Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Learn Something New Every Day

Last Sunday, I paid two visits to the ukulele store in Little Tokyo. One right when they opened to drop off my uke, and one at the very end of their day to pick it up.

They gently filed down "the action," meaning the nut and the bridge. It was made for stronger hands than mine and I was getting blisters from pushing down so hard. Now playing is easier, but the strings are new so they aren't staying in tune for long.

They replaced my low G string with a regular one, which I'm going to have to sort out once I get better at this. I want to keep the original intent going—this uke belonged to my friend Edward Readicker-Henderson. He died in 2016, a travel writer who kept going up until he physically simply could not. He'd developed an interest in ukuleles while writing about Hawaii, and his brother Donny built this uke from leftover walnut from the bed their father made. The top is spalted curly mango and the fret board is ebony. It's matching bass uke lives in Guam, which coincidentally is where my great-grandfather resided after the war. He was involved in the rebuilding, which is something he wrote about in his 1947 book, Lion Six.

This exquisitely crafted ukulele sat unused for most of 2017, but I finally spotted a beginner's class at Los Angeles City College. The class only went for five sessions, and I miss the third one due to being home in JC, but I treasured every other one. I suck at playing the uke, not gonna lie. But it is just so much fun to do something completely new to me.

Though my neighbors might be less enthralled, but one of them is a classical singer, so it's only fair I fight back with my jangly attempts at Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

1 comment:

William Kendall said...

The only place here I can think of that sold them closed up a couple of years back.