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mctrmt
06-20-2008, 08:47 AM
I'm interested in knowing from people- what was your first ukulele, and why did you pick it up as an instrument in the first place?

Me- a cheap "Classic Low-A" (thought not strung as such), and a copy of Roy Smeck's "Ukulele Method" from the local music store. The year was 1994... I wanted to learn an instrument that was portable, affordable, open to anyone, and the ukulele looked like it would be fun. Also, and probably most importantly, I wanted something none of my friends had. And bagpipes weren't really working out for me that well (I could never get the hang of marching and playing at the same time. Maybe I should give them a second chance...).

I'm glad I switched. People always smile when you whip out the ukulele; bagpipes are not as universally loved.

remy
06-20-2008, 08:52 AM
People always smile when you whip out the ukulele;

This is exactly what did it for me! I went to a picnic, and a girl had her ukulele along. Yes, I certainly smiled when I saw her sit by me! I ordered a ukulele the very next day.

UKISOCIETY
06-20-2008, 09:06 AM
Honestly, I can't remember.

Although I stuck with the uke because I could join bands because I played something other than the guitar, which everybody seems to play these days.

deach
06-20-2008, 09:09 AM
This is exactly what did it for me! I went to a picnic, and a girl had her ukulele along. Yes, I certainly smiled when I saw her sit by me! I ordered a ukulele the very next day.

If a girl sat next to me, I'd smile, even if she had a chainsaw dripping with blood.

SinisterDom
06-20-2008, 09:10 AM
I played Tin Whistle for a few months and taught myself how to read music, play it etc., I finally got bored of people breaking them (Like bagpipes, Tin Whistle aren't always welcomed to parties :)). I was looking at a video one night for AC/DC on Tin Whistle and in the sidebar for some reason, there were like 10 Uke vids. Fate? haha. I bought an Ohana Sk-15 the next day got it in a week and picked it up fairly easily. I then bought an Oscar Schmidt Concert and am currently working on getting a Flea.

tad
06-20-2008, 09:11 AM
I'd heard that the uke was easy.

I tried to learn to play guitar back in high school, but it never really took. I'd been thinking about getting a ukulele for a while, especially after getting into the Magnetic Fields a few years ago.

Last year I turned 29 in November. And in early December I got an unexpected hundred bucks as a present from a former employer. I decided I wanted to learn an instrument before I turned 30, if it killed me. I'd loved the sound of ukes for a while, and I heard it was the easiest stringed instrument to learn the basics on. And they're cheap. (I'm on a budget, here, I'm still a student and pushing thirty!)

So I ordered one over ebay from MGM. I love playing, really getting into it, and I'll definitely be able to claim to be able to play an instrument before I hit the big 3-0.

c.b.fiddler
06-20-2008, 09:30 AM
I was struck by fortunate ukulele lightning. My father gave me his grandfather's Martin 3K soprano for my birthday last month and I have been hummin and strummin ever since. Drives the wife nuts, but what else can a husband do?

NotoriousMOK
06-20-2008, 10:29 AM
[/URL]I started a few years back when I hit an especially rough road in my life. I picked it up because I needed something to distract me from some nasty troubles, and of any instrument I could think of, I felt that the ukulele had the highest 'smile' rating -- the kazoo took a close second :)

This also reminds me of a couple older threads, so I thought 'why not revive them now'?

[URL="http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1172"]What do you like about the ukulele? (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1172)

What made you start playing Ukulele? (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13)


Have fun!

laietildaend
06-20-2008, 11:08 AM
If a girl sat next to me, I'd smile, even if she had a chainsaw dripping with blood.

wat!?
:biglaugh:

laietildaend
06-20-2008, 11:09 AM
i started the uke in 4th grade (it was required at my school, Kahuku Elementary)
and i fell i luv wid it ever since
thx Mrs.Wong! :0

Keonikapila
06-20-2008, 11:23 AM
I first played it in 7th grade (...damn, that's like 15 or 16 years ago), I took art as an elective and the school I went to (Aliamanu Intermediate) made you take a semester of General Music when you took art. The general music program (at the time, I dunno if they still do it) taught ukulele, I picked it up pretty quick and at the end of the semester (when we did a "concert" for the parents) I was one of 3 kids that got to play with a pickup.

