View Full Version : What inspired you to pick up ukulele?

10-12-2010, 11:36 AM
As the title say, what inspired you to pick up ukulele, UU?
Also, what song/ jingle/ musician do you think are the iconic symbols of ukulele?
I'm awfully curious to see the responses.

10-12-2010, 11:43 AM

George Harrison, and

George Harrison

BadLands Bart
10-12-2010, 11:44 AM
For me it was a trip to Hawaii and listening to the music and the ukulele. After being there, drinking Mai Tais...I was hooked!

10-12-2010, 11:46 AM
This question actually comes up allot. But, anyway, the artist that inspired me was IZ.

10-12-2010, 11:47 AM
My Grandma. In 1965 she and Grandpa went to Hawaii and brought home 2 Martin Ukuleles. She knew Martins because Grandpa had a Martin D28.
I have played it every since but not seriously until the early 2000nds. Now I play almost every day.

10-12-2010, 11:49 AM
When I was a little kid I wanted to play guitar, but there weren't many little-kid-size guitars in those days. But there were ukes - so, that's what I got. I didn't stick with it for all that long, and always regretted it. Seeing Janet Klein perform made me decide to pick it up again, because it looked like so much fun - and it is!

As for iconic - I get asked if I can play "Tonight You Belong to Me" a lot (or, more accurately, "that Steve Martin song from The Jerk" is usually how it's phrased) so that must stand out as *the* ukulele song to my generation.

10-12-2010, 11:51 AM
I had a friend who was "collecting" Ukes, and one day I saw a purple one in a shop (I love me some purple!) and I brought it and from there have started learning (I also now have two more Ukes, all of them brought within two months!)

I don't know enough to answer the second question :D

This could be a very interesting thread :D

10-12-2010, 12:01 PM
I guess since I started this thread, I should answer my question.

I have been playing bass for awhile, and I thought a ukulele was kind of an obscure instrument, so I had to learn it.
Also, I went to a Nevershoutnever concert and Chris played his and I was instantly sold.

10-12-2010, 12:43 PM
I guess I started to play because I thought it was a cool sounding and unique insterment, and beacuse I cant play anything else and I thought the Ukulele would be easy to learn!

bobby b
10-12-2010, 12:56 PM
On one recent visit to Hawaii, I stopped and listened to Troy Fernandez playing ukulele in Waikiki. I was blown away, it made me see the uke in a whole new light, this was a seriously cool little instrument. I was hooked and had to have one!

For myself have to say IZ personifies Ukes and the sounds of Hawaii.
1st song I learned was Over the Rainbow/ What a Wonderful World.....IZ style ;)

10-12-2010, 01:10 PM
When I was a little kid I wanted to play guitar, but there weren't many little-kid-size guitars in those days. But there were ukes - so, that's what I got.

this sounds like my story, except when I was in H.S. my folks bought me a guitar. In the 60's guittar was cool, ukulele not so.
A few years ago I rediscovered the ukulele.

10-12-2010, 01:10 PM
My grandfather inspired me to pick it up.

10-12-2010, 01:35 PM
I bought cheap ukuleles for my kids for Christmas 2009. I decided I should try and tune them and found this place. Haven't put one down since.

10-12-2010, 01:42 PM
Ingrid Michaelson. Mmm.

mm stan
10-12-2010, 01:53 PM
My father reinspired me when he passed away....I found his ukulele song books while cleaning up his room and at his funeral I asked my cousin to play..
it was the most beautiful uke playing I've ever heard....MM Stan..

10-12-2010, 04:31 PM
I was "tricked" into playing! My uke playing friends, Bob and Sue, said they'd like some harmonica back-up and solo work in their ukulele jam-band. So every two weeks we'd get together and jam... for some reason there were always more ukuleles than players around, and not every song required harmonica. One thing led to another and soon I was noodling away on a uke between harmonica bits.

The final hook was set when they invited me to play harmonica for a song they were performing at Toronto's Corktown Uke Jam... "oh, but before we play you might want to learn this song that we play every week". They lent me a beater uke and I was hooked.

Oh, and like any good junky, I got my wife hooked on uke too!

10-12-2010, 04:54 PM
Hmm.. Watching Jake play While my guitar gently weeps in central park.

10-12-2010, 05:15 PM
I've played drums longer than I have uke. When I started drumming, I was looking for somewhere to play and I found that someone at my church had a youth banjo band. As a rule, everyone who enters the band starts on the ukulele. And the rest, as they say, is history.

10-12-2010, 05:17 PM
Jake Shimabukuro.

10-12-2010, 05:54 PM
My wife wanted to learn to play something, and there was a guy at the art gallery she volunteers at playing Uke. She told me I ought to play Uke (I had a Martin just gathering dust) and she wanted to learn banjo...
After seeing what a banjo costs, she got a Uke too, and loves it.
'Course, at this point, she has taken the Martin for her own and the collection grows, as I figure I am a tenor guy anyway.

10-12-2010, 06:34 PM
I am a Hodgkinsonian ukuleleist.

Uke Republic
10-12-2010, 06:52 PM
It made me feel so big.

10-12-2010, 06:54 PM
I had wanted to learn a musical instrument for awhile and I chose the accordion. After three years of learning the accordion I was having such fun that I wanted to learn another instrument. Since the accordion is one of the more difficult instruments to learn I chose the ukulele because it was considered one of the easier instruments. I am influenced by the youtube ladies. Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Julia Nunes and Sophie M. I love the quirkiness and the joyfulness of both instruments. I find the ukulele to be a lot "lighter", figuratively and literally, livelier and much more social than the accordion.

10-12-2010, 10:00 PM
I quickly fell in love with the sound after seeing a homeless person playing on the street. I looked up some videos and my poor high school self quickly spent every penny i had just to get a cheap uke haha.

10-13-2010, 04:27 AM
Jake made the ukulele cool. The little Korean kid playing I'm Yours made me think I could play one.

10-13-2010, 05:37 AM
Mr B, the Gentleman Rhymer.

