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Moondoggie
05-15-2009, 02:18 AM
Hey gang,

Okay, I'm still a uke newb and all, but I've noticed a lot of uke music around me lately and had to wonder about it - commercials, movie themes, end credits, hoboes (like oboes but without all the attitude)...

So I'm wondering, is there a lot more incidental uke music in the world, or is this just the same phenomena where you finally get your dream car after years and years of hoping and wishing and all of a sudden it seems like everyone in the world is driving a bright pink Hyundai Accent just like yours?

Not that I mind - God knows the world could use more ukuleles and bright pink imports.

jkevinwolfe
05-15-2009, 02:48 AM
In marketing terms, ukers will never be a key market demographic. At least I hope not. That can bring stigma. The uke is ripe for ridcule if it ever gets too popular. Would anyone among us want to be the next Tiny Tim? I thought not. He became a victim of his own schtick and gave ukes the perception of only being played by long-haired, androgynous freaky beings. The uke may as well have been brought down in a UFO.

Despite 45 years passing since that publicity atrocity, we are still a fringe group. But I wouldn't be surprised if we're being watched as trendsetters. Key marketing people notice enthusiastic trends that ooze a little lava just beneath the consumer radar.

The uke revolution is a quiet one. We are an unbelievably eclectic community. We attract kids to seniors and seem to have humps in the young adult and late baby boom groups. It's great to go to a gathering and see the uke uniting people.

We in the community notice this amazing popularity, but the public just gets an occasional glimpse of it when Molly Ringwold mentions Julka Nunes on TV or Jake's "While my Guitar" video hits the top of YouTube. To see how small we really are, walk into any basic music store. Count the guitars on the wall, then count the ukes. We have not arrived for the masses yet. Let's hope we don't.

My 13-year-old son tells me ukes are a cult. I like that. I pray every night for world peace and for Oprah to never touch a uke.

Kevin

dominicfoundthemooon
05-15-2009, 02:55 AM
In marketing terms, ukers will never be a key market demographic. At least I hope not. That can bring stigma. The uke is ripe for ridcule if it ever gets too popular. Would anyone among us want to be the next Tiny Tim? I thought not. He became a victim of his own schtick and gave ukes the perception of only being played by long-haired, androgynous freaky beings. The uke may as well have been brought down in a UFO.

Despite 45 years passing since that publicity atrocity, we are still a fringe group. But I wouldn't be surprised if we're being watched as trendsetters. Key marketing people notice enthusiastic trends that ooze a little lava just beneath the consumer radar.

The uke revolution is a quiet one. We are an unbelievably eclectic community. We attract kids to seniors and seem to have humps in the young adult and late baby boom groups. It's great to go to a gathering and see the uke uniting people.

We in the community notice this amazing popularity, but the public just gets an occasional glimpse of it when Molly Ringwold mentions Julka Nunes on TV or Jake's "While my Guitar" video hits the top of YouTube. To see how small we really are, walk into any basic music store. Count the guitars on the wall, then count the ukes. We have not arrived for the masses yet. Let's hope we don't.

My 13-year-old son tells me ukes are a cult. I like that. I pray every night for world peace and for Oprah to never touch a uke.

Kevin

i would agree with much of this.. i think when you go into any music store.. at least here.. most of them will not have ANY ukes... and when you go to the larger stores like.. dare i say it.. Guitar Center you will only find 1 or 2 ukes for sale.. and they often are not the best. we had one store here that used to have tons of bluegrass and folk.. they had 30 or 40 ukes on hand.. and all kinds.. but not a lot..

if ukes went CRAZY you would see them way more.. even at walmart..

i like the community of people, i am not one who gets into the "i want to keep it just a select group" if millions of people start playing the uke.. and stores start having them is stock.. well that is okay with me...

d

Moondoggie
05-15-2009, 03:07 AM
Holy crap - a serious answer.


...the perception of only being played by long-haired, androgynous freaky beings...

Wait - does this mean I have to take my freaky androgynous self to another instrument? Ruh roh.


The uke revolution is a quiet one.

I like the sound of that...


We attract kids to seniors and seem to have humps in the young adult and late baby boom groups.

Many things about that sentence scare me. I don't want to be responsible for attracting kids to seniors. It's bad enough that I have to introduce myself to my neighbors when I move.


...Molly Ringwold mentions Julia Nunes on TV...

Molly Ringwold was on TV? How did I miss that?


