Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Aquila Effect

When I first thought that I might like to play the ukulele I found myself searching the web for information, and somehow I kept missing the fact that there was such a thing as re-entrant tuning. When I pulled the ukulele out of the closet at my parents' cottage, I thought that whoever had strung it was somewhat confused. The bridge was detached and hanging free while still attached to the strings, but clearly the string size seemed intuitively in the wrong order.
After a while I somehow figured out what was going on - I pieced the uke back together and fell in love with the sound it/I made.

Back then, in 2005, Flea Market Music Bulletin Board was the place to be for uke-talk and I became an addict. I kept reading about how great Aquila strings were; I had to get a set so I could experience what others were talking about. I found I could get them shipped to me for about $10 from Hana-Lima 'Ia in Honolulu. The envelope arrived within a week with postmarks from paradise. I was in awe of the beautiful packaging from Italy - from Italy to Hawaii to me... I had a hard time getting the number of windings on the tuning pegs right - I had no idea they would stretch that much. I was really not fully prepared for sound that came out of that Roy Smeck. I would play it for a few seconds and it would go flat. I'd tune it back up and it would go flat again - over and over. And then it stopped, they didn't stretch anymore. It was one of those moments when you want to run and tell somebody, but you realize that the best you'll get is insincere interest.

Every once in a while one of my students will get a set of Aquilas to put on a Mahalo and I'll get a chance to relive the experience, "I told you... didn't I... didn't I tell you these things are great?". And we'll both kind-of nod in quiet amazment. The Aquila Effect.


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Hi from Kyle :)