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View Full Version : UKE Popularity Soars - interesting article



cyber3d
07-30-2017, 04:24 PM
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/ukulele-sales-see-explosive-growth-as-small-instruments-popularity-soars-a3599566.html

Nickie
07-30-2017, 05:16 PM
I don't know if sales of ukes are soaring here, but ownership is, as is membership in our club, TBUS. I met two brand new members today. Every time I go to an event, I meet at least one brand new member, and nobody quits till they are toes up!

Booli
07-30-2017, 06:03 PM
Personally, I think that Fender is the least qualified to be commenting on ukuleles, nevermind making them (or rather likely subcontracting a Chinese factory and licensing the headstock sticker)

Fender is like a 'MEEE-TOOO" company with their ukes, they are very late to the game, and just riding the bandwagon hoping for a cash cow.

I've played both the Nohea and Pihea ukes and they were 'meh' at best, but heard good things about the T-Bucket uke, which I am skeptical about and will reserve comment until I can play one in person.

cyber3d
07-30-2017, 06:35 PM
Personally, I think that Fender is the least qualified to be commenting on ukuleles, nevermind making them (or rather likely subcontracting a Chinese factory and licensing the headstock sticker)

Fender is like a 'MEEE-TOOO" company with their ukes, they are very late to the game, and just riding the bandwagon hoping for a cash cow.

I've played both the Nohea and Pihea ukes and they were 'meh' at best, but heard good things about the T-Bucket uke, which I am skeptical about and will reserve comment until I can play one in person.

Actually, I think the article was pointing out Uke sales are soaring globally. It just happened to be Fender. At least that's what I got out of it.

Choirguy
07-30-2017, 07:14 PM
I'm not surprised...and we (UU) are not seeing about 85-90% of the popularity, which is with young players following 21 Pilots and Grace Vanderwaal.

I was surprised to see an article the other day about the demise of the electric guitar as a "destinaton" instrument. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/lifestyle/the-slow-secret-death-of-the-electric-guitar/

The Fender article seemed to indicate that the ukulele is a transition instrument. While I think it is a great instrument from which you can better transition to a guitar, I think it is wrong to think that it is only a transition instrument.

I was listening to the Jive Aces, and what struck me is how the ukulele isn't used as gimmick but instead becomes a critical part of their jazz sound.

kohanmike
07-30-2017, 07:51 PM
Personally, I think that Fender is the least qualified to be commenting on ukuleles, nevermind making them (or rather likely subcontracting a Chinese factory and licensing the headstock sticker). Fender is like a 'MEEE-TOOO" company with their ukes, they are very late to the game, and just riding the bandwagon hoping for a cash cow. I've played both the Nohea and Pihea ukes and they were 'meh' at best, but heard good things about the T-Bucket uke, which I am skeptical about and will reserve comment until I can play one in person.

My uke group gets new players almost weekly, most sticking with it. And I've I've mentioned before, I played guitar for almost 50 years, then I took up the uke four years ago and haven't touched my guitars since.

Not to contradict you (too much), but I thought Fender ukes have been out for quite awhile, and since they have the traditional Fender headstock, they must be made specifically for them. I never played the Nohea or Pihea, but I did play a T-Bucket, which I thought looked great, but found it to be lack-luster, not really good projection or sustain.

bazmaz
07-30-2017, 08:17 PM
Personally, I think that Fender is the least qualified to be commenting on ukuleles, nevermind making them (or rather likely subcontracting a Chinese factory and licensing the headstock sticker)

Fender is like a 'MEEE-TOOO" company with their ukes, they are very late to the game, and just riding the bandwagon hoping for a cash cow.

I've played both the Nohea and Pihea ukes and they were 'meh' at best, but heard good things about the T-Bucket uke, which I am skeptical about and will reserve comment until I can play one in person.

TOTALLY with you here 100%. It's a marketing article from a brand that treats the ukulele like 'commodity'. You'd never see a news piece like this put out by Kamaka.. (I too have played a couple of Fender ukes that I thought were dreadful)

Croaky Keith
07-30-2017, 09:09 PM
This is what that article/advert is saying, it's just a sales pitch.


The comments came as the company launched Fender Play, an online music tuition platform, after discovering a large slice of its sales were coming from beginners buying a guitar for the first time.

While video sharing website YouTube is saturated with guitar tuition videos, Mr Mooney said its subscription-based model would prove successful because there remained a customer appetite for premium content.

The iconic guitar maker is also hoping the digital product will fuel demand for its musical instruments and hardware.

Booli
07-31-2017, 02:25 AM
...I was listening to the Jive Aces, and what struck me is how the ukulele isn't used as gimmick but instead becomes a critical part of their jazz sound.

I just LOVE the Jive Aces. :music:

They have such a natural swagger and the tunes are jumpin'! Check YouTube for their videos, for their frontman Ian is quite a 'performer' - and with the uke front and center, prove to me that you CAN have a great band/ensemble without any geetars...

Booli
07-31-2017, 02:28 AM
...Not to contradict you (too much), but I thought Fender ukes have been out for quite awhile, and since they have the traditional Fender headstock, they must be made specifically for them. I never played the Nohea or Pihea, but I did play a T-Bucket, which I thought looked great, but found it to be lack-luster, not really good projection or sustain.

No worries brother Mike. It's all good and I appreciate the counterpoint. :)

Booli
07-31-2017, 02:31 AM
Actually, I think the article was pointing out Uke sales are soaring globally. It just happened to be Fender. At least that's what I got out of it.

I would really enjoy seeing the uke become more widely thought of as something other than a 'toy guitar', since I am kinda sick and tired of explaining myself to folks who only know of Tiny Tim. I fully get and appreciate the opportunity for 'a teaching moment', but of the hundreds of folks I've tried to educate in person, I can count on one hand how many actually changed their perceptions/expectations of an ukulele.

