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.

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.