10-13-2010, 08:20 AM
A student of mine named Elliot. Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Iz was the first tune our club learned. We went on to lots of other things, but I've brought it back as the starter for every session. Partly because the new members don't know it, and I feel somehow that they missed out on those magic first moments.

10-13-2010, 08:34 AM
To add to my first thread, and being slightly more serious.

It was also because I am a guitar player, and aside from GH, also Loudon Wainwright and Joe Brown

10-13-2010, 08:38 AM
That little kid is Japanese, not Korean.

Also, Julia Nunes and Jake.

10-13-2010, 08:59 AM
I remember I was looking at guitars on ebay and my son was playing Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's Over the Rainbow through his stereo, one of a thousand times I had heard the song, but this time I wondered if it was tough to learn to play the ukulele. I really didn't want to learn all new chord shapes. Then I thought I wonder how much ukuleles cost these days?

To my surprise the chord shapes were the same and compared to the cost of guitars, a decent ukulele was pretty cheap.

Bought a soprano, it was fun, but after I got a tenor things really started to change.

I'll still play guitar and every now and then I give the uke a few months off, but over the past 3 years it is about 80% ukulele and 20% guitar.


10-13-2010, 09:44 AM
Well growing up with it in Hawaii I always played it to an extent but what really got me back into it was when I read an article in the OC Register about Bill Tapia back in like, 2004 or so. One of my college professors Byron Yasui (musical genius!) had been quoted in the article talking about Bill and why he nominated him for the ukulele hall of fame. I was stoked when I saw he lived in OC so I looked him up in the phone book, called him out of the blue, mentioned Yasui's name and he said come on over. So I went there every week to jam with him and got a good sense of his style and learned a lot of awesome jazz standards that I probably wouldn't have otherwise.

If I hadn't started going to his house I may not have gotten back into concert promotions and may not have met Jim "Kimo" West, Kristin Korb the bassist/singer and tons of other wonderful people/musicians!!!

Here's to Bill Tapia!!

10-13-2010, 09:49 AM
David Cole is a great guy and the Cruise Director on the Golden Princess. During a two week cruise to Hawaii, he offered daily lessons onboard using Makala Dolphins that he loaned out to the group. When we stopped in Hilo, we got our first ukes at Hilo Guitar and Ukulele. After hearing about Iz from David, we visited the Hawaiian Ukulele Company, in Honolulu, where we picked up an IZ songbook. The music was way beyond our abilities at that point, but we were hopeful. With the help of musician friends we met on the ship, I was able to pluck "Happy Birthday" to Ron during the day we spent in Maui.The photo we've used as our avatar was taken on that day. By the last night of the cruise, we were able to play Aloha Oe with the group on stage -quite a kick for two people with no music background. We were really hooked. David Cole is a great teacher and he inspired us to continue learning after the trip was over. He suggested that we do an online search after we returned home and that's when we found Ukulele Underground. We have continued to play together almost every day since we started. We have wondered if anyone else here at UU started playing during a cruise on the Golden Princess.

10-13-2010, 10:55 AM
i can't really remember 100% but i thought, hmm a ukulele thats a joke of an instrument, might get me a few laughs round town. man how wrong i was, i did get a few smiles and the like but it being a "joke" instrument is so wrong, i played the guitar and in the 1 month i've been playing uke i have gotten way better than i did in a year of guitar

10-13-2010, 12:32 PM
David Cole is a great guy and the Cruise Director on the Golden Princess. During a two week cruise to Hawaii, he offered daily lessons onboard using Makala Dolphins that he loaned out to the group. When we stopped in Hilo, we got our first ukes at Hilo Guitar and Ukulele. After hearing about Iz from David, we visited the Hawaiian Ukulele Company, in Honolulu, where we picked up an IZ songbook. The music was way beyond our abilities at that point, but we were hopeful. With the help of musician friends we met on the ship, I was able to pluck "Happy Birthday" to Ron during the day we spent in Maui.The photo we've used as our avatar was taken on that day. By the last night of the cruise, we were able to play Aloha Oe with the group on stage -quite a kick for two people with no music background. We were really hooked. David Cole is a great teacher and he inspired us to continue learning after the trip was over. He suggested that we do an online search after we returned home and that's when we found Ukulele Underground. We have continued to play together almost every day since we started. We have wondered if anyone else here at UU started playing during a cruise on the Golden Princess.

That is a great story!

10-13-2010, 01:26 PM
That is a great story!
Thank you very much! We liked it, too. Our stories are corny, but true:) The Golden Princess is actually the ship from the show "The Love Boat" and it was the same ship where Ron asked me to marry him, in 2001. We have great memories from both trips.

10-13-2010, 03:25 PM
When I was a little kid--probably around eight--I told my parents I wanted a "real" musical instrument of my own. They got me a Classic soprano uke for Christmas. The Classic is an el cheapo instrument that only plays in tune if you're forming a chord without a D in it (though interestingly, the strings STAY in tune very well), but I fell in love with it and taught myself to play. I had a friend whose mum played as well (a tenor, I think, since I remember thinking of it as a "big" ukulele), but I never knew anyone else who had a uke. Though there was a set of ukuleles at my elementary school, we learned the recorder and the xylophone instead. I expect my "inspiration" came from my pride in owning my very own instrument. I still have that soprano, though I have now discovered the joys of well-made ukuleles that do not have plastic fretboards and are capable of playing in tune.

10-13-2010, 05:13 PM
This video (and no this is not another self-serving post to get my videos viewed) - Abe Lagrimas Jr playing Chick Corea's Spain - This, to me, is perhaps the most perfect ukulele solo I have ever heard and it deserves checking out and careful study; he's a master!


10-13-2010, 06:46 PM
Bruddah Iz and my Grandpa Glen in 1960's!

10-13-2010, 07:20 PM
I work in Carlsbad, California. It's about a mile from the Museum of Making Music:


I frequently attend concerts at the museum and have also performed there. On Saturday August 11, 2007, I stopped by the Museum after work to attend a ukulele concert only to discover it was sold out months ago!


