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Thursday, March 17, 2005
Ukulele Jam IVWith Daniel Ho, featuring ukulele lessons and introduction of KoAloha Ukulele's new six-string D6.
Place: Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, 2335 Kalakaua Ave., second-floor lobby
When: 10 a.m. to noon Saturday for beginners; 1 to 3 p.m. for intermediate and advanced; bring your ukulele
Admission: Free and open to the public; $3 validated parking
"I'm primarily a composer and a guitar player," says Ho, who lives in Los Angeles and has recorded 18 CDs as a solo artist. "The traditional (four-string) ukulele clearly does not have the ... range to cover the bass and melody notes ... at the same time like a guitar."
So Ho wanted a ukulele that allowed him to play different chords.
"With four strings you're able to suggest harmony, but a lot of chords have five or six notes that you cannot produce on a traditional uke," he said. "As a soloist, I wasn't able to play many pieces on a ukulele, so I had to have this other instrument made so I had a full range of options ... and realize the pieces as they are written."
Ho also is trying to find what he calls "a more individual voice" for his music.
"I can play slack-key guitar when I use this instrument, so I call it slack-key ukulele," he said. "Now everything I play on my guitar I can do on this ukulele."
Okami wanted more bass, so he made the instrument's base thicker; Ho needed the neck widened because his fingers were touching too many strings at one time.
KoAloha didn't want to make "a small guitar," so that's why the instrument is made of koa in a tenor body, Ho said. The six strings do not all have individual pitches since there are two double strings.
"Any acoustic guitar player could pick this up and play it like a little guitar," Ho said.
Ho will use the D6 during part of his instructions on Saturday.
"The highest four pitches are the same as a ukulele, so I don't have to use the other two strings," he said.
Ho used the instrument on three songs on Ozzie Kotani's slack-key album scheduled to debut in May.