Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Design Idea

Gonna start on a new ukulele model, here is a peek at the rough plans.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Show on July 7th!

Shady Grove Picnic Series at Four Mile Historic Park
Performance Date: 7/7/2010, 6:30 pm

The Quiet American is Aaron Keim on ukulele, guitar, banjo and voice; Katie Glassman on fiddle; Niel McCormick on bass and Nicole Keim on ukulele, washboard, and voice. With a bend on playing Americana, trad jazz and jug band music, The Quiet American will butress their already compelling style with members of the Boulder Acoustic Society for this Picnic Series concert.

Deeply rooted in old time, folk and traditional Americana music, The Mile Markers are a dynamic, high-energy duo from Denver, Colorado. Formed in 2001 by Julie Stratton (guitar/vocals) and Bevin Foley (fiddle/vocals), their original songs, and unique arrangements of old time standards offer a new twist on the traditional folk sound.

myspace.com/aaronckeim | themilemarkersband.com

Tickets at the door only: $10/$7 members; $2 for children 12 & under. Bicyclists get in for member pricing throughout the 2010 season! No glass or pets, please.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Three New Records I Played on By Neat People

This year I have had the good fortune to perform on three records put out by good friends. Here is some info about each one.

The first is Chris McGarry: Friends for ten years, he moved to CO three years ago and got a job teaching music in Nicole's school district and at Swallow Hill. His song writing is very poetic folk/country and the record sounds great. I played banjo, lap steel, guitar and bass on this record and I am pleased with it.

You can buy it here. We recorded at Swallow Hill with Brian and it was mixed by Aaron Youngberg. The album release concert was at the Meadowlark in Denver. When we were rehearsing for it, I realized that it was the first band I had ever played in that had 3 guitars, bass and drums! (its a really great sound, somebody should start a band with the combo...) Here is a video of that gig with the horn section added. Notice me trying to play trumpet after three PBRs.

Next is Victoria Vox, a singer/songwriter/ukulele player from Baltimore by way of Green Bay.

We have been bumping into each other for 5 or 6 years on the road and collaborating for the last two. (we have some shows this summer together!) Her record was recorded half in New York and half at John Macy sound studios in Denver. It sounds poppy and energetic but still folky and hip. I played guitar, lap steel, horn, banjo, bass, etc...and had a great time working with her producer Mike. You can buy it here.
Here we are playing one of her songs in Eugene, OR.

And next is my home slice Danielle Ate The Sandwich. Danielle is a big deal because of her legendary Youtube page. She also plays the uke and she writes really thoughtful beautiful songs that are also quite funny. We recorded at John Macy sound studios and I played lap steel, banjo, horn, etc... Her cd release shows are next week in Denver. Here is a video of Danielle and I singing a Miley Cyrus song:

This vid has over 100,000 hits, which makes me famous, fyi.

Buy it here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hipstamatic Photos From the Recording Studio!

So my band Boulder Acoustic Society just spent a week in the studio. Here are some fun pictures taken with my iphone Hipstamatic of the process. We flew in Jefferson Hamer to produce and we tracked at Macy Sound Studios in Denver. All the basic tracks were done on two inch analog tape before they were dumped into protools for overdubs and edits. Super fun. The record is called Coal, Cotton, and Dust and should be released by September 1st.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Here is a concert ukulele in a curvy vintage Hawaiian shape. Except for the rosewood fingerboard, it is made entirely of wood that is salvaged or recycled. The neck is 3 pieces of 100 year old Douglas fir from porch boards from a Denver home. The top and headplate are straight, close grained pine from a mantle piece from another Denver home. The back, sides, bridge, nut and saddle are maple from an antique table top. It has Aquila strings and gold and black Gotoh tuners. The shape is based on a vintage Kumalae ukulele but with a modern neck size and perfect playability. It is stained with a rich amber color and finished in wipe on poly. Because these pieces of wood are very old and are salvaged from old buildings and furniture, there are small cosmetic flaws that in my opinion are un-avoidable yet welcome! The sound is bright and zingy but with good sustain and tone for such a small instrument. It is loud!!! 15 inch scale length and is 23.5 inches long. The neck is 1 7/8 inches wide at the nut, which makes it very playable. Its on ebay

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Soprano Uke Build Process!

I just completed a ukulele for Adam from Nova Scotia. He wanted my Kumalae soprano shape with a 14inch scale and a wide beefy neck. I made it of all mahogany that I salvage from a furniture shop. The only other wood is a bubinga fretboard.

Here are a couple of pics of the wood for the sides and neck and the top and back braced:

Here are the sides clamped into the mold. I broke four sides making this uke, this old mahogany was pretty brittle.

And here is the neck rough shaped:

And the body glued up and the neck fretted. The fingerboard is pretty wide: 38mm at nut.

Here is the neck going on. Surprisingly, the rubber tubing makes a great clamp:

First coat of wipe on poly finish:

Laying out the bridge position:

And the finished product!

I like the longer scale and beefier neck. It makes the soprano feel bigger than it is while keeping that vintage sound. It has the best sustain of any soprano I have built. I feel like I got a good balance between a light top with a stiff back, sides and neck.

I hope adam likes it!