We are absolutely delighted to have our first ever guest blog entry! Written by Sam Butterworth we have a great piece about discovering the wonders of the ukulele. Thank you very much Sam, we hope enjoy reading it as much we enjoyed receiving it!:
“I’ve played guitar for around 12 years, and when I first started I was excited every time I picked one up. Even when I was clumsily strumming my dad’s old classical guitar, trying vainly to play a single chord cleanly, I felt like I was on a musical adventure. Then as I managed to learn a few basic tunes and chords a whole world of possibilities opened up.
I quickly move onto the electric guitar – a bright red Squier Stratocaster – which I thought was pretty bad-ass at the time. A couple of years later this was replaced with another red axe, a Musicman Silhouette, which was even more beautiful and sounded even better. This instrument spurred me on to start my own band with a few buddies and we gigged for a couple of years at various Yorkshire haunts, from deserted working men’s clubs to thronged city centre festivals. And it was fun. But then I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up my guitar anymore.
In moments of boredom at home I’d look over at my lonely guitar, which used to call to me daily. Now it held no appeal. When I did pick it up I couldn’t think of anything to play and I found myself flicking on the TV instead.
This lack of passion for something I’d loved so much troubled me and I thought to myself, what if I’ve fallen out of love with music? But it wasn’t that. I still loved playing records and seeing bands. I was just bored of the guitar.
A couple of weeks later I went for dinner with some friends and after some food and a few beverages the host got out a tiny guitar-shaped hard case, from which he pulled a soprano ukulele. He played a few covers of The Beatles, Radiohead and Elvis Costello and it went down a storm. I was amazed by this little uke, an instrument I’d previously considered a bit of a toy, but which could evidently kick out the jams. I had a strum on it and found that, despite chord shapes being different from guitar, I could pick it up quite easily. And it was exciting and I was having fun again!
I subsequently treated myself to a fairly inexpensive Mahalo soprano ukulele in a soft case and I haven’t stopped playing it since. Learning is a little frustrating as I don’t know many chords, and the tiny fretboard is a challenge to my spidery fingers, but my passion for playing is back.
I’ve started jamming with friends and learning a whole catalogue of songs, and the temptation to get back on stage is definitely growing – though maybe not just yet. I’m clumsily strumming again and I don’t quite know what I’m doing, but I love every minute of it and feel like a new chapter in my musical life has begun.”