Welcome to the Tulsa Ukulele Club Website

Welcome to the Tulsa Ukulele Club website. We are a group of people of all ages who enjoy playing the ukulele. We welcome every level of player from beginner to professional. We play a wide variety of music, as diverse as our membership. Right now, if you come to one of our meetings you are going to hear a lot of old time standards, country, folk and blues, possibly some Gospel, but we are welcome to new influences.

While our emphasis is on ukuleles, we welcome other instruments too. Bring your harmonica or guitar and of course, a kazoo is always welcome.

We are a family oriented organization and encourage the entire family to attend, even the little guys, so long as they do not disrupt the meeting. Watch this site for special announcements for meetings when we will be offering free beginner's ukulele lessons.

We have been evaluating several alternative sites for our meetings. Watch the blog postings below for the latest meeting place. At this time (10-17) we are meeting in the lobby of the Cancer Center of America in the first Thursday, have an Open Mike Night and jam on the second Thursday at Burgundy Place and the other Thursdays are jams at Burgundy Place or some other location. Check the blog, the web page or contact us for latest plans.

Thank you for visiting our Blog. You will also find a lot of useful links for songs and instruction material in the Handy Links section on the right side of the page.

We also have a web page that contains a lot of the songs in our song book -- see https://sites.google.com/site/tulsaukuleleclub/

We also have a YouTube channel and a Facebook page ("Tulsa Uke Club").

Please contact us if you have any questions at tulsaukes@gmail.com.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Let's do it!

There will be some folks who will be getting ukes this holiday season, so let's contact them and bring them to our January meetings to get them started.

Friday, December 9, 2011

White Christmas, with enhancements

Some of you may know of Jim D'Ville, the uke instructor who teaches "playing the uke by ear", versus using song sheets.  He gives workshops around the country and always has a crowd in his classes.  He also has a (free) blog that you might find useful.


One of the recent entries in his blog is on White Christmas.  Find it by scrolling down a few entries.  His version of the song starts with a simple, but acceptable, three chord arrangement in the key of C, i.e.,  C, F, and G7 then adds Dm to spice it up a bit, then in version #3 adds two more, C7 and Fm for a very nice arrangement and finally for #4, adds B, F#7 and Gdim.

 F#7 is the only one that you might have trouble fingering -- I expect you will find the others are easy and familiar.  And if that is a bit too much, you can simply delete that chord (in two places) and use the G7 as shown in version #3.

The notations are using the Circle of Fifths system, so if you want to do it in, say the key of F, you can substitute F for I, Bb for IV and so forth.  But in this blog, he shows the chord fingerings in the familiar key of C

Check it out and let's see if we can see how this goes on Dec. 13.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beginner videos

We all learn in different ways, and for many, it is instructional videos.  The musician in the video will have his or her individual style and assumption on how fast you can pick up his/her tips.  Personally I find that many generally go a bit too fast for me, but this is a personal opinion.

Jeff Burton has started to make several beginner videos for the real beginner and if you are in that group, you might find his style is slow and easy to comprehend.

Here is his link.  He has 5 beginner videos out at this time.  If you are starting out, you might like his style.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ukulee videos

If you are into watching videos that include some (or all) ukulele playing, you might want to bookmark this page:

The organizer of this web page has a lot of material -- songs and tabs, reviews, lessons -- and one link is to the ukulele related videos.  There is a selection of "best of the year", "most popular" and the ones he has seen in the last week or so.

So if you want to spend some time this way, here is your link.  And check out the rest of his web page too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

For Kala Fans

I know that some of you have Kala ukuleles and they have developed a large following, not only with normal folks like us, but with the higher ranks of the music world.  There is a promotional video that you may not have seen.  Here is the link to their web page -- then click on the Kala Compilation video on the right hand of the page.
Catch the last clip with the Jive Aces using the very economical Dolphin uke -- shows what can be done.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Well, my home furnace is now operating and the house remains a pleasant temperature, but accordingly, the humidity in the house goes down,  I do not have a whole house humidifier and while I do put out a good room humidifier, still the house humidity can be as low as 25% on occasion.

I have a couple ukes that are not sensitive to this, like my Flea with it's plastic body and laminated top, I do have some that are solid wood.   Back a couple years ago, I had two Pono tenors crack, and I believe that one was not my fault and the other might be a result of low humidity in the house (but Pono, to their credit toward good will, did replace both).  So I do know that some ukes can develop cracks in the face and/or back.

So today, in the winter, I keep my solid wood ukes in cases, and I put humidifier gadgets in them.  There are several commercial items available, but you can make one that is great.  The photo shows my version, in this case with some expanded crystals poking out the top.

It is a small pill bottle, with a lot of 1/16" holes drilled in the barrel, and then a 1/4 teaspoon of Schultz Moisture Plus Watering Crystals inside.   (Dorothy uses this product in some plant soils for selected indoor plants.)  When immersed in water, the crystals rapidly expand with water, and then they very slowly release the water to the atmosphere.  In my uke cases, one of these tubes keeps my humidity at good level for several weeks.

So if you have an upscale uke -- one made with solid wood -- best be careful and use a humidifier. (Laminated body ukes are not likely to crack but humidification is always a Plus.)

