ukestuff

Ukulele "Stuff": Education, Technology, Play Alongs, Reviews, Accessories, and More!

21 Easy Folk Songs Book Now Available on Amazon!

In the category of items that might interest you, Jenny Peters and Rebecca Bogart have released a new book (their 6th in the “21 Songs” series) entitled “21 Easy Folk Songs for Ukulele.” In addition to the “21 Songs” series, Jenny and Rebecca also wrote the “Ukulele for All” Method.

21 Easy Folk Songs for Ukulele includes the following songs:

  • Lovely Evening
  • Lil Liza Jane
  • Happy Birthday
  • Go Tell Aunt Rhody
  • Wabash Cannonball
  • Big Rock Candy Mountain
  • Worried Man Blues
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Goodnight, Irene
  • Down By the Riverside
  • Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
  • Sakura
  • All Through the Night
  • Beautiful Dreamer
  • Molly Malone
  • Shenandoah
  • The Ash Grove
  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game
  • Turkey in the Straw
  • My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
  • Sweet Betsy from Pike

I have two of the 21 Songs series so far (and just bought 21 Folk Songs one, making a total of three), and the new book offers tablature in addition to traditional notation. This means that you can play the melody of the songs, or you can play the chords and sing the melody yourself. Or you could use the Acappella app and record yourself doing all three! There are a few songs in the book that also include a suggested accompaniment (fingerpicking) or chord melody. This gives players a lot of flexible ways to use the book.

The book is organized by the number of chords that you need to play it, and even has some songs in multiple keys, which can make for great practice, or even help a singer (e.g. I’m a tenor, so melodies that go below C don’t work well with my voice).

Here is a screen shot of a part of one of the songs in the book. This lets you see how the songs are presented in the book.

I like the idea of including tablature–this gives beginning players more to go for than just the chords of a song. I only have three suggestions for the book. First, the Amazon listing doesn’t show any of the pages with the music, and some people want to know what they are buying. That is why I included the screen shot above. Second. I’d love to see more chord melody arrangements in the book (chord melody is a great way to get into tablature beyond playing the melody). And third, I’d love to see a “music only” version of the book, perhaps in 8.5×11 format (as a PDF) so that once you had learned from the book, you could simply use the songs as a separate book without the other information.

Interested in the book? You should be…it has a lot of uses for beginning and intermediate ukulele players. Many convention or workshop sessions could be built around this book. You can support both the authors and this blog by purchasing the book and using these referral links:

Kindle Edition: ($6.99 as of 2/5/19): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NBQNH7F/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=techinmusiedu-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07NBQNH7F&linkId=7754398c12b7b00c8f6abd85b338c70b

Print Edition: ($13.99 as of 2/5/19):
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1795608358/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=techinmusiedu-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1795608358&linkId=924272d1516a455fbb727cd197b694cc

By the way, if you buy the book before February 13, 2019, there are some bonuses, including a drawing for a Bondi Ukulele Starter Kit. See the “Bonuses” chapter at the end of the book for more information, or watch the promotional video below.

Want to know more about Jenny and Rebecca and their work? Check out their website, ukulele.io!


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Flat.io, Ukulele, and Google Slides

I recently read about some improvements to the Flat.io Add-On for Google Docs and Google Slides. In terms of ukulele, Google Slides now includes the ability to write ukulele tablature. How does it work? Check out the Google Slides presentation below.

Want to click on the presentation directly? Go to: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1QsOJL1CDPIkVcOymtXzdcqkqKT7Bomsnqi7_atO_QLs/edit?usp=sharing

The Rainbow Ukulele Method…A Review

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If you are a music educator, and you are considering integrating ukulele into your instruction, you have some decisions to make as it comes to curriculum.

Specifically, do you want to teach ukulele as a solo instrument, or as an accompaniment to singing?  In my own teaching, as the subject is “choir” and ukulele is in addition to our choral content, I focus on ukulele as an accompaniment instrument.  This is how ukulele is used by a majority of players throughout the world—and it seems clear, from the earliest ukulele method books that I have seen (early 1910’s), that this is how ukulele was originally used as well.  Trust me…I support the ukulele as a solo instrument and play chord melody and tablature on my own, but my professional interest lies elsewhere.

