My Main Ukuleles
I have two Ko'olau CS (Contemporary Series) Model Tenor Ukuleles, amazing instruments with a cedar top and rosewood sides and backs. One delivered November 2009 and one from February 2017. These are my main performance ukuleles for everything — both with a low G custome tenor set of strings. Basically a number one and a backup being groomed, in-training and backup for live broken string scenarios.
For details and the nitty-gritty regarding the strings I use, checkout this Ask Curt page for my response to: What Ukulele Strings Do You Use?
The Rest of the `Ukulele Gang
- Pono Pro Classic Thinline solid-body tenor and baritone ukulele. Pretty much any Pono and Pono Pro Classic instrument is better than most mass-produced ukuleles. • ( low-G, C Tuning )
- Magic Fluke Koa Tenor . • ( high-G, C Tuning ) • Great uke to travel with and my "Always on My Desk, Uke!". For strings I use Ko'olau Golds.
- And a few Soprano and Concert ukes I use around Funky Frets Music Store for lessons.
A Few Past Favorites and any I might have that are currently for sale.
- Lanakai All Koa Tenor - This is made in the USA ( Hawai`i ) ukulele. • ( high-G, C Tuning ) SOLD
- Martin IZ Mahogany Tenor. • ( high-G, C Tuning ) - SOLD • This was and is a remarkable instrument. Probably have to get another one at some time - shouldn't have let it go. Or the 2K tenor that I also had and let go. Keep trying to get Martin to let us, Funky Frets, be a Martin ukulele only dealer.
- Mya-Moe Classic Tenor. • ( low-G, C Tuning ) - SOLD ( $2700 )
NOTE: Pretty much have stuck with Ko'olau and Pono ukuleles for over a decade.
My First Tenor Ukulele - 2003 • After a failed attempt with a cheap Soprano ukulele in the early 1980s, I gave up and then come 2003 the uke bug struck when I re-discovered the Ukulele again.
Still do a bit, a very little bit of guitar, mainly in private lessons and for my, occasional entertainment. Also, doing the lead-in music for an on-line show: Rock Stars of R&D , hosted by the amazing John Conway (2020).
- Custom Funky Frets made Tele® that myself and my daughter Kelly put together ( pictured here ) with D'Addarrio .011s and a Fishman Fluence Signature Series Greg Koch Gristle-Tone™ Pickup Set .
- Takamine P1M Acoustic - Cedar top with rosewood backs and sides. It is strung with Martin Lifespan 80/20 Bronze 12s or 13s.
Here are the strings that I typically use on my guitars and ukuleles.
Checkout this detailed listing of the set of strings that I've put together and use for my Ko'olau CS Tenor user.
Both the Ko'olau, and Pono have a radius fingerboard which does make a big difference in ease of playing. The Ko'olau, Pono and Mya-Moe are all strung with a low G. For high G, C tuning I grab an American made all Magic Fluke. Other than Pono, I've only found the Godin Multiuke to have a radius fingerboard in a mass-produced ukulele.
And with our music store, ( Funky Frets, Boyertown, PA USA ) – that is, naturally, heavy into ukuleles and over 100 ukuleles in stock at all times. I'm in a position to play pretty much what I want — but it's the Ko'olau CS Tenor that gets the most action. That and a Pono solid-body are the only performance ukuleles I perform with in concert.
For amplifiers, I use an AER Compact 60 as my main amp for any acoustic instruments (guitar and ukulele) and it works great with the Tele and bass. Backups or if I need a PA include Fishman PA or one of the Fishman Loudbox series of amplifiers. Typically, no effects and for a DI I only use Fire-Eye , L.R. Baggs , Radial Engineering or Fishman .
AER Compact 60
The AER Compact 60 rev.4. Small size but powerful twin-channel acoustic guitar amplifier designed to reproduce the sound quality of your instrument in a natural manner. The electronics are carefully designed to deal with piezoceramic pick-up's, microphones and any sort of line signal and with the dynamic controlled 60 watts power amplifier provide a brilliant clear sustaining sound performance throughout all the dynamic range. Used by Robin Nolan, Angelo Debarre, Bireli Lagrene, Romane, Neil Anderson, Dorado Schmitt, The Rosenberg Trio, among many others. Includes padded gigbag w/shoulderstrap. The new 4th generation editions of all models now feature a Pre FX / Post FX swtich for the DI Out signal, allowing user to choose if their Direct Out signal incorporates the amp's on-board digital effects An 3.5mm Aux input with Level control has also been added. These ultra-portable amps still offer the same outstanding reproduction of acoustic instruments and vocals that have made them an industry standard and a favorite of performing guitarists and singer-songwriters everywhere.
I really like to keep the gear simple. No endorsements or artist models for me. I like to make my choices and not be locked in to or be put in a position to recommend a specific a brand of gear, other than Ko'olau and Pono. The same gear as I have will never make you sound like me, and I'll never sound like me by using your gear.
Since 1972 I've played numerous Hohner Blues Harmonicas. And, lately it has been Lee Oscar and now a Seydel 1847 Classic. The Seydel harmonics are one of the finest harmonicas being made. Seydel has been making harmonicas since 1847.
The 1847 is the result of Seydel's more than 175-year of experience in manufacturing high-quality harmonicas. The first serial-produced Richter-diatonic harmonica with stainless steel reeds
Checkout the Ukulele Gear pages for recommendations based on what I use.
I do have a bunch of the LRBaggs Align Series of Acoustic Pedals that I fool around with.
Computer and Software
Pretty much been an Apple / Mac person since 1987 with introduction of the Mac II and the advent of Desktop Publishing (DTP) via Aldus PageMaker and Quark Express. And, now also Linux Pop!_os by System76 on a Thelio with an AMD processor, also by System76
Checkout the Credits Page for more info on the software and computers I use the most.