I saw Jake Shimabukuro’s ukulele arrangement of While My Guitar Gently Weeps nine years ago and immediately brought the ukulele into my family of stringed instruments. Since that time I’ve composed with the ukulele, have built custom ukuleles and teach ukulele. Ukulele is particularly well-suited for seniors wishing to play an instrument for the first time. My favorite students are Mim & Mel, who have been part of my studio for over two years. We’re talking finger style ukulele lessons, not just strumming three chords. I’ve attached my arrangement of Simple Gifts for the tenor ukulele for those of you who would like to play what Mim and Mel are currently practicing.
I wrote Bermuda Blue while staying at Grape Bay Cottages in Bermuda, June of 2014. Sitting in the living room with all the windows open and the sound of the surf breaking just yards away inspired this piece.
Gabe Marin of Consider the Source visited my shop over the holidays to discuss the design of his next double neck guitar, the Elsa II. I built the Elsa I (see pic) for Gabe in 2003. It’s been his only stage guitar for the last 13 years. Here’s a video of Gabe putting the Elsa I through her paces at The Beachland Ballroom in 2015.
Kathy and I will be celebrating a double CD release at The Barking Spider Tavern this coming Tuesday, January 12 from 7- 9pm. My latest CD’s, Goin’ South and The Stories I Tell will be available and the set list for the evening will be the 22 songs represented on both CD’s. They span nearly a lifetime of writing, almost 50 years!
Well, it’s going to be something of a birthday celebration at Euclid City Limits on Friday, January 15th since I’ll be turning another year older on the 16th. Come on out and watch me age before your eyes while I share a half century of musical stories for your enjoyment from 8 – 9:30pm. Paul Penfield and Steve Mramor will open.
I’m Jim Kozel, a Cleveland-based luthier. I am also a guitarist, songwriter and teacher. Music is the heart and soul of my life. I have been performing my musical stories for well over half a century; setting up, repairing and building instruments for nearly that long. Your instrument needs to fit you like a comfortable old pair of jeans. I approach every repair, setup or commission with that in mind. This website was created as a BLOG space so you can leave comments and ask questions.