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Thread: Your story: how ukulele found you?

  1. #131
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Darlington UK
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    561

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    Well my musical story began with keyboard instruments. My older brother was into synth music back in the 70s and so I grew up loving jean michel jarre, Tomita, gary numan etc etc, and one year when I was about 11 I was bought a small Bontempi reed organ. Awful thing it was but it got me wanting to be a keyboard player. That never happened but piano has always been my favourite instrument. Then in the early 2000s I wanted a guitar. And my partner bought me one for Christmas 2004. I still have it, and still cant play it! But I love acoustic instruments, its like theyre alive. One year our kids were bought ukuleles (not by us). The usual thing, great for kids! Trouble is my kids arent interested in learning to play it. And in 2014 I was bought my own uke, a Tanglewood, because my other, better guitar is a Tanglewood. The rest is history. Oh and I'd love a baritone. Guitar tuning, yay!
    Interestingly that ukulele was bought from a small shop that was closing, under pressure from the big music store that had recently opened a few doors down. Turned out the guy from the small shop got a job at the big shop as guitar repairer, and he's the one who did a set up on my uke recently!
    Last edited by LarryS; 12-04-2017 at 02:15 AM.
    You don't stop playing when you get old. You get old when you stop playing

    Tanglewood TU13M concert called Kalea
    Brunswick BU4-B baritone called Kalua
    My facebook- http://www.facebook.com/lozzie.green

  2. #132
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    2

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    Well here I am with my first Uke. A couple of friends were hound dogging me about getting a Uke and playing for fun. Nothing serious, just to have some fun they said. Well I never considered a Uke to be a serious instrument except around grass skirts. After overcoming terminal stage 4 cancer which left me paralyzed from the waste on down, after having major surgery on my back, filling it with balls wires and fusion cages, suffering from Cemo brain, regrowing nerves so I could walk and regain feeling in my legs and fingers, having my thyroid removed, I thought maybe something light and fun might get me out and about. So I went down to one of my favorite music stores, and bought a Gretsch roots tenor. I got it home and it tuned out that one of the tuners kept slipping, so looking at it closely I discovered one tuning peg broken, the rest were misaligned and the bridge plate angled I/8 of an inch with one end thicker then the other, the frets sharper then razors and other finish defects. So I brought it back but the fun became serious and I needed to find a quality Uke. I started investigating heavily, but saw some nice looking ones on eBay, foreign ones, and tried to bid on them, bloody private bidders. Now this fun became challenging my exercise consisted of bidding and over bidding and never winning. So I watched and watched and watched. Finally I figure out a grand snip plan and at the last 6 sec on the clock placed a final bid, knowing eBay's software could not work fast enough in that time frame. I won it to my surprise, paid for it and am now waiting for it in the mail.
    It is a bit blingy for my personal tastes but the the art work is amazing. This had not been fun and it rapidly became serious once I saw the poor quality of the Gretsch. So part 2 of this saga begins when I get it in the mail.

  3. #133
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Ruislip, UK
    Posts
    198

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    Quote Originally Posted by ukeccc View Post
    Well here I am with my first Uke. A couple of friends were hound dogging me about getting a Uke and playing for fun. Nothing serious, just to have some fun they said. Well I never considered a Uke to be a serious instrument except around grass skirts. After overcoming terminal stage 4 cancer which left me paralyzed from the waste on down, after having major surgery on my back, filling it with balls wires and fusion cages, suffering from Cemo brain, regrowing nerves so I could walk and regain feeling in my legs and fingers, having my thyroid removed, I thought maybe something light and fun might get me out and about. So I went down to one of my favorite music stores, and bought a Gretsch roots tenor. I got it home and it tuned out that one of the tuners kept slipping, so looking at it closely I discovered one tuning peg broken, the rest were misaligned and the bridge plate angled I/8 of an inch with one end thicker then the other, the frets sharper then razors and other finish defects. So I brought it back but the fun became serious and I needed to find a quality Uke. I started investigating heavily, but saw some nice looking ones on eBay, foreign ones, and tried to bid on them, bloody private bidders. Now this fun became challenging my exercise consisted of bidding and over bidding and never winning. So I watched and watched and watched. Finally I figure out a grand snip plan and at the last 6 sec on the clock placed a final bid, knowing eBay's software could not work fast enough in that time frame. I won it to my surprise, paid for it and am now waiting for it in the mail.
    It is a bit blingy for my personal tastes but the the art work is amazing. This had not been fun and it rapidly became serious once I saw the poor quality of the Gretsch. So part 2 of this saga begins when I get it in the mail.
    You can't post this and not tell us what it was and welcome