I'll make one of these for you if you need one.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

December 13

 Let's all come to the meeting and meet Betty and Sue

Friday, November 11, 2011

Songs for the holiday season

Greetings ukulele fans.

We are rapidly approaching the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Hanukah and Christmas. We won't be having our usual 4th Tuesday meeting since it is so close to Thanksgiving and the next planned meeting is December 13.

So for that meeting, in this holiday season, I have selected a number of songs, a mix of secular and religious, that we might want to work on at the December meeting. (I did not include any Jewish numbers, but if you wish too, let me know.) These songs have been sent to everyone on my email list and if you did not get it, let me know. And if you like some others, send them along so we can incorporate them into the program too.

I have also included a beginner grade tab sheet for Twinkle Twinkle so you can start on some right hand arpeggios appropriate for the season.

Print out the song sheets and bring them to the December meeting. Hope to see you there.

A Thanksgiving medley

Here is a nice medley of songs for the Thanksgiving period.  We all have plenty to give thanks for, and for me, the friendship of our small ukulele group is one of them.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Want to build your own uke?

Have you ever thought about making your own uke, with the special features you want?  Don't have much experience or equipment?  The Grizzly kit is a great starter project.

Well there are several uke kits on the market that does not require a lot of experience or special wood working tools.  The Grizzly kit is the cheapest, and could be the easiest to complete.

On a lark I got a kit and I just finished building one.  The kit comes with all the woodworking compete (except for sanding) so the job is essentially to sand the pieces, do some simple assembly following the excellent instructions, do any pore filling you want (I did not pore fill) and apply a finish.  I used TruOil for a finish, probably the easiest to use (and to repair later) and has no environmental concerns, nor are breathing masks needed.  It provides a great finish.

The body is a laminate with a mahogany venier surface that is very pretty.

Now is this the greatest uke you have every played -- no -- it is pretty quiet, but the intonation is right on, all the parts are provided and well pre-assembled (the body), it does look nice, and it is yours..  Is it a better entry level value than the popular Dolphin model?  Your call, but if you like to play around in the garage, go for the Grizzly.

Amazon has a good price and fast service.


Here is a different version of Frankie and Johnny

A friend in the Dallas area has a very nice version of Frankie and Johnny, based on a Brothers Four rendition of the song.

I have a song sheet for this if you want to perform this song.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A timely song

This is a nice timely song give than our granddaughter is now free of cancer.*


*  this particular cancer is traced to the hormones and additives added to animal  feedstock.  Limit your fast foods!

Here is a lovely number

Here is a video of Ken Middleton at the recent Nova Scotia uke festival doing the lovely 1932 song, Try A Little Tenderness.  Ken is a rep. for Ohana and travels to a lot of festivals around the world, including Dallas a couple years ago.  With him is another festival regular, Gerald Ross, this time with a guitar.

A nice job with a great tune.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Something for this weekend

Here is something for this weekend.

Here is the link to the song in Cordie.  A simple song in the key of C (but finishing with a chord of G)


A nice version

Ken Middleton has hundreds of YouTube videos on the internet, both as a reviewer of instruments as well as a performer.  He is a representative for Ohana and as such, he travels to many uke festivals around the world, the most recent one in Nova Scotia.  Here is a nice simple version of Amazing Grace showing that one does not need to be a hyper-speed fingerpicker to do a great job with the uke.

(Sorry, but the link could not show for some reason.)



Thursday, October 27, 2011

November schedule

Shortly, I will be updating the club schedule on our blog schedule our next meetings for our standard 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at the Western Country Diner.

I don't see any problem with the 8th of November, and I personally don't have any problems with the 22nd of November, but if the 22nd is pretty close to Thanksgiving so we might want to think about this date a bit later in the month.

I've added three names to our email list -- Eric Clark, Shawn Gann and Marcus Messimore-- so when you club old timers see them next month, let's give them a big welcome.

Please be thinking about selecting some songs to do on the 8th. This is your group and we want to do numbers you like. How about selecting 3 songs either from our song book or new ones you will share with the group at the next meeting that your like, or would like to learn or on which you would like to improve your technique?

And while we will not, a a group, be giving any performances this holiday season, want to do some Christmas season songs? I really like "Christmas Cookies" (in the secular group) and "Mary Did You Know"(in the religious group). You probably have some favorites too. So if you want to share some of these bring along some song sheets to share or let me know and I will try to find one.

I now have a lot of the songs in our club book in a Walkman and can play them at our meeting, so if we want to hear how the "professionals" play the song, we can do so. They key that they use may not match our song sheet, but at least the tempo will be good and you can refresh your memory for the melody.

Hope you can make it on the 8th.

Lastly, if anyone is interested in a weekend informal gathering at the Troubador's Emporium (a shop in the back of the Persimmon Hollow) let me know and I will see if there is an open time slot.


Friday, October 7, 2011

A little bit of nonsence

I have a friend who lives in Austin, a hot bed of musicians.  Pop's Bayless has had several groups, including the Asylum Street Band and others.  Pop's wrote some uke songs including Let's All Go To Hawaii and the uke standard Flaming Ukulele In The Sky (both of which are in our club song book).

His group, plus several others, met in Austin for a huge jam session one evening.

They are enjoying themselves, and I hope you enjoy it too.


