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#a57 :: Chinese clock key

April 10, 2008

ENLARGEI have too many projects.

Let alone the fun, engaging day job, the kids, the still-not-build-logged-but-almost-done basement studio renovation and this little site, I always seem to take in orphans, hoping to nurture them to completion.

My latest is an antique ukelin – an obscure 1920s stringed instrument that – I learned to my amazement the other day via Google – is meant to be simultaneously bowed and plucked …

I found the thing in my parents’ attic – they had bought it for my brother when he was 12 and got obsessed with owning a dulcimer or zither – and brought it home. It needs new strings, so I dropped it off at L.A. Guitar Garage so the guy could put together a full set of the more than 35 steel and brasswound steel guitar strings needed.

My plan is to restring it slowly (sudden changes in tension are likely to crack the aged wood) and tune it using this:

A clock-maker’s multi-key, which I found at the Chinese-tool-vendor’s stall at the Pasadena City College swap meet on Sunday. All the Googling and hardware-store scrounging in the world couldn’t turn up a 1/8-inch square wrench, but hey – this is exactly why I love the Chinese tool vendor. You can find literally anything there – about which I’ll post more tomorrow.

As for the ukelin – it’s a tad large to qualify as an HLO, but if I can get it tuned up and sounding nice, I’ll post something here, along with some mp3s.

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