I really enjoyed the uke, but my parents refused to buy me one (due to an incident in 4th grade where I failed HORRIBLY at the trumpet--after that they swore to never buy me another instrument again). I wasn't until 5 or 6 years later (when I enlisted in the airforce) that I played it again. I would borrow my friend's old beat up soprano for weeks at a time, eventually I managed to get my own and it's been full-speed ahead ever since.

Plainsong
06-20-2008, 11:32 AM
Back in high school I did the marching, concert, and symphonic bands, and a year of big boy marching in drum corps, so marching and playing? Welcome to my house. :D

Then in college I did the opera thing with vocal performance, and since that time, I've been looking for something to kick back and be happy with musically. There aren't any amateur opera groups here, precious little in the way of mixed voice or even just female choir (it's all for men only here!), and nothing in the way of senior corps or amateur wind ensembles.

I needed something I could get enjoyment from by myself. And for a number of years here, I felt pretty dark without having that constant outlet. I discovered some uke reggae on a friend's site and that was it. I loved the sound.

My first was a Koaloha pikkake soprano - which I've since sold in favor of concert size ukes, but I'm remedying that by getting a Koaloha standard soprano. It's gonna be my last uke for a while, so I had to make it count!

I get more stress relief from uke playing then I ever did from ever playing or singing anything else in my life. That's the honest truth. I'm not saying I didn't and don't get a high that can last days from nailing a performance, or having a great lesson, but that's not stress relief. The uke gives that high while at the same time just being very relaxing. I just never got that from playing before.

Still not much in the way of other amateur music avenues here, but I've found a kickin' amateur theater group, the local uke club is second to none even if they do go back to the uke roots, and so I can enjoy my uke as one or with many. :)

Edit-

Wow! They swore to never buy you an instrument just because you got the wrong one the first time out?? Harsh, and unfair! You don't always get the right fit the first time out. I mean, I started on clarinet, and played various other stuff, but ya know the one I was probably destined for was oboe. My first middle school director thought it, and he was probably right. But be that as it may, my main instrument is my voice and I didn't frakking find that until my senior year of high school! I guess it's tough for non-music parents to know that it's more of a journey than a destination. If it was the money, trumpets can be sold. :(

laietildaend
06-20-2008, 11:35 AM
I really enjoyed the uke, but my parents refused to buy me one (due to an incident in 4th grade where I failed HORRIBLY at the trumpet--after that they swore to never buy me another instrument again). I wasn't until 5 or 6 years later (when I enlisted in the airforce) that I played it again. I would borrow my friend's old beat up soprano for weeks at a time, eventually I managed to get my own and it's been full-speed ahead ever since.

aw man,
dude that sucks
id be so pissed

lovemissheather
06-20-2008, 11:37 AM
i don't know exactly what is is that brought the uke into my hands, and my heart. i do know that since i was a little girl, i wanted to learn. i am the kind of person who loves to pick up a new instrument and learns to play it, too. next things i plan on learning are the cello and the violin. just need to save up the money to buy them first.

i started playing the piano at two years old (though you'd never know, i'm not all that great as of now), the guitar at eleven, the bass at thirteen, and the ukulele.. finally... about three months ago.

all i know is that since i first picked it up, i can't put it down.

there is something about ... well, everything. the feeling of it in my hands, the sound that penitrates my ears, and the feeling i get inside while playing. it's so unique from any other instrument i've played in my life. thus, even after three months.. i plan on focusing mainly on it for years to come.. if not for the rest of my life.

:D

Boozelele
06-20-2008, 11:51 AM
all i know is that since i first picked it up, i can't put it down.

there is something about ... well, everything. the feeling of it in my hands, the sound that penitrates my ears, and the feeling i get inside while playing. it's so unique from any other instrument i've played in my life. thus, even after three months.. i plan on focusing mainly on it for years to come.. if not for the rest of my life.

