View Full Version : Why do you uke?

The Pinneapple Pirate
11-20-2009, 04:45 PM
So I was wondering, what inspired you to pick up the uke and start jamming?

I was listening to a song with a cool ukulele sounding part and I thought it was the coolest sounding instrument ever, so I saved up to get one.

11-20-2009, 04:51 PM
As of 4 months ago I never thought of the ukulele as a serious instrument. One day I was listening to one of my favorite singers on youtube as she sang a cover. She usually plays a guitar but that time she played a ukulele and made it sound soo good. I searched for other songs by anybody with a ukulele and became interested. The ukulele sounded way better than I ever remembered!
I was hooked and bought a cheap one. I haven't looked back since.

11-20-2009, 05:12 PM
around christmas of '07 my basketball team was playing a tournament in hawaii. while walking from my hotel to my parents hotel i came across a street vendor selling 10 dollar ukes and instantly thought how awesome this was and how funny my friends would find this so i bought it. i brought it home and started youtubing different stuff and became genuinely interested. inevitably, it broke. a few months later my mom bought me a little lanikai which is essentially what i began learning on. and i havent stopped since! and to think it all started out as a joke!

11-20-2009, 05:33 PM
honestly, i got drunk and bought one on ebay, so I figured I better learn to play it before it became known as a bad investment.

11-20-2009, 05:38 PM
honestly, i got drunk and bought one on ebay, so I figured I better learn to play it before it became known as a bad investment.OMG, that's my favorite post of the day!

11-20-2009, 05:52 PM
I had been playing guitar a long time and decided to check out other stringed instruments just to try them. I got a banjo, mandolin and ukulele in a fairly short time frame. I still play the mandolin, rarely the banjo but the ukulele sucked me in right away and now 3 years later I have 5 ukuleles and another in the mail and I play ukulele more then guitar. There is just something altogether addictive about it you can not stop playing it and you want to own a lot of them!!!

11-20-2009, 06:34 PM
I had an old baritone kicking around the house that belonged to my grandfather. Made some noise on it, but didn't take it all that seriously. On my first trip to Kaua'i I regretted not bringing a guitar, so I went to Bounty Music with the intention of getting a cheap travel guitar or maybe a cheap ukulele. Ended up playing a bunch of ukes, and decided that the Kamaka soprano was my favorite. Spent about 4 times what I expected to spend, but it was worth it to have something made in Hawai'i. Mostly just played guitar stuff on it since I was too lazy to learn from a book.

In the summer of '08 I was on Kaua'i again (this time for archaeological field school), and left the Kamaka at home since I knew I'd be in a tent for a month. Started to miss playing music, and was lucky enough to be in Koloa just as Larry's Music was opening up their second store right in town! I bought a Kamoa soprano to tide me over, and figured that I could always give it to the girlfriend when I got home.

The week after I got home, I had plans to meet up with my girlfriend in Maine and give her the uke, so I wanted to learn something cool to teach her. Did some Googling, and found UU! It was around then that I really started to take the uke seriously, and really wanted to learn everything I could. I only wish I discovered UU a few weeks earlier. ;)

11-20-2009, 06:56 PM
My mom passed away going on 7 years now, and I inherited her Martin SO, so here I am. I forgot how much she loved this uke. I inherited her song book too, and guess what? I'm singing her songs. Playing is relaxing, and brings back good memories.

11-20-2009, 07:24 PM
I've been playing guitar for about 35 years, and mostly Ki ho'alu for the last 15 or so. I've been in love with Hawaiian music for many years, Brudda IZ is my hero but never really tried an ukulele. A few months ago my grandson was learning some songs in his school class, and they were playing the ukulele. He had borrowed a cheap Hilo and it wouldn't stay in tune so I wanted to get him a better one and started doing some online research and found this site. I decided to get him and his sister uke's and one for myself so we could all play together, and now I'm hooked! It's such a fun little instrument, portable and realitively easy to learn, and I've developed a terrible case of UAS!

