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Ian Boys
04-11-2008, 07:02 PM
I'm sure there have been topics related to this subject before, but I'm curious as to what might have caused the surge in the uke's popularity during the last few years (namely last year).


If you've taken up the uke recently... would you mind letting me know what prompted you to do so? I'm trying to see if there is a trend to be found...

Plainsong
04-11-2008, 07:13 PM
The trend for me is that I heard the sound of it from someone playing some reggae, and I dug it. Also with the small neck, it's ideal for my small fingers in a way guitar is not.

Vroom
04-11-2008, 07:23 PM
Someone I met in Costa Rica on a tour group trip was playing a Hula Tenor Ukulele and he told me to try it out and i fell in love after the first chord i played

yomogimogi
04-11-2008, 08:20 PM
My aunt was learning how so I tried it out, and have been hooked. It seemed like a fun and different alternative to percussion I play. My mom and sister got ukes for Christmas, too.

tad
04-11-2008, 08:26 PM
I've been thinking about this a bit myself. I think it's the convergence of a lot of things.

Bruddah Iz and Jake Shimabukuro have become increasingly popular. This has raised the interest level in island music and let more mainstream listeners know that the uke isn't just a novelty instrument, but something that can, in the hands of a virtuoso player, sound freaking amazing.

For people from a more indie/rock background, the Magnetic Fields' Stephen Merritt has been a real booster for the instrument, though he's backed away from it recently. The documentary "Rock That Uke" has also really opened some people's eyes to the possibilities of the instrument-- when you see a ukulele punk band, or the guy who plays a soprano uke with forty or so pedals, you really see the instrument in a new light-- the uke can be a pretty punk-rock instrument.

There also seem to be an increasing number of companies making ukuleles at different price points-- it's easier to go from that first twenty-dollar cheapie to a decent beginner instrument for a hundred or two to (if the Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome really kicks in) the really nice quality instrument that may run you a grand or more. More variety, more innovative designs, more price points... all this attracts more new buyers.

Finally, it's hard to discount the impact of the internet and Web 2.0. Youtube videos seem to have influenced a lot of people's decision to pick up a uke. E-commerce and ebay have made ukuleles easier to purchase, no matter where you live. Uke tabs and chords can be found everywhere. Uke blogs are proliferating. And there's nice ukulele tools online-- like Sheep Entertainment's Ukulele Chord Finder (http://www.sheep-entertainment.nl/ukulele/index.html) and Tom Smith's Let's Play Ukulele (http://letsplayukulele.com/ukulele/tabs/?a=12) make it easier to learn without a friend or a teacher to help you along.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

Ukulele_Junkie
04-11-2008, 08:33 PM
50 first dates was a big impact when Bruddah Iz graced the credits with Over the Rainbow.

tad
04-11-2008, 08:57 PM
50 first dates was a big impact when Bruddah Iz's graced the credits with Over the Rainbow.

It was in that movie where Brad Pitt was death, too, wasn't it?

NukeDOC
04-11-2008, 10:46 PM
i listened to a three plus cd. that got me interested. that was some few years ago. then a good friend of mine move back to hawaii. so a few of us went over to visit him. while at the flea market, i decided to get one. and told myself if i get a decent one, i would dedicate what time i had to learning how to play. 8 months later.... here i am. crazy how things work out sometimes.

UkuleleHill
04-12-2008, 02:06 AM
Well a cumulation of things for me... I played guitar and I liked it but the chording was so hard sometimes... I saw a uke for real cheap on ebay and thought hey I will try it. Got it and decided against it at the time. Uke sat around for a year then I was working nights and had nothing to do so I thought hey I will try to learn it. It was one of those 15 dollar mini sopranos so I could easily put it in my book bag and go. So I did and the rest is history. Been playing consistently for about a year and a half now...

Ian Boys
04-12-2008, 02:13 AM
Hmm... so I guess, from the looks of things, the ukulele has been getting more and more exposure as of late... and the more people who take it up, the more exposure it gets.... the more websites go up... the more professional musicians appear with them.... the more people end up influencing their friends to buy one and give it a try....