:D

thats me too. played Sax seriously for years, switched to guitar, played piano, drums, flute...and anything else I could get my hands on. But I've never obsessed about an instrument before like I do about this one.

russ_buss
06-20-2008, 11:57 AM
thats me too. played Sax seriously for years, switched to guitar, played piano, drums, flute...and anything else I could get my hands on. But I've never obsessed about an instrument before like I do about this one.

hmmm. boozaphone, boozitar, booziano, boozrums, boozlute. i think you made a very wise choice!:D

i'm the same though, play a bunch of random things, but this is definitely the instrument i obsess over the most. it's so fun!

Plainsong
06-20-2008, 12:06 PM
thats me too. played Sax seriously for years, switched to guitar, played piano, drums, flute...and anything else I could get my hands on. But I've never obsessed about an instrument before like I do about this one.

Well who could blame you for switching from sax? :rofl: Just kidding, just kidding, insert the gazillion sax jokes you've already heard right here. It's just so tough to let a good sax joke walk by. :D

String instruments are just a tad harder for me to grasp, but uke is so enjoyable that it's still all good.

I never did get much time on drums, but we were at a music store the other day, and I managed to get about an 8 stroke roll, which I thought was :rock: of me. Then I got pwned by my husband, and demoted to this instead - :nana:

lovemissheather
06-20-2008, 12:08 PM
...this is definitely the instrument i obsess over the most. it's so fun!


yeah it is!! :D

DanTelles
06-20-2008, 12:16 PM
To be honest I thought that the ukulele was just a toy until by chance I saw Jake Shimabukuro's version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps on YouTube. WOW! after that I found my new favorite instrument. :D

brokenwing
06-20-2008, 01:16 PM
The uke is one instrument that you can get up and playing in a relatively short period of time - a few months and you can be playing and singing to entire songs with a certain facility. Try that on a piano/violin/trumpet, etc. I think that's the initial charm and why people pick it up in the first place. Then they fall in love with the sound.

That doesn't mean it's an "easy" instrument. Aside from a kazoo there's no such thing. It can be as complex as you want to make it. I think it's interesting that people seem to make "commitments" to it after only a few months of playing. Only time will tell. Exploring an instrument can easily take a lifetime.

I picked it up because of its voice. There's just something about it.

Plainsong
06-20-2008, 01:24 PM
Like baroque recorder - easy to play, tough to play well. As for other instruments - yeah, it depends. Sometimes an instrument is just your thing and you do pick up the basics with relative ease. And then of course, like they all do, it gets tough.

brokenwing
06-20-2008, 01:50 PM
Sometimes an instrument is just your thing and you do pick up the basics with relative ease. And then of course, like they all do, it gets tough.yep. I read an interesting observation by Jamie Andreas (classical guitar instructor) whose opionion was that most people can (and do) get to 80% of their capability without too much blood, sweat and tears. But that last 20% is where it gets really difficult - and the closer you get to 100% (if that is ever achieved) the harder it gets. To go from 90%-95% is extremely difficult. From 95% on up it gets criminal.

NotoriousMOK
06-20-2008, 02:31 PM
If a girl sat next to me, I'd smile, even if she had a chainsaw dripping with blood.

use caution deach, i married her -- chainsaws bad!


. . . that was probly my blood too :uhoh:

polynesianpop
06-20-2008, 02:37 PM
I've been into Hawaiiana and Tiki collecting for over a decade now with lots of friends that have the same interest. Some of them have been playing uke for longer than I've known them. Let me start by saying that I always wanted to learn to play but when I was about 10 years old I tried learning guitar and vividly remember how difficult and frustrating it was for me. So the uke, being a stringed instrument, was naturally associated (underservedly) to that difficult learning period. I therefore, never made the effort to learn it and just enjoyed my friends' music whenever they jammed together at one of our get-togethers.