Tuesday the 11th

We will have our regular gathering of uke folks at the WCD on Tuesday evening. Let's gather at 6:30 for some refreshments and then we can do some songs that we enjoy. Please bring along some suggestions from the club book or from your personal files. If you want to have me make up an MP3 recording of a song so we can learn it better, let me know and I will do my best.  

Thanks to Carol and her printer, I will have the Dallas club 2 and 3 chord song book packets available for you. Thanks, Carol.


Two upscale ukes for sale locally

There are two upscale soprano size ukes for sale locally.  One is a Tamaka in koa and the other is a Martin in mahogany.  Both are from the late '50s', early 60's era.  Both should be excellent choices, but the Martin has the cache that goes with those early ukes.

So if you are interested, check out the FleaMarket marketplace ad for the Martin as well as the CraigsList Tulsa ad for the Kamaka.

They need a local home.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Tuesday evening at WCD

Join us next Tuesday about 6:30 for food, socializing and just a bit of instruction for those who have some questions. We will also have some group songs, circle jam, and if anyone feels the urge, give us a new piece,

Carol has printed out the latest jam book I got from the Dallas club -- this one being a two and three chord song book. This book contains songs from a wide variety of genre's and eras. While only having three chords in a song, it does not mean that they are ultra simple numbers using, as an example F and C7, but does include some numbers with the less familiar Em and more difficult chord changes. I think you will like this new addition to our collection.

Thanks to Carol for printing these out for us. WCD is at 18th and Sheridan adjacent to the large DirectTV office.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Special Saturday meeting

A couple of us are going to meet at the Troubador's Emporium, a small shop in the pioneer village of Persimmon Hollow, NE of 71st and Garnett.  Access is off 115th Ave and the shop is in the back of the property.  Bryan has set up his place for some instrument sales, but principally for allowing local songwriters a venue to show off their latest efforts.   Join us if you can, bringing instruments, of course.  2 PM, this Saturday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another good web site

There is a uke site based in the Netherlands that you might want to visit.

click on the link and the home page will come up.  There are two areas of interest.

You will see a fretboard and a list of available chords that will show the fingering in the open position, for three tunings - D, which they call Soprano, (popular in Canada, C Concert, with a high G, C - Tenor with a low G and G, for the Baritone.  Click on the tuning you like and then use the "pick" to strum the chord to see how it sounds.

The other main item is the play-along section.  There are a large number of songs in the list and after you select the tuning you want, find a song and you will see a video, the lyrics and chords, plus the actual fingering.  Because it shows a song in the proper tempo and timing, you can get a good feel how it should be played.  One caveat -- some of the songs seem to have been retracted for copyright reasons.

Have some fun with the songs.  It is a good format.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Need a shaker?

Every now and then one needs a shaker to get some rhythm going and while one can purchase a variety of designs, here is a simple one to make.

WalGreen has knee high stockings for ladies that come in a small egg shaped container. After the stockings are removed, put the lead pellets from a #8 shotgun shell in the container, and there you have one that fits into the hand very nicely.

One can use a small plastic pill bottle too, but the egg shape is nicer



Monday, August 15, 2011


GoAnimate.com: WCD OPEN MIC JAM by bkumpe

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

email: tulsaukes@gmail.com for more information.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Our Next Meeting is Aug. 23

Our next meeting is August 23 and it will be at the Western Country Diner, the same location as on the 9th.

This location has some clear advantages over our previous site and Bill Kumpe has arranged for our having this venue available to us for the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.  Because of other groups using this restaurant, we probably won't have any date flexibility for things like holidays, but on balance I think we all agree that this is a good spot for us.

Thanks to Bill for setting this up.

I went to Braum's and cancelled all our future dates with them (and they did have fixed the double booking problem by reserving the room through December) and I thanked them for their support over the past year or so that I have used that location.

So you can count on the WCD for our future events, starting at 6:30 for some snacks, socializing followed by some program - instruction, circle jam, open mike or whatever we want to do.

Four fingers, four strings, for fun.   Keep strumming.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Tulsa Ukulele Club Meeting Tuesday, Aug. 9

Have you always wanted to play a musical instrument but somehow never "connected?" Are you already a musician but want to add something new to your repertoire? Are you an aging guitar player battling arthritis in your hands and shoulders? Are you a ukulele player who would like to visit with other players and take advantage of opportunities to play publicly and privately with other musicians?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions then the Tulsa Ukulele Club may be the place for you. The Tulsa Ukulele Club gives free ukulele instruction at nearly every meeting. We offer a mix of instruction, group play-alongs and individual/small group performance opportunities.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 PM, Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at the Western Country Diner, 1905 South Sheridan, Tulsa, Oklahoma. From 6:30 until approximately 7:00 we will visit, compare notes, and hold a short business meeting. From approximately 7:00 until 7:30 we will conduct one on one individual instruction and offer group playing opportunities. Club President Ralph Kelly will oversee basic instruction and if there is any interest, Bill Kumpe will moderate a discussion covering how to play uke chord patterns on a guitar.

From 7:30 until whenever, we will hold an open mic jam. While the emphasis is always on uke, guitars, harmonicas, banjos, mandolins and just about anything else you can carry in is welcome so long as you it can be played along with a uke. If you don't own a uke yet, a limited number of loaners are usually available at meetings so long as you promise to treat them with respect.

