ROY SMECK UKULELE METHOD PDF

Lacking vocal talent, Smeck dazzled audiences with playing chops that were nothing short of spellbinding. After a performance in Chicago, he was approached by Jay Krause, president of the Harmony Company—at the time, the largest manufacturer of string instruments in America. Krause asked Smeck to endorse a new line of instruments, based on the success of his Vitaphone films and recordings. Smeck agreed, but when Warners refused to let them use the Vitaphone name, Harmony came up with a clever workaround. The new instruments were called the Vita-guitar , Vita-tenor guitar , Vita-mandolin , and the instrument that introduced the series, the Vita-Uke.

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Lacking vocal talent, Smeck dazzled audiences with playing chops that were nothing short of spellbinding. After a performance in Chicago, he was approached by Jay Krause, president of the Harmony Company—at the time, the largest manufacturer of string instruments in America. Krause asked Smeck to endorse a new line of instruments, based on the success of his Vitaphone films and recordings.

Smeck agreed, but when Warners refused to let them use the Vitaphone name, Harmony came up with a clever workaround. The new instruments were called the Vita-guitar , Vita-tenor guitar , Vita-mandolin , and the instrument that introduced the series, the Vita-Uke. First sold in June , the Roy Smeck Vita-Uke had an unusual lute-like shape that was sized somewhere between a soprano and a concert ukulele.

Appearing in towns and cities across the Midwest and South, he performed in theaters, as well as informally at local music stores. By the end of the tour, sales of Vita-Ukes had increased dramatically and Smeck was the highest paid instrumentalist in vaudeville. By the time production of Vita-series instruments ceased sometime in the mid-to-late s, Harmony had sold tens of thousands of Roy Smeck Vita-Ukes, far outselling their Vita-guitars and -mandolins.

Harmony Vita-Ukes are still highly prized today for their good sound and cool looks.

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Great Ukes: The Harmony Roy Smeck Vita-Ukulele

From headlining in vaudeville, to starring in musical screen shorts and recording a lifetime of songs and original compositions, the "Wizard of the Strings" captured the hearts and minds of audiences for more than six decades. He was also a devoted mentor who, through his instruction books, radio broadcast lessons, and private tutoring, fathered a new generation of ukulele players. He became a self-made string instrument virtuoso and played banjo, guitar, Hawaiian steel guitar, and ukulele in the vaudeville circuit in his early days. He began issuing records and appearing on Warner Brothers movie shorts during the s, wowing everyone who saw him playing his unique blend of jazz, country, and Hawaiian styles. His amazing style and skill earned him the nickname "Wizard of the Strings". In the late s, Harmony Company issued a Vita-Uke and several other ukulele, guitar, Hawaiian guitar, steel guitar, and banjo models in a Roy Smeck signature line. He was a tireless performer who played nearly everywhere and would appear in local music shops along the way for free demonstrations on his Vita-Uke.

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ROY SMECK UKULELE METHOD

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