Lil Rev & The Mya-Moe Connection
Like most professional musicians out on the circuit, I am of a curious breed. We are
collectors (not me!), players, tinkerers, and scientists searching for the perfect strings,
gauges, intonation, tonal woods, action, pitch, aesthetics, scale length, acoustics,
amplification dynamics, pickups and hep-factor all rolled into one instrument.
I have played 100's of guitars, mandolins, banjos, harmonicas and yes, ukuleles;
while always in search of the holy grail.
Some beg to differ and call this a disease known as U.A.S. or
ukulele acquisition syndrome. The premise being that some
performers are always in search of the next new thing or newness,
only later to discover that all instruments have their pros and cons.
Yet, i see it differently, the professional player is always evolving, pushing him
or herself to be better than the moment allows and in doing so, our ability shifts,
our styles and approaches evolve and so too does our need for professional grade
instruments that can stand up to the rigors of the road and still deliver a honest
tune night after night, in town after town.
While its true that Willie Nelson has had the same guitar for 200 years
and B.B. King has had Lucille since before the days of Jesus of Nazareth,
many of us know that as our ability, taste and repertoire mature, we often
find ourselves needing to upgrade, trade-in or invest in high quality
In part that is how i came to play Mya-Moe.
Science Fiction buffs call it Uke-Quest!
I'm not going to lie and tell you that i play just one brand of ukulele exclusively,
nor am i going to tell you that i am in any way being prompted to write lovingly
about Mya-Moe Ukuleles ( http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/ ), but rather,
let me say that this story has a beard!
It was back in 2007-2008 when i first started to connect with Mya-Moe.
It just so happened that we all found ourselves at
The Portland Ukulele Festival at Reed College in Portland, OR
(now known as: http://menucha.org/programs/uke-band-camp ).
The P.U.F. was and is, still the best ukulele camp, festival that the
mainland has ever seen with over a dozen instructors, great food,
jamming, vendors and a couple of days of classes, classes, classes
and more classes; all alongside of evening concerts that still rival
anything i have ever seen at other festivals around the country.
There was always alot of magic when all of the instructors
bonded with one another, jamming on each others set and staying up late
into the night making music.
But that's getting off the subject a bit!
It was at P.U.F that i first playeda few of the Mya-Moe
Ukuleles and was smitten with the idea of a wood bodied
resonator, which was early on, THE main focus of Mya-Moe.
Having owned a National Concert size mahogany resonator
for many years i knew it was the sound i was looking for, but there
were still things that i felt were missing in the National
Brand that Mya-Moe had surmounted via, tone, playability, nut
width/string spacing and resonance. Hands down, the first Mya-Moe
Tenors that i had played (Cherry, Myrtle, Maple, Koa) were simply better
instruments that anything i had seen and/or played before including: Johnson,
Beltona , Ron Phillips, Dobro, Gold Tone, National or
anyone else dabbling in reso-phonic instrumentation.
These are great instruments right out of the case. True grit and power
without the plug. You really don't need a pickup in these babies (though some choose to
put one in), just a good mic and away you go
(matter of opinion people!we call it free speech!)
Not only that, Mya-Moe has proven to be a generous supporter of the working
musicians, making sure that many grassroots, local, regional and national
acts have a good uke to play.It is thru their generosity that i am fortunate
enough to play a number of their instruments made to spec. I am grateful
for this and in turn, if anyone comes up to me at an event and is interested
in a Mya-Moe, i always put it in their hands and say, here, take for a test
drive! I feel no shame in that. If I believe in a product, i promote it.
Today, many of the biggest acts in the world play Mya-Moe.
From Mumford and Sons, Dave Matthews and Eddie Vedder to
James Hill, Bob Brozman and Ben Harper.
If you think that's selling out, think again. The reality is, Mya-Moe
has always had a huge heart in supporting great players big and small.