That said, the ukulele can be used as more than as an accompaniment instrument, and there are a number of methods that you can use to teach melody, rhythm, and expression in addition to the instrument’s traditional role as harmonic accompaniment.  Hal Leonard and Alfred have their own approaches, as does James Hill (a renown ukulele performer and educator, see ukuleleintheclassroom.com).  You can also check out the work of my friend Paul Marchese (ukuleleforteachers.com).

One method I have been interested in for some time is Shelley Tommich’s Rainbow Ukulele, a method available on Pitch Publications (https://pitchpublications.com) and Teachers Pay Teachers.  The Rainbow Ukulele mega bundle, which includes all of the curriculum, is priced just below $60 (as of January 2019).  I’ll spoil this review early—considering the quality of the content and the amount of content you receive, $60 is a bargain.  Even if you don’t follow the method as it is laid out, any ukulele teacher could use parts of Rainbow Ukulele and have a wealth of additional content at hand.  Pitch Publications also sells printed books for students ($10, with discounts for bulk purchases), stickers for ukuleles (chords), felt picks, and other resources.

As with many methods, Rainbow Ukulele begins with a discussion of the history of the instrument and the parts of the instrument.  The second part of the method discusses musical elements such as pitch, rhythm, and notation.  These elements are embedded in the content instead of presented as a complete unit, but I expect that most teachers will have already introduced these concepts by the time a student is given a ukulele in school, so I assume this is presented as review material.

The next concept presented in the Rainbow Ukulele method is tuning, a very important aspect of playing ukulele—but something that I avoid teaching in my own middle school classroom.  If you have responsible students, by all means, proceed with caution—but do not hesitate to discuss tuning without actually having students tune the instruments.  I recently purchased the Jowoom String Tuner which tunes a ukulele by itself (you do have to move it from tuner to tuner and play a string), which has worked well in the classroom.  

Proceeding further in the Rainbow Ukulele method, the student is then shown how to hold the ukulele and how to play melodies on individual strings—including tab and traditional notation.  The teacher’s version includes a number of resources, such as audio recordings and also recordings embedded in a presentation—as well as presentations in PowerPoint and Keynote formats.  The “ukulele as melody” part of the method is covered in no more than eleven pages, which is similar to (or more than) the amount of “melody” instruction in methods published by Hal Leonard or Alfred.  As expected, this is significantly briefer than Ukulele in the Classroom which has a different focus altogether.   I think the concept of the Rainbow Ukulele method is exposure: exposing a student to the idea that a ukulele can play melody, but getting on to the aspect of the ukulele that most people want to pursue—using the ukulele as an accompaniment instrument.  Ultimately, I wonder how many teachers using the Rainbow Ukulele skip this section and move on with chords and songs.  While tablature and individual notes do not get specifically mentioned again in the method, all but five of the songs used in the rest of method stay above middle C, meaning that advanced students (or the teacher) could play the melody on most of the songs.

Rainbow Ukulele is best known as a method to teach chords, using colored stickers to show where to put your fingers.  This is a methodology which has been around for years, but Shelley came up with a standardized color system.  Every song through the rest of the method uses chords, and the student book shows the chords in both a “chord chart” (what I call lyrics plus chord names) and a “lead sheet” (what I call notated music plus chord names).  I won’t discuss the order of chords as they are introduced in the method as this is part of what you pay for, but as an example, C uses a red sticker and F uses two green stickers.

It is important to note that Kala has introduced its own Color Chord ukulele and related teaching resources, and Kala’s colors are different than Rainbow Ukulele.  Neither method fully aligns with the Boomwhacker colors, although Shelley did keep those colors in mind while choosing colors.  On my play along videos, I have made some videos that use Aquila and DR colored ukulele strings, and I have matched Kala’s Color Chords on some videos, but not Rainbow Ukulele colors, as I have not wanted to infringe on Rainbow Ukulele’s territory.  It should be mentioned that Kala offers a number of Color Chord resources free on their website, even within their free tuning app (iOS or Android).  The Kala Color Chord Ukulele only comes with four chords indicated—but you can play a lot of songs with those four chords.  I wish that Rainbow Ukulele and Kala could come to terms with a common color system.  All that said, I teach slightly older students and do not use the sticker method.  That said, I can still use materials from the Rainbow Ukulele method.

Kala’s Color Chord Ukulele: it is really a black Waterman Ukulele with decals.

