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Irish ukulele... does it work?
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Author:  Thomaston [ Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:55 am ]
Post subject:  Irish ukulele... does it work?

So, I delved into the world of ukulele recently, and on a whim decided to see how things would sound to do some back-up chords on it instead of guitar in an Irish trad setting (actually, I think the song is Scottish...). I fooled around combining it with mandolin and tenor banjo, but wasn't getting good results. I finally pulled out my whistle that I haven't touched in a while, and it seems to work. What do you think? It's the first song here:
Please try to ignore the squeeking of the whistle. I'm a bit rusty.
I'd like some honest opinions, good or bad, on how they sound together.
Also... I'd like to stress this was just an experiment. I'm certainly not planning to bring the uke to the next session!

Author:  Tim2723 [ Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:26 am ]
Post subject: 

I think the idea is exceedingly cool! Epecially using a baritone ukulele. I couldn't listen the sound file (my speakers are kaput), but I've been kicking the same idea around for a long time.

I've been trying to use a concert uke where the lowest string is the third one, but that sound is just too Hawian to make the jump. A baritone uke is tuned like the top four strings on a guitar so it has a real bass string, so I think that would work better. I'll have to get me one of those. I can't see why it wouldn't work. After all, the baritone uke is really just a tenor guitar with classic nylon strings, right?

Author:  coupedefleur [ Sat May 19, 2007 6:41 am ]
Post subject: 

Some people tune a tenor guitar like a bari uke (like the top 4 strings of guitar), but the traditional tuning for a TG is in 5ths- CGDA. Some people also tune tenors lower like an octave mandolin- GDAE.

The concert uke with my-dog-has-fleas tuning is a pretty versatile instrument, and is used in a lot of contexts where it doesn't sound Hawaiian. For instance, they used uke a lot in old-time string bands- even in some jug and kazoo bands! Hitting on the right strumming style is probably the key.

Author:  synecdoche [ Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:32 pm ]
Post subject: 

James Hill is a young ukulele player who has done some AMAZING hybrid stuff with the instrument. The ukulele is a surprisingly versatile instrument! I only just found his website today, and he really is awesome. I wonder if he's played any ITM on that thing...hmmm....

Author:  mcdafydd [ Sun Jul 22, 2007 7:20 pm ]
Post subject: 

Mentioning a uke made me think of using a Venezuelan cuatro for rhythmic accompaniment... hmm, another instrument to add to the collection.

Author:  Chatterton [ Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

I really like what you've done with this. Makes me want to go out and buy a uke (and a whistle as well).

Author:  Sandy McLeod [ Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

For me it has been just the opposite. I've got a number of ukes and a classical guitar which I play at slack key on but now I've just purchased a whistle. Funny how things work out. I'm looking forward to learning how to blow on something other than a harp. :)

This place looks like the place to learn.


Author:  TheSpoonMan [ Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:48 am ]
Post subject: 

(actually, I think the song is Scottish...).

Na ja, that's the Muckin o Geordie's Byre if I'm not mistaken- wonderful name, huh? Though your playing ofit does sound rather irish; also I like the sound of the uke with it :)

Author:  unregulated [ Sat Sep 22, 2007 7:29 am ]
Post subject:  ah my theme tune

ah my theme tune
the words are better than the tune and the title.
translation below - it’s worth it

The Muckin' o' Geordie's Byre

At a relic aul' croft upon the hill,
Roon the neuk frae Sprottie's mill,
Tryin' a' his life tae jine the kill
Lived Geordie MacIntyre.
He had a wife a swir's himsel'
An' a daughter as black's auld Nick himsel',
There wis some fun-haud awa' the smell
At the muckin' o' Geordie's byre.

For the graim was tint, the besom was deen,
The barra widna row its leen,
An' siccan a soss it never was seen
At the muckin' o Geordie's byre.
For the daughter had to strae and neep
The auld wife started to swipe the greep
When Geordie fell sklite on a rotten neep
At the muckin' o' Geordie's byre.

Ben the greep cam' Geordie's soo
She stood up ahint the coo
The coo kickit oot an' o whit a stew
At the muckin' o' Geordies byre.
For the aul' wife she was booin' doon
The soo was kickit on the croon
It shoved her heid in the wifie's goon
Then ben through Geordie's byre.


The daughter cam thro the barn door
An' seein' her mother let ooot a roar,
To the midden she ran an' fel ower the boar
At the muckin' o' Geordie's byre.
For the boar he lap the midden dyke
An' ower the riggs wi' Geordie's tyke.
They baith ran intill a bumbee's byke
At the muckin' o' Geordie's byre.


O a hunder' years are passed an' mair
Whaur Sprottie's wis, the hill is bare;
The croft's awa' sae ye'll see nae mair
At the muckin' o' Geordie's byre.
His folks a' deid an' awa' lang syne-
In case his memory we should tyne,
Whistle this tune tae keep ye in min'
At the muckin' o' Geordie's byre!

Meaning of unusual words:
croft=small farmhouse
kill=overcome with weariness
swir=unwilling to work
auld Nick=the Devil
widna row its leen= would not hold it's load
soss=dirty wet mess
neep=feed cattle with turnips
greep=gutter in the byre
fell sklite=fall heavily
soo=female pig
booin'doon=bending down
goon=gown, dress
midden=refuse heap
riggs=strip of ploughed land
bumbee's byke=beehive
lang syne=long since

yours unregulated

Author:  evenstr [ Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:33 pm ]
Post subject: 

That sounded excellent! Makes me want to learn my ukulele.

Author:  Mary Hanafin Doonan [ Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish ukulele... does it work?

[ Revival - Mod ]


How have you come along? If you have not moved on... or found this site, give it a look. I have a beautiful Kala Arch Tenor to mess around with... I'd post her but been using facebook so long I'll have to remember where I go to use server to post here.. lol.... but here's uke tabs.

Author:  Mary Hanafin Doonan [ Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish ukulele... does it work?

And here's a bit more I've found.


Author:  Thomaston [ Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish ukulele... does it work?

Wow, flashbacks...
I remember enjoying that little experiment, but I don't currently own a uke anymore. Still enjoying playing accompaniment, but it's on bouzouki these days.
I wonder if I could find a luthier to make me a hybrid instrument... Zoukelele? :o

Author:  Mary Hanafin Doonan [ Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish ukulele... does it work?

ha! You're so fun! But would you entertain the practice of Classical and Flamenco, Greek modern or prhaps back to Traditional Irish music? My goodness.... we have found the correct spot here as this musical hybridization leans!... lolol...


Author:  Thomaston [ Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish ukulele... does it work?

I'd be scared to try Flamenco. Especially since I recently found out I've spent my entire life pronouncing it wrong!

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