11-20-2009, 07:55 PM
about ten years ago i was walking past a shop window and saw a handmade uke from a local luthier Robin Greenwood, i had always dreamed of having one of his guitars but the price tag was too much a deterrent. there was this reasonably priced handmade uke, so my birthday was coming i asked for money instead of anything else to save up to buy it. I fooled around with it a bit, but, as life does, life got in the way of music and me,shortly after and for about ten years i barely played any music just occasional guitar

The last couple of years i have started playing music again and this year i was surfing you tube when i started to come upon uke videos and i got interested., so i dug out my uke and started to learn it properly. I've bought two more since then and i have 3 more on the shopping list, im a total addict hoarder

11-20-2009, 09:16 PM
I've been playing different instruments for about 30 years now, I play every day. The last 10 years I've been playing mostly clarinets of different sizes. I would work something out on guitar or banjo once in a while, or record chords to play along with. But most of the time I would carry a clarinet with me and play at lunch or when I had a few minutes.

However, lately my ears have been getting very sensitive. Clarinets are loud, and so I had to lay off. I got the idea to try a uke because of the portability, and I got hooked immediately. Because it's easy to take with and whip out, I'm playing several times a day rather than one, my ears are almost back to normal, and the clarinets are gathering dust (have to do something about that though!).

11-20-2009, 09:29 PM
My brother bought me a Lanikai Pineapple when he was in Hawaii on business. I got it as a birthday present but I didnt see him until right before Christmas. So that was uhhhh....Christmas, 2007.

He told me that he saw some vids on YouTube of people playing Bob Marley and Sublime and such. Went downstairs, found Seeso's video of "I shot the sheriff" and the addiction began.

Found UU shortly after (having no idea how new it was). Poked around the forums a bit, the finally signed up in Feb. of 08. I've met many great people along the journey and will continue to build relationships for many years to come. Thanks to Rayan, Aldrine and the gang, we all have this awesome place to hang out and talk uke. :drool:

Thanks, as always, to Seeso, as well. Without his videos and awesome tabbing (and constant forum lurking), I may have never gotten addicted the way I did. :D

11-20-2009, 10:05 PM
I think the first time I was inspired was when I heard Iz's Somewhere over the rainbow, after hearing the song in numerous movies. I always thought it would be cool to learn that song and at the same time learn to play the uke. Anyways, I never actually noticed ukuleles being sold at my local music store, but for some reason more than a year ago I finally noticed one and my parents bought me the O/S concert uke I was admiring for my bday.

In an effort to find the chords and tabs for ukulele, I googled ukulele chords and it brought me to this site and I haven't left since!! "Back in the day" haha you would get about 40-90 users online here at the UU...now its in the hundreds WOW!!:eek: I was ukeing just for the fun of it and because Ukuleleunderground peeps were so entertaining and SUPER generous (you guys still are mind you) and to check off "learning something new everyday" for my personal goals (technically its cheating since I check off everytime I learn a new song:p haha)

but nowadays I uke TO KEEP SANE!!! I am once again a student and I find that music in general keeps me from ripping my hair out when I have a huge paper due. It also helps me combat the loneliness factor since I've moved to a new city, new school, new surrounding, and a new life!!!

I love how UU has managed to keep members and to pull prospective members in by offering a place to gather and learn how to play an amazing instrument!!

So to sum up, why do I uke......i say WHY NOT!!!:D

Ahnko Honu
11-20-2009, 11:02 PM
Cultural and hereditary. ;)

11-21-2009, 01:53 AM
it's different to any other instrument in my area. And people enjoy hearing it, so I like to learn new things and play it for them

11-21-2009, 03:46 AM
Why I Uke?

It's all about music. I have always loved music and my family is filled with musicians and songwriters going back generations on all branches of both my father's and mother's lineages. Music was a HUGE part of every family gathering and event. I had a ukulele as a small child and began playing guitar, too, over forty years ago. I was performing music for audiences as a young child and grew up playing with professionals in country, folk, rock and roll, jazz, and blues so it was natural that I played multiple instruments. I play many different instruments but my two favorites are ukulele and guitar. Moreso, I love to sing, especially harmonies.

Nothing beats a perfect vocal chord!