To see how small we really are, walk into any basic music store. Count the guitars on the wall, then count the ukes.

Been there, done that, my friend. Imagine walking into a Guitar Center in Connecticut. Maestro Behloff may live out here, but ukes in shops? When I took my ill-fated Guitar Center trip, I found one ukulele whose four strings seemed to be tuned to B# G Zb and @# (or @ natural - they sound pretty close to me). Thank God we've got MGM and the intarweb.


I pray every night for world peace and for Oprah to never touch a uke.

Amen, brother! As much as I like William H. Macy, it gave me a cold chill down my spine when I saw him playing a uke right NEXT to The Leader. You could see that look in her eye while he was playing. You know - the one that says "How can I fit one of these under each chair in the audience?"

For the love of GOD, no one tell her about sopraninos!!!

So let's see, I think I'll put Kevin's answer under the "pink Hyundai" column.

Moondoggie
05-15-2009, 03:19 AM
...i like the community of people, i am not one who gets into the "i want to keep it just a select group" if millions of people start playing the uke.. and stores start having them is stock.. well that is okay with me...

I'm with you d, but I'd be afraid that the uke community could be horribly changed if it just suddenly flooded the masses. I haven't been around a lot of ukers in person, but the ones I have are tip-top folks. And I've been lurking around here for awhile, and while there are the occasional nimrods or flare-ups, I'd say we're waaaaaay below the average around here. Especially for the internet.

One of my other hangouts is for folks with Hodgkin's Lymphoma (three years clean and strummin') and we've got the same vibe (though with slightly more panicky post-scan posts than around here ;) ). I think part of that is helped along by the Hodge being one of the rarer cancers. the other cancer forums? Fuggeddaboutit! I hear those testicular cancer guys can be real pricks. And the colon cancer folk can sometimes be asses. Don't get me started on the breast cancer forums - what a bunch of boobs.

Ba dump bump. (I thrive on uneasy laughter and cancer humor)

So while I'd love to have more ukes readily available and more uke playing to listen to, I think it's a good thing that the ukulele needs to be sought out. It helps ensure that the people who are most uke-like find it, love it and care for it.

Oh, and one more thing - you guys are awesome!

And by "You guys" I mean the UU, not just D and Kevin. Though they're awesome too. But that's a given, since they're on UU.

Lanark
05-15-2009, 03:46 AM
You know, I'd just be happy if the ukulele got enough of a heightened awareness that it became accepted as a regular instrument. Enough to be seen as legit and not a novelty. On par with mandolin or banjo or something. Something with four strings that makes musical sounds. That's all I really ask.

HoldinCoffee
05-15-2009, 04:32 AM
I'm really enjoying this thread. jkevinwolfe's post should be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Blogging.

But all seriousness aside, when you become familiar with something, like the sound of an uke, you notice it more often. Its like when you first identified the croak of a spring peeper. Prior, it just blended in with all the other nightsounds. The frog population didn't increase, your ear just became more sophisticated. Sam Ting with uku.

Ukulele JJ
05-15-2009, 04:33 AM
In my Big Beautiful World, the uke would get much wider acceptance. That's because I think creating music should be for everybody. Too many of us are mere consumers of music instead of makers of music, and that's a shame.

I see the ukulele as the perfect antidote for that. It's inexpensive, easy-to-learn, unintimidating, and fun! It's a "gateway" instrument. The more the merrier!

As far as "legitimacy" goes, I'd like it to gain some, but not too much. A lot of the uke's accessability is it's relative lack of legitimacy. It's seen as slightly goofy. A bit of a musical underdog.

And that's perfect, as far as I'm concerned, because then it doesn't have the same kind of baggage most other instruments have. There's less of an expectation to be good, compared to guitar/piano/etc. You have permission to suck at it, because hey, it's just a ukulele. No pressure! No need to impress. Just have a good time makin' some music.

If suddenly the uke were to get all high-falutin', I think we'd lose that. Does that make any sense to anyone else but me? :p

JJ

Joe H
05-15-2009, 07:54 AM
As far as "legitimacy" goes, I'd like it to gain some, but not too much. A lot of the uke's accessability is it's relative lack of legitimacy. It's seen as slightly goofy. A bit of a musical underdog.

And that's perfect, as far as I'm concerned, because then it doesn't have the same kind of baggage most other instruments have. There's less of an expectation to be good, compared to guitar/piano/etc. You have permission to suck at it, because hey, it's just a ukulele. No pressure! No need to impress. Just have a good time makin' some music.

