ukestuff

Ukulele in secondary music education

A new find at the local music store…

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This evening, I took my little guy to a nearby community for his AWANA group (youth church program), and when I do so, I stop by the local music store before swinging by a coffee shop (Caribou Coffee, a midwestern chain not too far removed from Starbucks but nowhere near as big).  The music store has a awfully good selection of decent ukuleles (Makala/Kala, Alvarez, Grace Harbor, A Nue Nue, Outdoor Ukuleles, some Martins) including some Pono and Ko’olau (truly fine instruments).

I ordered my first bulk sets of Aquila KIDS strings from this music store, as Aquila originally wanted teachers to order from local vendors, who ordered from Córdoba (in the US), who ordered from Aquila.  In the end, Aquila asks that you contact them directly and place the order, and it ships direct from Italy.  That’s pretty cool…and when the strings are less than $3.00 per set in bulk, there isn’t a lot of money in the product for distributors and the local store anyway.  The Aquila strings are made of Super Nylgut, like most of the strings that are sold with ukuleles these days—except they are colored for educational purposes.

It turns out that DR, an American string manufacturer, is getting into the ukulele game as well.  They are now selling colored (same colors as KIDS) strings that are labeled “Nylon” as well as fluorocarbon strings for Soprano/Concert.  The KIDS strings by Aquila are for Soprano through Tenor.  The pack per price for the DR strings is less than the KIDS strings by Aquila—but the Aquila packs include a donation of a set of strings to an organization (such as Ukulele KIDS Club).

I need to install these strings tomorrow and see how they feel and how they last in an educational setting.  I know the flaws of the KIDS strings already…and will be able to write a fairly comprehensive review of both.

I love the option for different strings in the educational colors—And what I’d really like to see is a set of colored fluorocarbon strings in the educational colors.

And if you are using colored strings, I know my friend Paul Marchese is working on a instructional method using those strings…and I made videos from time to time that use those strings in a ukulele play along format.

I’ll install the strings tomorrow, and also reach out to the company.

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