« Previous | Main | Next »

Uke Special

Stuart Bailie | 10:37 UK time, Thursday, 25 October 2007

Stuart Bailie.jpgSo I finally bought myself a ukulele. I’ve been harbouring desires for a few months now, and finally I just walked in and bought an economy model with a hard case and an autographed postcard from Malika Dudley, Miss Hawaii 2006. I’m looking at the gal’s fingernails and they seem impossibly long to play chords on that miniature fretboard, but hey, my Mahalo model was actually made in China, so let's not be too picky.

Anyway, I’m glad I don’t have to skulk around music shops any longer. The real musos are always in there, holding massive guitars and playing augmented minor chords that require six fingers. When I asked to see their ukuleles, they would often snort dismissively. One shop kept talking about a mythical shipment that was coming in from Honolulu, but after several months, I suspected he was having a joke at my expense. Yet I kept my cool, and now I’m part of that amusing club.

uke200.jpgIt’s hard to take life seriously when you’ve got a little uke in your hand. The great stresses are diminished and the hilarity that comes with mastering another chord is hard to equal. My ultimate ambition is to play ‘Frankly Mr Shankley’ and perhaps ‘Honolulu Baby’, but for now I’m leafing through a standard song book, checking out ‘Careless Love’, ‘Home On The Range’ and ‘Dixie’.

The internet is a trove, and when I dug out the chords to ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ my wife was astonished to recognise an actual tune. And of course the auction sites are full of rare instruments, some of them beautifully inlaid and accessorised. I’m getting especially excited about the models made of genuine Hawaiian koa wood. Am I losing perspective already? I’m only just started on the YouTube archive, but that’s a life’s work in itself.

There will be a ukulele special on my radio show rather soon. Stay tuned for further details.

Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight

Comments   Post your comment

The flying V one in Toronto was much cooler, you know

  • 2.
  • At 05:45 PM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • Stuart Bailie wrote:

Happily, there are Flying V ukeleles on the interenet and while the quality can't be up to much, there could be immense fun with the posing. Some day I'll be pouring lighter fluid over mine and trashing it on a suitable tiny speaker stack. Rilly outtasite...

  • 3.
  • At 10:35 PM on 26 Oct 2007,
  • Vivien Gleason wrote:

Saw Tiny Tim in Belfast many years ago! Hope you can "Tip toe through the Tulips!" On a different story, heard Dan Donnelly (ex Watercress) on with Gerry Anderson this morning! Many a night I bopped away to them! Still have one of their C.D.'s in the house! Gerry survived the anniv. of the Clash gig that never happened!

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.