Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tippy Tippy Tiple

After returning home from a wonderful meal at Laura's, I decided to veg out and let my food digest and load some more music into Itunes. (The music on my Ipod is getting stale.) The most recent uploads include lots of New Order, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, and the new Andrew Bird record. I also decided to pop in a CD that I received for Christmas which I don't think I've listened to until now. It's a collection of songs from the 1930s from the Spirits of Rhythm. It looked pleasant enough with songs I am very familiar with like "I've Got the World On a String," "How Deep Is the Ocean" and "Nobody's Sweetheart." And I am familiar with Leo Watson who is in the band. He's this crazy funny scat guy. Love him.

The main reason I wanted to upload this CD to Itunes was so that I could here the Spirits of Rhythm version of "I Got Rhythm." Anytime I think of that song, I think of Gene Kelly dancing and singing with that charismatic smile. Ahhhh. Gene Kelly. ANYWAY, after I put the CD in, I skipped directly to the "I Got Rhythm" track. I was delightfully shocked to hear not one but two UKULELES! I squealed. I ripped open the case and tore out the liner notes and scoured them to figure out who was playing the ukulele. But there was no uke player listed for any of the tracks. But there were two tiples on this track. What the heck is a tiple and how can I get one? (It's not in my dictionary.) Whatever it is, it is beautiful on this track and many of the others on the CD especially with the vocal harmonies and the mesmerizing scatting. The guys playing their tiples are amazing. I dug around a little bit on the internet and found that the tiple originated from Puerto Rico and is in the uke family, but it has TEN TO TWELVE strings. I WANT TO PLAY A TIPLE. But for now, I need to conquer this banjo uke before going to anything fancier. I cannot even play four-string chords. How the heck do you play all twelves strings!? Maybe one day I'll find out. Aren't they beautiful?


Gye Greene said...

I reckon they're double-strung (or even triple-strung) -- like on a 12-string guitar: the higher-pitched strings are the same note, and the pairs of lower-pitched strings are an octave apart.

The implication (good news) is that you could probably ''hack'' your own quasi-tiple by cutting extra grooves in the nut and neck of a standard uke, and double-stringing it.

If you're nervous about doing this yourself, I'm sure a guitar repair place would be willing to do it for you -- for a fee...


Deborah said...

Hey there, I bought a Tiple at a flea market just because it was so neat. Never had seen one before. It looked and felt like my Martin guitar so I bit the bullet and shelled out some big bucks.It is gorgeous! I have just restrung it but don't know how to play it yet. The tuning is A D F# G. Is that a uke tuning too? I'll send you a picture if you want. Mine is all mahogony so it looks like the small New Yorker Martin.

Charo said...

Hi Deborah,
That is so neat that you have a tiple! The A D F# B is a ukulele tuning, but it is considered an old tuning. So, it looks like your tuning is a little bit different. I would love to see one played in person. I have a CD from the Spirits of Rhythm that features a tiple and it sounds alot like a uke.