....the Ukulele Epidemic of the 21st Century.

Something along those lines.

drubin
04-12-2008, 05:57 AM
Great discussion folks! Lots of insights. Three additional thoughts:

1. There is something very unique about the size and portability of the ukulele that is very attractive. You really can take it anywhere, unlike, say, a Hammond B3 organ. :rolleyes:

2. The uke also seems to fit with the DIY (Do It Yourself) aspect of contemporary urban technological culture. Its pretty amazing how many new ukulele clips appear on youtube per day and just how many different ukulele forums and blogs there are. :cool: Very different from, say, the world of dobros and weissenborns (which I am more familiar with), where there's only a few forums. :p

3. The exposure factor, as already discussed. I think its a great thing that there are increasingly more and more ukulele "ambassadors" in pop culture. For some folks its was Jake or Iz that turned them on to the uke. For me, it was, in part, Zach Condon's band Beirut. :D

seeso
04-12-2008, 08:42 AM
I think the theories posited in this thread hold a lot of water.

For me, I just picked one up one day and fell in love with the sound of it, how it felt in my hands, and the portability factor.

I didn't hear Iz's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" until after I'd picked one up. I heard Jake's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," but that wasn't the impetus, either. I saw that video and just said to myself, "Damn. He's awesome. I'll never be able to play that instrument like he does."

russ_buss
04-12-2008, 08:48 AM
I think the theories posited in this thread hold a lot of water.

For me, I just picked one up one day and fell in love with the sound of it, how it felt in my hands, and the portability factor.

I didn't hear Iz's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" until after I'd picked one up. I heard Jake's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," but that wasn't the impetus, either. I saw that video and just said to myself, "Damn. He's awesome. I'll never be able to play that instrument like he does."


haha seeso, your SAT words are making me feel dumb. i need to read more.:o

degracia
04-12-2008, 08:48 AM
Many people got into acoustic music a few years ago. They picked up a guitar, and found it rather hard to play due to its size and the causes to your fingers.

They picked up a uke, a smooth similar way. And fell in love with it. Which is why I continued my uke playing. I played uke in 03, then played the guitar for about a year and went back.

tad
04-12-2008, 08:59 AM
Great discussion folks! Lots of insights. Three additional thoughts:
2. The uke also seems to fit with the DIY (Do It Yourself) aspect of contemporary urban technological culture. Its pretty amazing how many new ukulele clips appear on youtube per day and just how many different ukulele forums and blogs there are. :cool: Very different from, say, the world of dobros and weissenborns (which I am more familiar with), where there's only a few forums. :p


Really?
I mean, I agree to a point-- I talked as well about the proliferation of the uke on the internet, that it's becoming the poster instrument of Web 2.0, but I think there's a real DIY appeal to dobros.

I just got my first metal-body resonator uke and the fact that it's mostly metal makes me want to tinker with it more-- I've already purchased new tuners, and my next purchase, rather than another uke, will likely be a National cone.

I'm afraid of woodworking. Metal I can deal with.

seeso
04-12-2008, 09:26 AM
haha seeso, your SAT words are making me feel dumb. i need to read more.:o

Heheh... Maybe I'm just being a douchebag again. :D

drubin
04-12-2008, 10:55 AM
I hear what you're saying Tad. :) Good points.

Another thought, based on what Degracia is saying: is the increasing popularity of the uke perhaps related also to the broader trend of the revival of interest in acoustic instruments across a variety of genres?

BTW, what kind of resonator uke do you have? I'd be interested to hear how your cone upgrade goes. I've read that those new "hot-rod" National Reso-phonic cones are the real deal. I'd love to get me a resonator uke one day to complement my squareneck six-stringers. :D

tad
04-12-2008, 01:55 PM
I hear what you're saying Tad. :) Good points.

