What instruments do you play?
I have quite a few instruments knocking about, but on stage you’ll most often see me with one of my resonator ukes (by Argapa and Beltona), and a tenor banjo; either a 1920s Gretsch model 25 or an inexpensive but rather good (and incredibly heavy!) Grafton short scale.
Uke players often assume the tenor banjo is in someway related to the tenor uke and/or banjo uke. In reality it’s a different instrument altogether. It’s popular in Irish music and in trad jazz (though those players both use different tunings). I use the ‘jazz’ tuning of CGDA (in 5ths, like a viola) with steel strings, and play it with a plectrum.
What pickups do you use?
I don’t. I have experimented with lots of ways of amplifying over the years, and have been dissatisfied with all of them. I prefer to play into a microphone (when I can’t play completely acoustically) as I believe it sounds better, and is more appropriate for the material that I play.
What strings do you use?
The question asked more than any other! I use Aquila Nylgut strings, concert gauge, high 4th, on all of my ukes (which are all either concert or soprano). I tune to standard GCEA tuning, except my taropatch which I tune down to Bb (FBbDG).
Will you play a gig/ run a workshop for our club?
Absolutely! I play and teach all over the place, so if you spot that I will be near you at a gig, grab me while I’m around (if I’m already there I’m cheaper!) If you want to book me for a larger gig (festival, arts centre or theatre, for example) then get in touch with Theaterland Promotions.
Who are your favourite players?
There are so many, but I have to mention Del Rey, Aaron Keim, Gerald Ross, Daniel Ward, Sarah Maisel, Craig Chee, James Hill, Chris ‘Ukulele Uff’ Hough and Andy Eastwood. I feel immensely privileged to have had the opportunity to perform with all of them.
How long have you played?
I’ve played uke since 2003, but I’ve been gigging as a guitarist, and sometimes bassist, since 1988. Now I feel old.
Do you do this for a living?
Yes, but whether you agree depends very much on your definition of ‘a living’!
If you have any questions about ukulele, music, performing or teaching (or anything else you can think of), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to answer them in my Q&A videos.