  4. #134
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    part two:
    Well since I have to wait for my uke I decided to start understanding them and am totally floored at all the small handmade ukes being made. The Asian market is going crazy with them. The worlds relationship with ukes has matured and I decided that this indeed could be fun and rewarding. Researching compliments my ocd nature about quality but in the mist of my craziness and frustrations about pickups, woods and pricing the person I made an offer to for a Kala changed his mind and accepted my offer. So now I have two and this one should get here in about a week. So I am having fun and look forward to making music. This instrument is communal people play together this indeed will be fun.

  5. #135
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Herts, UK
    Posts
    3,558

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    Oddly, I don't remember. Well, not reliably.

    I think it may have been Jake Shimabukuro's cover of 'While MyGuitar Gently Weeps'. I definitely recall seeing that and thinking WTF is that guy playing? I knew about ukuleles but was only aware of the soprano size. The existence of the tenor uke was a revelation and most of the 'ukuleles I've owned have been tenors.

    But I'm not 100% sure that I didn't get my first Dolphin even before that... I really don't recall clearly. It was 10 years ago and I've bought and sold so many of so many different kinds of instruments that it's all a bit of a blur.

    I've drifted away from 'ukelele occasionally as band roles have demanded that I focus on other instruments, but modding at UU has kept me in touch with my uke side and in my current band it's once again one of the things I play.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  6. #136
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    7,107

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    My, my. I have just spent the last 2.5 hours reading ALL of the posts here.
    It's really encouraging to see this thread resurrected.
    I can't name all of you, but a lot of you have posted some very inspiring stories. I'm having trouble reading what I type.
    Geez.
    My story is pretty lame by comparison. I didn't share but just a tiny bit of it, the rest is kinda boring, really.
    I've made some friends here. Some I've met already, and more that I hope to meet.
    One of them has actually helped me over some humps. You know who you are. I appreciate you all to pieces, my friend.
    After about 8 years of fumbling around, I'm on uke #15 + a banjouke.
    I still think I stink at it, but compared to the other things I've tried to play, I think I'm a goddess of the uke. (haha)
    I'm even in an ensemble now, playing ALFs and parties, and am beginning to train myself to help kids with the Ukulele Kids Club, along with whoever will come along.
    And I've written 2 songs, one is really silly.
    I hope I play ukulele right up till the instant I bite the dust. And I hope I don't fall on it when I do, so someone else can play it.
    What a cool thread.
    Who's next?
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  7. #137
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    22

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    My mom gave me an Ukulele for my birthday a couple of years ago. It was a $30 non tunable Soprano Uke and It was not playable. I asked myself, how involved do Ukuleles get? For the most part, I thought that you could only play a few songs like Somewhere over the Rainbow... I really was pretty ignorant. So I looked into it and got a concert Kala. I have been struggling with the guitar for 15 years and when I realized how light and easy it is to hold and play an Ukulele I was hooked.
    If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.
    Ecc. 10

  8. #138
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Moku Manu, Hawai'i
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    4,515

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    Family Tradition. Dad played a ʻukulele, I think I first heard his Kamaka Pineapple from inside the womb. It got stolen when I was 16, and I got distracted with life. 2o year later listening to Bruddah Iz inspired me to come back to the ʻukulele. My dadʻs llove of the Pineapple has rubbed off so now I own 8 of them (used to be closer to 20 but thinned the herd).
    Illegitimus Non Carborundum

    I ʻike lākou, ʻo ʻoe, ka mea wale nō nona ka inoa ʻo IĒHOVA;
    ʻO ʻoe nō ka Mea kiʻekiʻe loa ma luna o ka honua a pau.
    Nā Halelū 83:18

  9. #139
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Sarasota FL
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    I lived in Hawaii for 15 years in the 70s and 80s and while I certainly appreciated the ukulele as an integral part of Hawaii music I was never really focused on it. I was certainly aware of Peter Moon's virtuosity and of the joy of Iz's playing. During that time I had never touched a ukulele.