I'm friends with the faculty of the museum and they told me there were still a few seats left for the Sunday lecture/workshop. I signed up and was totally surprized to see hundreds there! As a guitarist for over 40 years I'd always viewed the ukulele as a toy. I went to this lecture/workshop with only a notebook, pen and no ukulele. This was my epiphany that the ukule is a real musical instrument. I purchased my first (of Many) ukuleles that week at Giacoletti Music in Carlsbad, California that week. I also started attending kanikapila at Moonlight Beach Ukulele Strummers in Encinitas, California. We later founded the Ukulele Society of America, a California non-profit association, that has started new clubs around the globe. I play perform on the ukule a minimum of 3 times a week, now.

Here's my short list of ukulele movers/shakers:

Tonya Dale
Diane (of YesterUkes)
Aldrine Guerrero
Ryan Esaki
Aaron Nakamura
Alan Jonson
Allie Bee
Brother Ray
Uncle Rufus
J Boy Shyne
Pat Enos
Bill Tapia
Frank Leong
Roy Good
David Weisenthal
Ronnie Seno
Quintin Holi
Jimmy Patton
Andy Domingo
Shirley Orlando
Kent Olson
Tom Noble
Charlie Kiaha
Cathy Kiaha
Iilima Russell
Jim Beloff
Liz Beloff
Brad Norris
Mitch Chang
Addy Wang
Susan McCormick
Bryan Tolentino
Derick Sebastian
Jim Ravoira
Bugoy Reyes
Arvin Reyes
Bruddah Mark of Nalu Ukulele
Mickey of Ukulele Player Magazine
Brandon and Flo of Pacific Arts Dance Studio
Kai and Ryan Kalama (American Idol Finalist)
Jean Navarra (owner of Hulaville in San Clemente, CA)
Lou Tullo
Susan Leftie Blondie...

This list is endless. Ric

10-30-2010, 09:50 AM
growing up in Hawaii you're around ukes all the time. it wasnt til like high school when i started playing almost everyday. like 10 of us would take em to school and play at recess and lunch and learn each other's tricks. i guess the other local kids inspired me to play, especially tj (braddah teej), i wanted to play as well as him. now listening to my old cds of troy fernandez (ka'au crater boys) keeps me motivated, dominator is really good, listening to facing future. this is a great thread

Ronnie Aloha
10-30-2010, 11:55 AM
"Born Again Uke Player" due to love of the Okamis...

Strummingbird Stu
10-30-2010, 07:11 PM
I had been a musician back in the 70's and 80's, singing and playing rhythm electric guitar in a band in various nightclubs here in Honolulu. During that time I got a tenor Kamaka uke, but didn't play it much since I was so preoccupied with the guitar. After getting married and starting a family, I left the nightclub scene to pursue "real" office jobs. I had not played the guitar much since then - except for occasional family get-togethers. The guitar seemed just too heavy and cumbersome to pull out and play on a regular basis.

A few years ago my son-in-law who, ironically, is from the mainland started getting very passionate about playing the ukulele. In trying to accomodate his interest, I began to listen to more uke recordings like "Legends of the Ukulele", Herb Ohta Jr & Daniel Ho, and Bryan Tolentino. After about 30 years,I busted out my old Kamaka from storage and started to tinkle with some old songs that I had already known. I finally realized how relaxing and enjoyable it was to play the uke. Finding the Ukulele Underground site just sealed my passion for playing the uke. Since then I've developed a case of UAS and an undying love to play the uke! I'd like to say a big "mahalo" to UU for supporting my love for the ukulele! Stu

10-30-2010, 08:51 PM
A friend asked me to re-string and tune their new uke - I was hooked!!

Hippie Dribble
10-30-2010, 11:09 PM
Curiosity...I have been a long time guitar player and never really took any notice of the little coloured things on the wall of the local music shop...I grabbed one one day cause I thought it might sound novel on some recording I was doing. 5 years and 30+ ukes later I am totally obsessed by all things uke and now only play the guitar when I have to (choir practice / church worship leading / occasional gig).

10-31-2010, 05:32 AM
I played guitar for years but I could never find a guitar small enough. My wife bought me a Gretch banjo uke for my birthday a few years ago and that was it for me.

10-31-2010, 05:35 AM
I gave my husband a ukulele for his birthday a few years ago. Seeing how much fun he was having, I got one four months later.

10-31-2010, 05:56 AM
I saw GUGUG get featured on Youtube doing Rawhide, and became hooked. I love the song (massive fan of Blues Brothers) and thought they were having so much fun. I checked eBay and found the cheap Mahalo ukes for £12, so ordered one and went ahead with it - never put my uke down since.

Chris Tarman
10-31-2010, 07:27 AM
George Harrison. I'd played bass for ages, but as you know, it's not easy to sit and play a song by yourself on a bass and have anyone be able to recognize it. When George Harrison died, I read about how much he was into ukuleles, and I remembered seeing him in The Beatles Anthology videos, sitting on the grass with Paul and Ringo, and strumming a uke. I thought "Hey, they're cheap... you can play chords on it... it only has 4 strings so how hard can THAT be?". So I ordered a dreadful little soprano from Musicians Friend, along with Jim Beloff's instructional video. It was fun, but was a terrible uke, so I didn't stick with it for long. Although from the video I got I learned about Martin ukuleles, and that planted a tiny little seed in my mind. I had always wanted a Martin guitar (preferably an OLD one), but I'm not enough of a guitarist to justify that. But I thought "Hey, maybe I can get good enough on ukulele to get a Martin, and plus, they're probably less expensive than vintage Martin guitars!".
Last January I saw Jake Shimabukaro's youtube video of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", pulled my cheap little uke out and decided I needed a better instrument. And that pretty much did me in!

10-31-2010, 08:17 AM
Believe it or not, my mother in law drew me(and my wife) into it!
What a great lady!!!!

10-31-2010, 01:53 PM
Two summers ago, my wife and I took our first trip to Hawaii. I walked into an ukulele shop in Waikiki and was just amazed. I knew then and there that this was what I was missing. When we got home, I researched ukuleles and bought a Pineapple Flea. I use it in my classroom. I have since purchased a KoAloha concert. My original inspiration was IZ, but now there are too many talented players and performers to mention. I was blown away by Aldrine when I saw him in Reno. Thanks everyone at UU!

