…because I didn’t have enough toys to keep me occupied already.

As I mentioned in a recent post, we headed down to Asbury Park to check out the Punk Rock Flea Market at Convention Hall this morning. I didn’t anticipate buying much (or want to spend much), but it sounded like a weird enough thing that I wanted to check it out.

It’s a fairly small market that you can pretty much blow through in an hour or so, even if you’re stopping to browse, and at $4 a head to get in, I figured that wasn’t really an expense to get in. One COULD argue that you shouldn’t have to pay to go somewhere with the intent of spending money, but then how would the world explain ComicCon? (I, for one, don’t try. Once was enough for me.)

If you were looking for vinyl, this was absolutely the place to be – the market was filled to bursting with records. I saw a few casettes, a spattering of DVDs and CDs, a handful of video games and comics. Plenty of little bits of jewelry, but not a lot that I found out of the ordinary. (Though one of my cohorts fell in love with a celery and peanut butter necklace that she took home with her.)

In any case, I thought I’d probably come home with a few CDs, maybe a weird bit of jewelry.  That is not what happened.  I almost bought a CD, but I forgot to bring my iPod with me, and couldn’t remember if I already had that particular album, so I wandered more, thinking ‘maybe I’ll go back for it’.  Well, I didn’t. Why didn’t I? Because, er, I found, THIS:

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Please excuse the curious kitty photo-bomber.
See that tag up top? It says “It’s a Lefty!” Omg! A LEFTY! I walked past it the first time, because I was planning on pretty much a $30 day, but the price was reasonable, and I kind of really wanted it, so I checked how much cash I had on hand…and then asked the roomie to very temporarily borrow twenty bucks until I could find an ATM.  I ended up with a $2 discount because I didn’t have change, and neither did he. So, he took what singles I had as good enough.

Now, I have no idea what to do with this thing, really, but it looks cool, and it sounds cool (well, when the guy was playing them with the slide it sounded cool. I expect mine won’t sound very good until I get some fresh strings on it), and seems like it’ll be kind of fun to learn some blusey stuff on. (Made by Lazy B Cigar Box Guitars.)

So, I am now the proud owner of a left-handed box guitar.  I might need to buy a slide (he asked if I wanted a slide or case, but I didn’t have enough cash on hand, and this thing is pretty solidly square, so it should be easier to make a case for than the ukulele (and will probably come out better).

I can tell I’m probably going to need to replace the strings pretty quickly – they look a bit dismal, but lefties don’t tend to sell quickly so whatever. New strings are no big deal.

This little thing is set on a guitar scale, but has nothing but low end, so I guess I’ll be buying single strings for it if I don’t want to have a stockpile of the thinner strings.  I’m not sure quite what to make of it. I’m not sure if it would be played more like a guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo??? I mean, you don’t play chords with just 3 strings, do you?  I will be spending some time with youtube today to get a feel for where this little sucker shines.

Mine is acoustic/electric, so I can plug it into an amp if I feel so inclined, but don’t have to, and the flexibility of that is cool. The cigar box body means I can basically hold it like a long ukulele, too, so no strap really necessary as long as I anchor it well with my forearm.  And, I think you can see it’s kinda-sorta fretted. – The frets are marked off, but not raised like on a guitar or bass, so I can see them, but not really feel them. And, while it does have working electronics, it does not have any volume control on the instrument itself, so that I’m relying on whatever amp I plug into for.

After the flea market, it was onto the beach. It was supposed to be a pretty warm day, but the weatherman lied. We were anticipating highs in the 80s, but it only got up to about 72 or so. Too chilly to go in the water, but we drove all the way to AP, so we didn’t want to finish off the day in an hour! We set out the chairs and sheets and chilled in the salt air. I brought my ukulele.

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Ukulele+ Ocean Breeze = Nice Chill Afternoon.
…not my Kala uke – I didn’t want to risk it in a hot car, or with all the stuff going on around, or the potential of someone jacking it if I went into the water.  Too many variables, and while it isn’t an expensive ukulele, I love it and so I possibly baby it more than I need to.  I had been toying with the idea of selling the Diamond Head, or passing it on to someone else who wants to learn, since I don’t really need two soprano ukuleles, but it’s also cheap enough that I don’t need to think twice about putting it in the car, or bringing it to the beach, so the DU-150 is officially my travel ukulele.

It felt a bit strange to pull it out at the beach, but I also knew that it was a good opportunity to just chill and noodle around. The wind was loud enough and the uke quiet enough that after the first few minutes I didn’t feel like I was disturbing my beach neighbors. They were all far too busy with their smartphones to pay me any mind. lol.

I just noodled a bit, ran through the flaming lips song a few times and tried to work a bit on that strumming pattern I need to nail down for the Amanda Palmer song, but the latter was a bit tough without having the reference on hand to try to match to.  I still feel awkward about playing anything in public, even if I’m just fiddling around and practicing, so singing along wasn’t going to happen, but I saw a guy busking with his guitar on the boardwalk, and couldn’t help but wish I hadn’t left all of my cash in the car. I’d have liked to give him a little something. It really takes some guts.  I feel awkward just practicing on the beach – but only at first.  After the first few minutes, I found myself more interested in what I was working on than what other people might think of what I was working on. Music is funny like that; it makes you forget the world.

Overall, it was a good day. I spent more than I was planning on, but I didn’t break the bank or murder my budget, so all is well that ends well.

Until Next Time – I have a new toy, and the internet at my disposal. Guess what I’m doing this afternoon?

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