    During the past several years I followed the worldwide voyage of the Hokulea (Hawaiians, you know. Others, see www.hokulea.com). I had been looking forward to Hokulea's first stop on the American mainland, which was down the road from me at Everglades National Park. Perhaps something was incubating subconsciously, but several months prior to Hokulea's arrival I impulsively purchased a $35 Hola HM 21 uke on Amazon and learned a few chords, but didn't get hooked.

    Hokulea's landfall in Everglades National Park was quite the Hawaiian extravaganza. In addition to the crew and dignitaries from the Seminole nation, a delegation of Hawaiian people and Polynesian Voyaging Society VIPs were there, all flown in from Hawaii. A local hula halau was there as well ( there are a surprising number of Hawaii people in Florida). One of the visitors from Hawaii was the music director of Kamehameha Schools, Randy Fong, who was there with what I know now was a Kamaka HF3 koa tenor.

    I thought that uke was beautiful to listen to and to look at. I resolved to try to learn to play that day. The next day, at home, I Googled ukulele lessons, and damned if a class was not starting that very night in what turned out to be a terrific ukulele store, also down the street from me.

    Now I seldom am more than a room away from a uke. I have graduated to a Ohana CK-35L longneck concert and a Kala KA-SRT-CTG-CE tenor. My goal to to become worthy of a Kamaka.

    Thanks to Mike and Jeff at Rhythm Inlet in Nokomis, Florida, and to Ukulenny who gave me an awesome lesson one afternoon poolside on the Space Coast, and to Harry Kojima, whose Youtube tutorials of Hawaiian song are the best, and to Jake Shimabukuro who expects me to be able to play a 4-4-3-7 Em without requiring physical therapy afterward, and to this forum where I've learned so much.

  10. #140
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    2,080

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    Great thread. Thank you Choirguy for starting it.

    A few years ago, I had reached my mid-30's and was super-stressed out from work and was looking for a more productive use of my downtime than video games/watching tv/cruising youtube for hours. I'd always wanted to play a musical instrument - any type of musical instrument really. My family is fairly musical but I had literally zero musical experience. I believe I played the harpsichord in 3rd grade one time. No recorders. No music theory. No choir/singing/literally nothing.

    My uncle is a trumpet player who also a music teacher in schools until he retired a few years ago. My brother played drums in the marching band. My uncles were big into jazz music, and my dad has a fairly diverse taste in music, so I had a fair appreciation for all kinds of music growing up, covering many decades too - which turned out to be a blessing with ukulele songbooks, as I'm familiar with quite a lot of older songs.

    So finally in my mid-30's, I searched for "easy to learn" instruments and the ukulele came up on a lot of those searches. Plus, it was only four strings, small, and non-intimidating vs. the unwieldy guitar. So I decided I was going to take part of my tax refund and get one. I was so scared and intimidated going into Sam Ash to look at their ukes. I'd never really been in a music store before.

    But having done a little research online, my initial thought was either a Flea or a Fluke.... but for some reason (sheer panic/confusion?) I wound up walking out with... a Kala Travel Tenor. I still don't know why I changed my mind. At the time, it felt easy to hold, due to its thin body, and it was loud!

    I played that Kala Travel Tenor for a few months at night after my wife had gone to bed, but I never felt very comfortable with fretting it. My fingers hurt and I almost gave up. Eventually though, I bought a lava black soprano Flea online through Elderly Instruments, and quickly realized that the action on my Kala Travel Tenor was too high. Also I have smaller hands so the soprano/concert sizes work better for me, as does the lower tension. So down the UAS blackhole I went... and I haven't came out yet!

    A couple years ago, I met Nancy, who runs the Sun Lakes Ukulele Group SLUG http://www.sunlakesukes.com/ at a Kimo Hussey class at Arizona State University for Tempe's Hawaiian Festival. So I've been going out to Sun Lakes, a retirement community in the southeast Valley, every-other-Sunday. It is a very different experience playing and singing at the same time! It is also a completely different experience playing with others at the same time. But all in all, something I really love.

    But playing the ukulele is one hobby that I have kept with it over the last 5(?) years. I can make music that kind of actually sounds like what it's supposed to. I'm still just an OK-Player but I'm still proud of that!
    Last edited by igorthebarbarian; 02-04-2018 at 09:00 PM.
    "If a lot of people play the ukulele, the world would be a better place to live."

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