So, come out and join us Tuesday evening. You'll have a good time and meet some nice folks.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Something different

Some of you know that the ukulele can have a different voice depending on wood, construction features, size, shape and strings.  Ukulele Bartt has a short video in which he plays the same short progression in a wide variety of instruments.

I know that my comparatively heavily built tenor Pono, with Worth brown low G strings* has a completely different voice than my other ukes , and has a very different voice than my very lightly built Howlett tenor with NyGut high G strings (and it itself has a brighter voice with Southcoast light gauge strings).

*  Worth brown strings are known to be a mellow string set and the low G adds to this voice.

This video highlights some of the differences that instruments have.  Maybe this will encourage you to consider evaluating alternate string choices for your particular instrument.

Now for a bit of Bartt promotion.   Here is his web page   http://www.bartt.net/   and here is his web page with videos of a number of performances.  http://bartt.net/MediaPage.htm   

As is obvious when you see or hear him play, he was trained as a classical guitarist and loves this genre of music, but his performances include more popular material.    He is a prolific song writer and some of these are highlighted in the media page .  He is courted to come to ukulele festivals around the world to give workshops and concerts.  (He has been to the Dallas festival and will likely be there in 2012.)  His web page contains a wealth of material for ukulele folks including song charts, advice on instruments and a section where you can get his CDs and a very good uke starter DVD  (which I have).  Check it out.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another good song site

I've added a link to Richard G's extensive song files - hundreds of them, with uke fingering diagrams.  Lots of songs you may like.

See the Handy Link section to the right.


Great video on guitar players getting into ukes

Jim D'Ville is a uke player who travels around the world giving lessons on how to play the uke with emphasis on ear training.  He has an extensive blog and the latest one highlights a guitar shop owner and how he goes about introducing guitar players to the uke.  I hope you will find it interesting, and useful when you are chatting with your guitar buddies.

And be sure to check out his other blog features.  Good information.

Famous Uke Players - Zooey Deschanel

  Not all famous uke players are old people.  The uke is experiencing a remarkable resurgence among the young and hip as evidenced by the following video.  Zooey Deschanel, younger sister of Emily Deschanel of "Bones" fame, is a very hot property in Hollywood these days.  She is also a talented singer and as you can tell from the video, a home uke player.  Enjoy:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Famous Ukulele Players - George Harrison

George Harrison was a skilled uke player and many of the Beatles hits were composed on a uke.  Here is a cut from Harrison's last album with him paying uke.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Good tip from the #1 professional

Here is a good suggestion from Jake, the top professional uke player.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Famous Ukulele Players - Arthur Godfrey

Arthur Godfrey was a legendary entertainer, aviator, sailor and coastguardsman.  At one time he was perhaps the most powerful person in show business and his escapades involving airplanes were legendary.  A complex and sometimes controversial man, he was also a highly accomplished uke player as is evidenced by this number recorded in 1966.

Monday, July 18, 2011

August and September schedule

I've put the schedule for the next couple of months on our calendar.  I have not followed the strict 1st and 3rd Tuesdays since doing so would make our meetings a bit close together on some months and too far apart on others -- I tried to generally keep a twice a month schedule reasonably spaced apart.

But this is always changeable, as is the location (should someone come up with a good alternative).

So for planning purposes, see the calendar.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Famous Ukulele Players .....

Some of us take guff from the unenlightened for playing uke.  A lot of famous and successful people play uke.  Jeanne Robertson is one of them.  She is a successful comedienne and motivational speaker.  She was also the tallest woman to ever compete in the Miss America pageant.  She was Miss North Carolina.  And her talent was ..... you guessed it, playing uke.  Jeanne carries her uke around the country to her engagements.  While I was unable to find a video of her playing, I did find one of her doing one of her most famous routines, "Don't bungee jump nekkid."

Here is a pic of her during her term as Miss North Carolina:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ukulele Lady

This song is a ukulele standard and if we want to do it, maybe we should do it like done by the Muppets.

It would go over pretty good at the Spotlight Theater Olio, or at a retirement village.


A little Uke history and art ....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Another up and coming star

I'm sure that we will be hearing a lot more about this young lady in the years ahead.  There are a lot of videos on YouTube of her playing - you should check them out.  Also check out her 8 string uke and that she appears to be only doubling up on the two lower strings.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 12 meeting

Hi, everyone.  This is an update on our plans for July 12.

The first portion of the meeting will be keyed toward instruction.  We have done some work on promotion and there might be a number of newcomers at this meeting.  Since the group will likely consist of a range of musical experience, it seems possible that we will split into two groups - one for basic beginners and the second one for those with more experience, such as a guitar player checking out the uke as another instrument.

So bring your friends who might be interested in the uke for there will be something for everyone.

And bring any spare ukes you have so that everyone who attends can have something to hold.