The real heroes are folks like Gerald Ross,
Aaron Keim, Victoria Vox, Ben Bonham, Moe Dixon,
Brook Adams, Kate Powers, Jere Canote, Daniel Ho,
Ralph Shaw and so many others who all feel the same
way i do, which is nothing but gratitude for a company that
has dedicated itself to perfecting its craft in a highly specialized field,
with unrelenting passion and promise.
Now we're all happily spreading the Mya-Moe Gospel!
Lil Rev's Mya-Moe Quilted Maple Concert known affectionately as "Pearl"
This ukulele travels with Lil Rev about 98% of the time!
As a marketing executive in my past like, i believe that custom-builders
not only need to know their craft, but they also need to be astute businessman.
They need to be consistently professional from start to finish with no bull and,
or ambiguity along the way.
Let me put it this way, say you saved your gelt
(yiddish for money), done your homework and played
all different kinds of ukuleles and now you know what you want.
You are ready to place an order with any of a dozen's different
builders across the U.S. What you'll find 9 times out of 10, is
that the builder doesn't have an efficient system in place by which
to market his ability and or his product. Websites are sorely lacking in
quotes, interactive displays of product pictures, prices, pics of players
who endorse the product, history of the company, logo,
and a pronounced reason why their particular ukulele is unique in style,
detail, and/or playability.
In a digital era, there is no excuse for anything less than this!
Alas, Mya-Moe is sure to please with this regard. See for yourself:
The fact is that some builders are content to sell a very small handful
of ukes a year and don't seem to care how long you'll wait for their product.
I cannot begin to tell you how many times in my travels (ask me how times
i have toured the U.S. and taught at every other ukulele club in the country!)
i have stayed with a friend or fan, who ordered a ukulele from a builder he admired
only to find out that after 6-12 months of waiting for their uke, it still wasn't ready.
Not only that, the luthier treats you like you are a pest cause you are eager, anxious
and totally stoked to have a new instrument. I mean, who doesn't want to spend
$2,000 and then not know when you will get your ax? I sure the hell don't.
I know of an Irish Flute maker in Dublin who sells his flutes for $1,000's of dollars
and his waiting list is now up to 6 years. That's right!
You'll wait six years for an instrument! So either you better be patient or really want
This is where Mya-Moe blows away the competition, not only can you expect
to get a high-end, quality, all American made instrument in a reasonable frame,
but the Mya-Moe team will tweet you updates on how
your ukulele is coming along from start to finish including pre, middle
and post production. This what they mean when they say, dude! you rock!
The excitement builds as you can visibly see your ax getting built from the
ground up: body, neck, finishing, inlay, and various appointments.
They will tell you the exact day/week when your instrument
will ship! I shit you not! I cannot tell a lie!
That's how it's supposed to be done Mr. Smith!
People work damn hard for their greenbacks and they deserve the kind of
customer service, attention to detail and quality control that Mya-Moe
offers its growing legion of international customers.
I play their instruments because that is the kind of attention to detail that comes
thru in their craftsmanship and my touring/teaching schedule demand's it!
As a professional teacher, performer and author of over 7 ukulele publications
for Hal Leonard Corporation (Including the world's best selling instructional
ukulele method book), i could play any number of different pro grade ukuleles.
I am not interested in wall hangers or showpieces, if i am not playing it, it goes
back from whence it came! I don't need stuff, i need a working instrument
that does what i imagine it is supposed to do when i want to play blues,
jazz, old time, claw-hammer, folk, Tin-Pan Alley or simply to write a song!
It should feel good in my hands, have supple curves and have a certain attraction
that leaves me wanting to come back for more! Mya-Moe aims to please, and please
R U interested in buying a ukulele? http://www.myamoeukuleles.com/ )
If you buy a Mya-Moe and don't like it
after reading this article, drop me an email with the proof and
I'll send you every CD i have every recorded! That's how
confident i am!
The proof is in the pudding....
Check out Lil Rev performing his tune Tiny Tim's Rag
on his Mya-Moe Concert Uke @ The 2012
Gorge Uke Festival in Hood River, OR
Lil Rev plays a Mya-Moe Quilted Maple Concert & a Quilted Maple Baritone.
Mya-Moe Myrtle Tenor