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sequoia
11-28-2016, 11:00 AM
Interesting article in the San Francisco Chronicle Business Section about senior citizens taking up the ukulele in droves. Business is booming with this age group. Below a quote with a link:

By Wendy Lee

The ukulele’s rising popularity has boosted sales for local manufacturers and music instructors. Petaluma’s Kala Brand Music Co. said it is selling more than 600,000 ukuleles a year, up 30 percent from five or six years ago. Most of its instruments, primarily imported from China, are priced from $49 to $499. Custom ukuleles made at its headquarters sell for several thousand dollars.

Mike DaSilva, who makes custom ukuleles that range from $1,000 to $5,000, said his eponymous business in Berkeley is also going strong. “All the high end builders are not lacking for business,” he said.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Ukuleles-strike-a-chord-with-seniors-10636655.php

Michael N.
11-28-2016, 11:30 AM
1.2 million sold in 2015. I assume that's just in the US? Astonishing if that's the case.

kohanmike
11-28-2016, 11:41 AM
I'm a member of The CC Strummers headed by Cali Rose out of the Culver City Senior Center near Los Angeles. We have about 110 registered seniors from their late fifties to late eighties, with from 30-50 regulars who meet twice a week, and every couple of weeks more people join. Cali often brings in articles about how valuable and healthy it is for seniors to play and sing in a group setting. I'm 67 and for me its certainly a great way to fend off the stresses of daily life.

pritch
11-28-2016, 08:27 PM
When I was contemplating retirement in my late 60s I planned a physical exercise programme (sort of) and bought a bicycle to go wiith my walking boots.

In an effort keep the brain active I decided to either learn a language or an instrument. I bought a guitar, and working alone from CDs that was stuttering along, but then I read in the local paper about a guy who was starting an ukulele group. I bought an ukulele. Six ukulele and a couple of years later...

Some in the group are retirement age, others are younger. Some had previous experience as a guitarist, violinist or a pianist, some not so much. When young people have appeared briefly, they have been related to somebody in the group. I can understand why a late teen or twenty-something person wouldn't be drawn to join the group.

Nothing here to disprove the theory that it's older people doing it. Other than that there are several schools in the area that now have ukulele classes.

phil hague
11-29-2016, 01:11 AM
Why is this a surprise?
We are not dead yet and we have loads of knowlege and abilities gained over a lifetime.
I wish we could be around in fifty years time to hear what the surprised young people are saying about it then.

Croaky Keith
11-29-2016, 01:22 AM
As you get older you tend to down size everything, & I've noticed a lot of guitar players turning to the uke. ;)

But really, why wouldn't the older generation start playing the uke, it's small, light, & fun to learn. :)

I had a couple of things in mind for my retirement.
To cycle a lot more, but life got in the way & I lost my fitness, so I started to walk a bit for enjoyment & regain some fitness.
Learn to play an instrument, I'd attempted various throughout my life, but never really got far with any of them, & so I turned to the uke. :cool:

Rrgramps
11-29-2016, 06:44 AM
Overused and old joints have crippled my hands with arthritis, and stopped me from playing guitar professionally. Ukulele though, is easier to fret, although my thumb can no longer press against the back of the neck and free floats due to the pain.

Also, the ukulele is much more portable than a dread naught and doesn't require an amp or cans like an electric. This small and portable instrument can be played watching TV in your easy chair or recliner. I keep mine beside me a lot of the time.

My most remarkable discovery this last year, is that the ukulele can play chords so well on four strings, that I don't miss the six-sting guitar. I used to think of ukulele's as kids toys, and not for those of us with "real" guitars. Not anymore.

kohanmike
11-29-2016, 02:40 PM
Overused and old joints have crippled my hands with arthritis...

I heard that potatoes and tomatoes aggravate arthritis. They're in the nightshade family and people sensitive to it tend to have more arthritic problems.

SoloRule
11-30-2016, 03:16 AM
[QUOTE=uke1950;1915474]As you get older you tend to down size everything, & I've noticed a lot of guitar players turning to the uke. ;)

I like this theory the best - downsizing!
We down size from desktop computer to tablet then a phone.
Everything is about mobility nowadays!
My friends still can't get over how a four strings instrument can create so many tune!

kkimura
11-30-2016, 04:21 AM
I never thought about this until now. And, at 67 I guess I am one of those "Old People with Ukes". Now where are the "Senior Discounts"?

