You’ve heard it before: “This is as likely as a monkey sitting on a typewriter writing Shakespeare.” It sounds very unlikely but . . . how unlikely, exactly? In this article, I go through the math and use the result to estimate how likely it is for life to have arisen spontaneously out of a primordial soup of chemicals.
Six-string ukuleles are getting quite hard to find, and it’s a shame because they sound particularly ukulele-like, at least to my ears. In this recent article, I tell you how to convert a regular 4-string ukulele into a six-stringer with conventional tuning, but I found that there are a lot more tunings you could use, and some sound just as sweet as the standard. In this article, I go through the math and give you some samples. Read More
If you do a web search for “6 string ukulele,” you will find that a majority of links lead to the “guitalele,” an instrument the size of a tenor ukulele with 6 independent strings, which is played rather like a guitar. But a few of them will lead to the true 6-string ukulele, where two of its four strings are doubled up in octaves. This one is played like a regular 4-string ukulele, but sounds richer, more uke-like if that were possible (see this video, for instance). True 6-string ukuleles are hard to find, and those that you do find tend to be pricey, but in this article I show you how to convert a regular ukulele into a 6-string uke with a minimum of hassle and expense.
My latest ukulele is an exercise in versatility: short enough to go inside a suitcase, long enough to be remain playable under heavy capo and, of course, both acoustic and electric. And not just merely electric, but featuring both a passive piezo pickup and a magnetic pickup, which can be mixed in any ratio. I looked for a wiring diagram that could do this, and found nothing simple. They all required a switch to select the main pickup, with perhaps the ability to add a bit of the other, or had something weird about them. Since the two pickups are very different electrically, there was no assurance that they would mix well. I took a guess, and it worked, though theory predicted that it shouldn’t have. Read on for the solution.
First, an awful disclosure: I use a pick to play the ukulele. Now if you still haven’t canceled me, you may be interested to hear that I may have stumbled into the best combination of strength and softness for a ukulele pick. Kind of like a Japanese sword in reverse. Read More
This is not a minor update. By popular demand, the interface has moved to the video page itself, rather than reside in a separate window. This means that VideoSkip will no longer load invisibly behind the video. It is also accessible when the video is fullscreen. But there is more. Read on for a list of improvements. Read More
A what? . . . A pan-jo, dummy! That is, a banjo that is made from a pan. It turns out that you can make beautiful music from a humble pizza pan, plus a stick, a doggy bowl, and a limited number of special parts. And it’s quite a looker, as you can see from the picture, showing a G6 (guitar tuning) panjo with metal strings next to a C6 (uke tuning) panjo with plastic strings. Recipe and sound samples inside. Read More
The 0.3 update brings in something that will make the app much easier to use for the majority: automatic syncing! Read on for details. Hot on its heels, version 0.3.1 has simplified the interface quite a bit.
Unrelated to the above, but also important to some users, VideoSkip is also a Microsoft Edge extension. Here’s the URL: https://microsoftedge.microsoft.com/addons/detail/videoskip/enikjnojafmkjadebkopndkognbebomf
I gave my students the job of building string instruments, for which they need to select the materials, calculate the appropriate string gauges and tensions, and pay attention to the energy flow from strings to air. After spending half a day putting the relevant equations in one sheet to make their work easier, it dawned on me that others might enjoy having them as well. So here they are. Read More