View Full Version : giving a uke talk .....how to pronounce Manual Nunes last name

02-22-2018, 01:33 AM
Giving a short talk at a uke gig we are giving at a grand opening before we start our set...
Not sure how to say Manual Nunes last name?
Is it like NUNEZ for like the word DUNES


Some Ukulele History

- In 1879 Portuguese wood craftsman and instrument makers from Madera, a volcanic island some 600 miles off the shore of Portugal, came to Hawaii. One of these men was Manual Nunes. He brought with him an 4 string instrument called a Machete or Braguinha.

- The natives were fascinated by its sound. They called it "OO KU LAY LAY" meaning “hopping or jumping fleas”. The machete had 4 strings and was similar in appearance to today’s ukulele (see above photo). The ukulele is now forever part of Hawaiian culture and lore.

- The ukulele was virtually unknown until Hawaii became part of the United States at the turn of the last century. Soon after, all things culturally Hawaiian become popular, the ukulele being no exception. At this time, the Martin Guitar company started making ukuleles and the popularity soared until the late twenties and early thirties when it fell out of favor.

- About 12 years ago to current it again had another wave of popularity as noted pop singers and music artists discovered it again and were using it in their recordings.

- It now enjoys worldwide popularity, especially in Japan, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, as well as the US.

Why the popularity you may ask? A number of reasons: its a social instrument, fairly easy to learn and play with others, it helps reduce stress, and it does puts a smile on your face! However, it would take a lifetime to master what it is capable of doing musically. It is a respected and legitimate musical instrument!

- Martin still makes an assortment or Ukuleles at all price ranges, as does many
manufactures, both here in the US, China, Indonesia and of course, Hawaii.

- You can buy a Ukulele for $50 dollars or less or spend up to $15,000 for one.!!,
There are 4 string ukes as well as 5,6, and 8 string Ukuleles. There are banjo ukes and guitar size ukes. The most common size ukuleles are the Soprano, Concert, Tenor and Baritone. All different kinds of wood are now used to build ukuleles, however the most popular are the traditional Hawaiian Koa wood and Mahogany.

noted Ukulele artists, past and present

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole somewhere over the rainbow hit song
Jake Shimabukuro considered the world greatest player
Taylor Swift pop star
George Harrison..... Beatles
Beth Midler. actress
Barack Obama former President
Pierce Brosnan actor
many others in all walks of life


Manuel Nunes
(1843 - 1922)
1998 Hall of Fame Inductee

Manuel Nunes emigrated to Hawaii from Madeira in 1879 and quickly became a major force in the transformation of the Madeiran machete to the Hawaiian ukulele. He established himself as one of the earliest ukulele makers and operated his manufacturing company for over 40 years, much longer than any of the early makers. Many of his handcrafted instruments bore the label "M. Nunes, Inventor of the Ukulele and Taro Patch Fiddles in Honolulu in 1879." His skills were inherited by apprentices such as Samuel Kamaka and his son Leonardo Nunes, who carried on the tradition of fine quality ukulele construction.

Croaky Keith
02-22-2018, 01:57 AM
How to pronounce Nunes.


02-22-2018, 02:20 AM
Thanks!!!!!!! wow that a cool site

so phonically it is like
"newnise" or newniece

02-22-2018, 03:11 AM
Priority number 1 is to learn how to spell Manuel...:shaka:

02-22-2018, 03:25 AM
ha, correct you are.

02-22-2018, 03:33 AM
My friend’s last name is Nunez. He and everyone I know pronounce that name "noon-yes". No z sound in Spanish. :)

02-22-2018, 02:24 PM
I work with a guy who pronounces it 'noons'. Not sure if that's right though...I also knew a guy with the surname of Maus who pronounced it as 'moss', but I think it's supposed to he 'mouse'.

02-23-2018, 10:00 PM
Ciao Uketanzon,
In my opinion there are three more things to add to your list that helped the uke the explosion in these last 12 years: th availability of new kind of strings, better ukuleles and Youtube/social networks
.New strings (nylgut in first instance and then fluorocarbon etc): Nylgut was introduced around the 2002 year. In the 2008 year the president of Team International (that produce the Mahalo ukuleles, the very first of the mass production) showed me a graphic about the quantity of ukulele sold by his company. The the quantity had a drammatic increase just an year after that they switched from common nylon to Nylgut. Why? Nylgut make the ukulele a real instrument, and not just a toy with a bad intonation/sound. The intonation of these cheap Mahalos became instantly far better and so the quality of the sound and they start to sell them alot (i.e. millions) You see: when one want to buy an ukulele he firstly try to give a short play_ unbfortunately the common cheap nylon was one of the elements that make ukulele a toy and not a real instrument.
-Better Ukuleles: while 12 years ago the quality of the ukuleles available was, generally speacking, very low now we have instruments at good prices and very well done and with a nice look. Fretboards and the actions are much better.

-youtube/social. Ukulele is a social instrument. thanks to youtube/forums everyone is able to learn how to play, everyone knows a lot of things about ukulele etc. in short, it create a worlwhide comunity of lovers that excange feels and ideas and experience.

ps: I have one question: why the machete that went in hawaii a certain point drastically changed its tuning to those of the ukulele? I am a gut stringmaker and so I have mi own idea....

02-24-2018, 02:39 AM
thanks mimmo...appreciate the insight....and will include....

Uke Don
02-24-2018, 07:30 AM
Not to hijack the thread, but since Mimmo brought up strings, I have been attempting to find out if the uke originally had metal stings and then went to gut, or if the uke always had gut strings. The machete and rajao had metal strings.

Anyone know?

02-24-2018, 07:47 AM
no no. gut strings only. So the question: which was the motivation back to the tuning change? The machete is tuned a lot higher....

02-24-2018, 11:35 PM
well done Bill1.
It was exactly so. When the portoguese players finished their own strings whose gauges were related their traditional tunings the question was drammatic. The Macete strings are very thin, lute-like. The Honolulu of late 19th c was very active for music. Unfortunately the only gut strings available were for cello, viola, guitar and expecially violin, whose scale is close to the machete one. The closer mainland city tom Hawaii was St. Francisco, 1 week by boat almost (!). so what to do for Machete string replaces? No way. The only option was to install violin strings at the price to change the tuning to meet the necessity to have a balanced set and right tension. Considering that the guitar 1,2,3 gut strings were the same in use on Violin the choice was very easy: the same interval of a guitar but higher intonation so to have a good tension. This is the only explanation available. The only europan stringmakers available in USA in late 19th c were Italian and German people and they lived in the East coast of USA (NY area). In practice, by merchants the gut strings went to St Francisco from the East coast (NY area expecially) and then shipped by boath to Honolulu. I do not image how much expensive they were. The alternative, to still have the machete tuning, was to order strings directly from Portugal/Spain..crazy and too expensive. You are right: ther are some uke methods of 1910-1920 that explain to use violin gut strings.... however, this is what I have founbd by my reseraching. When Martin started to make ukulele they had no problem at all about gut strings. Nazareth city is not so far from NY.