11-21-2009, 04:06 AM
I've always really loved Hawaii (and its culture) since my family has been taking vacations there as often as three times a year since I was a kid. Although I don't have any family in the islands, my great-grandfather came from Korea to work in the sugar cane fields before settling in California, and my grandmother ashes were laid to rest in the waters off Kauai. So a large part of the reason is because the instrument is symbolic of a place that I truly love.

11-21-2009, 05:09 AM
Who says what I do with my ukulele is playing?

The Pinneapple Pirate
11-21-2009, 07:07 AM
So to sum up, why do I uke......i say WHY NOT!!!:D

That's the coolest answer right there

11-21-2009, 09:57 AM
I Was telling a friend about how I liked playing Beatle songs on mandolin(we both go to the Abbey Road on the River Beatles festival every year) she said I should try uke. I found punk 44 on you tube, those guys are having a blast, then i found music teacher 2009 and thought shucks I can do that, the chord shapes are same as guitar. Then I found UU. Went to sam ash intending to buy a uke. I wanted a spalted mango like music teacher, they had an Ibanez UEW20 concert, single cut a way which was gorgeous for $169.95. Asked the guy if they would deal, he took me to the check out, fiddled on the computer and said how about $119.95, I pulled out the $100 gift card my brother had gotten me for christmas and got my uke for $19.95 plus tax. That was about a month ago and I play most everyday, I am by no means good but strum chords and sing most anything I want. Haven't picked up a guitar or mando since. Sorry for the long story but it is one i've been wanting to tell.
My 10 year old daughter now calls me the "Ukulele Charmer" makes it all worthwhile.

11-21-2009, 10:06 AM
For some reason I got a picture in my head of me playing the Uke. Totally random. No idea where it came from. Bought a light blue uke with white flowers for a dollar off of ebay. Thing didn't make a note but I sat and tried to play Hey There Delilah from youtube. Surprisingly it sounded like something and the idea of making music was cool.

The last instrument I played before the Uke was a trumpet for about a week...

Eventually got a Hilo for christmas and found Aldrine on IamHawaii. I played SOTRW and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for seriously 4 months before something clicked and I started learning songs.

Then I found UU and got really into the Uke. Eventually got a Bushman for the next christmas and took off from there.

I strung that light blue uke with Aquilas. Still sounds like crap.

pirate looks at 40
12-22-2009, 01:58 PM
I wanted to play a string instrument, and figured, hey why not ukulele? Sounded stupid to me and everyone else, but i had this weird attraction to the uke. And now I play because I love it. It keeps me who I am, keeps me leveled. I haven't played in 2 weeks due to a broken string and im ready to lose it haha

Pete Beardsley
12-23-2009, 01:34 AM
Like a few guys above, I heard the Uke played on YouTube. The first person I came across was casetone2514 and he just has a great laid back style and made it sound good. A really down to earth player who covers some great traditional stuff.
I did some research on the web and invested in an Ohana last weekend figuring I may as well buy a reasonably decent Uke rather than a cheap one that I would soon get fed up with. Just need to learn how to play it now!

It seems to be the perfect instrument. Cheap (relatively speaking!) to buy, fairly straightforward to play, very portable and above all has a really good sound and fun image.

12-23-2009, 07:18 AM
I had three signs from the ukulele gods in the span of one week, which I could not ignore.

Sign #1: I am an NPR fiend, and Zee Avi was being interviewed (I think it was Fresh Air?). She had her uke in studio and jammed out some tunes and I just thought LOVELY!

Sign #2: That weekend, I was in San Diego and there, where we parked, was a dude on the sidewalk playing the ukulele. I thought to myself, "Strange, two ukuleles in a few days"

Sign #3: A few days later, I scored some free tickets to see Bette Midler's show (I'm in Vegas), so I go, and she ends the show on ukulele!

After that, I could not ignore the ukulele gods any longer. I put in "Las Vegas" and "ukulele" into google and the Las Vegas Ukulele Club popped up and the rest is history.

12-23-2009, 07:36 AM
Haha that's the best!

I was just youtubing acoustic covers of my fav songs and came across some great uke videos. Bought one with my next check. Spare money.. those were the days.

