PLUC Tales – Probably The Most Fun Instrument In The World…

19 Jul
Jos's Antonio Carvalho Ukulele

Jos’s Antonio Carvalho Ukulele

Although never a master I’ve always enjoyed playing music. I started to play the guitar in my teens and for over 30 years I’ve happily plodded along as what I call a “Three Chord Strummer”.

In my humble opinion you don’t have to be Jimi Hendrix or Mozart to enjoy playing music. I’ve had brilliant evenings bashing away on an old tea tray.

In 2009 my wife and I set up a drop in music group / jam session for people with certain social difficulties. We were donated quite a few instruments. Mainly percussion, a couple of old school guitars annnnnnnd best of all a Ukulele. I was instantly hooked. The Ukulele has to be the Funnest (if such a word exists) instrument in the world. It sounds fun and feels fun to play. They make people smile when they see you with one and it always cheers you up when you pick one up. (If you’re feeling down that is, even cheerier if you’re not.) So, you can’t go far wrong with an instrument like that!!

It wasn’t that difficult for me to learn the basics having a bit of a guitar background and I was away.

The drop in centre closed down in 2010 and I became custodian of the ukulele. I played, learnt a few old favourites and learnt my way around on that one at home for a while. Sadly that particular one got damaged at the beginning of 2011 so I thought, as I was definitely now a Ukulele player, it was time to invest in my own. I went to the Ukulele Shop had a look around, went outside and phoned my friend Up North for a bit of advice (and persuasion) then went back inside and splashed out on (what still is to this day) my one and only Ukulele. An Antonio Carvalho, made from Koa wood. It really is a lovely instrument (well I think so anyway), with a simple but intricately made sound hole rosette.

Playing alone can get somewhat lonely (not to mention uninspirational), so I started thinking about finding other Ukulelers to play with. At the end of last year a lady I was doing some work for told me that Lewisham had a Ukulele group. So with the help of Google I found PLUC. This was just before Christmas. Sadly they were not meeting over the holiday so I went to the first one of the year. And have not looked back since!!!

Jos & His Keetch Banjulele

“I know I said I only have the One Ukulele but I reckon my Keetch doesn’t count because it’s a Banjulele”

A wonderful variety of friendly people meet there. From absolute beginners to highly talented experts. I was made to feel at ease and welcome, best of all I felt no snobbery against the not so talented.

Much to my amazement I have learnt quite a bit there (mainly by osmosis) and my technique has improved loads in the seven months I’ve been going.

I make it a regular feature of my week which I look forward to and I’ve only missed sessions when I’m out of town.

I’d recommend the Ukulele to everyone. As I said they’re Loads of Fun to play and make you feel good. (Got to be something holistic and therapeutic in there somewhere.)

Not to mention the fact that because they’re small and lightweight they’re very easy to carry around. Mine weighs in at 461g (That’s 1lb 1/4oz in old money) and fits nicely in my hand luggage when travelling on budget airlines!!!


Other PLUC Tales: More Benny Hill Than James Hill – Dave P; I Never Liked The Uke – Steve H; Long-Distance Strummer – Gail; New Uker! – Sheila; A Tale Of Two Ukuleles – Tina; The First Rule Of Uke Club… – AnthonyRon’s Progress; It’s Been A Year – Part 2 – Jeanette; From Classical To PLUC – Andrew; A History Of The Ukulele – And Its Part In My Downfall – JamesSanta Rides Again – Alan F; Steph’s StoryRon’s Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome; Uncle Ron’s Legacy… – Wee Kheng; Dan’s Story; Five Years & Loving It – Simon; My Ukulele Origins… – Rufus; Why Ed Started Playing The Ukulele; Ron’s Song; It’s Been A Year… – Jeanette


Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Members' Items


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22 responses to “PLUC Tales – Probably The Most Fun Instrument In The World…

  1. Brendan Cassidy

    November 24, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Hello Jos,
    I too own a Carvalho uke (the S5, I think) I bought it on E Bay for about £20 as ‘not working’. It was split almost 85% of its length. I bought some high quality wood glue and painstakingly filled the crack, using a torch on the inside to check progress, working on the basis of no light no crack. You can still just see the crack but it plays perfectly, great intonation and great sound from such a small uke. My only gripe is that I tend to play tenor or baritone ukes and they have wider fretboards for my chunky fingers. I have bought a couple of similar ‘not working’ ukes on US Ebay (my daughter lives there and I pick them up when visiting so getting them home is less of an expense). My most recent purchases were Lanikai (electro/acoustic tenor and a concert) bothy are really good ukes, hairline cracks disappeared with change in humidity and a few carefully placed drips of glue solved the loose bracing that caused buzzing at some frequencies.
    I play with a ukulele club in Melksham, Wiltshire. Your website is a truly work of art, something to aspire to.
    Best wishes for you and your club.

    • Jos

      November 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Hi Brendan.
      Nice to hear from another APC fan. I love mine to bits. And even if I ever got a posher ukulele I think I will always favour this one. I bought a Barnes and Mullins concert earlier in the year but I hardly ever play it.
      I’ve also got an APC Cavaquinho which, incase you didn’t know, is the grandfather of ukuleles. Although there’s not a great deal of difference except that they’ve got metal strings and the fret board sits flush with the body.
      The high light of my year this year was a tour of the APC factory. I turned up unannounced and asked to see the display room. The bosses son came down and was very friendly and chatty and offered then gave me the tour I secretly wanted!!!
      They do make tenors and baritones. And they have recently launched a bass too.
      Also, I entered their competition this last summer. The competition being to play any one of their instruments. The prize was 500 Euros worth instruments from them. I didn’t win even though I asked to be put in the Daft English Person Category!!!!
      Do come and visit if you ever venture into the Big Black Smoke… I’ll have to look up your club next time I go westward!
      I take no credit for the website. I think it’s down to our wonderful webmaster Jeanette. (But I stand to be corrected). She has the thankless task of doing all the on-line stuff and organising and sending out the song lists and new songs.
      Here’s the APC facebook page:-

      All the best thanks for writing.



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