Another thought, based on what Degracia is saying: is the increasing popularity of the uke perhaps related also to the broader trend of the revival of interest in acoustic instruments across a variety of genres?

BTW, what kind of resonator uke do you have? I'd be interested to hear how your cone upgrade goes. I've read that those new "hot-rod" National Reso-phonic cones are the real deal. I'd love to get me a resonator uke one day to complement my squareneck six-stringers. :D

It's a Republic. As far as I can tell, it's a Johnson with different but comperable neck, headstock, and cone, (actually, I've heard several people claim it's a better cone than the Johnsons have out-of-the-box) and about two hundred bucks cheaper. It's a startup brand by this guy outta Texas, so I think he's trying to eke out a spot in the market by selling resos that are comparable to Johnsons and Regals that sell for a more modest price point.

It's my first resonator, but I'm pretty happy with it. As I said, there are a few things I'm planning on changing, over time, but overall, it was worth it at the price. Two hundred bucks for a metal body resonator is a good price. I figure if I put another hundred bucks or so, I'll have a much better quality instrument than one that cost that much out of the box.

salukulady
04-12-2008, 05:04 PM
I'm a parrothead, when Jake toured with Jimmy it just clicked for me...

Sundown Jim
04-12-2008, 05:42 PM
About three years ago i was listening to XM satellite radio one night and heard an instrumental. I said, "What is that and who is that?" As it turned out it was Herb Ohta on uke. Hmmm. I got to look into this uke thing. What a pleasant sound. Then a few friends in my Western music community were playing uke. I started aquiring ukes off eBay, quite a few. I like the sound and similarity and difference compared to guitar. I've played guitar and mandolin for most of 50 years. The uke is a very pleasant change.

Johnny Elsewhere
04-12-2008, 07:47 PM
I saw Jake in concert in 2003 (When he was opening for Kaki King! WOOT!!). And it just blew me away that you could do so many things with a tiny instrument like the ukulele.

After meeting Jake, and seeing how he played. I just had to get one of my own. =) I know, it's lame. But I'd pick my ukulele over my guitar any day, now.

JoeyJr858
04-16-2008, 05:05 PM
Iz in the movie soundtracks.. and Jake when he started touring and promoting to the mainland...

I heard Jake bust his "Gently Weeps" on 91x in San Diego on morning, LIVE... and it's a Rock station!!! They gave it up though!!! NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!

plus, I don't know if anyone ever notices commercial music... sounds like you ALWAYS hear an ukulele track in the background, yeah???

:D

Howlin Hobbit
04-17-2008, 07:17 AM
I know the "third wave" of uke popularity seems to be a recent (last year or so) 21st century thing but it really started back in the late 90's and a lot of the initial inertia was overcome by Jim Beloff of Flea Market Music with his Fluke ukulele and great (and continuing!) series of books.

He helped point out how accessible ukulele was to the ordinary person who just wanted to make a little music.

drubin
04-17-2008, 08:31 AM
Good point Howlin Hobbit! Those Flukes are all over the place now. :)

BTW, from your youtube videos, I see you live in Seattle, correct? That's my old stompin' ground, where I grew up and went to college. Great town! :D Man, do I miss the Pike Place Market. I hope I get to see you play there some day. :cool:

Neil Cursed Diamond
04-17-2008, 08:51 AM
Like other people already posted, Somewhere over the Rainbow is in every movie ever made these days and Jake's popularity has increased the uke's profile. Also its cheap, portable and pretty easy to learn the basics.

I think the band Beirut has had a lot to do with it too.

Howlin Hobbit
04-18-2008, 10:14 AM
BTW, from your youtube videos, I see you live in Seattle, correct? That's my old stompin' ground, where I grew up and went to college. Great town! :D Man, do I miss the Pike Place Market. I hope I get to see you play there some day. :cool:

Yep, I'm still in Seattle. I'm thinking I gotta get out of here though, at least for a little bit. Getting the city version of "cabin fever" or something.