Cut to present day. I started learning after I turned 38 last year because like Tad -- I had this imaginary "age deadline." Well I'm turning 40 on 9/11 this year. Now, call it midlife crisis if you will but I looked back at my life and the things that I never accomplished which I wished I would have and playing a uke proficiently was one of them. With that said, I purchased an Ohana Soprano and got to learning it. I'm mostly self taught thru chord books and online tutorials (thank you Aldrine!) and if I knew then what I know now (i.e. how much easier to learn it than I thought it would be) then I would have started a long time ago!

nikolo727
06-20-2008, 04:16 PM
About 3 years ago I really wanted to start play ukulele. I started hearing and seeing ukuleles more often. I watched a rice crispy commercial and it had Iz playing his epic version of somewhere over the rainbow/what a wonderful world.

Then on the same tv channel I was watching shallow hal and there was this big big guy playing a soprano ukulele. and i just told myself i have to get one of these things.

So i searched the phone book for music stores and I called up all of them. none of them had an ukulele. until the last one. they said they had one ukulele in stock. So the next day I ran over to that store and picked it up.

It was/is a Hilo ukulele. Terrible little thing it is too. It has these plastic strings and I think the entire thing is made out of plywood. The binding isnt really a binding, its just black paint lol. It made the worst sound. I had no idea what I was doing. I had a blast! With the ukulele, they happened to have the Ukulele Method book.

For a while I played that and learned the entire book.

Then I got a bob brozman dvd and that taught me a lot. Finally I wanted to buy a new uke cuz this little piece o plywood just wasnt cutting it.

I got a Lanikai and 2 years later...here I am.


for those of you who read all this...kudos to you!

remy
06-20-2008, 06:37 PM
If a girl sat next to me, I'd smile, even if she had a chainsaw dripping with blood.

That's interesting... Whenever I sit down next to people, they seem to get scared away. I was starting to think the chainsaw dripping with blood was the problem, but maybe the real problem is me. :(

UkuLeLesReggAe
06-20-2008, 08:58 PM
watched while my guitar gently weeps by Jake and i was like :|

then i clicked vids and it lead to gutings, he rips the ukulele so i asked him how much was it and he said about $100 so i bught it ^^

14twelve
06-20-2008, 09:02 PM
The simple answer to this question for me is that the ukulele makes me happy. I'd tried guitar, but never got very far with it, and never had a lot of fun, but the ukulele is just so fun to play and playing it just makes me happy. I also love how portable it is. I can take it anywhere, and as I sit at my computer, my ukes are all right next to me so when I see some chords or tabs on the forum, I can just pick it up and play straight away.

Ken Middleton
06-20-2008, 10:03 PM
When I was a teenager, in the '60s, my parents bought me a ukulele. I don't know what make it was, but I assume it was a soprano. I learned to play the basic chords then. At that time the ukulele was definitely not considered to be a "groovy" instrument. No-one cried "far out man" when I played it.

I took up the guitar and never though of the ukulele again until a few years back when, on a whim, I bought one on eBay. It was only cheap, but it played. But, when I played it no-one made comments like "that's a beautiful piece of music, play it again for me".

I continued playing the guitar. People liked that. I liked it.

This year I saw a ukulele video on YouTube (guess who was playing) and bought several good instruments because of it. People seemed to be taking the instrument seriously, at least in the hands of a really good player. I set up a new YT account for ukulele music and started making videos. Today, most people, particularly kids at school, are genuinely interested when I take the ukulele out of the case. It is now a "cool" instrument to play.

And now, even though I am male, old, bald and English, there are actual people that like to hear me play the ukulele. It's taken over 40 years. A long journey.

KEN

hawaiianmusiclover06
06-21-2008, 12:41 AM
I am anticipating picking up my first ukulele next week Friday. The ukulele that I am getting is a Lyon Washburn koa veneer concert ukulele. The reason why I picked up the ukulele in the first place is because I took a beginner's ukulele class here at the local YMCA and I totally fell in love playing it. That was 2-3 years ago.
I am also into all things Hawaiian including learning the language of Hawai'i, the culture, and the music. I've played the piano off and on but I wanted to get back into playing the ukulele because its so much fun. I even had my first ukulele lesson this past Friday where my instructor had to loan me one of his for the lesson. The sound from the ukulele is heavenly.

