(read part I here)

I’m ready to test the Holy Grail of Amplified Lutenists everywhere…

…on my ukulele.

With my lovely Ook in hand, I sit down and begin loosening the strings. First, I try clipping the mic on the soundhole, but the clip itself gets hung up on the strings. No dice. Hubby comes over and gallantly offers his help. We fight the instrument a little, and he manages to get the mic clipped on one of the inside braces — which gives great sound reception — but the cord is in the way and the only method of switching the mic out for acoustic-only playing means repeated loosening/tightening of the strings, which makes me worry they might wear prematurely. I’m still not satisfied.

Now, I am ready to try the matchstick method described by the lute player. At first blush, it sounds like success. I re-tune and begin playing a song…

Bzzzzz! ZzzzzzzzZzzZzzz!

The Diabolical, Demonic, EEEEEEvil clip!!!

Shit. The clip is rattling on Ook’s face. I have a piece of velvet lying around, so I snip a piece of it to place under the clip. Better. I reposition the mice a little and decide it could work with a longer matchstick. A quick run to the basement with the axe, and I have a piece of wood to whittle. Hubby has gone to bed, so I borrow his knife and start carving. The first stick is a bust — I carved it too small. The second is better, and I try again.

Twang! Twangy-twangtwang!

WTH??? I strum some more and I shake my head. Somehow, the stick is fooling with the natural harmonics of the instrument. Not only does it NOT sound in tune, it does not have the same pleasant timbre! [Heather inserts creative expletives here] The matchstick method is an ukulele fail. I am tired, and it is late, so I go to bed to sleep on it.

* * *

This morning, I rise early to get farm stuff done so I have some time to fiddle with my problem. Overnight, I have come to the conclusion that the clip is evil. I take a long, hard look at my setup. Ook (duh), mic (of course), soundhole neck strap (wait a minute…)…

The Successful setup!

I snag one of the little black twistie ties that come with the mic. I grab my neck strap and examine the soundhole hook. Let’s try integrating the mic and my existing Ook-holding method! I tweak the hook a tad to give a resting spot for the mic, and I hog-tie the mic to the hook with the twistie. I loop the cord around my strap to keep things from getting jerked wrong, then strap on my Ook…

😀 😀 SUCCESS!!! 😀 😀

I still need to experiment a little with the particulars of mic placement and my amp settings, but I do believe I have a viable solution I can work with, which is ten times up from having no one hear you and having no way to change it.

I can deal with this. 🙂

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