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Ukulele Diary

Ukulele Diary (61)

The Ukulele Teacher visited Slovenia

The Ukulele Teacher recently flew to Slovenia to finally visit us at Flight Music! He is without any doubt Youtube’s most influential ukulele Vlogger and if you haven't heard of him then you must check out his channel right now! John Atkins takes a great pride in what he does and we were very lucky that we were one of the first companies he chose to collaborate with.

During years of our relationship he became a proud owner of quite a few FLIGHT ukuleles, however, we had never actually met in person! We decided it was finally time for John to visit our office, located in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

We even put on a live one-man show - here's a vlog of his adventures!

SCROLL DOWN, to the VIDEO BELLOW!

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THE UKULELE TEACHER LIVE: Grab your uke, make sure it’s in tune....

Last week we hosted a very special guest in Ljubljana – the one and only Ukulele Teacher!

The Ukulele Teacher is without any doubt Youtube’s most influential ukulele Vlogger and if you haven't heard of him then you must check out his channel right now! John Atkins takes a great pride in what he does and we were very lucky that we were one of the first companies he chose to collaborate with.

During years of our relationship he became a proud owner of quite a few FLIGHT ukuleles, however, we had never actually met in person! We decided it was finally time for John to visit our office, located in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Ljubljana is rightfully called »the hidden gem of Europe« since it is very peaceful, quiet and green. It was great to walk its streets together with John. We also drove for a day trip to nearby Venice and indulged in many of the ice cream tastes Italy and Ljubljana offer.

After booking the plane tickets for John we realised that there might be other people in town interested in meeting him, so we decided to hold a small ukulele gathering outdoors.  The word got out and even though the weather was not in our favour, the most passionate ukulele players still found their way to Čolnarna in Tivoli park.

It was magical to see The Ukulele Teacher live on stage with his trademark “Grab your uke, make sure it is in tune…” catchphrase. It set the mood for the whole evening! John taught us to play about 6 songs, and it was a lot of fun to see everyone playing together at the same time. The ukulele is truly uniting people.

To our surprise, there was no lack of girls willing to help John sing a few songs! Not only they were not shy to go on stage, they also were great at singing (hooray girls, you know who you are)!

Also at the event was the Ukulele Club Slovenia. Their leader, Carlos Yoder, also came up on stage to perform a few times. He and John quickly found a common language in the ukulele and it was great to watch them play together. 

To make the mood even more exciting we organised a prize draw. One lucky winner received our bestselling FLIGHT NUS310 Soprano Ukulele.

After the official part was over, John took the time to personally meet and take selfies with everyone who came to see him.

We would like to thank The Ukulele Teacher for showing us how amazing the ukulele really is, and to our partners, Music Max. No doubt, together we can make the ukulele the most popular instrument in town!

 

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Beginners: Your Ukulele Schedule

Step by step. Each day take your time to learn how to play your new favourite instrument - ukulele. 20 minutes is more than enough! We guarantee, you will soon notice improvements. Recipe? Be patient and consistant.

With each session, pay attention to these 4 points:

Chord changes:  Work hard on the chord changes that you haven’t mastered yet.

Fingerpicking: This is a great skill to have and the only way to get better is to dedicate some time to it. It’s difficult at first but start with some simple patterns and be persistent.

Strumming:  Don't forget to work on your weak strumming areas!

Songs:  Reward yourself. Find songs, that you like, perhaps the popular ones. And the best thing is, with this, you will combine all of the other skills that you are working on! Plus, you will look very cool.

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UKULELE BEGINNERS: Most frequently asked questions

Which ukulele should I buy?

As a beginner you will most likely buy a less expensive ukulele, rather than expensive one. As you might know, there are 4 different styles of ukuleles:

  • soprano ukulele is the most common uke. It is recognized by its small size and classic ukulele sound. Soprano size is often chosen by beginners. It is on average 21” long, and has anywhere from 12-14 frets.
  • concert ukulele measures 23” long and has 15-20 frets. Because it's a little bigger than soprano uke, some people with large hands find it easier. It also has a slightly fuller sound than a soprano.
  • The next step up from is the tenor ukulele. The tenor ukulele is 26” long and has 15+ frets. It has an even richer sound than the concert ukulele, and has the ability to reach more notes because of its extended fretboard.
  • The largest ukulele is the baritone ukulele, which is 30” or more and has 19+ frets. It is tuned the same way as the four lowest strings on a guitar, which makes the two instruments very similar. Because of its size, it loses the classic ukulele sound, but is a good option if you want really full, rich music.

Which wood has the best sound?

All wood types differ from each other and of course your »taste« is different, too. But it's good to know basics:

Spruce
A very common wood used mostly for guitars and ukuleles. Majority of ukuleles have spruce tops and rosewood or mahogany backs and sides. Spruce is considered to be a strong wood and it has very bright and rich tone.