Maybe I'll try to arrange a tour. :cool:

UkuleleHill
04-18-2008, 10:34 AM
Like other people already posted, Somewhere over the Rainbow is in every movie ever made these days and Jake's popularity has increased the uke's profile. Also its cheap, portable and pretty easy to learn the basics.

I think the band Beirut has had a lot to do with it too.

Yeah when I saw beirut on Youtube I was like man thats cool... It helped me decide to pick it up...

CYNICALifornia
04-18-2008, 10:51 AM
Beruit was one of the factors in my buying my Uke, as was the classic film 'Joe vs. the Volcano'.

If you get a chance to see Beruit live, do it, they are amazing.

If you do it in the LA area, call me and I'll come with!

dnewton2
04-18-2008, 10:59 AM
I have actually wanted to start playing for a while, prob a couple years. I was in collage and $$ was tight. so once I finishe and got a job, i was able to get some flow together to get a uke. Finally i started in Dec. I don't know why I ever got the idea to play. I tried giutar when i was younger but too many strings and no paitince (sp?)I quit. I guess I thought less strings and frets would be easier. I also saw a bunch of stuff on You tube before I finally got a uke that kinda motivated me to acctually start.

SweetWaterBlue
12-08-2009, 06:02 AM
I know this is an old tread, but here is a good recent article on "the surge" from various uke manufacturers.

http://www.mmrmagazine.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=4B535F81E91544AAA082951548FBA1EF

Ahnko Honu
12-08-2009, 06:51 AM
It's part of culture here in the Islands as well as family tradition, was in love with 'ukulele WAY before it was a fad or cool as far as Mainlanders are concerned. You wouldn't know by listening to me play but have been playing since before most of you were born. Kanikapila almost every Friday night at pau hana parties while growing up. I wish they had video cameras back then to help preserve the memories, they get foggier every year.

As far as recent popularity I give Braddah IZ the credit getting the ball rolling again with "Somewhere over the Rainbow/Wonderful World" in several Hollywood movie closing credits as well as TV shows, and even TV commercials way before anyone on Mainland ever heard of Jake S.

clayton56
12-08-2009, 06:55 AM
I've already tried everything else!

I started thinking about a more portable instrument to take to work, plus I needed a lighter strumming sound for rhythm tracks. Two guitars would be too boomy, etc. I decided to try a uke, and found it works for me in a lot of ways. I can do some of my Celtic favorites, I can do some classical melodies, and just strum also. Great sound!

ukecantdothat
12-08-2009, 07:10 AM
I think the theories posited in this thread hold a lot of water.

For me, I just picked one up one day and fell in love with the sound of it, how it felt in my hands, and the portability factor.

I didn't hear Iz's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" until after I'd picked one up. I heard Jake's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," but that wasn't the impetus, either. I saw that video and just said to myself, "Damn. He's awesome. I'll never be able to play that instrument like he does."Seeso nails it again as far as personal reasons. I picked one up on vacation a couple years back and haven't put it down. Not long after I started, someone at work thought I might like this Jake Shima-something-or-other and left a CD at my workstation, because he thought I played like him. I listened to it and my friggin' jaw dropped. I brought the disc back to the guy and told him I will play like that when pigs fly backwards. I think his "Weeps" cover did a lot to popularize the uke and show it as more than a simple "background instrument for down to earth folk song singing" as a recent post tried to relegate it. Before that, Iz's "Rainbow" in the closing credits of "Meet Joe Black" put it into motion somewhat, but even though Madison Ave. did it's best to overexpose the song in countless ads, I don't think the general public knew of Bruddah Iz. I don't think the general public knows much about Jake either, certainly the Grammy committee is ignorant of his contribution. It's the kids coming up who will catapult this guy, if anything, through viral vids like "Weeps." You go to his shows and there are all kinds of people with ukes in hand waiting for their idol to sign it. He's about as close to a rock star on the instrument as the world has seen.

