get from CafePress and other sites of that ilk, but by friends of mine (Sarah and Steve Angell of Primal Screens) who worked at the Pike Place Market. They cut me a hella good deal, just because they’re nice like that. I was, and still am, trying to keep the cost as low as possible on these. (c.f. the Restrictions section, later in this post.)

Now I’m a couple thousand miles away from Seattle and unable (cuz pandemic, a less busker friendly city, etc.) to earn any money.

I came up with a whole strategy for releasing them, starting with trying to find one of my co-ukulele phreaks of the female pursuasion to model them for ads just like this one. There was some difficulty in scheduling and time was ticking. By the time I started thinking about other ways to do the pic much time had passed. Then came the “stuff” I mentioned in my Important Notice at the top of this post. A whole bloody series of stuff. Jeez!

The Restrictions

  • You must be a resident of the USA. Postage is extreme outside those areas and would bring the cost up to more than I’d be comfortable charging. Even sending it to our Canadian friends would force me to nearly double the price, never mind Asia or Europe, etc. My apologies to all of the wonderful Ukulele Aces outside of the US.
  • You have to realize that this is a limited edition, in that I’m not sure I can find such a quality source for them here in Kalamazoo. And I simply won’t charge the same price for lower quality products. More on this subject later in the post.
  • This is why I’ve come up with The Process.

The Process

Step 1: If you’re interested in one of these, send me an email with your desired size. At the time of this update (September 25, 2021) I have 2 in 2X, 5 in XL, 4 in L, 5 in M, and 4 in S. These are the “Adult Male” sizings and style. (See the photo.) Adjust your size preference accordingly if you’re a female Ukulele Ace.

I’ll be contacting folks in the order that I receive the initial email from them.

Step 2: If I have your size in stock I’ll send you an email to that effect. You’ll have 24 hours to send me the payment.

If I don’t receive the payment in that time I’m going to assume you changed your mind (which is perfectly ok, no hard feelings!) and move along to the next email on the list that wants that size.

Step 3: Within 24 hours of your payment hitting my PayPal account I’ll have it packaged up and mailed out to you. If it happens to arrive on a day the Post Office is closed, I’ll let you know that as well, so that there’s no misunderstandings. Communication is key!

The Price

Gad! Had to edit after posting because I forgot to put this in.

I’m selling these for $35. That includes shipping and handling.

Miscellaneous Info

Regarding further availability: If I get enough response that the size(s) y’all want are already sold out, I’ll look into the possibility of having the Angell’s ship me the original screen (assuming it’s still extant), and finding a local screen printer who can do the same quality job on them.

In that case, I’ll send you an email asking if you’d like to be notified if I can put such a deal together.

Agreeing to that will not put you on any other email list. I only send emails to those who opt in, or whom I’ve already established a relationship with, not just anyone whose email I happen to have. I’m funny that way.

Regarding updates to this post: I’ll try to keep the “sizes available” info updated here so that you won’t waste your time emailing me (unless you’d like to be put on the aforementioned mailing list).

Lastly: In the immortal words of Henry Ford, “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.”

Let the hip kids know what an ace you are! And feel free to email me with any questions.

The first product of two I’m offering

This is the first, and the second one will be a limited edition. Ain’t that posh?

As you may well have noticed, musicians have been deemed “non-essential” by the powers that be.

(And don’t get me started on that one. The old saw about “never waste a good crisis” is still being practiced by the aforementioned “powers that be.”)

Personally, I believe that music and other artistic endevours are essential. Of course, I might just be biased on this view.

Meanwhile, I’m unable to earn any money. After a while one becomes weary of depending on one’s significant other to support all of one’s expenses. And, no doubt, they grow a bit weary themselves.

Luckily for me I have a former and now current ukulele student who is a “patron of the arts” (not related to Patreon.com) who has paid me (very well, thank you) for lessons in a video and document format. He has kindly agreed that I can sell them on for a lesser price, to help me survive the current crisis.

So, I am currently offering the “Two Fingered Mack” lesson for a mere $15 (or more, if you’re feeling like being a patron of the arts yourself). This is an arrangement of Mack The Knife that I was inspired to create by Sting’s version of the song, which featured a more accurate translation from the German than Bobby Darin’s watered down version, and didn’t have all the ridiculous key changes between each verse, causing you to memorize a whole bunch of chord progressions for just one song. Not to mention being able to sing in all those keys.

You can pay for this two ways. If you have a PayPal account you can use paypal.me/howlinhobbit

If you’re not a PayPal member, you can use this link (and remember, you might need to reset the default amount): https://ko-fi.com/howlinhobbit

Please realize, I’ve not been able to figure out a way to automagically send the file when you pay. I’m living in the United States Eastern Time Zone. The minute I discover the payment, I’ll send you a link to the file.

Lastly, this is a large zip file, containing two separate videos and two documents. It’s about 1/2 a megabyte. It will take a bit to download and you need to download it to a computer/device that has room for that size of a file.

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!