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ukelin - instrument

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open mike 07 Apr 03 - 10:03 PM
catspaw49 07 Apr 03 - 10:10 PM
Allan C. 07 Apr 03 - 10:15 PM
Allan C. 07 Apr 03 - 10:16 PM
Padre 07 Apr 03 - 11:09 PM
open mike 07 Apr 03 - 11:33 PM
Mark Cohen 07 Apr 03 - 11:39 PM
GUEST 13 Dec 06 - 10:13 PM
Bill D 14 Dec 06 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Jim 14 Dec 06 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 14 Dec 06 - 01:47 PM
GUEST 14 Dec 06 - 02:08 PM
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Subject: ukelin - instrument
From: open mike
Date: 07 Apr 03 - 10:03 PM

I just found out about an instrument that apparently was the
pre-cursor to the autoharp, at least the company was sold to
Oscar - Schmidt, who made autoharps. Patented in the 1920's,
the Ukelin was often sold door-to-door and has the features
of a zither, and a bowed psaltry. It has chord strings, which
are plucked or stummed, and melody wtrings which are bowed.
A friend is taking care of one for a while, for an elderly
resident in the care home where she is activities director.
She just played a mini-concert for me over the phone! It is
such a resonant instrument. Any one ever heard of one?
Subject: ukelin links
http://www.coog.com/ukelin.htm
http://www.usd.edu/smm/uke4.html
http://www.geocities.com/~ukelin/
http://www.si.edu/resource/faq/nmah/ukelin.htm


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Apr 03 - 10:10 PM

Yeah we've talked about them naow and again and several members have them. Search the forum (upper left search box) on ukelin.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: Allan C.
Date: 07 Apr 03 - 10:15 PM

OM, type the word, "ukelin" into the Lyrics and Knowledge Search box above and hit the Search button. Numerous mentions of this instrument will be displayed.

I love the sound of the ukelin.


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: Allan C.
Date: 07 Apr 03 - 10:16 PM

Yeah...what 'Spaw said.


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: Padre
Date: 07 Apr 03 - 11:09 PM

Jonathan Eberhart had a ukelin (and I think one of every other strange instrument ever invented, including a Theremin).

Padre


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: open mike
Date: 07 Apr 03 - 11:33 PM

thanks guys. shou ld 've known mudcats were already aware...
Did you know there was Theramin program you could download?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/playground/theremin1.shtml


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 07 Apr 03 - 11:39 PM

Claudia Schmidt (I don't think she's any relation to Oscar, but I've never asked...) plays the pianolin, a bigger version of the ukelin. You can hear it on her version of "If I Only Had a Brain."

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 10:13 PM

Just noticed one of these is for sale on ebay. 1926 the label says.


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 10:37 AM

Debbie McClatchy used to play one 'occasionally'......I have one that is 'almost' playable, but I have not done anything with it for years. Sadly, the original bow was broken, though I have a mini fiddle bow that works ok.


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 12:30 PM

I have one of these that my dad traded a baseball glove for when he was a kid. It was one of those instruments, like the guitar-zither, that seemed like a good idea, but never really caught on. They are often seen hanging on walls in luthiers shops as curiosities. They can be purchased for very little money when you find them.
Mine says "Hawaiian Arts Violin Company" in the sound hole.


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 01:47 PM

Not to duplicate anything already out there, but...

The ukelin was one of many instruments, designed mostly based on zithers, that were sold as "numerical instruments" in various parts of the US in the 30s and 40s.

"Numerical instruments" were once popular on the theory that people could learn music by placing preprinted sheets with notes under the strings and following tunes in an instruction book. Some of the instruments bore printed labels instead. The common denominator was sets of chord strings, usually four each, tuned to the principal chords of a given key, usually C. You played the melody with one hand and strummed the chord sets with the other. Instant virtuoso!

The sole marketable survivor of this category is the autoharp, still going strong as a legitimate instrument. A dozen or more others fell by the wayside, but were still turning up in barn sales and flea markets through the '70s. Those found nowadays are usually incomplete and priced like antiques, a revoltin' development for eager learners.

They were sold door to door (like many other products) by eager highschoolers and others earning money to live on.

The Marx Company was one that issued a whole line of instruments: the Marxolin, a one-stringed instrument with a metal slide through which the string ran, plucked for a steel guitar solo effect, very mournful; the Marxophone, which used flexible metal beaters on which you pressed your fingers to make mandolinlike repeating notes, and so on.

Other makers were Oscar Schmidt (the originator of the autoharp) and a number of lesser firms. Some instruments included the American zither, the mandolin-guitar-harp, double strings played with a pick and the usual bass chord strings...oh gosh, the list is endless.   Though often physically cheesy and tending to warp, they were often decorated with gilt, fancy labels, etc, and could be quite spectacular. Somebody really ought to put up a historical webpage on these. The guy who introduced me to them was Tony Saletan -- he had, perhaps still has, an attic full of them, and knew far more about them than I.

By the way, a late entrant in the field from Japan is the Nardan Harp, which looks a lot like a ukelin, but instead of being played with a bow, it's keyed with typewriterlike chord keys. That was made in the 70s I think.


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Subject: RE: ukelin - instrument
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 02:08 PM

http://cgi.ebay.com/Ukelin_W0QQitemZ190061876209QQihZ009QQcategoryZ16224QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


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