Snargle
11-30-2016, 04:45 AM
I never thought about this until now. And, at 67 I guess I am one of those "Old People with Ukes". Now where are the "Senior Discounts"?

I think the ukulele manufacturers would go broke if they started issuing Senior Discounts!

TjW
11-30-2016, 05:18 AM
What I find interesting is that I'm seeing ukuleles in popular culture and commercials. Not as the butt of a joke, simply as another musical instrument.

Rrgramps
11-30-2016, 08:55 AM
My friends still can't get over how a four strings instrument can create so many tune!
That's what surprised me.


What I find interesting is that I'm seeing ukuleles in popular culture and commercials. Not as the butt of a joke, simply as another musical instrument.

Yep, I remember Tiny Tim, and maybe I am one of the few who was turned off by him from thinking of ukulele's as a serious instrument.

Michael Smith
11-30-2016, 09:43 AM
I think the ukulele manufacturers would go broke if they started issuing Senior Discounts!

Mostly seniors that can afford a custom instrument it seems.

lfoo6952
11-30-2016, 10:22 AM
That's what surprised me.



Yep, I remember Tiny Tim, and maybe I am one of the few who was turned off by him from thinking of ukulele's as a serious instrument.

Rrgramps

I don't believe you are one of the few turned off by Tiny Tim. There were many turned off by him, including me. Because of him I never considered the ukulele as a serious instrument until recently. It was due to George Harrison who influenced me to explore the ukulele.

pritch
11-30-2016, 10:44 AM
I heard that potatoes and tomatoes aggravate arthritis. They're in the nightshade family and people sensitive to it tend to have more arthritic problems.

Not sure about the potatoes or the nighshade thing, but tomatoes can be a problem because of their acid. I was having a moan about arthritis one day and someone asked if I grew tomatoes. I did, and that tends to mean you eat a lot of tomatoes when they are in season. I no longer grow them but so far I haven't felt the need to buy the low acid variety.

kohanmike
11-30-2016, 11:21 AM
I hope you guys don't mind this tangent. From what I'm reading, it might actually be the nightshade element, not necessarily the acid. Included in the nightshade family; Tomatoes. Tomatillos. Eggplant, Potatoes (not sweet potatoes or yams), Goji Berries, Tobacco, Peppers (bell peppers, chili peppers, paprika, tamales, tomatillos, pimentos, cayenne, etc.). I know my arthritis acts up depending on what I've been eating. So far it hasn't hampered my uke or bass uke playing.

Snargle
11-30-2016, 11:37 AM
I don't believe you are one of the few turned off by Tiny Tim. There were many turned off by him, including me. Because of him I never considered the ukulele as a serious instrument until recently. It was due to George Harrison who influenced me to explore the ukulele.Same here, but it was hearing Jake Shimabukuro for the first time at the Philadelphia Folk Festival (maybe 2008?) that changed my mind about the ukulele as a serious musical instrument.

Rrgramps
11-30-2016, 03:31 PM
So far it hasn't hampered my uke or bass uke playing.
Osteoarthritis Arthritis affected my playing, and I totally lost the cartridge of my right thumb joint in 2010. Sharp bone fragments and shards were piercing into my nerve endings.

The empty joint socket was repaired by filling it with one of my forearm tendons after the bone endings were repaired. Dr said I won't wear this one out.

Rrgramps
11-30-2016, 03:44 PM
Rrgramps
It was due to George Harrison who influenced me to explore the ukulele.
i didn't know about his ukulele playing until just recently. Don't know where I was to miss that

Same here, but it was hearing Jake Shimabukuro for the first time at the Philadelphia Folk Festival (maybe 2008?) that changed my mind about the ukulele as a serious musical instrument.

Love listening to and watching Jake Shimabukuro. I didn't start playing ukulele until earlier this year, and joined this forum right after. It was after joining that I started searching out and listening to ukulele musicians.

So we discover these things later in life. LOL

Vespa Bob
12-01-2016, 08:28 AM
I'll add my name to the list of oldies who discovered the uke late in life, somewhere in my early seventies. A few years later I built my first, a cigar box uke. After that I was hooked! I don't know which I prefer, playing or building, although I do spend more time building than practicing, so I guess that says something! I think that if I had started learning to play when I was much younger, I would have progressed a lot faster than I have, considering that after about six years I still can only play the basic chords, there are some shapes that I'll never get my fingers around, no matter how much I practice! No matter, discovering the little ukulele is still one of the best things that has happened in my life!