If suddenly the uke were to get all high-falutin', I think we'd lose that. Does that make any sense to anyone else but me? :p

JJ

I totally agree with this. Those are pretty much the reasons that drew me to the uke in the first place.

Since there is no expectations or pressure placed on the uke I willing to take it outside and play without worrying what others think. I'm just there to have a good time.

snowcooley
05-15-2009, 08:02 AM
As far as "legitimacy" goes, I'd like it to gain some, but not too much. A lot of the uke's accessability is it's relative lack of legitimacy. It's seen as slightly goofy. A bit of a musical underdog.

And that's perfect, as far as I'm concerned, because then it doesn't have the same kind of baggage most other instruments have. There's less of an expectation to be good, compared to guitar/piano/etc. You have permission to suck at it, because hey, it's just a ukulele. No pressure! No need to impress. Just have a good time makin' some music.

If suddenly the uke were to get all high-falutin', I think we'd lose that. Does that make any sense to anyone else but me? :p

JJ

Makes perfect sense to me. I'd agree with you big time. I like that goofy charm the ukulele has. It enables all sorts of silliness, or, for that matter, unexpected seriousness (whichever is your cup of tea). It's perfect for beginners and noodlers and envelope-pushers, and it's fairly easy to get your hands on.

In my area, there are lots of people who have had exposure to ukulele in elementary school as a music teaching tool, which is super-cool. Somehow, despite that, though, ukulele's still not really anywhere outside the realm of the novelty instrument. People know it`s accessible though, so right there`s a small step towards that big dream that everyone be able to make music.

There's something really attractrive about that novelty and playability. Of course, I do have to be a bit of an echo and say it might be nice if any of the major music stores in my area carried a uke that wasn't laminate. :) That doesn't take away from that novelty factor I so love, does it?

UkuleleHill
05-15-2009, 08:16 AM
In my Big Beautiful World, the uke would get much wider acceptance. That's because I think creating music should be for everybody. Too many of us are mere consumers of music instead of makers of music, and that's a shame.

I see the ukulele as the perfect antidote for that. It's inexpensive, easy-to-learn, unintimidating, and fun! It's a "gateway" instrument. The more the merrier!

As far as "legitimacy" goes, I'd like it to gain some, but not too much. A lot of the uke's accessability is it's relative lack of legitimacy. It's seen as slightly goofy. A bit of a musical underdog.

And that's perfect, as far as I'm concerned, because then it doesn't have the same kind of baggage most other instruments have. There's less of an expectation to be good, compared to guitar/piano/etc. You have permission to suck at it, because hey, it's just a ukulele. No pressure! No need to impress. Just have a good time makin' some music.

If suddenly the uke were to get all high-falutin', I think we'd lose that. Does that make any sense to anyone else but me? :p

JJ

Here Here!!! This is pretty much how I feel. I tought a group of kids at camp how to play, and after only 3 days they were confident enough to play in front of the whole camp. I think it shouldn't be a "cult" instrument, it might be... But I don't want it to stay that way. I would love to see the ukulele taught in elementary school music, and I would advocate it if it were an option...

snowcooley
05-15-2009, 08:42 AM
I would love to see the ukulele taught in elementary school music, and I would advocate it if it were an option...

Well, I'd say it's definitely an option. Ukulele seems to be taught in school very regularly in Canada. According to Wikipedia:

"In the 1960s, educator J. Chalmers Doane dramatically changed school music programmes across Canada, using the ukulele as an inexpensive and practical teaching instrument to foster musical literacy in the classroom.[21] There were 50,000 schoolchildren and adults learning ukulele through the Doane program at its peak."

Didn't know that myself, but it makes sense when I think of how many of my friends have mentioned that they played a uke in school. Anyway, there's certainly a precedent for a ukulele school program, and it sounds like it's been quite successful, especially with projects like these:
http://www.ukuleleintheclassroom.com/index.htm

It's too bad they seem to have skipped over my grade (my younger brother and sister both swear they had ukulele lessons at school).... but I have lots of hope for the younger genereation!

Wow, this ended up rambly and borderline off-topic. Suffice it to say, ukulele in schools is happening, and it could happen to YOU. Well, your area, anyway. Definitely something worth fighting for.

seeso
05-15-2009, 09:03 AM
The humble ukulele is definitely gaining in popularity. Fender just started a line of ukes, for pete's sake.

