This is the iUke and you wouldn’t need a very large screen to see this little beauty lifesize. I first heard about them in a conversation with a fellow ukejammer and then went and looked at them online at Omega Music. This is a piccolo ukulele, which means that it is tuned an octave higher than a soprano. To get an idea of what that sounds like, if you’re a uke player, then play your C string at the 12th fret. That’s the lowest note I can get from the iUke.
Two things to say at first: this is not a toy, it’s a working musical instrument that plays very well and it’s tiny. Pictures don’t do it justice, you have to hold it to realise how very, very small it is. Surprisingly, it’s not that tricky to play, four finger (and some three finger) chords can be a bit tricky because the everything is so close together, but barre chords are easy and can substitute quite well.
As part of ensemble playing, it stands out because it’s in a different part of the sound spectrum. But, you probably need a plectrum to get the most out of its limited volume (not a large body to resonate). I’ve played it at large ukejam evenings in the pub and in smaller group performances and it really holds its own against the larger cousins.
One caveat, this uke was designed with Aquila, the string manufacturer, and it needs special strings. That’s not necessarily an issue, except that they don’t supply single strings, only the full pack. So, when I broke an A string recently I had to buy three additional strings I didn’t need. If breaking strings becomes a habit, it could be quite an expensive one (not to say time consuming).
Oh and any questions about the CD collection behind the iUke are welcome 🙂