I received an unexpected present this past Christmas -a beautiful little mahogany ukulele. Being a soprano, it is a tiny thing.
After about a half an hour of fumbling about, I managed to coax a few plucky chords and clinky notes out of its impossibly small little body, which now rests safely on a mandolin hanger beside my favorite acoustic guitar, also constructed of mahogany.
Getting ahead of myself, the next day I set up a mic and improvised my first ukulele track on a song in the works. It sounded great, at first, at second, but repeated listening led to my cutting the part down bit by bit. Cut it here, shorten it there, and leave the more interesting chime-like parts chugging away in the mix. But the more I tried to hear its rightness the more I heard its flaws. The stuff of life!
Sometimes you can plunk any odd thing into a mix, and sometimes you can’t. After cutting most all of the ukulele track, I’m left with a few bars in the bridge. I’ve tried a funky and percussive 70’s keyboard part, a dark-sounding synth bass, a crazy industrial rhythmic churning from a Moog, and an electric bass guitar. I even sampled the ukulele, but no sweet spot yet.
Nevertheless, I still look forward to giving this baby ukulele its own special moment, maybe even its own song, once its ready. Until then, aloha!