Bob

Timbuck
12-01-2016, 09:25 AM
I got my first banjo uke when I was 8 in 1947 It was ladled John Grey of London...I learned 3 chords and another 8 years later I made myself a crude guitar out of an old cutlery box and a length of linoleum ..the strings were an unraved Bowden cable with this I discovered Skiffle....I then bought my first real second hand guitar and started playing in bands ...but I still kept my banjo uke..by now I was getting better at learning chords and picking out melodies on the guitar I then switched over to playing bass...and eventually aged about 21 during a recession I became a professional musician , I wasn't very good but it was the only work I could get....I bought a cheap Chinese Skylark Ukulele when I was aged about 30 just to carry around for singalongs at parties and travelling around.
Many years later when in my late sixties now retired I decided to upgrade my trusty Skylark..and I fancied having a Kamaka or a Martin ...but when I saw the price they were selling for, I realised could never afford one....So I decided to try and make a copy I bought some plans and started cutting up an old maranti door that I had in the garage..and in the end I ended up with my first Mahogany hand made Soprano...The rest is UU history:)

Rllink
12-01-2016, 10:00 AM
Mostly seniors that can afford a custom instrument it seems.I fit the category I guess. I mean old people who play the ukulele. I worked at a pretty large aquatics center during the summer well into my sixties. I supervised, trained, and scheduled the lifeguards. One day I lost my sunglasses somewhere, and I remember telling one of the lifeguards that I was probably the only lifeguard at the aquatic center who's parents hadn't bought my Oakleys. He thought a moment, then told me that I was probably the only lifeguard at the aquatic center who could afford my own Oakleys.

But yeah, I didn't have the time, the funds, or the focus to play a musical instrument when I was working two jobs to raise a family. Now I have all three. A perfect setup.


Rrgramps

I don't believe you are one of the few turned off by Tiny Tim. There were many turned off by him, including me. Because of him I never considered the ukulele as a serious instrument until recently. It was due to George Harrison who influenced me to explore the ukulele.I remember Tiny Tim, and I thought that he was goofy, but I have never associated the ukulele with Tiny Tim to the extent that some people do. I mean, there were other ukulele players back then. I find it interesting though how many do closely associate ukuleles with him, but I just thought he was this weird guy playing a ukulele. It is like Pee Wee Herman riding a bicycle. Do people have a complex about riding a bicycle because Pee Wee Herman rode one?

spongeuke
12-01-2016, 10:32 AM
Many years later when in my late sixties now retired I decided to upgrade my trusty Skylark..and I fancied having a Kamaka or a Martin ...but when I saw the price they were selling for, I realised could never afford one....So
I've had a couple of Skylarks, Loved the Marquetry, Thinned the top to improve tone (didn't) wanted Martins or Kamakas. and came into some $ in my 70s, got too many, see market place but still kept one Skylark just to look at and perhaps one day make some Marquetry like they had.

Vespa Bob
12-01-2016, 12:11 PM
My first remembrance of the uke as a child was with George Formby, who played a banjo uke. I didn't know this until much later in life when I learned about the traditional Hawaiian instrument. It came as quite a shock to me. George was known for his "risque" songs and jokes as most of you oldies already know.

Bob

sequoia
12-01-2016, 05:49 PM
Tiny Tim (a.k.a. Herbert Khaury) didn't ruin the ukulele for me, but he did ruin the song, "tiptoe..." which is really a delightful old tune. Not an easy song to play either if you have ever tried. It has a strange change. Check it out... Khaury was actually quite a good musician behind the novelty act. Tiny Tim trivia: He played left handed but used standard string placement.

Timbuck
12-02-2016, 01:38 AM
Tiny Tim (a.k.a. Herbert Khaury) didn't ruin the ukulele for me, but he did ruin the song, "tiptoe..." which is really a delightful old tune. Not an easy song to play either if you have ever tried. It has a strange change. Check it out... Khaury was actually quite a good musician behind the novelty act. Tiny Tim trivia: He played left handed but used standard string placement. I always thought he was a good uke player :) compared to me.