02-15-2011, 05:24 PM
I had no idea what an ukulele was until I saw Jake Shimabukuro's rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on Google Video (back then we thought it was gonna get big). I thought it sounded so incredible that I wanted to get a uke right then and there. I didn't start playing until about 2 years later, but that was when I really look a liking to the sound of the instrument.

02-15-2011, 06:42 PM
I got the chance to originate a part in a musical while it was being workshopped, and the romantic lead had a song on the ukulele, so I learned to play "It Had to Be You" on the uke for my audition. I got the part, and practiced the uke song like crazy until I was ready to play it in front of a live audience, and I've been playing ever since.

02-15-2011, 07:21 PM
Seriously, it was that dude at the Aloha Bowl Swap Meet selling the Leolani ukes. He would just pick one up and wail on the thing. I knew I was hooked. Bought one, came back on the next vacay and bought another, and then started checking out UU and all the fabulous people here who play and post and inspire. What a great way to spend some time.

02-16-2011, 12:22 AM
About seven years ago, my wife and I decided to learn to play the guitar together. The steel strings were too much for her small hands so she "discovered" the ukulele. I didn't take it too seriously but she was having a great time learning the instrument. Right about that time, at age 42, I had a heart attack followed by a quad bypass. During my 12 week recovery, I decided that six strings was two too many and life was just too short. I picked up a ukulele and never looked back. Our lives changed at that point.


02-16-2011, 01:40 AM

George Harrison, and

George Harrison

What about George Harrisons hero, the other George, as in Formby?

I play the guitar and was simply drawn to the uke. I got a wee travel guitar and enjoyed the sound, then began to look for something new and the uke was the next step. Also it was very easy to pick up due to already playing the guitar.

02-16-2011, 04:53 AM
Bill Murray in Meatballs. It was a short scene with friends singing along. It looked like so much fun. I had to try.

02-16-2011, 05:31 AM
I have to admit and i regret it now i first wanted the uke as a novelty item. But then i saw Jake Shimabukuro's 'lets dance' and then the only instrument i wanted to play was a uke.

02-16-2011, 07:35 AM
Honestly, my ukulele probably has a lot more to do with the topless ukulele-playing call girl performing "Japanese Sandman" on Boardwalk Empire than I'd like to admit. :eek: I listen to a lot of popular music from the Interbellum period (jazz and tin pan alley stuff) and also sing, not formally anymore, but around the house. Ukulele Ike and other uke-playing performers of that era popped up on my favorite Pandora radio stations with some regularity. I had a passing familiarity with contemporary ukulele music, but seeing it on the show was a "Eureka!" moment: it's pretty-sounding, portable, well-suited to the type of music I listen to and enjoy singing. It offered the possibility of maybe learning to play to play something with my uncle's band, too.

So, in short: despite passing familiarity with (some) ukulele music and performers, it never would have occurred to me as an option until its current resurgence in pop culture, but I can't imagine giving it up if the zeitgeist moves on.

02-16-2011, 04:52 PM
Sometime last year I got it stuck in my head that I needed to learn how to play some sort of instrument. Any sort of instrument. It was more of an idea to help promot my creativity. I thought long and hard about different types of instruments that might work for me. It had to affordable, portable, and preferably, not too common. Somehow I decided that a ukulele was the perfect choice.

Then I started searching for exactly what I wanted and came to the decision that I wanted a tenor ukulele. Then, I lost my job and was unemployed for 5 months so the idea of an instrument took a back seat to real life concerns. Now that I am, for the most part, back on my feet. I'm finally getting the ukulele that I wanted so much and I can't wait to learn to play it.

02-16-2011, 04:57 PM
Although not born in Hawaii (both parents were), I have a lot of family ties there and we go often. I'd say over the past 10 years I've gained a deeper appreciation of the ohana and aloha spirit of the Islands, especially the music and dance. I've also been a fan of early jazz for most of my life and as an extension of that I started learning early 20th century jazz dances such as Lindy Hop, Charelston, etc. over 12 years ago. I had toyed with the idea of learning clarinet (I love Pee Wee Russell and Sidney Bechet - soprano sax, I know) and even bought a vintage rosewood Evette and Shaepher this past November at a flea market. I have yet to play it. I actually took a free beginner lesson at the Ukulele House in the Waikiki Shopping Plaza with my wife, brother, and dad back in May 2007. I guess with my family background, ukulele was a more logical choice. My current plan is to focus on Hawaiian mele and early 20th century jazz standards.

Oh, and I went and saw Jake in concert at the Belly Up in Solana Beach in Feb 2010 . It was completely mind-blowing.

02-17-2011, 01:35 AM
While waiting for a charango to arrive from South America, in early 2008, I was researching playing tips for the instrument and came across a comment that it was tuned similar to a ukulele. Since I had six-plus weeks to wait, I went online to buy an inexpensive uke so I could practice and learn (I played guitar 40+ years too). I stumbled onto MGM's eBay store. My $50 intention rose to $250 pretty quickly. When it arrived, I was smitten. Lovely instrument. Couldn't put it down. The charango arrived and was basically ignored, then sold at a loss a few weeks later. Guitars went, too. Three years later I'm still uking.

Music/ian? George Formby. Heard him as a kid and still love his style. Best song of his: a medley with Goody Goody, Ain't Nobody's Business and I don't Like Bananas. My favourite tunes to play: Jeepers Creepers, Ain't Misbehavin, Red Red Robin, and a few others from that era.

Inner Prop
02-17-2011, 06:35 AM
I was reading Every Day Carry Forum (EDCF is about the stuff you carry everyday, like pens, knives, PDAs, guns etc) and somebody said they carried a uke.

I checked it out, saw Jake in the park and Taimane Gardner, and thought, "Wow, I didn't know it could do that."