We're kind of like the Macintosh of the music world. Hip, self-aware, and fun. Add a touch of irony to that description, and you have the ukers. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and we tend to gravitate toward niche interests.

We're the kind of people who quote Juno, play the Wii, and listen to Jonathan Coulton.

I don't think it will be too long before the ad agencies exploit the ukulele. It will happen right after Julia Nunes has her first big hit.

Ukulele JJ
05-15-2009, 09:45 AM
We're the kind of people who quote Juno, play the Wii, and listen to Jonathan Coulton.

Er... um... well at least I play the Wii. :o

(I do quote Airplane!, Blazing Saddles, and Spinal Tap though. Does that count for anything?)

JJ

MGM
05-15-2009, 09:49 AM
As far as ukulele being any Key Demographic we are not. Putting it simply try searching the word guitar on ebay 165,976 listings ukulele 2,558.....thats a meaely .0154118 or 1.5% of the market vs guitars...just a blip...Are we gaining popularity and respect? yes it is. Are more and more playing everyday yes....I hope it continues

Pippin
05-15-2009, 09:56 AM
My vote is for viewing the ukulele as a musical instrument. I think that novelty acts do more harm than good in the perception of the ukulele as a "serious instrument", but, the people choosing to entertain audiences with mirth and merriment do so with a clear conscience and the patrons enjoy it, too. I have no problem with that.

What has done more good than anything for ukulele is people like Jake Shimabukuro, James Hill, Ukulele Bartt, Brittni Paiva, and John King. These musicians entertain us with world-class ability and exhibit showmanship that is rare in other musical genre. They are all really nice folks, too. John King will long be remembered as an inspiration to many.

What does amaze some people that hear me play is that I will pick up a guitar on one song and then follow-up with a ukulele and treat the instrument with the same focus and intent. I want to play and sing entertaining people with original music of equal quality. I am asked how I learned to play the ukulele and how long I have played one.

CoLmes
05-15-2009, 10:49 AM
if ukes went CRAZY you would see them way more.. even at walmart..



they normally have them at toy's r us :) toys r us actually has a pretty cool instrument selection if you get bored one day and really wanna do something dumb

Tanizaki
05-15-2009, 11:27 AM
As far as "legitimacy" goes, I'd like it to gain some, but not too much. A lot of the uke's accessability is it's relative lack of legitimacy. It's seen as slightly goofy. A bit of a musical underdog.

And that's perfect, as far as I'm concerned, because then it doesn't have the same kind of baggage most other instruments have. There's less of an expectation to be good, compared to guitar/piano/etc. You have permission to suck at it, because hey, it's just a ukulele. No pressure! No need to impress. Just have a good time makin' some music.

If suddenly the uke were to get all high-falutin', I think we'd lose that. Does that make any sense to anyone else but me? :p

JJ

I echo most of these sentiments. No Tiny Tim hate, please.

This topic comes up with fair regularity on ukulele forums regarding what/who is good or bad for the ukulele's image. I am still waiting for someone to give me one good reason why I should care about the ukulele's image, or answer the more important questions of "what makes you think you're good for the ukulele's image? If you're not, are you willing to take one for the team?"

haole
05-15-2009, 12:32 PM
I think it's up to the uke community to change how the ukulele is perceived, rather than to sit on the sidelines and bash Tiny Tim. :B Show those doubting thomases how it's done! :cool:

I'm fine with it being an unusual instrument. Keep in mind we're part of the Ukulele Underground! ;)

cpatch
05-15-2009, 01:12 PM
The day I become a key market demographic is the day they pry my ukulele from my cold, dead hands.

Or sooner. It could be sooner.

RON<>VA
05-15-2009, 01:51 PM
One of my other hangouts is for folks with Hodgkin's Lymphoma (three years clean and strummin') and we've got the same vibe (though with slightly more panicky post-scan posts than around here ;) ). I think part of that is helped along by the Hodge being one of the rarer cancers.

Ba dump bump. (I thrive on uneasy laughter and cancer humor)


You probably had to have been there, done that to fully appreciate the cancer humor thing. I'm a stage 3 Hodgkins survivor - 24 years ago! And, still strummin'

UkuleleHill
05-15-2009, 04:21 PM
I don't think it will be too long before the ad agencies exploit the ukulele. It will happen right after Julia Nunes has her first big hit.

Yeah and I don't think it will be long for her either... I mean she is playing bonnaroo 2009 for cryin' out loud...