See you there


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: Makala Baritone and Makala Dolphin Soprano

By Bill Kumpe

I have a soft spot in my heart for cheap instruments.  Not only because I am “frugal” but also because, as something of a minor bluesman, I recognize the fact that my blues and country forefathers often could not afford high dollar equipment but still made legendarily good music.  Or, as in the case of Chester Arthur Burnett (aka the famous Howlin’ Wolf), they just would not shell out big bucks for instruments that were going to be drug around constantly, often into bad places where beer bottles and punches got thrown, etc.   Unlike BB King who risked burning to death to save his legendary Gibson “Lucille,” Howlin’ Wolf would have just let his Epiphone burn, bought another one, and still have been money ahead on the deal.

With that background in mind, I would like to talk about the Makala series of ukuleles.  They are made by Kala and roughly have the same brand relationship with Kala as Epiphone with Gibson.  They are designed to be entry level instruments.  They offer great value out of the box but with a little tweaking can be very useful for any level player.

I have purchased two Makala ukes now and I can highly recommend both.  The first was a gift that I wound up playing for over a month before I gave it to the little girl I bought it for.  It was a Makala Dolphin soprano.  I paid $35.00 for it at Firey Bros. and didn’t really expect much.  After all, it was just a plastic bodied, wooden top, entry level uke.  They come in a range of vibrant colors.  This one was hot pink.  But, after I set it up a little and began playing it, I was pleasantly surprised.  It stayed in tune nicely.  Despite its size, it had a loud, pleasant, ringing tone.  And, it even came with its own little gig bag.  Come Christmas, I hated to give the little guy up and almost bought another one for myself.  I can highly recommend the little Makala Dolphin as beginner uke or for anyone looking for a pleasant toned, dependable little knock around soprano.

The second is the Makala Baritone.  I play this instrument daily.  I tried several baritones before I bought it.  I bought a Rogue Baritone from Musicians Friend and sent it back.  No matter how I coaxed it, it would not stay in tune and had a disappointing tone even for a $40.00 instrument.  The $40.00 to $50.00 Chinese off brands like Rogue that were stocked locally by Saied and others also would not stay in tune and had an unpleasant, almost harsh tone.  I tried the hundred dollar Oscar Schmidt at Firey Bros.  Same situation.  But, the minute I sat down with the Makala Baritone at The Music Store, I knew that I had found my instrument.  That particular instrument.  The one on display.  It has a deep, pleasant, mellow tone, an easy to play neck and stays in tune even between sessions.  It is made from agathis wood which is often called a mahogany substitute but is actually a member of the pine family.  The instrument is remarkably light but again the tone is remarkably deep and mellow.  I might also add that it has striking volume and projection after the mods and set up.  If you have a powerful voice and need a big acoustic sound to back it up, this is your instrument.

The particular unit I bought has a slight blemish.  I paid $65.00 dollars for it.  After the purchase, I did a standard setup to my preferences.  I changed the strings to Low G Aquila Nyguts, raised the action slightly with a steel shim so that jazz chords could be played all the way down the neck without string rattle and gave it a good polish.  I intend to do a little more work on the frets which are the one slight problem with this otherwise very good instrument.  Make no mistake.  This is a vanilla instrument.  No frills.  Nothing fancy.  I am tempted to name it "Plain Jane."  But, if you close your eyes and listen, it won’t make any difference and you won’t believe you are hearing an under hundred dollar uke.

(c) 2011 Bill Kumpe, All rights reserved.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Joe Brown Tribute to George Harrison

This is a clip from a large concert to the memory of George Harrison of the Beetles. Joe Brown was a good friend of George (best man at his wedding) and he closed out the concert with this song. This is got to be one of the best songs to show off our simple, but effective, instrument.


Another Cut From Lo-Fi's - I've Got You Under My Skin

Thursday, June 23, 2011

About the "Blues Conversation"

I got the feeling at the last meeting that I did communicate well when I talked about the "blues conversation" that is the back and forth dialogue between musicians in a blues number.  This is a classic example of two very good French musicians having a conversation with their instruments.   Listen for the give and take, how one takes the lead for a while and then the other.  Notice how the person on backup (mostly harp here) "fills in the spaces" and occasionally plays with and even gently over the other player.  Listen for the conversation.  Blues is all about call and response, lead and refrain.  Without getting too technical, I haven't taken the time to figure out what key they are playing in here but you can tell from the sound that the harp player is probably playing third or fourth position on a diatonic to harmonize with the guitar and vocals.  That will put her generally in the same key but I don't believe that the scales would be exactly the same.  But, as you can tell from the sound the overall effect is quite good.

Moderator Bill

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kimo Hussey video

Kimo Hussey is a Hawaiian musician that is well known in the guitar and ukulele worlds. He is retired from his time as a pilot in the Air Force and now spends a lot of time in musical education, travelling to uke festivals and giving workshops.

He has a long standing arrangement with DeVine Guitars and his favorite instrument in a DeVine baritone 6 string, with the two lower pitched strings doubled, an octave apart.

Here is a video in which he compares a 4 string tenor to his 6 string baritone, showing the effects of the lower tone of the baritone on the song feeling.

I will add that Kimo commented in both 2010 and 2011festivals on the tone of my personal Pono tenor (with a low G) and thinks that it is very good.  He likes the lower tones of the larger instruments, as compared to a soprano.

You might want to also see his YouTube video called "troduction" in which he shows how to take the familiar 4 chord progression -- C, Am, F, G7 -- and by changing the position on the uke fretboard, change the voicing of the progression and use it in different parts of a song.