I looked some more, thought I wanted one, but when Chap offered to lend me one, sight unseen, I thought, "I have got to get me one of these for my own."

02-17-2011, 06:44 AM
really. i found a throw away cheap plywood mexicano 4 string guitarra/ukulele by the curbside a few years ago. it used fishing line for strings, never stayed in tune, but i was in love with that thing. still have it, it's in rather poor shape these days. and i'll add the obligatory beatles influence here. :p

BadLands Bart
02-17-2011, 08:28 AM
I think it was one too many Mai Tais!!!

02-17-2011, 11:44 AM
I knew about ukuleles for years, but mostly from old movies (20's & 30's, as well as Some Like It Hot, where Marilyn Monroe played a uke), and New Yorker cartoons (the kid with he raccoon fur coat, turned up hat, and ukulele is the classic reference). I had also heard Martin Mull's Lake Erie Delta Blues, played with a baby bottle as slide lap ukulele, back in the late '70s.

But until I tore a tendon in my left elbow, I was a guitar player - never even thought about the uke as anything but a novelty.

After the arm surgery, I spent a couple of months recovering. I was finally able to hold my arm in a chord position eventually, but can't play more than 30-45 minutes without a lot of pain. I was about to give up, but then I remembered sitting in on a beginner Ukulele session Ron Gordon gave at the Dance Flurry in Saratoga Springs, NY last year.

During a trip to California to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving, my father-in-law asked if I was interested in his old ukulele - of course I said yes. We dug the case out of the closet where it has spent the last 25-30 years, I tuned it up, and started playing.

For about an hour, with absolutely no pain.

The next week, back home, I got my Cordoba. then around January 1, I got my Kala. I've just ordered an Epi Les Paul ukulele.

My inspiration to play is that I can play! I was ready to give up on making music, because playing was too painful, when I found an instrument that would let me make music, and not hurt myself. Because of the ukulele, I can continue to do something that has made me happy for four decades.

And maybe just help make some other folks happy at the same time.


02-19-2011, 03:55 PM
When I was 10 years old, my dad had just finished building our new house....our first after living in rentals my whole life. It was my birthday and I'm not sure he had any money left for birthday presents, so he walked into the living room with a big smile, and a loving look in his eyes (I almost never saw that) and he handed me his pre-war Martin "O" Soprano. I never mastered it, but have finally started the process in earnest. I'll be 70 on my next birthday.

02-19-2011, 05:05 PM
My parents forced me to go to a Toto concert with them. Jake was the opening act. I've been playing ever since.

02-19-2011, 05:31 PM
Well, the three artists whi inspired me to pick up the Uke were George Harrison (of course!) Bruno Mars who uses it in one of his songs, and Jason Mraz uses it in a few. I thought the uke would not only be fun and beautiful, but it is such a unique little instrument :) Ive been hooked.

03-28-2011, 08:08 AM
Husband and I took a cruise to Hawaii on the Golden Princess. They offered free lessons and my husband was hooked. (Bought a Kala tenor in Hilo) I just sat there and listened while I read my Kindle. Well, I couldn't stand not playing, so I now have a Kala Makata soprano and I'm working through Uncle Rod's Boot Camp. It would help if one of us could sing. We'll be back on the Golden Princess soon and this time we'll both be at the classes.

03-28-2011, 09:18 AM
What made me pick one up - my flamenco guitar and a dare... what kept it in my hands - early music (primarily renaissance).
What made me smile when I did pick it up - not taking myself at all seriously.

Iconic ukists - Iz, George Formby's "Oh Mother, what'll I do now?", any of Ukukele Ike's solo work. Now I'd imgagine it'd be "Hey soul sistah."

03-28-2011, 09:42 AM
Husband and I took a cruise to Hawaii on the Golden Princess. They offered free lessons and my husband was hooked. (Bought a Kala tenor in Hilo) I just sat there and listened while I read my Kindle. Well, I couldn't stand not playing, so I now have a Kala Makata soprano and I'm working through Uncle Rod's Boot Camp. It would help if one of us could sing. We'll be back on the Golden Princess soon and this time we'll both be at the classes.

We responded to this thread a few pages back:

David Cole is a great guy and the Cruise Director on the Golden Princess. During a two week cruise to Hawaii, he offered daily lessons onboard using Makala Dolphins that he loaned out to the group. When we stopped in Hilo, we got our first ukes at Hilo Guitar and Ukulele. After hearing about Iz from David, we visited the Hawaiian Ukulele Company, in Honolulu, where we picked up an IZ songbook. The music was way beyond our abilities at that point, but we were hopeful. With the help of musician friends we met on the ship, I was able to pluck "Happy Birthday" to Ron during the day we spent in Maui.The photo we've used as our avatar was taken on that day. By the last night of the cruise, we were able to play Aloha Oe with the group on stage -quite a kick for two people with no music background. We were really hooked. David Cole is a great teacher and he inspired us to continue learning after the trip was over. He suggested that we do an online search after we returned home and that's when we found Ukulele Underground. We have continued to play together almost every day since we started. We have wondered if anyone else here at UU started playing during a cruise on the Golden Princess.

Nice to see more Golden Princess ukulele class participants here:)

03-28-2011, 10:00 AM
After i finished college and got a job I had a lot of free time on my hands, with not having homework and studying. I had thought about the uke before but really did some searching and then I got one.

So I guess the short answer for what inspired me to pick up a uke, boredom.

03-28-2011, 10:34 AM
Growing up, I had a crazy uncle I saw once a year.
He played one tune on his ukulele: Goin' to the hookela (misspelled I'm sure).
Many trips to Hawaii, bathing in the aloha/ukeulele vibe.
Discovering Iz a few years ago.
Seeing Jake live in concert last year.
My nephew brought back a Lelani soprano from Hawaii last spring.
Borrowed his for about a week three months ago.
Bought an Ibanez concert on line.
Got a Flea just before my trip to Hawaii and took it with me.
Got a Pono soprano at the KoOlau factory while there.
Now I'm a-strummin and a-grinnin and havin a good ol' time!