The songs in Rainbow Ukulele represent a wide selection of folk music, which makes sense in a litigious world (public domain!).  These are represented both in the student book and the included presentation software files (PowerPoint and Keynote).  Each song has a number of different audio accompaniments…without melody, with melody, slow, etc.  I count a total of forty-three songs in the method, which use a total of four chords.  While the songs are standard folk songs, the recorded accompaniments offer a variety of musical styles, and I don’t think students—or adults—would be bored with the songs.  I would like to see a recorded version were there was singing in the background (to support reluctant singers).

The one area where I would want to see Rainbow Ukulele expand would be video resources for the songs.  I know the video format works, so combining the excellent resources of Rainbow Ukulele with video would be an incredible tool for teachers and create a wonderful learning experience for students.

Rainbow Ukulele also includes tools for assessment and rewards, including a plan for award beads; I think students go crazy over things like beads (even in middle school), and I wonder how I could implement such a plan with 350 students.

I also love that the fonts used in the presentation are included so that you can install those fonts and use the Rainbow Ukulele presentation on your device as it was intended to appear.  As a side note, if you use the Keynote presentation on your iPad, you can load the fonts to your iPad using AnyFont so that presentations look as they should.  I love that Keynote and PowerPoint files are included in the “kit.”

I want to thank Shelley for giving me the opportunity to review Rainbow Ukulele.  I have seen her state that the method is intended for elementary teachers, but I think it is an incredible resource for any ukulele teacher.  The audio files and songs could be used by any teacher, even if you aren’t putting stickers on ukuleles or giving away beads.  The method is attractive, comprehensive, and affordable. Most elementary teachers are utilizing ukulele as a stand alone unit, hoping to learn a few chords and to play songs with those chords.  Rainbow Ukulele is perfectly suited for this approach, and comes highly recommend by me.  Let’s face it, at less than $60, Rainbow Ukulele is a bargain for any teacher of the ukulele.

Want to buy Rainbow Ukulele? Visit:
https://pitchpublications.com/shop/ or https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ukulele-Program-Rainbow-Ukulele-BUNDLE-Lessons-Presentation-Student-Book-1526229

Note: This is NOT a referral link!

Some updates…(1/1/2019)

A new episode (#12) of the Ukulele Video Play Along Podcast has been uploaded (find it on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or Google Play).

I also updated the song lists today here on the blog.  This represents all songs created as of 1/1/2019, including Holiday Play Alongs (I don’t imagine there will be any additions to that list until late fall 2019).

Happy New Year, everyone!


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Videos: The Year (2018) in Review

As 2018 draws to a close, and the videos I am currently preparing are for something special in 2019 (February 15th to be exact…anyone know why this date in particular?), I will not have another play along video (although I may film a podcast episode tomorrow) until 2019.  That means that I can look at play along videos for 2018, as I did in 2017 (link).

Last year, I broke things down by month, but I didn’t want to do that this year.  In 2017, I created 176 play along videos.

This year, I only created 159 videos.  That sounds like a negative, but I added a few other categories of videos.

I created 20 videos of reviews in 2018; 10 skill drill videos (very, very useful in my own teaching), 10 videos for the Ukulele Boot Camp, 29 Karaoke videos, 21 play along videos were created in a separate key (and not counted in the total of 159), 8 tutorial videos, 2 additions to my Daily 365 project (I really need to get going on that in 2019), and 4 podcast videos.

In addition to these videos, I was convinced in July that I needed to start making videos for Baritone Ukulele–which sometimes share the same key as a ukulele video, and sometimes not.  I made 53 Baritone Ukulele Play Alongs in 2018, starting with “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” on July 8th.

Three videos are blocked and remain blocked (not a content strike…the copyright holder just will not allow them to be published).  I leave them in my own YouTube and do not publish them, because I have seen copyright restrictions change on songs (e.g. “Fields of Gold” and “You’ll Be Back”).  I have also received copyright notices from YouTube months later (e.g. On December 23rd, 2018, “La Bamba” was attached to a copyright, and I had published that video on August 9th, 2017).  We have also seen a song that was allowed to be used in a play along later taken away.  The one instance of this was “Low Rider” and both Dr. Jill Reese and Kris Gilbert had videos blocked because of that!

My first video in 2018 was “You and I” on January 2nd.  My last video was “Always Keep a Ukulele In Your Trunk” on December 27th.

The channel, as of today, has nearly 19,000 subscribers.  What’s my goal?  100,000.  I’d love to have a silver Play button to display at school.  So, if you haven’t subscribed, please do so.

