Baltimore Ukulele  Q & A with Kathrin

Q. Can you tell us a little about your background and studies as a musician?

A. Sure! Growing up in Hawaii, the ukulele was my first instrument. I started when I was about 6 years old, and was in a children's performing group for 3 years until I turned 12. We played shows every weekend!  Then as a teenager I switched to playing classical guitar. (I also played a bit of piano along the way!)

Q. Can you tell us about ukulele and maybe something about it most people don’t know.

A. One thing people might not know is how versatile the ukulele is. A lot of people like to strum chords on it, and others like to pick out the melody. I like to do the same time!

Q. When did you start playing? You are a concert guitarist too correct?

A. Yes, once I started playing classical guitar, I loved it so much that I only did that, and didn't touch my ukulele for a long time (about 20 years!). About 10 years ago I got a call asking if I taught ukulele, and that's what led me back to playing it again. Now I love to play both!

Q. Do those skills overlap at all?

A. Yes, a lot. In fact, I have spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how to apply my classical guitar skills to the ukulele. 

Q. Can you do arrangements of popular songs for clients? 

A. Yes! That is something that comes pretty naturally to me and I really like arranging songs for ukulele.

Q. Are there different tunings on a ukulele? What is the most common tuning?

A. Some people do use different tunings. I personally haven't explored that though. There is so much that can be done with the standard tuning of G-C-E-A.

Q. Do you amplify the instrument for events?

A. Yes. I have a very nice "Kamaka" ukulele which was made in Hawaii at the oldest ukulele factory in existence. Kamaka ukuleles are sort of the "gold standard" of the upper end ukes. It has a pickup installed so it's really easy to plug it in! I also still have my childhood instrument, also a Kamaka, which sounds great and is very dear to me. But because of its age it is sort of temperamental, so I just play it around the house now.

A. What is your favorite music in ukulele to perform personally?

Q. I like making and playing "full" sounding arrangements of standards and popular tunes, in which I combine the chords and melody.