Plainsong
06-21-2008, 01:25 AM
Those ukes of yours will always be cool when you play them. :bowdown:

I remember watching that Beatles Anthology documentary and George was engrossed in one to the point where he couldn't answer questions. I mentioned to my husband that it sounded cool and may be something I could try.

My husband said that the strings were doubled up like on an 8-string guitar and that it was actually a tough instrument to play. :rolleyes: :mad:

I put it out of my mind for years until I heard a little uke reggae.

As it turns out, he was thinking it was very closely related to this lute-cum-mandolin his dad had. It's got a tiny neck and the strings are impossible to play. He didn't intentionally pull that out of his behind.


When I was a teenager, in the '60s, my parents bought me a ukulele. I don't know what make it was, but I assume it was a soprano. I learned to play the basic chords then. At that time the ukulele was definitely not considered to be a "groovy" instrument. No-one cried "far out man" when I played it.

I took up the guitar and never though of the ukulele again until a few years back when, on a whim, I bought one on eBay. It was only cheap, but it played. But, when I played it no-one made comments like "that's a beautiful piece of music, play it again for me".

I continued playing the guitar. People liked that. I liked it.

This year I saw a ukulele video on YouTube (guess who was playing) and bought several good instruments because of it. People seemed to be taking the instrument seriously, at least in the hands of a really good player. I set up a new YT account for ukulele music and started making videos. Today, most people, particularly kids at school, are genuinely interested when I take the ukulele out of the case. It is now a "cool" instrument to play.

And now, even though I am male, old, bald and English, there are actual people that like to hear me play the ukulele. It's taken over 40 years. A long journey.

KEN

raindog
06-21-2008, 07:13 AM
I remember watching that Beatles Anthology documentary and George was engrossed in one to the point where he couldn't answer questions.

Hey, I just watched the entire 8-part anthology a couple days ago. It's funny at the end when George is noodling with his uke while Paul is trying to talk. And at the very beginning, Paul says something like, "John's mum played the ukulele, and to this day when I meet grown-ups who play ukulele, I love 'em." Paul loves us! Woohoo!

My tale: A few weeks ago I stopped by my local music store, just to look around. I noticed the ukes but didn't think much of it at the time. But later that night, for reasons I'm still not sure of, I googled ukuleles (I didn't even know how to spell it), and literally stayed up ALL NIGHT reading about ukes and watching videos. I knew I had to have one, so when the music store opened at 10 the next morning, there I was, sleep-deprived, trading in my cheapo guitar for a cheapo Mahalo (I've since gotten a Kiwaya). Once I started playing I knew I finally found the right instrument for me and my weak, bony fingers. And it reminded me of why I wanted to play music in the first place - because it's fun!

I went from being somebody who had no interest in the ukulele to somebody in LOVE with it overnight. Is that weird?

SailQwest
06-21-2008, 09:10 AM
Several years ago I started playing harmonica, because it was a nice, small, portable instrument that would adapt well to life on the boat.

Eventually, I thought, wouldn't it be great if Rich (my husband) & I played music together? But what would be a good instrument for him?

Then I had an epiphany—how about getting him an ukulele?!? Of course, neither of us had ever played a stringed instrument...

So, in Sept 2006 I got Rich an ukulele for his birthday (an Applause acoustic-electric). In about 30 minutes we were jamming together! And he loved playing the uke!

Four months later, I decided that it looked like so much fun I needed to learn to play the uke, too. (I can't believe I waited so long!)

My favorite uke, and the one I play most, is a Bushman Engelmann Concert Cutaway (with a Mi-Si pick-up). Rich plays a Bushman Jenny Tenor Cutaway (with a Bushman pick-up).

brokenwing
06-21-2008, 09:15 AM
I went from being somebody who had no interest in the ukulele to somebody in LOVE with it overnight. Is that weird?
nah, man, you have it wrong - You went from being someone who didn't KNOW they were in love with the ukulele. Call it luck, call it kismet, you discovered it.

grappler
06-21-2008, 09:17 AM
It was like 10 months ago when i was just browsing through youtube..
The thought of picking up an instrument to learn was always on my mind.. But the choice endles..

I was just browsing through the net and Found Jakes clip at Strawberry fields.
That completl left me speechless.
From then on i found the tabs off the internet somehow. picked up my GUITAR and tried to play it.. not knowing it was missing 2 strings. :uhoh:
Then i researched and found out it was a ukulele.. Wanted to play this instrument the wayt jake did so much.
Went out to the music store and bought a soprano.
then upgraded to a mahalo for a couple of months. then a custom uke.
Stil no where near but always learning

The reason was it had a really differnt sound to other intruments. Also i wanted to play an instrument that was DIFFERNET from others..
perfect. 6 strings IMO is hard to play and pick up... and the guitar is big.. wanted something small and full of joy to play..

Ukesista
06-21-2008, 02:53 PM
I have always been interested in music and worked in the industry for a while a longtime ago now. I went to visit a friend at the beginning of the year and she encouraged me to buy a $25 dollar uke like hers so we could have some fun together. When I returned home I quickly upgraded to the uke I have now. I did a search on youtube for songs to play and on google and found this whole new world of uke players. I was instantly hooked, and haven't looked back, its been quite magical really, because everyone who picks up my uke or listens or plays it, gets to experience that same little bit of magic and takes it away with them:D

mctrmt
06-24-2008, 04:20 AM
watched while my guitar gently weeps by Jake and i was like :|



lol

That's exactly what my face looked like when I first saw that video!

nikolo727
06-24-2008, 09:53 AM
I'm glad I switched. People always smile when you whip out the ukulele; bagpipes are not as universally loved.

True but I could listen to a bagpipe for hours on end.

Its the Scot blood in me.

:D

freedive135
06-25-2008, 01:22 PM
Well I guess the uke seed was planted years ago when I saw Tiny Tim playin you know what on the old TV show "Laugh In" as a kid.
I have always like Hawaiian music but never thought of tryin to play one. I tried to play the geetar back in high school after watching Cheech and Chong's "Up in Smoke" but only ended up playin like Tommy with the monkey wrench as a slide (to many strings, to short of fingers).

Fast forward to now like others, the part of Shallow Hal, Iz, Jack Johnson made me wonder if I could learn to play a Uke, what made me get one was an Eric Stone song "Humuhumunukunukupua' ", that was 4 weeks ago and I have been playin every day I can't put it down. I don't want to either.

Wish I would have started along time ago.

Lanark
06-26-2008, 02:45 AM
Played guitar for thirty years or thereabouts.
Visit Hawaii with lovely wife for her Grandfather's funeral. Bring back starter ukulele.
Play it.
Like it.
Upgrade instrument.
Begin obsessing.

I can do all sorts of things on the uke that I could never do on the guitar. Fingerpick. Reach across five frets for really odd chords. Find new things to play on a different fretboard after I'd sort of fallen into a rut with the guitar. Take it somewhere without requiring an additional hundred and change pounds of equipment. (I'm getting too old to lug my damn wonderful sounding but obscenely heavy amps around any more.)

And I've gone in a matter of months from yet another slightly above average guitar player to the best ukulele player anybody I know knows.

I'm going to have to start some kind of performing unit with it. I'm ready to play in front of people...

uber_goober
06-26-2008, 03:25 AM
A couple years ago I was traveling a lot for work, and I wanted a small stringed instrument to bring with me. The ukulele seemed like a good choice. So I found a local store that sold them, and picked up an old soprano Harmony.

The bridge separated after a few weeks, and so it went in for repairs. In the meantime I needed one to play (haha), so I picked up an old baritone. Thus began the downward spiral of ukulele acquisition. :)

I just genuinely enjoy playing the instrument. It's pure fun.

-John

la_ingrit
06-26-2008, 04:13 AM
If a girl sat next to me, I'd smile, even if she had a chainsaw dripping with blood.

hahahahaha...Deach u are soooo funny!!!!
I really love u man!!! :D

mctrmt
06-29-2008, 07:45 AM
Thus began the downward spiral of ukulele acquisition. :)



It's not a downward spiral, it's an upward spiral.