The most watched video was “Rewrite the Stars” with just over 1.4 million views.

Yes…1.4 million.  All of the other Greatest Showman videos did quite well.

“Lost Boy” has regularly been my most popular video as of late, with 311,000 views.

And the revenue I have earned from making the videos?  $0.00.  If you follow the blog or podcast, you know that YouTube sends ad revenue to the copyright holder of the songs that are used for the play along, and my request to monetize the channel (for my own videos) was rejected because my channel is considered to be “duplication.”  I have resubmitted an application for my channel to be monetized for my own content, but I doubt it will be approved.

That’s why any sponsorship via Patreon is greatly appreciated.

Here are a couple of ideas that I’m floating for 2019.

  1. Look for a Google Form on new videos starting in 2019 asking for requests.  I can’t always make a video, and I try to create videos that I can use at school (obviously, any religious songs cannot–but I’m talking more about pop music as a whole).
  2. I will continue with the Podcast, and hope to get some guests on the podcast (in addition to my son who joined me for the last one).
  3. I would like to go back and make baritone versions for all of the songs that already exist.  That’s going to take a while, and will be a long term goal.
  4. As a Patreon Reward, I’d like to offer chord sheets of every new song (and old songs as I remake them).  Most of the time, I’m pretty confident in my chord analysis, and my chords differ from the sources online.
  5. When a song is in the public domain, I’ll also provide a lead sheet as a Patreon Reward.
  6. And I will continue with the next series of the Ukulele Video Play Along Method, which already has “The First Five Chords” (about 100 videos) and the Holiday Songs (about 70 songs).

I hope 2018 has been great for you; some really good things happened for me and I look forward to what 2019 will bring!


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Holiday Shopping Ideas – 2018 (Ukulele Video Play Along Podcast Episode #11)

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Well, the holiday season is before us, and you might have a ukulele player in your life, or have non-ukulele players who are looking for gift ideas for you.  As I think through my own ukulele gear, I have a number of items that might be an ideal gift for a ukulele player, at a number of price ranges.  One note: links to Amazon are referral links, which means that I would earn a small commission on a sale (it does not increase the price of the item).

Inexpensive Gift Ideas (less than $25)

  • Nomad Octopus Tool (8-in-1)less than $15
  • Oasis OH-18 Ukulele Humidifierless than $20
  • Strings: just get a gift card from stringsbymail.com (not a referral link).  Strings are $6-$8 a set plus shipping ($3.50), so plan $20 to $25 to be safe (two to three sets of strings and shipping).
  • Ukulele Straps: I have many favorites, but check out Uke Straps on Facebook.  Some awesome new straps – About $20 (not a referral link, but feel free to mention that I referred you).
  • G7th Ultralight Ukulele CapoAbout $20
  • Ukulele OrnamentAbout $10
  • Distilled Water – Less than $2 a gallon Ukulele humidifiers should use distilled water.  It’s a practical gift, particularly if you are giving a humidifier as a gift!

Some More Expensive Gifts (more than $25)

And Some Ukuleles…

I hope this list is helpful!  And best wishes to all for a very happy holiday season.  As I celebrate Christmas, a very Merry Christmas to everyone that celebrates Christmas, too.


Note: I think it is important to offer disclaimers.  I have not received any sponsorship from any of the companies lists above.  If you buy something from an Amazon link, I will receive a commission.  It is worth mentioning that Aklot sent me a ukulele to review in 2017, which I was incredibly impressed with, and gave it away to a niece last year.  I have bought other Aklot ukuleles and would do so again.  There are a lot of brands of ukuleles, and it is almost always better to buy from a reputable online dealer (the list including Mim’s Ukes, The Uke Republic, The Ukulele Site, Elderly Music, and Southern Ukulele Store (in the U.K.).  These companies all include set-up in the price of the ukulele, which can make a ukulele easier to play.  That said, I’ve been very happy with my Flight TUS35, the Aklot AKC-23 (now in the hands of my niece), and my Enya X1 camp soprano.  The set up on all of these was quite wonderful, and the Aklot and Enya come with a very nice starter kit as well.  If you buy the Aklot, buy a Oasis Humidifier, too.  The Enya is the “next step up” featuring high pressure laminate HPL (the same material Martin and Bonanza use in their ukuleles) with a radius neck, slotted headstock, and more.  While I haven’t seen all of the Flight Ukuleles, I would definitely recommend any Aklot and any Enya at this point.  While $125 may seem like a lot for the Enya, you are getting an instrument with features that are worth easily three times as much.