Mahogany
As spruce, mahogany is also very popular in guitar and ukulele making. Mahogany provides bright trebly sounds and many agree, it presents best value for quality.

Mango
Mango's heartwood is usualy golden brown, while other colors such as yellow and streaks of pink and/or black can also occur. Mango is considered to be more sustainable wood and it provides a warm and bright tone, similar to walnut.

African Burl
African burl has more greenish/greyish shades, with dark streaks of burl, giving it an original and special outlook. Mango and Africal Burl have great resonance and clear bright sound.

How to hold ukulele?

Note that the ukulele is cradled by the right arm, between your wrist/forearm and body. The index finger of the right hand is extended and is used to strum the strings, right at the place where the neck of the ukulele meets the body. Don't strum near the hole. The fingernail of the index finger faces the ground, so that the back of the nail strums the strings on the way down, then the tip of the finger and nail strum on the way back up. The ukulele is held high on your body. Continue reading....

How to strum a ukulele?

For quick lessons, click HERE.

Where can I find good ukulele tutorials?

Well, The Ukulele Teacher has a variety of popular tutorials, which are pretty easy to learn. Check his youtube account, he has more than 465.000 subscribers! You WILL be able to play a song after your first lesson!

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Flight Ukulele Series: Which one is right for me?

FLIGHT NU series come in all four popular sizes, each ukulele is distinguished by its unique rosette design. All models are made of Sapele wood, which has an interesting brown wood grain with golden-walnut shades. Sapele wood is a close relative with premium Mahogany wood, widely known for its warm sound qualities. Laminated top is very low in maintenance, and the fact that each uke comes with a quality gigbag makes it a perfect travel companion. The price of NU series is very affordable, however, the wood and build quality puts them above other entry level ukuleles.

FLIGHT DU is a designer ukulele series, with each instrument featuring a unique design/decorative pattern. DU series offer all four ukuleles sizes – that is, from small to large: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. Models are available in several variations, differing in size and wood type. The selection includes spruce, zebrawood and mahogany top. You can also choose between laminated and solid-wood tops. The back and sides can be either made of mahogany or zebrawood (so named for its characteristic stripy wood grain).

Solid-top ukulele is a more expensive instrument of higher quality; it requires careful maintenance, proper humidity and temperature. The laminated-top option is less demanding and more weather-resistant, making it the perfect choice if you are looking for an instrument for travelling. All our ukuleles come with high-quality gigbags of a soft sandy color, ensuring maximum protection for your uke.

ElvisPresley® Special Edition Ukuleles combine unique modern design with history and spirit of ElvisPresley, and with that they catch a lively pulse of his time and fame. This instrument is very small, but it was well suited for The King to play! He fell in love with ukuleles, while filming a movie called »Blue Hawaii«, where he used the instrument in several scenes. You might remember his famous picture taken there - in Hawaiian shirt and ukulele in his hand, playing a song to his darling. ElvisPresley®   ukuleles are appropriate for beginners and intermediate players. They are also great treat for any Elvis fan. Nice design, attractive colorful package and affordable price!

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Guitarlele

A guitalele is another guitar-ukulele hybrid, it is a cross between a classical guitar and a tenor or baritone ukulele. It has six single strings and resultant chord possibilities of a classical guitar. The guitalele is often used as a travel guitar or for smaller children. It is tuned as a guitar: ADGCEA. Guitarlele isn't so easy to find, not many manufactures produce it.

But for us, this year is a year of new possibilites. We are introducing few new FLIGHT ukulele models, such as guitarlele and even a bass ukulele.

Features of a FLIGHT GUT350 SP/SAP Guitarlele:

  • Top: Spruce
  • Side & Back: Sapele
  • Binding: ABS W/B/W
  • Neck: Okoume
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Classical tuning machine. 
  • Laser engraved
  • 5MM padded bag included

Pictures soon!

 

 

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FAMOUS UKULELE PLAYER: Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949. He is an American musician, singer, songwriter and humanitarian. He is widely known for his brand of poetic lyrics, Americana, working class and sometimes political sentiments centered on his native New Jersey, his distinctive voice and his lengthy and energetic stage performances, with concerts from the 1970s to the present decade running over three hours in length.