HaileISela
05-16-2009, 08:08 AM
they normally have them at toy's r us :) toys r us actually has a pretty cool instrument selection if you get bored one day and really wanna do something dumb

I had to laugh at the comments on this page http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3102999

HaileISela
05-16-2009, 08:09 AM
dont let the picture fool you
by upset mom verified buyer from va on 5/4/2009
best uses:
Young children
describe yourself:
Parent of two or more children
bottom line:
No, i would not recommend this to a friend

comments about first act ukulele hawaiian guitar:

My 11 year old son wanted a gutiar for his birthday. I ordered this one and when it came in the mail it was so little.and it says it is for kids 14 and older but it is more for a child 4 years old. It is very small[...]very disappointed



. .

ichadwick
05-16-2009, 10:37 AM
Would anyone among us want to be the next Tiny Tim?
Uh, me, sir... can I be? Please sir?

Well, just for a chance at the money. And the babes:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N_jlF-sRqk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-N_jlF-sRqk)

He was actually pretty cool, when he dropped the falsetto and did the songs straight up:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVS59qMay6A (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVS59qMay6A) He might have gone on to become the archivist for a whole lot of 20s and 30s songs, some of which we may be attempting to play today.

We all owe a lot to TT. He kept the uke alive at a time it was disappearing. Plus he gave us a springboard to launch into all sorts of conversations. A radio show host asked me if he was my inspiration, and I took the opportunity to mention Jake, Iz and George Formby. That tied in at least three generations for the listeners. Tim was the bridge between them.

And besides, which one of us hasn't at least attempted to play Tiptoe (never mind those among us for which it is a regular in the stable of oft-played tunes)?

I agree with much of the rest of your comment. But I think you're too late - the uke has already caught the Evil Eye of marketers and advertisers workldwide. It will soon become The Next Big Thing, if it's not already on the platform to catch that train.

Soon, far too soon, the uke will be as common as an SUV in a shopping mall parking lot. Fortunately, it will be smaller, more fuel eficient and much, much better looking than an SUV, but I'm afraid its popularity will cost be at a cost to its credit. I worry that - like SUVs - the uke will become the butt of ridicule in the near future.

Then what will we play to be different, fresh and cutting edge? Bazoukis? Ouds? Balalikas?

Ukulele JJ
05-16-2009, 11:38 AM
My 11 year old son wanted a gutiar for his birthday. I ordered this one and when it came in the mail it was so little.and it says it is for kids 14 and older but it is more for a child 4 years old. It is very small[...]very disappointed

Oh that's rich!

Granted, is sort of is Toy R Us's fault for calling it a "Ukulele Hawaiian Guitar". :wtf:

JJ

jkevinwolfe
05-17-2009, 02:24 AM
Ian,

Guess I need to point out that Tiny Tim should have been applauded. He was actually one of the country's best experts on American Pop from the teens through the '30s. And I certainly don't begrudge him the 15 seconds of fame he made in the '60s. (He still had 14 minutes and 45 seconds left.) What's not so well known about Tiptoe Through the tulips was that it was not a parody, but true to the original with the uke and falsetto. I remember seeing the guy who had a hit with it originally on TV whining about how Tiny Tim stole his act.

The problem was that he became a one-hit novelty eyesore in the public eye because the package of him and the music was so outlandish. And TT himself hated that he was never taken seriously. He unintentionally gave the uke a black eye that kept it from being taken seriously as an instrument. People like Jake have fortunately help greatly in reversing that stigma.

But I hope you're wrong about ukes becoming popular. I hope I never see Esteban peddling one on the Home Shopping Network. And if they ever sell a decent uke at Walmart, I'm betting it will be an endcap liquidation special in no time.

ichadwick
05-17-2009, 02:53 AM
People like Jake have fortunately help greatly in reversing that stigma.
Well, I think the "stigma" is pretty much forgotten and TT is seen in the same light we see Spike Jones or Wierd Al - comedic performers.

Sure, I like to tell people about Jake, John King, Lyle Ritz, Herb Ohta and a few others, but so far no one I've talked to has the slightest idea who they are because none of them had had the air play Tiny Tim received. When I can do so, I call up YouTube and show them. But that's not always possible.