RevWill
12-08-2009, 07:18 AM
I think a lot of it has to do with George Harrison, Jim and Dale's Flukes and Fleas (and the books), "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by IZ and its use in several movie soundtracks, Jake's original "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" video, and the heightened interest in other acoustic instruments from the '90s on.

kenikas
12-08-2009, 07:21 AM
I've played Ki Ho'alu guitar for several years, but although I loved Iz, Ohta san, Troy Fernandez etc I always kind of thought of it as a toy. My wife had uke years ago that her grandfather had given her and she played for a bit, but with young kids, career etc it pretty much sat and she gave it to her brother. I'd never really tried to play one, and then my grandson was in a program for school and they were playing uke's in a couple of songs and he really enjoyed it. I got the idea of getting him a decent uke, one for his sister and one for myself so we could all play together, and it's been great. Now I'm hooked! I'm now looking for a uke for my wife so she can join us.

kiddfixit
12-08-2009, 07:50 AM
Mastery of the ukulele is paramount to my long-term goals of world domination, as summarized below:

1. Learn how to play.
2. Become a beloved ambassador for the Uke.
3. Take over the world.
4. Groupies. Lots of groupies.

BWHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!!!

Based on the resurgence of the Ukulele, it sounds like others may be trying to steal my plan. Sadly, a select few are actually beating me at my own game.

Tsani
12-08-2009, 08:18 AM
I grew up with people who played the ukulele in New Guinea, and I played a little while I was there, but I was really more involved with the harmonica, and later the guitar.

I tried to play guitar for years, and to be honest I was never any good. My hands are too small, and the virtuosity of guitar players like Steve Howe, Jimi Hendrix, Brian May, and Jimmy Page just intimidates me.

Of course Jake intimidates me too...

I got started on ukulele when my son decided he wanted to play to introduce an "island sound" to the music he was playing with his garage band. We ordered him an ukulele made in China that was really terrible. But we found the size, the ease of playing, and the music from IZ, Jake, and other uke artists to be irresistible. We also had a friend in Boy Scouts who had been stationed in Hawaii and got all excited about uke at the same time. He got himself an Ovation and since he was already a great guitar player proceeded to show us how much fun you could have with a uke. (DeG)

I accidentally found a Favilla baritone for very little cost, and there was just no stopping it after that. I was in love with the sound and the music and the simplicity of making music on a uke. I discovered John King, and that opened my mind to new ways of thinking about playing on the uke. And here we are.

Sambient
12-08-2009, 08:21 AM
I'm the sort of person who from time to time threatens to learn to play an instrument but I do not stick with it.
This time around things seem to be a little different.

I think there's a hogshead of factors for me personally. The short of it is I just think this is the right thing for me at this time.

bazmaz
12-08-2009, 08:45 AM
For me, it was George Harrison, or more sadly I should say, the death of George Harrison.

I've always known George played and the story how he always carried two ukes everywhere, so he could always play with others ( i love that story)

Then I saw his rememberance concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which not only had Paul McCartney playing "something" on the uke, but ended with Joe Brown playing "see you in my dreams", solo on uke, whilst orange petals fell from the ceiling in front of a picture of George - so tearful.

Anyway, shortly after, I saw a Loudon Wainwright gig (another big hero) where he played his Ukulele Song on a Flea

And then......... I was hooked!

Pippin
12-08-2009, 08:57 AM
50 first dates was a big impact when Bruddah Iz graced the credits with Over the Rainbow.

Meet Joe Black and Finding Forrester both had "Over the Rainbow" in the sound track, too.

Jake's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is a big contribution to it, as is the work of Jumpin' Jim Beloff.

The "Concert for George" is also an influence.

