I sort of blame coneycat and matociquala, because they've been learning guitar and it gave me the urge to learn a new instrument. However, I already play guitar. Badly, I grant you, but I have been playing since I was a teen and my idols were singers like Joan Baez and Judy Collins. So I needed something else to learn.
Why the ukulele?
Well, I didn't want a wind instrument because I want to be able to accompany myself as I sing. (Which I also do badly!) I've always had a yearning to learn the harp, but they're terribly expensive, not to mention difficult to play and not something you can just teach yourself. A ukulele, on the other hand, is very cool and trendy now with the indie bands. They're fun and they're cheap[*].
I've been vaguely thinking about it for a few weeks, but today I finally ventured into the Ty Siamas, which is what used to be known as the Neuadd Idris (Idris Hall). The old community hall cum venue for amateur dramatics etc was all refurbished and reopened last year as a folk music venue. Downstairs is a music shop of sorts, but I'm afraid I wasn't impressed with it. I was looking for a) a guitar strap b) a new set of nylon guitar strings and c) ukuleles.
They did have guitar straps, but the attachments are different to the one I used to have, so I need to think about it. They only appeared to have metal guitar strings and though they had ukuleles, they were only about £15 UK pounds and they looked really cheap. Also the shopkeeper didn't seem very approachable, so I wandered out again.
Once I got home, as you do, I started wandering around on the Web. I reckoned I could spend up to £50 UK pounds, so this rather nice one was more than I wanted to pay, even though it was considerably reduced. The others looked lovely, but far too pricey for what may turn out to be a passing whim. (Yes, I do know myself by now!)
So I looked on ebay and found one of these for a mere £25 UK pounds, plus postage. The seller says that he's had it for 4 months and really liked it, but found it too small for his hands so he's bought the larger tenor ukulele. Assuming that's true, it should be a good deal because I think the full price is around £35 UK pounds for a new one. And I have small hands! The review suggests that some Mahalo ukuleles are actually not bad, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that it wasn't a duff one.
I have a feeling that G will hate it, so I will only be able to play when he's out, but I think it will be nice to have something non-computer based to do for a change and at £25 UK pounds, it's not a disaster if it's no good or if I don't take to it. And if I do take to it, I can always get a better one in the future, if needs be.
[*] It would probably be more correct to say, "Cheap ones are available," because like anything, you can pay a lot or a little and the really good ones can cost anything up to £1000 UK pounds.