HaileISela
05-17-2009, 03:56 AM
It will soon become The Next Big Thing, if it's not already on the platform to catch that train.

would be funny to see something as small as the Uke getting called "the next big thing"^^

jkevinwolfe
05-17-2009, 05:11 AM
Ian,

I respectfully disagree with you. Spike was, and Weird Al is, a novelty machine. So successful and prolific, it's hard to pin down what you'd consider a signature song with either them. Despite their unique instruments (Weird Al's accordion and Spike's bizarre percussion) the focus is on the music and the fans just expected a great performance intended to make them laugh no matter what the song. The musicianship of these two: stunning. Weird Al's show is one of the most amazing things on stage today.

TT will be remembered as a one-hit sideshow that the greater public mind couldn't classify. There was no pigeonhole that he fit into. Spike and Al command a lot of respect among fans and musicians. TT never got that.

I agree that the stigma created around TT is pretty much forgotten, but it's taken a long time. Half the world dies every 40 years, so a lot of the forgetting is because half the witnesses aren't around anymore.

Oh God, did I just say something serious? Sorry.

Jimmy
05-17-2009, 05:25 AM
The ukulele is a very accessible instrument. We shouldn't hate on Tiny Tim because he used it in his act, which was very popular. Playing ukulele and being snobby doesn't really work, if you want to be taken completely seriously and no one find your cute 4-stringed midget guitar amusing get a more "serious" instrument, you know? :P

"Ukulele player" is an awfully vague term. It can describe anybody. aaaaaaanybody

UkuEroll
05-17-2009, 05:51 AM
Well I have to say I'm impressed, I knew if I hung about long enough I would find the serious side of you guy's, this has been really interesting to hear the different opinions.
Since I've been playing, whenever my friends come over and hear me play, they have a smile of as if I am peforming comedy, I think this stems from the Tiny Tim, George Formby era, It dosn't bother me, but I do get fed up with telling them its not a toy, its an INSTRUMENT.....Any who cares I'm happy.

jkevinwolfe
05-17-2009, 06:14 AM
Swear to got, it will never happen again.

Tanizaki
05-17-2009, 06:16 AM
Ian,

I respectfully disagree with you. Spike was, and Weird Al is, a novelty machine. So successful and prolific, it's hard to pin down what you'd consider a signature song with either them. Despite their unique instruments (Weird Al's accordion and Spike's bizarre percussion) the focus is on the music and the fans just expected a great performance intended to make them laugh no matter what the song. The musicianship of these two: stunning. Weird Al's show is one of the most amazing things on stage today.

TT will be remembered as a one-hit sideshow that the greater public mind couldn't classify. There was no pigeonhole that he fit into. Spike and Al command a lot of respect among fans and musicians. TT never got that.

I agree that the stigma created around TT is pretty much forgotten, but it's taken a long time. Half the world dies every 40 years, so a lot of the forgetting is because half the witnesses aren't around anymore.

Oh God, did I just say something serious? Sorry.

I would like to know what person with any semblance of a life cares what anyone else thinks of his choice of musical instrument.

There is a question I ask of every person who says that X is bad for the image of Y, which amazingly has never been answered. Tiny Tim was bad for the ukulele's image? Fine. What makes you so sure you aren't? If someone were to convince you that you were bad for the ukulele's image, would you stop playing for the good of uke players everywhere?

jkevinwolfe
05-17-2009, 06:26 AM
Tanizaki,

Chill, mon. Sorry if I hit a nerve. Are you accusing me of being better than Tiny Tim? Bite your tongue.

The choice of instrument doesn't matter to the musician, but what this thread is about is that it matters to the public. Tell the public you play guitar and you get a very different response than the laugh you get when you say you play ukulele. That's all.

Tanizaki
05-17-2009, 08:11 AM
Tanizaki,

Chill, mon. Sorry if I hit a nerve. Are you accusing me of being better than Tiny Tim? Bite your tongue.

The choice of instrument doesn't matter to the musician, but what this thread is about is that it matters to the public. Tell the public you play guitar and you get a very different response than the laugh you get when you say you play ukulele. That's all.

Like I said, what person with any semblance of a life cares what anyone else thinks of his choice of musical instrument?