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New Patreon Reward! Holiday Songs

Knowing that a number of teachers would like a holiday-only selection of songs to use for a day, week, or month, I have put all of the holiday ukulele play along videos into a single Google Sheets presentation.  As we create more videos this month, they will be added to this presentation.

You can gain access to the resources that I am creating (those which are above and beyond the materials I provide on YouTube or this blog) by pledging as little as $1 a month to my efforts through Patreon.  Click the image below if you are interested in becoming a sponsor!  I will attempt to grant access to the Google Folder within a day.

And to those of you that are sponsoring my efforts, thank you!


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Frequency of Chord Use

At the moment, my master list of Ukulele Video Play Alongs is a catalog of 718 songs, not counting the baritone ukulele videos I have been making since this summer.

My personal approach is to teach ukulele as an accompaniment, as most players use the instrument in this way, and I have ukulele embedded into choir in my own program as a way for students to accompany themselves.  I’m not opposed to teaching ukulele as a solo instrument, and I do introduce my students to playing a C scale, reading notes on a ukulele, and reading tablature–but I do not spend most of my time there.  In truth, I try to get them to play chords successfully (greatly helped by the Ukulele Skill Drills) and to play ukulele in context of songs–and to get them to songs they know and love.

Last year, I reflected on my database of Ukulele Video Play Alongs, where I track not only the name, key, number of chords, and location (e.g. link) of a video, but what chords are used.  My thought has always been this: why not teach ukulele in the order of chords that students will be called on to use those chords?

I do make some exceptions…the two most friendly chords for ukulele are C and G (and their relative minor keys).  As a result, C and G are the most common chords that are called for, and they are used in each other’s keys.  Even so, I don’t suggest teaching C then G…there is a learning curve where going from one finger to three fingers is going to be unsuccessful.

Likewise, I don’t want to encourage teachers to teach only one-finger chords.  I know why this happens–it helps young students to play ukulele.  In reality, however, a very small small number of songs exist that actually use a combination of those one finger chords–and your students are going to want to play more than songs that those that alternate between C, C7, CMaj, Am, and F9.

In my own teaching, I teach C, F, and G, followed by G7 and Am, because songs exist that can be played with those chords.  The first part of my video ukulele method is currently available as a “thank you” to Patreon subscribers, where I do the work of collecting videos and placing them in a Google Slides presentation in instructional order, in increasing levels of difficulty–along with “how to” videos and Ukulele Skill Drills.  If your students try, they WILL learn how to play, and they WILL be successful.  Yes, you can organize/search for these resources yourself (the Google Slide collection), but I am hoping my work is worth a donation of a minimum of $1 per month to the cause.

A year ago (November 8, 2017), I found this order of chords with 304 songs in the collection:

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Here is the latest (November 24, 2018) frequency of chord chart with 718 songs in the collection:

Freqquency of Chords 2018.png

In both cases, I included chords used more than 10 times in the database, although the latest data total number of songs lists far more chords with 718 in the database!

While there is some motion between the chords, in the top 10 chords, only A changes position significantly (up “two places” in frequency)–and Em & G7; Dm & HI D7 (Hawaiian D7, 2020); and C7 & E7 swap places.

In my own method, the G7 swap isn’t significant as I choose to teach G7 before Am, resulting in a very large number of video play alongs that can be played, particularly once Am is added (close to 100 songs).

It is important to note that this frequency of chord use is not going to hold true to all songs on the Internet, particularly considering the popularity of the guitar and how many songs are written in the “open” key of E on guitar (as you can see from the charts, E is not a common chord choice when choosing ukulele friendly keys).  Hopefully, ukulele players that are learning on their own are not trying to play things in the keys that are friendly for other instruments, but in keys that are friendly to ukulele (C, G, and relative minors of Am, Em).  There are other good keys for ukulele, but they can contain chords that can (overly) challenge new players.