03-28-2011, 10:39 AM
I was inspired to get one after my best friend wrote a song for my old biology teacher and brought his uke into school, and played and sang. It was amazing, and he's been teaching me to play since I bought a uke of my very own last month.

03-28-2011, 10:45 AM
I started playing the drums when i was 12. I have done things over the years with the drums, but not on an ongoing basis. I fell in love with classical guitar music maybe 15 years ago. I tried to learn a few times, but could not get far. About 4 years ago I tried again, having my then 12 year old son learn with me. he kept at it, but I gave up.

back in the fall of 2009, the urge got on me again, but what to try? One night, having finished reading the "Silver Chair" by C.S. Lewis to my kids, I pondered the reference to a Theorbo in that book. After everyone was in bed, I searched youtube, just to see what it might sound and look like. I found a nice video, explaining it. I saw another video by the same person playing a Baroque guitar. So I checked it out. It was a beautiful version of "Canarios", by Gaspar Sanz. i fell in love with the song, and the baroque guitar looked like it might work for me, smaller, 5 courses instead of six. Then I googled it, and saw that they were way out of my price range, for something i might likely give up on in 6 months.

defeated, I went to bed, and headed into work the next day. On the way home, i remembered a Uke hanging on the wall of an old friends house, many years ago. I thought," It is small, guitar like, and maybe not expensive."". Instantly, images of Tiny Tim screamed into my head. "No, I can't..." However, being desperate, I typed "ukulele" and "classical" into the youtube search. I discovered what I had been looking for! I found John King, Rob MacKillop, and others. Then, i found Jake. I was hooked!

After discovering this place, and doing my research, I purchased a Kala Tenor in December of 2010. Now, I play a Kala baritone with a high d, so I can enjoy the re entrant tuning, but deeper voice of the baritone. My now 16 year old has taken over the tenor with a vengeance. My wife has a baritone, and two of my other children have sopranos. My 2nd oldest son has an acoustic bass, and my youngest isn't ready yet.

We are having great fun as a family, and I am playing music in a way I never dreamed. We watch "The Mighty Uke" regularly, and love it.

To top if off, my wife, my oldest son, and I saw Jake live back in February, in Penfield NY.

I never would have dreamed that I would have a family of uke players, but i do, and my life is so much richer for it. God is very good, indeed.

take care,


Canoe Lady
03-28-2011, 10:48 AM
I spend some time each winter in Hawaii, and have gotten to know a couple of musicians. I realized while listening to them that there is no music that makes people smile more than the sound of a ukulele. To me, Bruddah Iz truly brought the joy and emotion of the ukulele to so many.

I had the desire to learn for a couple of years before I actually bought one. I live in the boonies of Northern Wisconsin. Where in the heck was I going to take ukulele lessons? My musician friends directed me to You Tube, so last year when I got home from Maui, I checked out the lessons there, and before the day was out, I had ordered a ukulele from Amazon. The day it arrived, I "played" for 5 hours, learning basic chords and strums. Since then, I have played almost every day. I have always had music in my life and am no stranger to "woodshedding". I cannot tell you how hard I worked to make "Over the Rainbow" one of the firt songs I could play decently in front of people.

This year when I went to Maui, I told myself I wanted to buy a koa uke. I found a used one at a music store and it just felt "right" in my hands immediately. My friends encouraged me to buy it, and it was only later when talking to my musician friends that I discovered I had purchased a quality ukulele and that Kamaka had such a good reputation. I feel blessed that this ukulele found me, and despite a bit of UAS, this Kamaka is my true love.

03-28-2011, 01:44 PM
Heard from surfing the net that ukes were a relatively easy instrument to play. What really made me want to play was discovering that my dad used to play.

03-28-2011, 02:35 PM
i always wanted to play a stringed instrument (i have a long background in piano and wind instruments) and i got a guitar for my hs graduation. i am horrible at the guitar and 8 years later i still can't play it! i have lots of cousins who play who have inspired me but what really got me going was discovering julia nunes on youtube. i love her!

03-28-2011, 04:33 PM
One night I was watching on TV the episode of Parenthood where Zeek serenades his extranged wife with the Uke, the song was "I'm into something good" by the Herman's Hermits.
Right then I thought" hey, I can do that!".
The next day I bought an el-cheapo uke on the bay. The first song I learned to play was "I'm into something good".
The rest is history.

03-28-2011, 07:09 PM
I got interested in the ukulele when my wife expressed a desire to learn it. From there, I got into Cliff Edwards, Janet Klein, Lyle Ritz, and Ohta-San and became completely obsessed. I started studying it very intensively indeed, playing it for months straight up to 8 hours per day (yes, seriously) and acquiring a massive ukulele musical library. I still play it constantly.

It's the fifth instrument I've become proficient on in my life (this is mostly a reflection of my willingness to practice), and by far the most fun and satisfying.

03-29-2011, 04:52 AM
I read a lot of Tom Hodgkinson. He advocates disconnecting from consumer culture and spending more real face time with friends and family. In almost every one of his major works he mentions the ukulele as a real way to create unique entertainment that isn't passive or based on aquiring things. Eventually, right before my wife delivered out first child, I bought a cheap Hilo. Best decision ever.

Ukulele Jim
03-29-2011, 05:08 AM
I picked up the ukulele because of the move "Joe vs. The Volcano".

03-29-2011, 09:20 AM
i honestly cannot remember. sure glad i did though

03-29-2011, 04:39 PM
I'd just had a mutual, civil break-up with someone that had me buying and playing a Clayz ocarina (we'd driven cross-country to Seattle together to settle him into his new job as part of our "transitioning out" stage).

Kissing of The Ocarina Network had talked about ukuleles, so I plinked around on one at an Arts and Music Store the day I flew back from SeaTac.

Read a lot of reviews and found my sweet Dolphin Makala Orange Burst at Music Guy Mic's Room on eBay. I've named her GoodDaySunShine -- so bright she brings smile to my face every time I see her!