CoffeeMate
05-17-2009, 09:39 AM
The ukulele is a very accessible instrument. We shouldn't hate on Tiny Tim because he used it in his act, which was very popular. Playing ukulele and being snobby doesn't really work, if you want to be taken completely seriously and no one find your cute 4-stringed midget guitar amusing get a more "serious" instrument, you know? :P

"Ukulele player" is an awfully vague term. It can describe anybody. aaaaaaanybody

Can I get an AMEN brothas and sistas! It's sad Tiny Tim is mainly remembered as a novelty act. I've looked at the tiptoe through the tulips chords and ran away screaming. Songs with more than 4 or 5 chords make me shiver. When people ask me if I play it I tell them nope not a chance that song is way beyond my abilities.
I love that people think ukulele is cute and fun because it IS cute and fun. I also enjoy showing people vids of Iz, Jake, Aldrine etc. so they are aware the uke is not only cute and fun but a diverse and complex instrument.
Tanizaki, I am proud of my choice of instrument, I care what people think of it because I love it so much, I want EVERYONE to love it too. :love:

dominicfoundthemooon
05-17-2009, 09:40 AM
The humble ukulele is definitely gaining in popularity. Fender just started a line of ukes, for pete's sake.

We're kind of like the Macintosh of the music world. Hip, self-aware, and fun. Add a touch of irony to that description, and you have the ukers. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and we tend to gravitate toward niche interests.

We're the kind of people who quote Juno, play the Wii, and listen to Jonathan Coulton.

I don't think it will be too long before the ad agencies exploit the ukulele. It will happen right after Julia Nunes has her first big hit.

wise words from a wise man! i agree! all of that!

seeso
05-17-2009, 01:01 PM
Like I said, what person with any semblance of a life cares what anyone else thinks of his choice of musical instrument?

These words can be taken as an insult to some who have posted in this thread. I'm sure you didn't mean it as such, but I'd just like to point that out. All due respect.

If you don't care that people laugh when you pull out your ukulele, that's great. More power to you.

The fact that some people feel angry or awkward when people laugh at their ukuleles does not mean that they have no life. It just means that they reacted differently than you might.

I have a life, and I don't like it when people laugh at my uke.

dave alexander
05-17-2009, 02:50 PM
Bill Murray in Stripes:"One day Tito Puente will be dead and you'll be like...'I've been listening to him for years.'"

We'll all say that about Julia Nunes, and Jake too when they get pop hit. (I was watching Julua when she was playing in her dorm. Which actually comes out sounding pretty odd from a 40+ guy.) I hope her first hit is "Build Me Up Buttercup.)

Mainstream? Hardly a threat. There will be a spike in sales, we won't see a uke at a garage sale for two years, and then something else will come along.

You guys who are serious players might notice more attention. Personally I play for me. When I play for others it always draws a smile. Hit "pop" trend or not, that's not gonna change.

Ukuleleblues
05-17-2009, 02:58 PM
I have noticed that more folks are being exposed to the uke. I even saw the First Act uke at Walmat a year or so ago. One of the things that attracted me to the instrument was that most of the folks that played were into playing and not collecting expensive ukes. There is a kind of snobbery (is that a word) in the guitar world. I've have a few cheap guitars I set up properly that really play nice. Other guitar players would be ashamed to play a non-fender/gibson guitar like I do. I mean realy ashamed, it's so dumb. I am starting to see the same type of behaviour in the uke world now.

If Ukes get really popular I would be surprised. You still have to have some patience and focus to learn how to play. Those are two traits that are becoming very rare.

ichadwick
05-18-2009, 02:49 AM
Mainstream? Hardly a threat. There will be a spike in sales, we won't see a uke at a garage sale for two years, and then something else will come along.
A threat? No, but a presence for sure, and a lot of exposure. Ukes could be the next Spice Girls in consumer popularity... And I for one want to see it happen. I want ukes in every household. In every store, featured in windows and advertising flyers. I want kids carrying ukes down the street instead of skateboards. I want ukes hung on walls and stacked in cases under sideboards.

Why?

I'm eagerly awaiting for those garage sales so I can add to my collection at a good price, when the fad has passed! :D

Personally I play for me.
Ditto. I play for the fun of it, for my own entertainment and learning, to keep my fingers supple and my brain active. I play because I like making music.

In an argument, I will defend the uke as a serious instrument voraciously, but I really don't care if the listener agrees. I do and I'm the guy with the ukuleles in my living room.

Moondoggie
05-18-2009, 06:04 AM
Holy Crapoley. My first real post on UU and I wind up with a serious, intellectual discussion? Where did I go wrong? :eek:

When it comes to the uke's popularity/acceptance, there's one particular level that I can't WAIT to get to: where I no longer have to say "Seriously - the ukulele." People around me know me for making snarky, funny and/or random comments, so when I mention playing the uke, I usually just get one of those "That Brian - what a kidder" looks. If I mentioned playing guitar, I wouldn't get that look.