I also included the list of most commonly used chords from the Ukulele Hunt website, which appears below.  I’ll re-post the most current chart from the ukulele play along videos below that chart…

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Freqquency of Chords 2018

The comparison simply tells me that the video play alongs that we create–with students in mind–tend to avoid the key of F where Bb would be used more frequently.   Meanwhile, as a website, Ukulele Hunt can provide materials in any key, without worrying about the skill of the player.  While some of our videos do go to the “Land of Bb,” I have read articles that indicate that a majority of guitar players (80%!) give up when reaching the F chord, which is the Bb chord on GCEA ukulele.  It makes sense that we go out of our way to provide music that avoids barre chords (full or partial) as well as the “dreaded E chord.”  Please note: I’m not saying to avoid learning to play barre chords (please note: my warm-up video starts with barre chords on Day 1) or to avoid learning the E chord in its various forms…but it does make sense to provide songs that are accessible for students.  When I reach the point that students can play barre chords…Bb or full D7, I can then teach any song in any key, because they have the skill to decode and perform just about any chord.  Not every student reaches that point, but that is the goal!

For those of you reading this post, hopefully this data helps you understand how the ukulele video play alongs work in terms of chords that are expected, how the ukulele video play alongs interact with different keys, and perhaps this data will help you as you make your own (pedagogical) choices as it comes to your own playing or teaching others how to play ukulele!


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Jowoom Smart Tuner Update

This summer I managed to get a hold of a SmartTuner, and the company was willing to sell me two for the price of one.  I posted about that device, and also created a video.  I was contacted by the company shortly thereafter, and was sent yet a third device which had been updated to tune faster, as they felt their product didn’t compare well in speed to the Roadie 2.  The tuner works as they hoped; it has all the benefits of the existing device but comes to pitch even faster.

While I have been using that updated version at home, I took both of the “old” Smart Tuners to school and have been using them with our new ukuleles, for which there is still no storage system, and the KIDS strings are still stretching like crazy.  In other words, students have not used them yet, and I try to go through and tune all of them in a storage area about once a week.  I have been using the Smart Tuners exclusively for this over the past eight weeks of school, and while I am tuning at least 71 ukuleles in a row (sometimes as many as 90), I have not had to recharge the tuners this year.  That’s pretty amazing, particularly considering how far the C and E strings go out of tune every day (they take the longest to settle, and what these ukuleles need is to simply be played and to put the strings into played and stretched condition).  On a rare occasion a C string has stretched so much that I need to use the “up arrow” to move the pitch up before the Smart Tuner can lock on to the closest note…but this is NOT a big deal.

I have not pulled out our Roadie 2 tuners at all, because dealing with selecting the instrument is a pain.  It is such a joy to simply turn on the Smart Tuner, put it on a string, and let it tune.  You have to be somewhat near the right pitch for it to work–but that’s it.  At this point, I can simply let the device tune all of the strings without having to worry about what pitch each string is going to.  It’s brilliant, and a time saver.  And if you remember, I have been experiencing rear button failures on Roadie 2 models.  That won’t happen with the Smart Tuner.

Jowoom wanted me to demonstrate the semi-auto mode that is similar to the Roadie 2, where you tell the device what string is to be tuned…but to be honest, the automatic mode is much better.  I will show this in a future video, but I prefer the automatic tuning.

And at home, I realized a past statement of mine was flawed.  I said that I couldn’t use the SmartTuner for my eight string ukuleles.  This was wrong.  There is a chromatic mode on the SmartTuner (pretty easy to get to–just hit the power key to change the mode from guitar to ukulele to chromatic) which tunes your instrument to the closest pitch.  This has been working flawlessly for me on my Baton Rouge eight string tenor and my Ohana taropatch.

The only instruments I cannot use the SmartTuner on are those instruments with friction tuners or Gotoh tuners.  All the other geared tuners work great.

The other day, someone asked about buying a string changing tool, and at one point I bought an Ernie Ball Pro Winder for school and home.  The battery died on my home Ernie Ball, and I don’t think I’d buy another one.  The SmartTuner, while more expensive, serves as a fast winder for string changes, as well as a great tuner for all of my geared instruments.  It’s brilliant, and I highly recommend it–and yes, over the Roadie 2.  The only two advantages the Roadie 2 has over the SmartTuner are customized  tunings and firmware updates.  I also like the Roadie 2’s flashing light and vibration that let you know the string is in tune (useful in noisy environments).  Sadly, the SmartTuner is not upgradeable–but it is cheaper, and in a classroom setting, so much better with the automatic feature.

Again, I bought one SmartTuner and received two models free of charge, and bought two Roadie 2 models which were replaced under warranty for faulty buttons, and one of the replacements has already started to fail.

Want to buy one?  They are currently $79 and you can purchase yours at: https://www.jowoom.com/smart-tuner-t2