Uke.
12-08-2009, 09:03 AM
It's just such an awesome instrument. I love music, and had seen a few people playing ukes at school. I decided to type it into youtube and of course found Jake's Gently Weeps video, and from there I knew I had to get one :).

grammy
12-08-2009, 09:08 AM
I've had a uke for years but after an initial rush i neglected it for a long time, as , to be honest, i negllected all my instruments, i think that earlier this year i was trawling you tube listening to homemade music of various kinds, i've always liked listening to live musicians, i came upon people playing ukes, kind of by accident, moreover they were playing songs i liked, like coveywood doing accentuate the positive, and julia nunes doing build me up buttercup, keonopax doing Maxwell's silver hammer and lots of others, anyway i found myself picking up my old uke and playing it a bit, eight months later i cant put them down i've got three, and another one on order for my mrs, and chronic UAS. i play every day for at least an hour and i absolutely love it.

molokinirum
12-08-2009, 09:16 AM
I was learning the guitar, had trouble with all of the chords and upon planning our trip to Hawaii, my wife suggested I get a ukulele. I did and have had tons of fun playing it. Most of the chords are easy (compared to the guitar) and a lot of the songs are easy!! :D

Jepoyako
12-08-2009, 09:29 AM
My wife bought me one from Costco--Laminate Koa Lyon by Washburn concert (Oscar Schmidt?) I play guitar a little and the uke has always interested me. I tried it out for a while, having loads of fun and then put it down for a season. I stumbled upon Jake S. on Youtube and my uke once again got some paytime. I then discovered Aldrine, UU, and, and, and...now I can't stand the moments I'm away from my uke! Yes, I am saving for a quality uke purchase. The Lyon concert was a good starter-great looks and easy playability, but lacks volume and tone.

thisnthat
12-08-2009, 10:24 AM
Hmm... so I guess, from the looks of things, the ukulele has been getting more and more exposure as of late... and the more people who take it up, the more exposure it gets.... the more websites go up... the more professional musicians appear with them.... the more people end up influencing their friends to buy one and give it a try....

Yup, at least for me anyway. It got my attention when I saw a friend's videos on Twitter. I was unaware of any kind of resurgence before then although I do have Iz's Over the Rainbow which I bought on iTunes a few years ago, again because I heard it on someone else's video as a backing track.

I think the price point definitely helps. Even for a basic beginner guitar you need to spend about £60 but you can pick up an attractive looking Uke for around £20. Makes it seem less risky as an investment if you don't keep at it.
If you don't like it, well it will look cool on the wall. (of course you'll instantly be hooked so that will never happen)

I'm sure some people find the "quirkiness" of the instrument appealing. I don't think it's something that really crossed my mind at the time but going by a few videos I've seen on YouTube I think some people like it because it's a bit different.

mrUKETOBER
12-08-2009, 10:28 AM
ukulele is the coolest little thing .. i wish more mainstream groups used them ! i want them to be more popular !

brickerenator
12-08-2009, 05:48 PM
Funny you should mention surge.
My friend has one, got me interested. I bought one, got my little brother interested. He bought one, got another friend interested. We just ordered her a pink makala from MGM.

It's contagious doc.


ukulele is the coolest little thing .. i wish more mainstream groups used them ! i want them to be more popular !

eh, it was the lack of mainstreamness that attracted me to the ukulele

micromue
12-09-2009, 12:34 AM
I don´t know any instrument, that has a stronger emotional connotation with that idealized careless easy goin´ lifestyle most of us whish to live, but only few dare to realize. Playing (even just owning) a uke buys you a piece of that "White sandy beach".;)

Oh yeah, and Jake of course.:D

Carson Bailey
12-09-2009, 01:06 AM
I discovered Bruddha "IZ" 7 years ago, when I was playing the acoustic, singer/songwriter circuit here in Indy. But I didn't buy a Uke until this past year... I believe there are plethora of reasons for the resurgence in playing the Uke. Less money for a "premium" (guitar/stringed type) instrument. Availability thru online stores and more exposure in the Music (Guitar) stores really made the push. Then once you actually play the four strings on a Ukulele (after playing guitar) it's sooo much more personal and adaptable. The Uke is simply easier to Chord and fingerpicking and drive the melody.. fun to sing with Ukes too!