Of course, if I played guitar, I'd be a douchebag.

Haaaayooooo! :rolleyes:

Anyway, I was in Orange, CT Friday afternoon and stopped in at Daddy's Junky Music. I wandered around a bit, making my way to the back where the acoustic stuff was. Lo and behold, on the wall above the little sound-proof section were what appeared to be every model of the Lanikai LU series uke! They had a tenor, a pineapple, a concert, a soprano, a couple that were a little too high up to identify, and a couple of Hilo ukes too.

An outstanding selection not only for what I've found around here so far, but for someone who's toying with the idea of picking up a uke for the first time. Think about it - while it would awesome to have a store with Kalas and Ponos and Martins and Kamakas and all, what better way to suck in new uke players than to have reasonable priced ukes? Once they get hooked, they'll be hooked enough to seek out the expensive ones.

Hmmmm... maybe they kept those in the back somewhere. "Pssst. Hey kid. You look like you're jonesing over there. Got a custom uke in the back room - get you what you need... You're not a cop, are you?"

I want to give a quick shout out to Ron, my Hodge brother, a few posts up. Awesome to hear about your 24 years! I'll be telling the other Hodgers about you for sure - we all like hearing about the ones that have made it through, and the longer ago the better :) I was a stage IV myself. Good times. ;)

Lastly, I'm now doing my part to spread the uke influence - three videos in a row last night - woo hoo! Now people can find me out there and thing "Man, if that jackass can sort of play one of those, anyone can!"

Moondoggie
05-18-2009, 06:14 AM
Ditto. I play for the fun of it, for my own entertainment and learning, to keep my fingers supple and my brain active. I play because I like making music.

In an argument, I will defend the uke as a serious instrument voraciously, but I really don't care if the listener agrees. I do and I'm the guy with the ukuleles in my living room.

Same here. I also use it for mental therapy. I have some MAJOR problems with perfectionism, and the uke has worked wonders on me. Aside from being soothing and fun, it's the first thing that I've let myself be bad at with no unrealistic expectations. Any time I start getting all perfectionist & OCD-ey, I just stop and have the same little conversation with myself:

"I know you really want to get the strums and the notes in this song perfectly right, and I understand. What was the date of your big sold out concert again? Right. No concert. But the tour is starting soon, right? Oh. No tour. Then it's probably because your bandmates are tired of you screwing up? Really? Not in a band? Huh. Must be that wedding/paid gig you have coming up. Oh, I see. No one's paying you to do this? Well then, I guess you'd just better chill out about it and go back to having fun."

Sometimes I think there are a lot of folks who could stand to have that conversation with themselves :)

Lori
05-18-2009, 07:03 AM
Quote from the Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2009 :"Sales of new acoustic pianos, which peaked three decades ago, have been harmed by the crash of the stock and housing markets, Lamond said. Figures from NAMM and Music Trades reveal that in 2000, 105,000 acoustic upright and grand pianos were sold in the United States. In 2007, the total was just 54,000. (Electronic piano sales rose from 82,000 to 121,000 over the same period, and Americans bought 1.2 million portable keyboards in 2007.)

By contrast, sales for a generally cheaper instrument -- the guitar -- have risen: From 1998 to 2007, acoustic guitar sales grew to 1,348,000 from 611,000; for electric guitars, the numbers grew to 1,520,000 from 543,000.

"The guitar has displaced the piano in a lot of the music people listen to -- and not just kids," Parakilas said.

People see the guitar -- mistakenly -- as easy to master, and "kids want to see themselves as guitar players," he said.

Garrett Sullivan, the manager of Adams Music, a popular spot on the Westside for lessons, said that electric guitar lessons have been gaining ground for years. It's by far the most popular in the Pico Boulevard studio, with band and orchestra instruments and piano competing for second place."

I think every new guitar player is a potential ukulele player! I give just as much effort and concentration into the ukulele as I did for the guitar. For me, the experience is the same. The ukulele has the advantage of smaller size, and lower cost, which are both helpful for today's lifestyle. So, I think that this bump in guitar players will evolve into future uke players. Maybe not for another 5 or 10 years, but I think it might happen. Especially if there continues to be the great range of quality ukuleles available from the craftsmen/ manufacturers we have today.
–Lori