12-23-2009, 07:58 AM
Uke? Who the heck has time to uke? I thought we just hung around this board and pined for each others' ukes or discussed the difference in strings, tuners and finishes. I had no idea we were supposed to actually play the things.

My first serious musical experience was on my mom's Harmony baritone uke. Later I took up the guitar. Years later I was spending a lot of time away from home to finish a Master's degree, and instead of hauling a Tele or a Taylor around I bought a $40 Hilo. Carried it with me everywhere I went. Became known as the guy with the uke. Fell deeply and madly in love with the instrument. It relaxes me, makes me smile.

I have a different voice and approach with the uke than with the guitar.

12-23-2009, 08:05 AM
"it makes me smile" - RevWill

exactly...what else is there

12-23-2009, 08:25 AM
I've also had a fascination for music and, in particular, the history of recorded music. When I wanted to get back into playing, the uke just seemed perfect; it's portable, relatively inexpensive, and the sound makes me happy.

Of course, I didn't imagine owning ten of them and still wanting more...

12-23-2009, 10:18 AM
My music partner plays uke, and when we first started jamming, he was just playing it for personal amusement. But then we started doing uke/fiddle duo stuff, and it had a very cool sound.

Over the past several months, I've been following a number of auction and sales sites, hoping to find a Kamaka or something Hawaiian-made in time for Chirstmas. I was just about to give up when I found a Halekoa in my price range. Meanwhile, I've become fascinated and then obsessed with the uke... played his Kala archtop during rehearsal breaks. Since I've gotten him the Halekoa, I have his archtop now to play on, and I play it every chance I get!

12-23-2009, 12:42 PM
i was in the deathcore band as a drummer,i'm a lil bit bored to bangin a drum. So i was starting to search a fit instrument for me. and,*taaraaa* You Tube make me change,there're many uke video.

12-23-2009, 03:48 PM
George Harrison!

12-23-2009, 06:55 PM
1) My last instrument that I played for many years was gorgeous and impressive, but really depressing... wanted something upbeat and fun.

2) Had kids and needed an instrument that was family oriented. (Ukes are simply awesome for little kid gathering sing alongs...)

3) I am fascinated that something so small and delicate has such amazing musical power. I actually feel a quiet sense of awe each time I take one out of its case.

4) I love its unique sound. At times it's a but scrappy, and at others it simply sings. And it's at its best when it does both in the same strum.

5) When I am practicing I have a tangible sense that this is simple enough that I can eventually conquer this instrument, but it's vast enough that I know I will be challenged for years to come. I see so many interesting musical challenges on the horizon but I can still play some great songs today.
This is very different from many other instruments where the ability to produce music people actually want to hear is often a goal years away.

6) It's a huge plus that the uke sound is still new to so many ears. It's a very refreshing instrument.

7) As my father observed, the moment you pull out an ukulele everyone in the room is instantly in a good mood. It's a smile machine.

8) I also love that the ukulele is not only an instrument but quite often a piece of art in itself. I've seen many ukes that are as beautiful to look at as they are to play.

9) Extremely travel friendly.

10) Compared to most other instruments, quite cheap.

11) Incredible musical diversity. The uke quickly hands you the keys to playing many different types of music.

Now many instruments can cover some of the virtues listed above, but only the uke can cover ALL of these bases.

12-24-2009, 07:06 AM
I decided that I wanted to play the uke after i had watched a few videos of players on youtube. I love the way it sounds so I did so research and I am now the proud owner of a Kala Pineapple

12-24-2009, 08:35 PM
It lets the happiness in me flow out into the world. :)

Lately a great sadness has taken up residence in my heart and I can't even bear to touch it. :(

12-26-2009, 06:57 AM
A student of mine wanted to start a ukulele club. I said yes. Ordered some Brunswick ukes. They arrived. I play guitar, but had never touched a uke with a barge pole. Figured out the tuning. Played some chords. Liked the sound. Had the first meeting of the school ukulele club. Boys Grammar School. Teenage boys all sitting around, all who think they need to be cool. Someone suggested Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Didn't know there was a uke version. Youtubed it. Worked it out. Spent the rest of the 45 minutes in this crazy, un-schooly, blissful state. Boys came in just to hang out and listen. It was amazing. One of my colleagues, who is a Drama teacher, and so accustomed to altered states, walked in, paused and said, "I feel like I've stepped into another world."