Choirguy
12-02-2016, 01:38 AM
I remember Tiny Tim, and I thought that he was goofy, but I have never associated the ukulele with Tiny Tim to the extent that some people do. I mean, there were other ukulele players back then. I find it interesting though how many do closely associate ukuleles with him, but I just thought he was this weird guy playing a ukulele. It is like Pee Wee Herman riding a bicycle. Do people have a complex about riding a bicycle because Pee Wee Herman rode one?

I get what you are saying here, but Pee Wee was a children's character (we'll just ignore the things he did when not acting as the character) who was child-like and tender hearted (and I'm too old to have little been the target audience) whereas Tiny Tim was a comedy act for adults who was meant to be creepy; and his act relied on the culture's view of sexual orientation at the time--I grew up through a lot of Tiny Tim's career, and his influence did caus people to consider the instrument to be for people of a particular sexual orientation. Obviously, it kept going in Hawaii--and we're past the Tiny Tim influence for the most part. But even in Iowa while at the music convention, a teacher came up to me while I was playing display ukuleles and started belting out, "Tip Toe through the Tulips," something that was meant to be funny but had a underlying statement about that teacher's view of the ukulele.

As for the thread, I LOVE that the ukulele has become an instrument for the old and young. As a music teacher, this is what music is supposed to be about--and as a voice teacher, unless you are Jake or Brittni, ukulele is also connected to singing. There may even be more ukulele players than people in choirs these days, considering the decline of the church choir (as pop music replaces choral music in churches). And there are also a few guys out there, like Vic, who is leading church worship with a ukulele!

Andyk
12-02-2016, 03:49 AM
I'd just like to say thank you all so very much. I'm about 6 weeks away from my 40th birthday and was feeling a bid down about reaching old age and all the things I never did that I thought I would do by that age. That is until I was sitting here reading this thread. I suddenly realised I have no idea who the hell Tiny Tim is ... I must therefore still be young .... wooohoo!!!

Croaky Keith
12-02-2016, 05:35 AM
Unfortunately, I grew up when both George Formby & Tiny Tim were playing ukes, & they really did for our little four string friend at that time!

I'm just glad another generation managed to resurrect it as a musical instrument again, & brought us old uns the pleasure of being able to play it without being laughed at or being looked down upon.

(Tongue firmly in cheek. ;) )

Rllink
12-02-2016, 09:51 AM
I get what you are saying here, but Pee Wee was a children's character (we'll just ignore the things he did when not acting as the character) who was child-like and tender hearted (and I'm too old to have little been the target audience) whereas Tiny Tim was a comedy act for adults who was meant to be creepy; and his act relied on the culture's view of sexual orientation at the time--I grew up through a lot of Tiny Tim's career, and his influence did caus people to consider the instrument to be for people of a particular sexual orientation. Obviously, it kept going in Hawaii--and we're past the Tiny Tim influence for the most part. But even in Iowa while at the music convention, a teacher came up to me while I was playing display ukuleles and started belting out, "Tip Toe through the Tulips," something that was meant to be funny but had a underlying statement about that teacher's view of the ukulele.

As for the thread, I LOVE that the ukulele has become an instrument for the old and young. As a music teacher, this is what music is supposed to be about--and as a voice teacher, unless you are Jake or Brittni, ukulele is also connected to singing. There may even be more ukulele players than people in choirs these days, considering the decline of the church choir (as pop music replaces choral music in churches). And there are also a few guys out there, like Vic, who is leading church worship with a ukulele!

I'm agreeing with you actually. I guess that Tiny Tim had a greater impact on people than he did on me is all I'm saying. I think that says a lot about some people though, that a strange character on a 60s variety TV show, that in itself had little or no substance, had such an impact on their intellect and that it has lasted so long. I am saying though that ukulele players should not let those people give them a complex about their instrument. You can't let ignorant people guide your passions.

By the way, I didn't know the Pee Wee Herman movies were kids movies. I was thinking about Pee Wee's Big Adventure, not the Saturday morning TV show. I liked that movie, but nothing in it had much of an impact on my ability to think critically.

DownUpDave
12-02-2016, 11:56 AM
I'd just like to say thank you all so very much. I'm about 6 weeks away from my 40th birthday and was feeling a bid down about reaching old age and all the things I never did that I thought I would do by that age. That is until I was sitting here reading this thread. I suddenly realised I have no idea who the hell Tiny Tim is ... I must therefore still be young .... wooohoo!!!