I am growing weary of being an evangelist in a sea of haters. :(

Booli
07-31-2017, 02:32 AM
TOTALLY with you here 100%. It's a marketing article from a brand that treats the ukulele like 'commodity'. You'd never see a news piece like this put out by Kamaka.. (I too have played a couple of Fender ukes that I thought were dreadful)

Thanks Baz! :)

Croaky Keith
07-31-2017, 04:06 AM
I would really enjoy seeing the uke become more widely thought of .......

I am growing weary of being an evangelist......... :(

Being different has its advantages too, you get noticed more often. :)

I don't mind being different, in fact, I rather enjoy being so. ;)

Booli
07-31-2017, 04:40 AM
Being different has its advantages too, you get noticed more often. :)

I don't mind being different, in fact, I rather enjoy being so. ;)

Yes, Keith, that is a great way of thinking about it. Thank you. :)

Rllink
07-31-2017, 04:47 AM
Being different has its advantages too, you get noticed more often. :)

I don't mind being different, in fact, I rather enjoy being so. ;)

I've said this before, I'm not all about talking everyone in the world into playing the ukulele. There are not a lot of ukulele players around here, and most of them are performers who play other instruments and have incorporated them in their act. At festivals and markets, I see more ukuleles sitting on stands while the performers are playing guitar and banjo, than I see actually being played. And that is fine with me. I kind of like being different too. But hardly anyone just comes up to me and wants to talk to me about my ukulele.

kohanmike
07-31-2017, 05:04 AM
Thanks Booli for being gracious. I should add that it really doesn't matter to me that there are people out there who don't know about the quality of the ukulele, I focus on the people that do appreciate the uke. I'm having so much fun playing the uke/bass uke and the group I'm with (over 50 members), especially when we do a gig and we get such nice feedback. In fact, the last few gigs have inspired a few audience members to join our group.

Joyful Uke
07-31-2017, 06:26 AM
Thanks to those who mentioned The Jive Aces. I hadn't heard of them, but am now listening on YouTube and enjoying them.

It seems to me that, looking at online sellers of ukuleles, there are fewer offerings, which to me means that they're not selling as well as a few years ago. But, perhaps my perception is incorrect on both counts.

acmespaceship
07-31-2017, 07:43 AM
I would really enjoy seeing the uke become more widely thought of as something other than a 'toy guitar', since I am kinda sick and tired of explaining myself to folks who only know of Tiny Tim...
Patience, my friend. Patience, exercise, a healthy diet and younger friends. The people who remember Tiny Tim are dying off and a better world awaits. Whenever someone brings up Tiny Tim, I respond: "You know, nobody younger than 50 has ever mentioned him to me. How's the Viagra working out for you?" :cool:

scottcocoabeach
07-31-2017, 08:09 AM
This year I've given ukuleles to two of my nieces, my sister, and ones of my nephews. They are all making excellent progress. Especially my nieces. Besides those 4 ukuleles that I purchased I've added another Kamaka and KoAloha to my collection and started playing more myself. I'm definitely contributing to the growth of the industry. :D

hoosierhiver
07-31-2017, 08:14 AM
Seems more or less like an advertisement to me, a decent reporter would have at least asked one other person about the sudden soaring popularity that coincidentally coincides with Fenders new thing.

DownUpDave
07-31-2017, 08:29 AM
Seems more or less like an advertisement to me, a decent reporter would have at least asked one other person about the sudden soaring popularity that coincidentally coincides with Fenders new thing.

Well Mike since you are in the BUSINESS what is your take. Soaring popularity, slumping sales or just about the same over a five year period

hoosierhiver
07-31-2017, 08:40 AM
Well Mike since you are in the BUSINESS what is your take. Soaring popularity, slumping sales or just about the same over a five year period

I'd say the fad part of it crested a few years back followed by a slump in sales for a year that has since rebounded somewhat. At present I see a lot of committed players who still get new folks hooked. Schools seem to be a little late into the game, but I am noticing more and more schools creating ukulele programs in the past couple of years.
Overall, I'd say we aren't disappearing from the cultural scene anytime soon, but the great ukulele gold rush is over.

Rllink
07-31-2017, 08:45 AM
I'd say the fad part of it crested a few years back followed by a slump in sales for a year that has since rebounded somewhat. At present I see a lot of committed players who still get new folks hooked. Schools seem to be a little late into the game, but I am noticing more and more schools creating ukulele programs in the past couple of years.
Overall, I'd say we aren't disappearing from the cultural scene anytime soon, but the great ukulele gold rush is over.If the Ukulele World Congress is any indication, I would say that there is still plenty of interest and excitement in the ukulele world.

DownUpDave
07-31-2017, 09:26 AM
If the Ukulele World Congress is any indication, I would say that there is still plenty of interest and excitement in the ukulele world.

I agree, someone in the know said we had hit "critical mass" and it is popular enough to be self sustaining, not just a fad. The fact younger people are playing it, make hit songs with it and doing YouTube videos with it seems to bear this out.

Everytime I play a uke I go........"man I love that sound". Thats good enough for me.

spookelele
07-31-2017, 11:22 AM
I would really enjoy seeing the uke become more widely thought of as something other than a 'toy guitar', since I am kinda sick and tired of explaining myself to folks who only know of Tiny Tim.

I used to try to explain it.
Now I find its easier to just play it and show them.
It's faster.

Booli
07-31-2017, 11:36 AM
I used to try to explain it.
Now I find its easier to just play it and show them.
It's faster.

Great idea!

I'm just gonna do this from now on. :)

More reasons to master that Jumpin Jim John King Classical book, and try to transcribe Jake's 'Piano Forte'. :music: