View Full Version : Nick Acosta, one-armed uke player

07-14-2010, 10:27 AM
I'm pretty sure he's been mentioned here before, but search doesn't bring it up and we're always getting new members who might not know about him. This is a current article with a cool video of him playing "Wipeout." Just an amazing young man who has accomplished so much and serves as an inspiration to us all. :)


Nick Acosta, one of the more amazing ukulele players in the world, will be spotlighted this weekend at the 40th annual Ukulele Festival in Honolulu.

Acosta, who is 13, was born with just one fully functional arm. But he is a uke wiz, using his full left arm to finger chords and notes, while his half-formed right arm strums the strings. Acosta, who also plays football, soccer, and is a brown belt in karate, started ukulele lessons with instructor Royanne Labuguen, and at the age of 9 began lessons with Roy Sakuma. Sakuma is recognized as Hawaii's foremost ukulele instructor and proponent of the instrument.

Sakuma and his sponsors have been presenting the annual Ukulele Festival since 1971. It will be held July 18 at Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki. Admission is free.

Among those also on the schedule are Jake Shimabukuro, James Hill, Herb "Ohta-san" Ohta, Herb Ohta Jr., Danny Kaleikini, C&K (Cecilio Rodriguez and Henry Kapono), George Matsushita, Nico Salsac, Natalie Ai Kamauu, Tommy D, Bryan Tolentino, Da Hawaii Seniors of Cerritos, and Roy Sakuma's 800-piece Ukulele Band.

07-14-2010, 10:37 AM
Wow! Very inspiring.

07-14-2010, 10:50 AM
I wholeheartedly agree, itsme. Thanks! That kid is awesome.

07-14-2010, 02:48 PM
Wow this is amazing. Makes me ashamed of what I'm capable of with 2 arms...!

07-14-2010, 02:53 PM
Wow, this is so cool! Thanks for sharing!

Brad Bordessa
07-14-2010, 04:05 PM
Roy has had him at several events I've been too. The kid is totally stoked about playing. It's great to see him enjoying it. To see anybody his age and as dedicated is rare, but to do it with only 1 and a half arms is awesome!

07-14-2010, 04:15 PM
Thanks for the new vid. I think it was about 2 years ago when seeso posted the original video which includes an interview with his mom as well as Nick playing with Roy Sakuma. The link is posted below . . . I'm quite sure there were two more threads (?) but couldn't find them.

Oops let me apologize for the mis-info, the video link isn't there. Hopefully this one will make up for it. I'll try to locate it and will update the post.


07-14-2010, 07:13 PM
That kid is sick! Thanks for posting.

07-15-2010, 12:32 AM
Man, I hope I can play that well someday :) I'm really really really excited to see him and everyone else at the Ukulele Festival on Sunday!!!!!

07-15-2010, 03:16 AM
Wow How amazing!! What a great kid! So much determination and hard work, this kid will do whatever he wants to in life. I notice that it looks like he uses somewhat of an appendage on the end of his arm to pick with? Does that mean that we can all learn to do that with just a thumb pick and forget the use of the other three digits:) I think so if we had his tenacity and attitude. Many guitar players are pick players only. Ol Doc Watson was primarily a thumb pick and one finger player, and look at what he can do. Thanks for the thread and update. Very inspiring. Lozark

07-15-2010, 04:50 AM
Amazing what one can do with the heart, soul and determination. If I like their music or not is irrelevant. I highly admire anyone that overcomes obsticles to achieve their goal.. Rick Allen always comes to mind when I hear of these stories..


mm stan
07-15-2010, 11:11 AM
Aloha Itsme,
Thanks for sharing....such talent and very inspirational.. their motivation to succeed and accomplishment.
Makes me think of my goals in life....MM Stan..

07-15-2010, 12:44 PM
Amazing what one can do with the heart, soul and determination. If I like their music or not is irrelevant. I highly admire anyone that overcomes obsticles to achieve their goal.
Then there's contemporary Christian artist Tony Melendez. A "thalidomide baby," Tony was born without arms and plays guitar with his feet. He can pick with his toes better than many can with their fingers. :)


07-15-2010, 12:53 PM
yeah, I am ashamed that I forgot about him.. Saw that some time ago.. Ya just got to admire those folk..

07-15-2010, 04:42 PM
yeah, I am ashamed that I forgot about him.. Saw that some time ago.. Ya just got to admire those folk.
No need to feel ashamed. I could have mentioned him in my original post but didn't even think about him until you mentioned Rick Allen.

And yes, you gotta admire people who do the best with what they've got. :) Look at Django Reinhardt or Phil Keaggy, guitarists who had successful careers despite their physical limitations.

A few years ago I had a hand injury involving severed tendons in my LH. I had surgery to repair them, but was told I'd never be 100% again. Therapist said my recovery was remarkable ("especially for someone your age" - I was 47 at the time) but I lost some extension in my fingers. I had a choice, either to quit playing or just make the best out of what I could still do with it. I can't make some of the huge intervals on a full-sized guitar (which is maybe why uke is so appealing to me) but every day I am so grateful that I can still play at all. I also have carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis, another couple limiters. I'll never be a professional CG player, but I do so enjoy being able to play. :D