You can see Kimo and join him in a workshop, or get a private lesson from him at the Lone Star Uke Festival next spring in Dallas.  Details to follow next year.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Another great site - EZFolk.com

Richard Hefner runs a great site for those interested in folk instrument, including mandolin, banjo, harmonica and our favorite, the ukulele.  The link below is to his section dealing with tabs and tutorials, a section that any beginner and intermediate player will find useful.

For example, do some clicks and go to the ukulele section on strumming and you will find a variety of strum patterns, each of which has (1) a video showing him doing the strum, (2) three MP3 recordings of the strum in slow, medium and normal speeds (so you can build up your muscle memory starting slowly and (3) the tabs for the strums.

Want to do some fingerpicking?   It is here too.  Great learning stuff with both visual and audio media.

Check out the songs too.  There are probably some that you like and, generally speaking they are easy to play.

This is a great site to add to your web browsers bookmarks.



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

This is good advice

Jim D'Ville has a great series of blogs in his "Play ukulele by ear" series.  This is a free site to view and has a lot of good information for our use.

The latest blog has a short video where he has a good instructor in Santa Cruz, Dave Egan,  discussing both left and right hand mechanics.  One thing that he did not verbally highlight was that he strongly recommends holding the uke high and at a significant angle -- somewhere near 45 degrees -- so as to get both left hand and right hand knuckle positions more aligned with the strings than many players seem to use.  A good video to view.  Scroll down to this interview.


Jake Shimabukuro -- the best!

Some of you may already know of Jake Shimabukuro, arguably the top ukulele performer in the world. This video shows the wide range of his skills but even more importantly, his performance shows the wide range of musical capability of the ukulele in the right hands. This is a long video, some 19 minutes, but worth viewing.

Now if only I could do a small fraction of his capability, I would be one happy fellow.

Want more from Jake? YouTube has them, in all different musical genre's.


Tulsa Ukulele Club Open Mic Jam

GoAnimate.com: OPEN MIC JAM by BillKumpe@yt

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

Video of the Week - Glen Rose, Beyond the Sea

Glen Rose is a fabulous entertainer who just happens to use a uke a lot these days.  He also plays a mean jazz guitar and keyboards ... and his wife Linda Dathe is an accomplished vocalist in her own right.  And to top the package off, Glen has published a number of very good FREE jazz ukulele lessons on YouTube and sells downloads of his uke arrangments in songbook form very reasonably.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Video of The Week - Miss Zooey

I would post this young lady's real name if I knew it but I don't.  Online she is just "MissZooey."  What we do know is that she is Australian, a PHD candidate somewhere, is cute as a button, has a strong, clear singing voice, great ukulele skills and a sharp sense of humor.  The ukulele seems to encourage smart people to speak their mind musically.  MissZooey is one of hundreds of ukulele players who perform their own compositions online.  Many of these compositions are smart, funny, and entertaining.  This one is no exception.  MissZooey has a vanity channel on YouTube.  I can highly recommend it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Learn Another Instrument - The Uke

Many famous songwriters (like the Beatles) use a uke to compose with since the chords are simpler and the smaller neck does not cause hand and arm pain when being played for long periods of time.  And, the uke is increasingly gaining respect as a serious instrument.  It's easy to learn, fun to play and cheap to acquire.  What's not to like about a uke?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Video of the Week - Diane Rubio

There just aren't that many professional uke players.  And, it is very unusual to find a uke player leading a group.  But, since the uke was invented in Hawaii, I guess it could be expected that if you were going to find that combination, it would be in Hawaii and here it is, Diane Rubio and Falling Down Romance.  Some people would argue that Diane Rubio could play a paper clip looking like she does and still draw an audience.  And, they would be right.  But, putting her rather obvious assets aside, if you check the rest of her work on YouTube you will see that she is a very skilled musician.  Enjoy:

Monday, May 23, 2011

A couple uke oriented web pages with hundreds of song

Every now and then we hear a tune and think that it would be a good one for you and your uke. My usual approach is to go to Google and enter the song name (as best I know it) plus the words Lyrics Chords. Google then offers up a number of possible web pages with the song. Some work, some don't but I find Chordie.com is one of the best. This site has a feature in which you can easily change the song key to another.

Another very useful site is that of a fellow in Australia who goes by the (false) name of Richard G. This site is very useful in that it is uke oriented and has almost 800 songs, all of which have lyrics, chords and a link to where you can hear the song on YouTube. It also shows the first position fingering for the chords (in ukes tuned C6). A good site, along with other tools, like key transposition and a nice table showing the chords frequently found for each key.

The debit for the song listing is the format. The lyrics and chords are shown like this:
“Close the [C] door light the [C7] light” showing where to play a chord. I personally prefer the chords to be on a line above the lyrics but this works, and you can always change to the alternate format.

But almost 800 songs keyed to ukes, along with links as to what the song sounds like from one, make this site a great one.

Another special uke oriented site is that of Dr. Uke. Dr. Uke is a very complete site of a real MD but is keyed to the ukulele, from how/what to buy, a very full list of good 2 and 3 chord songs, some music theory and a plan for developing uke skills, and of course, an extensive list of songs in their arrangements. He has almost 600 songs in his site.