05-08-2011, 01:37 AM
saw Jake shimabukuro's gently weeps vid on youtube, and remembered that in our pantry was a 13 year old ukulele (awful) my parents bought in the phillipines when i was 3. I dug it out, tuned it usings pineapple pete's website, played a c chord and it immediately made me smile, and then i strummed that c chord for about an hour and i was sold.

05-08-2011, 07:13 AM
I had been longing for a small, portable instrument to play for a few years. I tried the harmonica. That wasn't it. I seriously looked at mandolins and dulcimers. I tried to fall in love with them, but I couldn't. The ukulele never even crossed my mind since my only association with it was Tiny Tim.

Then, on an rv board, a guy posted a topic about ukuleles and camping. Somehow I knew instantly that the ukulele was IT!

After I bought mine, my aunt told me that my grandfather used to play the guitar, ukulele and fiddle, and that he often made cigar box ukuleles (I suppose to give away).

Since I never listened to ukulele music before, there wasn't anyone who really influenced me. But I found this video, and it is the definitive example of what I would like to be able to do someday.


05-09-2011, 02:09 AM
I come from a musical family and despite a 3-4 year interlude playing the clarinet as a kid I've never really played an instrument. I've always sung for pleasure though and about 30 years ago my wife bought me a guitar so that I could learn how to accompany myself. Somehow, despite picking it up and putting it down several times and living in rock n roll city USA the guitar and I never clicked. I have a friend who had a uke and plays well and occasionally he would bring it out at "happy hour" and play. The four strings and happy sound seemed perfect for my stubby fingers that had such trouble with the guitar. Last winter I learned that I was awarded a fellowship to spend 10 weeks at Univ. Otago in NZ and thought - being away is the perfect time to learn an instrument and the uke is the perfect size to take. So about a month before leaving I bought ukes for both myself and my 14-year old daughter who was accompanying me and we took her concert with us. In Dunedin, I met another prof who had a uke band and he graciously invited me to come to their practices. That was a real eye-opener because there were several excellent musicians who opened my eyes to the versatility of the instrument and the excitement and harmony of playing in a group. I'm still a beginner but play pretty much every day and went out and bought another uke so that I could keep one in my office and practice there. I am continually amazed at the versatility of the instrument and the great "happy" sound that it makes. Like several of you, my immediate association with the uke is recalling Tiny Tim play Tiptoe through the tulips and other songs, as well as those plastic models you would get from a helpful relative on your 8th birthday <g>. I don't really know enough about inspirational uke players but Brother Iz and Jake S. certainly are both inspirational and a bit depressing for a beginner to watch <g>. I never thought that I would be able to learn an instrument in my 50's but the simplicity of fingering (okay I'm still struggling with chords like b flat, E and B) yet delightful sound of the uke have allowed me to do just that.

05-09-2011, 04:52 AM
I never thought that I would be able to learn an instrument in my 50's but the simplicity of fingering (okay I'm still struggling with chords like b flat, E and B) yet delightful sound of the uke have allowed me to do just that.
Gary, I'm in my 60's and am surprised at how fast I am learning. The ukulele sure is a people-friendly instrument. :)

05-09-2011, 06:35 AM
I grew up in Hawaii, and of course kids were all issued ukuleles and sent to uke class. Where I got in trouble for being left handed but playing right handed. And not seeing the music up at the front of the class too but I kept quiet about that. (No like be four-eye)

We did songs like "Misty Showers", "Pearly Shells", "Going On A Hukilau" all the usual stuff. I could sing 'em OK but never got to be a uke player. All that ever stuck with me was G7 and C, and Bb for some reason. Oh and A7 I guess.

I wanted a guitar. Tom Jones played one on TV. To me the uke was a toy. The guitar was wayy too big for a manini little kid like me, the steel strings cut my fingers up, and I never got anywhere with guitar.

When I was a teen my dad was into Ohta-San but that music didn't excite me as much as rock, sheeze all the great bands out at the time, The Police, Yes, tons of 'em.

Years later, I discover BUSKING. First I saw this old guy (probably some great jazzer) play clarinet at Venice Beach and the TONE was incredible. People kept putting money in his hat. A few years later I saw an old guy playing an accordion in front of a small market in L.A. Money kept dropping in his case, a lot of coins. What an IDEAL way to make a living that'd be! Live simply, and play music.

I went in and out of being serious amateur athlete, owning and then losing my small business, and I could see this Depression coming in 2005 or 06. I started hanging out with street musicians and performers and saw that if they were good, they had a much better life than mine. Instead of working my butt off to bring in $200-$300 a day and then poop most of that right back out, these guys/gals could make maybe $50 a day on average and live a better life than I do. I started taking violin lessons and was making great progress, then the economic smackdown really hit me.

I had to stop all music learning and survive. I stayed at a friend's for a year in AZ then had to get back to California, AZ's REALLY in a Depression. I was kinda homeless for a while back here, but slowly have gotten back on my feet. I also spent all the time I could watching various musicians on YouTube and experimenting with various instruments. I discovered George Formby, Jake, this flood of modern players, Roy Smeck, and IZ.

My conclusions for choice of instrument if the modern economy is throwing boulders at you:

It should be relatively inexpensive and easily replaceable.
It should be fairly popular with most people - uke 1, tuba 0, for instance.
It should be small and easy to carry, uke 1, flute 1, bass guitar 0, marimba 0 lol
It should be fairly durable and weather-resistant. I live in somewhat rustic conditions now, it'd be hard on a violin.
IF you are a singer, it's nice to have something that can accompany your singing.

As these times get more interesting, the ability to have fun with such a small, melodic, friendly instrument is going to brighten many an otherwise sad or boring day.

I'm not good enough to busk yet, but once I have about 20 songs I can play with confidence, I'll get out there. If I can average $10 a day, I can live really well on that.

05-09-2011, 07:23 AM
I wanted to leap tall buildings and run faster than
a speeding Bullet.Kick sand in the faces of great
muscular he men and laugh at danger.Plus of course
its a great little instrument and the most fun you can
have with your clothes on!