Springsteen's recordings have included both commercially accessible rock albums and more somber folk-oriented works. His most successful studio albums, Born to Run (1975) and Born in the U.S.A. (1984), showcase a talent for finding grandeur in the struggles of daily American life. He has sold more than 64 million albums in the United States and more than 120 million records worldwide, making him one of the world's best-selling artists of all time. He received many awards for his work, including 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and an Academy Award as well as being inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

Breakthrough

On August 13, 1975, Springsteen and the E Street Band began a five-night, 10-show stand at New York's The Bottom Line club. The engagement attracted major media attention and was broadcast live on WNEW-FM. With the release of Born to Run on August 25, 1975, Springsteen finally found success. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and while reception at US top 40 radio outlets for the album's two singles was not overwhelming. Springsteen is probably best known for his album Born in the U.S.A. (1984), which sold 15 million copies in the U.S., 30 million worldwide, and became one of the best-selling albums of all time with seven singles hitting the Top 10. The title track was a bitter commentary on the treatment of Vietnam veterans, some of whom were Springsteen's friends and bandmates. The lyrics in the verses were entirely unambiguous when listened to, but the anthemic music and the title of the song made it hard for many, from politicians to the common person, to get the lyrics—except those in the chorus, which could be read many ways. The song made a huge political impact, as he was advocating for the rights of the common working-class man.

His musical style

Bruce Springsteen was among the five recipients of the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors. He draws on many musical influences from the reservoir of traditional American popular music, folk, blues and country. From the beginning, rock and roll has been a dominant influence and Springsteen's musical and lyrical evocations, as well as public tributes, of artists such as Dylan, Presley, Roy Orbison, Gary "U.S." Bonds, and many others helped to rekindle interest in their music. Elements of Latin American music, jazz, soul, and funk influences can be heard on Springsteen's second album, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. Springsteen's third album, Born To Run, also emphasized the piano. Subsequently in his career, Springsteen focused more on the rock elements of his music. He initially compressed the sound and developed Darkness on the Edge of Town just as straightforward as concise musical idiom, for the simple riffs, rock guitar solos and clearly recognizable song structures are dominant. His music has been categorized as heartland rock, a style typified by Springsteen, John Fogerty, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, and John Mellencamp. This music has a lyrical reference to the U.S. everyday and the music is kept rather simple and straightforward.

In recent years, Springsteen has changed his music further. There are more folk elements up to the gospel to be heard. His last solo album, Devils and Dust, drew rave reviews not only for Springsteen's complex songwriting, but also for his expressive and sensitive singing.

Source: Wikipedia.

  

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Made in China – Yay or Nay? Part 1

How did you react, when you found out, that your favourite brand produces ukuleles and other musical instruments in China? Not sure? Well, don't worry. Behind that descision, there are couple of interesting facts and reasons, which we will explain you during our China ukulele factory tour in march 2016.

Did you know, that in the year 2000, there were only three major ukulele manufacturers in the world? These were mosty small companies with handmade instruments. Now it seems almost every ukulele has a »Made in China« stamp on it. Why do companies choose to make their wooden instrumens in countries, like China?

Reasons:

  • the costs are smaller,
  • manufactor workers have experience and knowledge,
  • specialized factories invest constantly in new improvements,
  • the wood selection is wider.

These listed improvements will focus on even better quality, growing sales, and increasing output. The quality of a ukulele is primarily dependent on the type of wood used, so that's why manufacturers are constantly looking for new wood sources, which will mean more consistent sound quality.

To be continued....

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Best ukulele quotes

Here are some of the best quotes about our favourite musical instrument – ukulele!

"You know, the ukulele itself is not a very loud instrument, all right? And, you know, compared to like a trumpet, right? A trumpet is really loud."

- Jake Shimabukuro

 

"Sometimes I can't think of a better way to end my day than coming home and just strumming my ukulelefor a few minutes. I mean, I joke around and tell people that it's an entire yoga session in one strum, you know?"

- Jake Shimabukuro

 

"If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place."

- Jake Shimabukuro

 

"The ukulele has always appealed to the older generation."

- Jake Shimabukuro

 

"There's no ego when you're a ukulele player."

- Jake Shimabukuro

 

"One thing you might want to learn before you attend the world's largest ukulele lesson is how to say ukulele."

- Mary Schmich

 

"I bring my ukulele everywhere I go, play a little music in the park, always have it with me."

- Max Schneider

 

"Sometimes when you’re writing on a ukulele, you’re in a totally new land, rhythmically or melodically."

- Tift Merritt

 

"I grew up in a musical family; the majority of my growing up was done in Hawaii. It’s what we do. You sing, you dance, you play ukulele and you drink.

- Dwayne Johnson

"Ukuleles will get you through times with no money better than money will get you through time with no ukulele

- anonymous

 

"I’m trying to be a better gangsta, so I’m learning how to play the ukulele. I’m also trying to figure out how to rap a romance novel, like The Notebook. "

- Jarod Kintz

 

“Everyone I know who is into ukulele is crackers, so get yourself a few and enjoy yourselves”

- George Harrison

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