Each of theses song sheets is formatted to make it easy to play it. Above the lyric lines are not only the chords, but a finger diagram too. And there is a link to hear it played. Some songs are presented in C6 tuning as well as G6 (baritone) tuning, so if you are a baritone fan, the G6 tuning fingering is readily available should you need it.

This link will get you to the home page and from there you can go to the songs, suggested lessons and so forth. Worth a visit. And Dr. Uke has a number of great videos too. Worth a visit, for sure.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Uke Project

By Bill Kumpe

I have been looking for a new acoustic electric uke.  In the past few weeks, I have played dozens of ukes and studied the online specs on just about everything available on the American market.  I have listened to hundreds of ukulele clips on YouTube.   I even ordered the Les Paul acoustic electric and sent it back after one session.

The bottom line is that I probably already have just about as good a uke as you can get for the money I want to spend.  After studying, listening and experimenting at great length, I came to the conclusion that my Lanikai SC concert ukulele, if it had quality electronics, would sound just as good as about anything else available.

The Lanikai SC series are an incredible value for the money.  I paid a hundred for mine. The price has gone up  however and is now in the hundred and twenty five range online.  It is a quality instrument.  The back and sides are mahogany, the binding is maple and the top is solid spruce.  The fretboard is rosewood.  The fit and finish are nothing short of beautiful and the tone is mellow and complex for a uke.  The fact that the top is solid spruce means that the instrument's tone and volume will improve as it ages if it is played frequently and properly cared for.

These ukes do have their problems however.  It took several adjustments to get the string height right on mine.  It had a nasty string buzz on the higher frets which was eventually eliminated by adding a thin steel shim under the bridge to raise the action.  This also had the unexpected and pleasant effect of greatly increasing the volume and projection of the little guy.  (However, be advised that doing a proper set up on one of these guys, especially tweaking the bridge height and polishing the frets, will probably void the warranty.)

Electrifying it was a problem.  I had a Dean Markley transducer pickup professionally installed by a local luthier. It would not stick properly for some reason and also picked up internal noise that you never heard externally. Something buzzes like the dickens in there that an internal transducer amplified like mad.   But, second time around was a charm.  I self installed a much more expensive Shadow transducer pickup externally directly behind the bridge. (The pickup cost more than the uke.)  The volume is amazing and the tone is even more mellow and complex than the acoustic sound alone.  So far as I'm concerned, it's a match made in heaven.

Sample Sounds.

June Calendar update

The dates for our June meetings have been added to our calendar.  If you cannot handle the three week break without a group ukulele fix, let us know and maybe we can get together between now and June 7.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chord Alchemy - a useful program

I thought I would highlight a chord generation program that you, particularly if you are a multi- instrumentalists, would like to have – Chord Alchemy.

This program has a small fee but many will find it very useful.  Here is the link to the web page


This program has fingering positions for the full fretboard of about 40 different instruments, including of course, the ukulele with 6 different tunings, mandolins (about a dozen different tunings), 3 different varieties of banjos with a number of tuning options in each, and plenty of guitar tunings.

Not only is the full fretboard shown, but all the notes and in all possible chord variations are provided.

I’ll give one example of the usefulness.  For a uke with standard C6 tuning, if you want to play a Cm chord, the normal fingering tables show this as 5333.  This is a standard movable chord fingering that we need to know, but the program shows a lot of options to that might work better for you.  It shows that one can play it as 0333 or an easier 0036.  In the second position, normally shown as 8766, one can also use 0086 or 0786.  Apply this approach to all the chords we use and you can see the utility of the program to suggest alternatives to the standard tables.

It has other features including having a capo and doing reverse chord lookup, and when a chord is shown as a suggestion, you can listen to the individual notes as well as as a chord.

One can make up different tunings.  For example, some folks like to tune a tenor uke with a low G or a baritone with a high D, an open G, or even a Cautro (low G and low A).  These options exist.

Or if you are playing a mandolin, guitar, bass, banjo or whatever, you have the same features with those instruments.

That's enough of a teaser.  Go to the web page, to the product tab and do the tutorials or download the demo program (free) and play with it at your leisure.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele - A Huge Disappointment

I received my new Epiphone Les Paul acoustic/electric ukulele by Fedex yesterday morning. I ordered it from Sam Ash. The unit shipped the same day I ordered it and arrived exactly when predicted. I just wish the rest of this story was as pleasant. This was probably one of the first units delivered since I ordered it the same day they became available on the market.

The unit came very well packed. Upon visual examination it is a very impressive little instrument. It has a mahogany body and a maple top. There are four bolts attaching the neck in a classic solid body style neck joint. The wood work is solid. The finish is nice. The white binding is visually pleasing. It has the appearance of being very solidly built. Built like a tank actually. And, the setup appeared to be quite good. However, when I touched the first tuning machine, there was considerable play in it, almost an eighth of a turn before it caught. And when it did catch it was not at all smooth but rather had an unlubricated gears feel about it.

I tuned it up and noticed that the tone was very bright, almost annoyingly bright with the chords having an unusually "spanky" feel to them. After I finished tuning and played around for few minutes, I plugged it in to my Crate CA15 Acoustic Guitar Amp using the provided cord. I was immediately greeted by sixty cycle hum so loud you could barely hear the strings. I checked the connections and everything seemed to be plugged in normally.