"and the dreams you dream dreams really do come tru-oo-oo"

I am from California, but live in Southeast England. There is something very "Pacific" about a ukulele. Just prior, I had been listening to inordinate amounts of Jefferson Airplane, trying to find my relaxed, non-Atlantic, "ahhhhh" place.

With the uke, I can bring it back in an instant, and my head isn't filled with distracting thoughts about Grace Slick...

12-26-2009, 06:07 PM
My dad played guitar my entire childhood. I loved sitting on the floor in the living room or on the front porch and just listening to him play. It amazed me that such beautiful sounds could be made by just a single person, a single instrument.

Years later, my parents made me sign up for band class in middle school. At the time, I was slightly less than thrilled...but I ended up playing french horn, and I kept with it all through high school concert band and marching band. I loved it! I loved being a part of something that was bigger than myself...music. It has a way of altering the mind.

After graduation, my french horn (and thus, the music in my life) was put by the wayside. Things like jobs and college got in the way. The french horn, though beautiful, is best as part of a band, not as a solo instrument. It's also rather bulky, hard to carry, and when you live in the dorms, there's no where to practice. (Not to mention the fact that I was extremely poor and the money I might make from selling it on ebay looked very tempting)

I never did get around to selling it though. I just didn't have the heart to get rid of my only physical link to the music in my soul.

It was shortly after graduation that my boyfriend burned me a CD of Jake Shimabukuro. I was already a huge fan of I guess what some would call "islander" music such as Jack Johnson and Jimi Buffet, but I had never, until then, given the uke much thought. Hearing Jake belt out the Beatles "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on this tiny instrument mystified me, and aroused my interest.

My growing curiosity continued when my parents returned from their 25th anniversary vacation, which they took to Hawaii. They told me about the ukulele music they heard there, and how beautiful it was.

I liked the idea of an instrument so unique here on the mainland, as well as portable, but also with such an enchanting sound. Though I forgot about it again until this past July, when I was at the Doo Wop Shop in Lexington, KY. There next to the guitars was a little miniature with only four strings...my first up close and personal experience with an ukulele. I must've picked it up and put it back 20 times before I finally convinced myself to walk away. I told myself I didn't know enough about it. If I was going to buy one, I wanted to make sure it was a good one, not just a piece of junk. I decided to do some research on my own.

Two weeks later I was back at the Doo Wop Shop, and ready to purchase. I couldn't get that uke out of my mind. I was crushed to find that it had been bought only a few days earlier, and that they had no more in stock. The guys there offered to order another for me, but I declined, deciding it was fate.

Still, something drew me to it. I put it on my Christmas wish list almost absent-mindedly, and yet as the holiday grew closer I couldn't help getting excited at the prospect of owning my own. Christmas morning came and there she was...my beautiful girl.

I've only had her two days now and I'm totally addicted! I'm so jazzed to have music in my life again. Even though I feel as if I'm starting over in middle school, trying to teach myself a new instrument, I am exhilarated by the challenges ahead. I feel the passion reignited in my soul.

And that, my friends, is the extremely rambly and unedited version of why I uke.

12-26-2009, 08:08 PM
My mom passed away going on 7 years now, and I inherited her Martin SO, so here I am. I forgot how much she loved this uke. I inherited her song book too, and guess what? I'm singing her songs. Playing is relaxing, and brings back good memories.
That's a beautiful story. I'm sure your mom is smiling down on you and so happy to see you playing her beloved uke. :)

I haven't played in 2 weeks due to a broken string and im ready to lose it haha
Oh, my. First thing every string player needs to know is to always keep spare strings on hand.

I play classical guitar and mandolin. I won my tenor uke in a drawing. I thought it would be a lark I'd quickly tire of, since it's basically just a toy, right? Wrong! I totally fell in love with this charming little instrument. :)