Archive for March, 2018

bookmark: make your own ukulele

Make Your Own Ukulele: The Essential Guide to Building, Tuning, and Learning to Play the Uke – Bill Plant

I have so many hobbies that I would like to do that it borders on the ridiculous. Now I have to add in making my own ukuleles, and maybe guitars, and maybe banjos. Oh man, sometimes I think I’m a little nuts when it comes to varied interests.

Anyways, to build a ukulele you need to learn how to build one. There are many books on making guitars, but darn few about ukes. Of course, if you learn how to make a guitar, making a ukulele should be no problem, but I was looking for something specifically about ukuleles. (Which doesn’t mean that I didn’t also buy a scad of books on guitar making.)

The author covers making two types of ukuleles – a “cigar box” version and a traditional soprano. While some might argue that the book is a little light on details, it does give enough information for those with a bit of woodworking experience to build their own ukulele. If you want precise, extremely detailed instruction, this book might not be for you, but it provides good information and I think it is worth owning.

If you think you are going to learn to play the ukulele with this book, in spite of the title, this is not the book for you. It provides only a glimpse into beginning to play the ukulele. The author has written a separate book on playing the ukulele, too, but I have not read it. It’s not like you can’t find a hundred books on playing the uke, though, as well as a wealth of info on the internet.

And speaking of the internet, you can easily supplement the information in this book by seeking out videos and other instruction on-line for building ukuleles. What a great time to be alive if you are looking for information!

For what it is worth, the type in my edition of the book is terrible. They used a small font with a very light stroke that is hard for this old fart’s eyes to read. I needed just the right light and right distance to be able to read it. This obviously is not the author’s fault, but the publisher’s. What were they thinking?

There are at least two other books on building ukuleles and I would recommend that you get those and this book if you want to make one. It never hurts to have more information on hand when you get into a project like this. Those books are: Ukulele Design and Construction: A comprehenisve guide to construct a Hawaiian Ukulele For Any Woodworker by D. Henry Wickham and The Ukulele by Denis Gilbert.

Finished 3/24/18

thought for the day – march 22

The older I get, the more people I have to miss in my life.

bookmark: last bus to wisdom

Last Bus to Wisdom – Ivan Doig

For some reason I’m always ready for a road story, so the title of this book pulled me in right away. I guess I make up for the lack of adventure in my own life vicariously through the tales of others. In this case, I would need to put myself in the place of an eleven-year-old boy who often has knowledge beyond his years.

As a bit of a spoiler, the title – Last Bus to Wisdom – is not a metaphor; Wisdom is an actual place. I didn’t get any sense of the characters in the story developing any particular wisdom in their travels, though they definitely gained experience. What you are left with is an adventure story, and that’s not a bad thing to have. This book is one that I would recommend for the proverbial “summer read.” Something that is fun and entertaining but that doesn’t benefit from searching for a deeper meaning or from questioning actions or events.

This is the first book that I have read by Ivan Doig and it appears to be the last book he wrote. It is a bit of an homage to his native Montana and to that way of life. It interested me enough to put Mr. Doig on my list of authors to read in the future, assuming I have enough time left in this life to read all the books I want to read. From reviews of his other books, it sounds like his other stories would be as entertaining as this one.

Finished 3/16/18