I then pulled out the provided cord and plugged in using one of the high quality cords from my guitar bag. The hum was considerably reduced but did not go away. It was lower but still there and annoying. I shuddered to think what it would sound like plugged into a PA system or a high power amp. I noticed that if I touched the metal plate of the jack, the hum went away. I leave this amp set up in my living room most of the time. I do not have hum problems with my other instruments. The amplified sound of the uke was disappointing. Even played through a good acoustic amp, the instrument has an almost annoyingly bright sound.

By this time, I was wondering what Sam Ash's policy was going to be on returns. I started carefully looking the instrument over, again playing it acoustically. As an acoustic uke alone, there are far better hundred dollar ukes out there. My Lanikai SC Concert has a deep, full, complex tone compared to the Epi and the Epi does not make up the difference when amplified. Also, the fret distances seemed small to me. With my chubby fingers, I probably would not be able to get anything useful out of it above the seventh or eighth fret.

A good set of strings would probably help and getting a technician to take a look at the wiring would probably cure the hum. But, I have plenty of projects at work. I don't need one in my hobby. There are other acoustic/electric ukes out there that don't have these kinds of problems. Bottom line, if Sam Ash will take it back, this guy is going back on the store shelf.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Featured Video of the Week

For anyone who says the uke is not a serious instrument, tell them to listen to this.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ukulele Forums

I have just added three links for ukulele oriented forums that I visit with some frequency. You may have others, and if so, let me know and they can be added. These forums are free of cost, but you can make a contribution to assist them in keeping their operations going.

Ukulele Underground is a large forum based out of Hawaii and it contains a lot of material. There are new lessons posted each month and the principal in the group also hosts on-line courses. The forum section contains sections for beginners, a general section called Uke Talk, one dealing with regional subjects (like upcoming shows and festivals) and so forth. This is a very popular site with lots of members and activity.

The Flea Market Music site is also very popular with thousands of members. The Bulletin Board section has ;posts in all uke subjects and the Marketplace section is unique in that it has photos of ukes that folks want to sell. (Many folks post items for sale here before putting them on Ebay.). The Collectors section is unique in that the moderator of that section is an expert on historical ukes and can identify ukes like my otherwise unmarked 1928 Gretch banjo uke w/o any difficulty. This forum is run by Liz and Jim Beloff, early proponents of the uke and publishers of all the Jimpin Jim music books, the 365 Daily song book. The family makes and sells the Flea and Flukes (made in the USA!)

Ukulele Cosmos is based out of the UK and much of their material is related to European, and in particular British interests. One of their subsections deals with banjo ukes, something not well covered in the US forums.

Warning: browsing these can take a lot of time!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Featured Video of the Week

This week's featured video is Dr. Uke of Glastonbury, Connecticut and his daughters doing Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.  They are just TOO CUTE.

The Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele

The Epiphone Les Paul acoustic electric ukulele is scheduled to be available at selected music stores and online outlets sometime this month.  It is a solid wood tenor uke with mahogany body and neck and a flamed maple top.  It has a built in under the saddle piezo pickup.  However, there are no on board controls for the electronics, a feature usually found on this type of uke.  The neck is bolted on and appears to be extraordinarily robust with four through the neck bolts attaching the neck joint to the body.  There are no videos or sound files of the uke in action other than a rather cheesy almost no chord or two by "Dr. Epiphone" in their one minute online ad/promo video. The price is set to be $99.00 on the street including an Epiphone gig bag.

As in all things musical, the proof will be in the playing and we have yet to hear how the littlest Epi will sound, especially plugged in.  It is disappointing that the unit will not have onboard controls making the use of an outboard preamp with some sort of EQ and volume control almost a necessity for serious amplified players.  It is also disappointing that the unit will only be available in Cherry Sunburst.  Gibson's official website shows a beautiful little Tobacco Sunburst unit being set up by a technician in Nashville.  I contacted Gibson and they told me in no uncertain terms that the Tobacco Sunburst unit will not be available on the market at this time.  That's a pity because the little red EPI will stick out  like a sore thumb on a stage with a bluegrass or folk group.  However, Epiphone has a history of providing quality instruments at a very good price and we can only hope that this will be the case with the little Epi Les Paul.

No Meeting Tuesday May 3, 2011

There will be no meeting Tuesday May 3, 2011.  The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held Tuesday May 17, 2011, 7:00 PM, Braums and 91st and Aspen, Broken Arrow, OK.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Welcome to Tulsa Ukulele Club Website

We are a group of people of all ages who enjoy playing the ukulele.  We meet at 7:00 PM the first and third Tuesday of each month at Braum's at 91st and Aspen in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.  We welcome every level of player from beginner to professional.  We play a wide variety of music, as diverse as our membership.  Right now, if you come to one of our meetings you are going to hear a lot of old time standards, folk and blues but we are welcome to new influences.

We are a family oriented organization and encourage the entire family to attend, even the little guys, so long as they do not disrupt the meeting.  Watch this site for special announcements for meetings when we will be offering free beginner's ukulele lessons.

Thank you for visiting our website.  Please contact us if you have any questions at tulsaukes@gmail.com.