Doctroid
12-09-2009, 01:09 AM
I'm sure there have been topics related to this subject before, but I'm curious as to what might have caused the surge in the uke's popularity during the last few years (namely last year)...


...Another thought, based on what Degracia is saying: is the increasing popularity of the uke perhaps related also to the broader trend of the revival of interest in acoustic instruments across a variety of genres?...

I've forgotten if I've posted this here before. Take a look at Google Trends. (http://www.google.com/trends?q=ukulele%2C+fiddle%2C+mandolin%2C+harmonic a%2C+banjo) Any folk/acoustic instruments I can think of, the general trend over the past five years is downward, or maybe arguably flat. (http://www.google.com/trends?q=guitar&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0) Except the uke. That's trending upwards, and has been not for the past year or two but for the past five years (as far back as Google Trends goes.) (It's also odd and interesting that most instruments show peaks on December 25 -- but not fiddle or dulcimer. (http://www.google.com/trends?q=dulcimer%2C+fiddle&ctab=-2147483648&geo=all&date=all))

As for me I never heard Iz (or at least never noticed) until after I got interested in the instrument. I did see Jake's "Gently Weeps" on YouTube, though -- can't recall how I stumbled across it -- and was greatly impressed. I've played a variety of instruments over the years, mostly gravitating to the decidedly anti-cool like alto clarinet and melodeon; briefly flirted with learning the guitar but found it too hard relative to the amount of interest I had in doing so. Last summer on the Make blog I saw an article about building a very simple cigar box uke, which prompted me to do some Googling and I ended up buying a Grizzly uke kit (which I have yet to do anything with, but I still intend to). Then I said, hm, if I'm going to build a uke, I probably ought to know what a decent one sounds and feels like, so I bought a Kala. And here I am.

ukecoolness
12-09-2009, 04:45 AM
A lot of good points were made in this thread.
The increase of popularity and overrall coolness of the ukulele during the past 2 years is undeniable and like some people already said youtube videos have a lot to do with that.
A while back I heard a guy from the BBC radio talking about the strange appeal of our beloved intrument, it's portable and there is something very unpretentious about it... people don't expect much of it when you show up with a uke in your hands, and they're usually pleasently surprised by it's sound and happiness :p
In that same show, wich the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain were guests, someone from the band (maybe George) said that it's small, protable and cheap and that's a good start.
Also Hester said that when they were staring out the uke was the most deeply uncool intrument and now it's one of the hippiests.

uke5417
12-09-2009, 05:40 AM
Take a look at Google Trends. (http://www.google.com/trends?q=ukulele%2C+fiddle%2C+mandolin%2C+harmonic a%2C+banjo)

Wow. Props to the Norwegians and New Zealanders!

Still, plug guitar in and everything else flatlines.

UKISOCIETY
12-09-2009, 07:21 AM
Wow. Props to the Norwegians and New Zealanders!

Still, plug guitar in and everything else flatlines.

Put uke and kazoo in and see the sad state of Kazoo playing (http://www.google.com/trends?q=ukulele%2C+kazoo&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0).... C'mon, peoples, the Dutch can't do it by themselves!!

brickerenator
12-09-2009, 07:24 AM
Notice that the trends peak right before the new year....christmas gifts anyone?

Ahnko Honu
12-09-2009, 07:25 AM
Put uke and kazoo in and see the sad state of Kazoo playing (http://www.google.com/trends?q=ukulele%2C+kazoo&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0).... C'mon, peoples, the Dutch can't do it by themselves!!

But they make great windmills, and cool wooden shoes. :D

RevWill
12-09-2009, 07:55 AM
http://www.filmdope.com/Gallery/ActorsC/2517-25891.gif

Don't play the laughing boy. There's only two things I hate in this world: people who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch.

UKISOCIETY
12-09-2009, 08:00 AM
http://www.filmdope.com/Gallery/ActorsC/2517-25891.gif

Don't play the laughing boy. There's only two things I hate in this world: people who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch.

My name is Michael Caine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK67VnWgA80).