It is amazing what a little perspective will do, isn't it.

I will be 60 next year and started playing ukulele about 2.5 years ago so I guess I qualify for the "Old People" category. I don't feel old and I don't act old......it's just a number. I still cycle, hike, ski, canoe trip into the wilderness and all the other crazy things I did in my youth. I'm just a whole lot stiffer in the morning after those activites now.

fowl
12-02-2016, 12:43 PM
I discovered the ukulele in my 60's. It is the first instrument for me. I was discouraged by all my music teachers in school. What a unifying force the uke is. If everyone was a uke player, there would be no wars.

Santa
12-02-2016, 01:12 PM
Surprised someone hasn't yet posted a link to Tiny Tim's opus.

He really was a product of the times.

As far as Formby and Tim "really did for our little four string friend at that time!" not my perception, both of these performer's were carry overs from Vaudeville in an era when power/volume dominated, everything was amplified and had to be able to blow the top off of Krakatoa, youngsters rejected Tim and George as weird and old fashioned, however oldsters who grew up with Vaudeville loved em, similar to what's happening to the uke at the moment, things move in cycles, in a few years something else will take over.
Oh yes, the purpose of my post, a link to Tiny Tim and TTTTT.:D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMbQsKJ64S0

Michael N.
12-03-2016, 12:43 AM
I've always been fond of the Lancashire accent, although being from across the border I shouldn't be admitting that. Sorry but never taken to Formby's singing but it is very clear that he was highly accomplished on his uke.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ-7bYFmM18

sequoia
12-03-2016, 06:59 PM
That was a great documentary! Being a Yank, I wasn't really familiar with George Formby. The man could play... My only question is why were everybody's teeth so bad?

Santa
12-03-2016, 07:17 PM
My only question is why were everybody's teeth so bad?

George was at his height around the mid 1940's, over 70 years ago, dental care has improved dramatically, add to this the fact that the world had just come through 5 years of war with resulting shortages of most commodities.

Europe did it hard during the war years.

Yep, poor nutrition has a direct affect on teeth.:)

Andyk
12-03-2016, 11:56 PM
Dental care in the UK is still pretty rubbish. People then to only fix stuff if it hurts. Not much cosmetic stuff unlike the US. If you went into the scumbag pub in my town you'd be in shock... Not many of the punters there have all their teeth and yellow seems the new white ☺️

Santa
12-04-2016, 12:10 AM
Dental care in the UK is still pretty rubbish. People then to only fix stuff if it hurts. Not much cosmetic stuff unlike the US. If you went into the scumbag pub in my town you'd be in shock... Not many of the punters there have all their teeth and yellow seems the new white ☺️

Australia was pretty much the same up to about the mid 60's, prior to this people either had a mouth full of bad teeth or if you were over 40, dentures.

Our current health/dental care system is pretty good.

Rrgramps
12-04-2016, 05:33 AM
That was a great documentary! Being a Yank, I wasn't really familiar with George Formby. The man could play... My only question is why were everybody's teeth so bad?

Times have changed. Even in US of America.
Before the 1950's or 60's, teeth were in bad shape in the US too. Most of my relatives had dentures before they reached their 40th birthday. Few to none had orthodontal care; me included. Crooked, yellow teeth was the norm.

Rllink
12-06-2016, 07:35 AM
How the heck this got on the Luthier Lounge in the first place, then went from old folks playing the ukulele, to Tiny Tim, then to a comparison of dental care in Great Britain and the US, I don't know. But in the mean time, I've been watching Tiny Tim videos on youtube, and I got to say, Tiny Tim just got a new fan. That man is talented. And he's got more balls than anyone. Especially when I'm surrounded by people who are afraid to venture out of their basement to play their ukulele. He isn't afraid to get up there and perform. He inspires me. Sometimes you just gotta get older to appreciate things. Anyway, I'm a Weird Al fan too, so maybe that says something about me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awj_kv6pb7o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4trWg4hT8z8

kkimura
12-06-2016, 08:24 AM
Is the a Martin Tim's playing or some kind of custom uke?

(a humble attempt to redirect back towards the Luthier Lounge.)