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28 September 2012

Dreaming of the Dark Uke

I'm starting to get that itchy feeling again. I feel the need... the need to build ukulele!

The Dark Ukulele

I've been kicking around a few ideas and I think that I've finally decided what I want to make. Do you want to know what I've opted for?

25 September 2012


Have I ever told you what a wonderful woman my wife is?

About a year ago I revealed that I'd bought a Yusaku Hanakuma print called Zombie Highway. I'd had this beautiful print shipped over from France only to discover that I didn't have anywhere large enough to hang it up. As a temporary measure, I'd stuck it in the bedroom above the bed. Noone was more surprised than me that I managed to pull this off.

Fast forward a year... The bedroom is being 'refurbished' and my prized Zombie Highway picture has been evicted! "Oh no!" I hear you cry. But get this... My wife's let me hang it in the living room instead! How cool is that!

"Zombie Highway" by Yusaku Hanakuma
A talking point in the King Uke household

23 September 2012

Thriller (1983)

I remember watching thriller on the TV in 1983. It was a landmark moment that I seem to recall involved staying up very late one night in order to see it. I thought it was great. What noone could have guessed back then was how influential the song and video would become. It's a part of world culture. Check out the video of the Philippine prison using it to exercise the inmates. That's a sight and a half!

My daughter has been learning the dance at school and given my son's recent fascination with zombies, we decided to watch it yesterday. Yes, this is the film that reminded the world about Horror! Dancing zombies... whatever next?

Tip-toe through the Tulips

This post is dedicated to my blogging buddy Daz.

When I first spoke with Daz the topic was Tokyo zombies, but it quickly turned to ukuleles. Daz doesn't have a ukulele (I'm still working on this), but his one desire is to be able to play Tip-toe through the Tulips.

22 September 2012

"The First Step" Instruction Books

Today I was sifting through 'the Crate' and I happened across a collection of instruction books. They are four of the First Step range and are of various ages. I think I have a couple more, but I didn't look too hard for the rest. The four I present to you today are of the Double Bass, the Guitar, the Banjo and Ukulele/Banjulele. I love old instruction manuals - you should know that by now. These aren't the best in the world and they're in a bit of a dog-eared mildewy state with scribbles here and there. As I've mentioned before when I've put up similar posts: I encourage you to go out and buy the books. I'm only going to show you a taste of the magic that lurks within. I shall tackle this from biggest to smallest; low to high. If you're sitting comfortably, I shall begin...

"The First Step" Instruction Books

16 September 2012

Pinball Wizard

I have one more song for you as a sound check on my Kingcaster Electric Ukulele.

This time I attempt to emulate the Who on their wonderful Pinball Wizard. You may be surprised to know that I've never attempted to play any of these last three songs on guitar. I'm not sure why I'm doing them on uke for you now. My version is in the same key as the original, but it isn't anywhere as polished. You have 3 tracks of electric ukulele: The first is sort of like the original acoustic guitar; the second is similar, but simpler; and the third is the electric crunch. For good measure I added three tracks of vocals, each more flamboyant than the last. And that's it - I kept it minimalist.

Kingcaster Electric Ukulele Pattern Scan

I know that this is all out of order in my build, but I figured I'd scan in the original pattern for my Kingcaster Electric Ukulele build before I lose it. Actually, I'm seriously thinking about framing it as a piece of art!

I'm not sure whether you could use this scan as a basis for making another, but here you go...

Kingcaster Electric Ukulele Pattern

Padulele Custom Travel Ukulele

King Uke's Custom Ukulele Design Company have been busy at it again. I've still got the travel ukulele bug. Today's idea explores a unique placement of the tuners. Would it work? There's only one way to find out...

I call this design, the Padulele...

14 September 2012

Day of the Dead (1985)

I've been trying to figure out when I first watched Day of the Dead and I reckon it must have been around 1986/7. Me and my pals were on a horror kick. For a while we got into this habit of wandering down the street to my local Video shop and challenging the guy behind the counter to give us a film that would scare us. I don't think he ever managed it... and that's because we were nails! Ha ha :-D

"Hello! Is there anybody there?"
Day of the Dead, United 1985

12 September 2012

The King Uke System

It is with great regret that I must inform you that this will be my last post on the Ukulele Blog. It's been fun, but unfortunately like all good things, it must come to an end. The reason? I have been lucky enough to come into a substantial amount of money that means I shall be buying a small island in the Pacific without internet access. How can this be? Read on...

9 September 2012

Brown Sugar

When I built my Kingcaster Electric Ukulele I promised you some songs to help you to get a feel for what it must be like to hold sheet lightening.

After my cheeky sneak peak, the first song I unveiled was a rocky version of the Smiths' classic Bigmouth Strikes Again. Hot on the heels of that burst of energy I have a slower, chuggier number made popular by the Rolling Stones.

A Taste of Beverley

What a wonderful day for getting up at the crack of dawn and heading off carbooting in Beverley. I have 5 photos to share with you from today. Looking at them now, I can definitely say that they are random. Here we go...

Owl Door Knocker

8 September 2012

A Descent into the Maelström (1841)

Warning - this is a short post... but I think that it may be my oldest review to date!

A Descent into the Maelström

I’ve read Edgar Allan Poe before. I couldn’t tell you what or when... it mustn’t have made that much of an impression. Whilst doing my last review on H P Lovecraft and his novella At the Mountains of Madness I learnt that Lovecraft took a lot of inspiration from Poe. That was all the incentive I needed to search out Poe’s 1841 short story A Descent into the Maelström. I have a few others to try too, but first let’s talk about Maelström. No, first, let’s talk about Poe...

6 September 2012

30 Days of Night (2007)

Zombies? I don't know what all the fuss is about. I just watched 30 Days of Night and I much prefer vampires. Okay... that's not strictly true... but I did like the vampires in this film... quite a lot!

"I can smell your blood"
30 Days of Night, Columbia 2007

1 September 2012

(Me and My) Bigmouth

Some of you are waiting for a sample of what the Kingcaster electric ukulele sounds like. I intend to do a few songs of different styles to showcase its immense versatility, but first it seems fitting that I rock out with some vintage Smiths action.

There are 3 electric ukulele tracks in all on this song. One is a crunchy rhythm that is similar to Marr's original. The second is power chords, and the third has a few sporadic twiddles. To round it off I've thrown in some bass and a drum track. And of course, I'm singing in my own inimitable style ;-)

I've changed the key, the arrangement and probably some words too. Don't be too uptight about it... you must know by now that I like to do my own thing!

The video is a hodge-podge of all the photos I took whilst making this beast! Enjoy!