Ukelele Therapy, And More

While I'm recovering from my broken arm and waiting for physical therapy to be scheduled, I've been browsing the internet for other people's experiences with their own broken arms.

An especially interesting way to cope come from this comment on a forum for guitar players:
When I did my left shoulder in (broken fingers and thumbs and wrist/forearm too in past, and legs/ankles), I regained full use in about half the normal time, by learning to play the ukulele - it requires very little effort and no arm movement but the finger wiggling is apparently the best physio exercise you can do. Probably manage a ukulele whilst in plaster, did they they tell you to wiggle your fingers?
Yes, the ukulele.  The fellow quoted had a left arm injury, rather than right-sided like mine.  But I think it might still be do-able if, after consulting with a PT professional, I decide to try it.

(One of the more constant things on my unwritten Things To Do Before I Die list has been "Learn to play a musical instrument."  That list also includes "Learn to read & write music" and dozens of other tasks and aspirations.)

I've found there are lots of pre-made ukuleles available, ranging from very basic models around $70 up to more deluxe and/or electrified versions costing hundreds.  For those willing to invest a little sweat-&-glue equity, there are DIY kits available, or instructions for making your own from a variety of materials, such as the legendary cigar-box uke, and even a ukulele made from cardboard.

There are a number of websites devoted to ukuleles, like the Tumblr blog Fuck Yeah Ukuleles (some images may be NSFW; a small substratum of ukulele players apparently prefer to play naked).

Besides being used as a musical instrument, some people use the surface of the ukulele as an art surface, handpainting the bodies in a multitude of styles and themes.  Here's one for a fan of the ADVENTURE TIME cartoon:

painted by Jenny7332 on deviantart.net

Some custom ukuleles have variant shapes.  There's actually an Autobot theme ukulele:

made by Celentano Woodworks

I gotta admit, tho', I'm not a big fan of Transformers, so that Autobot ukelele doesn't really excite me.  But with a bit more Googling, I found a ukulele that actually transforms.  Behold, the Folding Ukulele!:

The folding ukulele was designed by a guy named Brian Chan, who unsurprisingly is also an expert origamist.  It comes as a DIY kit made from laser-cut bamboo and additional hardware.  Reviews give it lower marks for sound quality, but the coolness factor is sky-high.

The weirdest ukulele, though, is probably a South American variant called a charango.  The charango's body is traditionally made from the shell of an armadillo:

Does all this mean you'll see me with a ukulele of some sort in the future?  Mmmmmm. . . maybe.  I would be a lot more likely to take it up in private, rather than public.  I'm not an extrovert, unlike some people:

That's John Scalzi, author of Old Man's War and other books, head honcho of the popular Whatever blog, and public ukuleleist.  I like John's writing, but I gotta admit I think I admire him most for his ongoing efforts to make being a goofball more socially acceptable.  Still-closeted goofballs everywhere thank you, John.

1 comment:

D Gary Grady said...

My favorite ukelele player is of course Kate Micucci of Garfunkle and Oates. Search YouTube for her name.