Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ol' Sassy

There really doesn't seem to be a much better feeling than finishing a project. Writing a blog entry, meeting a deadline at work, or baking a beautiful cake are all cause for satisfied sighs and the slow lean-back in the easy chair with your hands laced behind your head. You know what I mean, right? Personally I have never found that position to be comfortable, but yet it comes to mind when considering a job well done. Kind of like saying 'ahh' after a swig of Coke. I don't do that either I guess, but hopefully you get the picture. But seriously, the first note I hear from one of my instruments is arguably the most satisfying moment of my day. After quite a bit of hard work, there is a tangible payoff. And today was no different. I might even argue that today was one of the best.

I waited (kind of) patiently all morning for my D'Addario titanium soprano uke strings to be delivered, and when they did finally arrive I might have scared the UPS man due to my unhinged excitement. Oh well, I think he is used to it at this point. As soon as I strung the first string and gingerly plucked it, I knew this one would be awesome. I strung the rest of the strings and tuned her up!

This ukulele in particular holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. First, it is to be a wedding gift for a very dear friend of mine, therefore I made sure to put some extra love into it. My friend Joe has been so good to me over the years, even letting me be his roommie one of the summers that I lived in Juneau, Alaska. I cherish those summer months more than most, and miss our nightly Snatch games way more than I should. Ok. Before you start thinking up weird definitions for what Snatch is, let me explain. Snatch is a word game similar to Scrabble; it uses the same tiles, just no board. I learned how to play it from one of my very favorite teachers during my undergraduate studies at NC State. He was one of the fellows who taught many of my outdoor education classes for a minor I was pursuing. He would pack this game when we went on climbing, rafting, and kayaking trips because it is an easily transportable, multi-player game that can be super duper fun if you like words and word games. Which I do. So, that last summer of undergrad, I taught the game to Joe and we eventually just left the Scrabble tiles poised face-down on the dining room table, ready for a game anytime we were. These games took place most every evening after dinner, sometimes turing into super competitive marathon-type tournaments. We even upped the challenge by eliminating three-letter words from being allowed during play. If you'd like more information about how to play this amazing game, or if you would like to play with me sometime let me know; Joe has left a void for which I have yet to find a suitable replacement.

The second reason I love this ukulele so much is that I did all of the work myself, which isn't new, but I also did not consult or have my work checked by more expert eyes along the way. Being of the type who strives very hard for perfection in my work (and also might enjoy being praised for doing things well),  it was difficult for me to trust my judgement and forge ahead without the reassurance that each step in the process was accurate and no mistakes were being made. When making a musical instrument the frustrating thing is that it is not certain whether the braces are cut just right, or the bridge is in exactly the right spot until you string it up. If you didn't deduce, that step happens at the end, therefore I feel there is some gambling involved unless you are 100% positive of your actions. That is why I was so excited to hear this ukulele sing. I wish you all could hear it. Perhaps I will be as brave as my amazing cousin Leah and sing you Over the Rainbow. But probably not as it would really be bad news for your ears and take away from the ukulele's far more pleasant melodies. Also, speaking of Leah, Monday is her bday, and I likely won't post again before then to remind you, so wish her a good one if you happen to know her! I will leave you with a couple of pictures of Ol' Sassy. More are on my Facebook page, EJ Henderson Guitars and Ukuleles so please 'like' me and check them out if you haven't already!!





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