TheWannabe90
12-09-2009, 09:02 AM
Not only the dutch speak dutch! :)
There is also that tiny wee bit of land which we call Belgium.
Half of that "dot" on a map speaks dutch/flemish too.

Doctroid
12-09-2009, 09:27 AM
Notice that the trends peak right before the new year....christmas gifts anyone?

You can expand the scale to find that those peaks in fact occur every year on December 25.

http://www.google.com/trends?q=ukulele%2C+kazoo&ctab=0&geo=all&date=2008-12&sort=0 (http://www.google.com/trends?q=ukulele%2C+kazoo&ctab=0&geo=all&date=2008-12&sort=0)

rock_and_roll_camera
12-09-2009, 11:00 AM
For me, the first time I really encountered a uke was a good few years ago. I knew what ukes were but I didn't really think anyone played them, or that you could even buy them in the UK. I obviously was aware of George Formby, but was also a fan of Brian May and George Harrison, both ukulele players. Then my dad brought home a uke one day, I remember me and my brother being quite bemused. My brother said the old famous... "That's looks like a toy guitar"... So my dad played round with it and when he was out at work I'd have a little go when I was bored of guitar. I was quite suprised actually, because I just guesed chord shapes using guitar shapes, and when I started playing seriously and actually looked at chords a few of them were right!

It carried on like that for a bit, until I moved to Wales. My girlfriend wanted to learn an instrument but guitar hurt her fingers so I suggested uke. I borrowed one of my dad's until I bough a decent cheapie (still my main and only uke) for us to play. Well she didn't really bother with it, but I got hooked again after a couple of months and haven't looked back! I love my uke!

I have noticed though, and I posted a topic about it on the UK.lele group board, that there is ukulele music everywhere at the moment. It's been increasing over the last year, especially since Noah and the Wale's "Five Years Time" came out. You can hardly see an ad break without hearing a uke, even on radio. I don't know what started the trend but all I can say is uke is an amazing, very interesting, addictive and rewarding instrument so maybe thats why its so popular? Maybe people have finally gotten over the "funny little guitar" attitude and seen the ukes true colours? I read that the uke is over taking the guitar and the recorder as the number one instrument being tought in schools, so maybe its down to that? Obviously, the availability and number of company's making ukes now plays a huge part, and the quality has improved alot I think? My cheap no name seems a lot better quality than any of my dad's cheap uke's that are now a few years old. Let's hope the trend continues, it can only be good for us all!...

MGM
12-09-2009, 11:21 AM
Surge.....more like explosion ...I will be glad to make it thru this holiday season with a few hours of sleep lol

Ahnko Honu
12-09-2009, 11:40 AM
Not only the dutch speak dutch! :)
There is also that tiny wee bit of land which we call Belgium.
Half of that "dot" on a map speaks dutch/flemish too.

But half of the word Flemish is flem. :biglaugh: :cool: ;)

Steve vanPelt
12-09-2009, 03:21 PM
I'm now looking for a uke for my wife.

me, too, but no one will trade me. ;)

brickerenator
12-09-2009, 05:30 PM
Surge.....more like explosion ...I will be glad to make it thru this holiday season with a few hours of sleep lol

yeah i just bought a makala for a friend from you, lol

rock_and_roll_camera
12-10-2009, 09:42 AM
Actually, as with Pippin, the Concert for George is what made my dad finally buy a uke... which is when I got into it. Also, thanks to this thread I've just discovered Beirut... amazing stuff!...

jer989
12-10-2009, 10:49 AM
Actually, as with Pippin, the Concert for George is what made my dad finally buy a uke... which is when I got into it. Also, thanks to this thread I've just discovered Beirut... amazing stuff!...

yeah, Beirut is one of the major reasons that I decided to chose ukulele when I knew that I wanted to learn an instrument. They really are a great band! If you've never heard of them you should really give them a listen... Really.....Go! Go now!!! (http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B2978AD5EFDEC3CD&search_query=beirut) :)