05-09-2011, 07:43 AM
Taimane gardner
the little asian ukulele boy <--- this kid is awesome what a happy boy
and Jake shimabukuro

05-09-2011, 09:05 AM
It looked easy...... :) lol

05-09-2011, 09:32 AM
A ukulele is easier to take along on a day trip to the river or the beach than an acoustic guitar. Portable music for all!

02-19-2012, 06:37 AM
I play harmonica. I have a friend who is a professional harmonica player. He has taught me harmonica through the years. He returned on a trip from a Hawaii with a uke. He showed me the uke and I fell in love. That Christmas my wife bought the only ukulele Sam Ash carried. A $20.00 crapo uke. Even though it wouldn't stay in tune I couldn't put it down. I then ordered a Kanilea from Joe Sousa. That was in 2005. I haven't stopped playing or buying and collecting ukes since. I've neglected my harmonicas as a result of my devotion to the uke. Sad part is, I'm not really that great a player at either instrument. They both keep me happy though.

02-19-2012, 06:54 AM
I got it when my oldest was just one and I got it to amuse her and now I amuse all three of my kids 2 years later(got twins). Iz also made me think the ukulele would be a neat instrument small and compact to play and tote around!

02-19-2012, 07:58 AM
Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawaii--- when I first heard them, and Eddie Kamae, I thought that the ukulele was an instrument I would love to play.

02-19-2012, 08:21 AM
Amanda Palmer is the reason I picked up my uke.
Her rendition of creep did it for me..

02-19-2012, 08:46 AM
In 5th grade my family and I went to Hawaii. After surfing we went to a little shop on the beach. I made my first major purchase of any kind. It was a $20 purple soprano uke that I've been playing ever since.
This is me playing it the day I got it :)
I've been playing for 5 years strong.

02-19-2012, 10:27 AM
because my GF at the timne thought it'd be cute if a play the uke

02-19-2012, 10:40 AM
As a kid in the fifties, Mom sent us off one summer (tired of 3 kids each 2 yrs apart with champion brains for creativity meaning...we don't get bored, we get bus-ay)--sent us off to have six uke lessons on an old uke that the parents had around the house. My brother went on to the guitar, using one built by my dad (uncharacteristic for him as he hated my brother.) I stuck with the uke for a while then moved onto a guitar myself.

After seeing Jake on a youtube, I had to pick it up again.

02-21-2012, 03:21 AM
I wanted to get a guitar to fill my down time but my ex-wife told me that everyone played guitar and it was boring. Actually I just don't think she wanted the noise in the house. So since I didn't have it in me to fight the guitar battle I bought a ukulele as a kind of "stick it to you" gesture. It was funny the day my Oscar Schmitd showed up but I quickly fell for it and now I have started a ukulele collection. Best thing my ex-wife ever did for me.

02-21-2012, 03:42 AM
BEIRUT. Elephant Gun song to be especific, in 2010.
Now, Jake Shimabukuro, the ukeSlash to me. (I love rock with uke)

02-21-2012, 04:37 AM
The little Korean kid playing I'm Yours made me think I could play one.

Yeah, that. :). I also love AFP but that kid made it seem acheivable.

02-22-2012, 02:30 PM
When I was a Kid whenever my parents caught me cussing they locked me in the closet. It was the same closet they stored a uke, beer and cigarettes. I've kicked the cigs years ago but not the @##$$ Uke and beer.

02-22-2012, 05:50 PM
i was surfing on youtube and stumbled upon Aldrines play along of, "tears in heaven". two days later i picked up my first uke and feel in love!

02-22-2012, 06:09 PM
A friend and I went to Oahu several years ago to see our favorite band Pearl Jam. The day after the concert we ran into the guitar god himself, Mike McCready. He was kind enough to chat for a few minutes with us. To commemorate the occasion and our love for music, Pearl Jam, and Hawaii we bought ourselves a couple ukes. I've been playing ever since and now play a Mya-Moe cut from the same board as one played by my favorite musician, Eddie Vedder!

02-22-2012, 06:19 PM
The best stress relief ever, just calms me down when I pick up and play.

02-22-2012, 06:20 PM
My wife, Daughter and her fiancé all had Ukuleles and we're having so much fun I had to join in!
As far as influences...Iz of course, but Jake and Aldrine and so many others whose enthusiasm and technique shine!

02-22-2012, 06:58 PM
IZ made me want to Buy a little uke and learn to play over the rainbow/wonderful world. Searched YouTube for ukulele and found Jake Shimabukuro playing while my guitar gently weeps and inspired me to buy a real instrument and take it serious .And UU and Aldrine guerrero's videos on YouTube motivated me to learn and play more :)
The Ukulele life truly is Wonderful World !

02-22-2012, 07:17 PM
I saw Aldrine, Jake,and Rayan play Bodysurfing and I was just amazed. I thought it'd be cool to try to work my way up to their level by buying an ukulele myself :)

uncle david
02-23-2012, 05:47 AM
Eddie Vedder's Ukulele Songs is what really got me thinking that I could play an ukulele.
George Harrison was a big influence as well.
I'm not particularly traditional when it comes to the uke.

02-23-2012, 06:22 AM
It was actually Dan Zanes CDs for kids (especially Sea Music). Dan Zanes is very interested in the idea of the "family band" - you know sitting around as a family and playing music together. He includes the lyrics and chords with the CDs to encourage this. In the liner notes of one of the CDs he recommends ukulele as a great family band instrument. I thought maybe my son or daughter would be interested in playing ukulele (while I played guitar) - I mentioned it to a neighbor and he ran inside and grabbed an old ukulele to lend me. Well - the kids never really showed any interest, but I fell in love with it.

I don't really have any ukulele idols - I am just now investigating the world of ukulele and ukulele music.

02-26-2012, 05:05 PM
The father of the girl I was seeing had one lying around. Once I figured out the tuning, it was a wrap.

02-28-2012, 12:00 PM
For me, I happened upon a showing of The Mighty Uke. I didn't know anything about the ukulele except that Tiny Tim had played it and he was creepy. However, I was looking for something interesting to do that night, so I bought a ticket to see the documentary. I loved the documentary! It made me smile and laugh and I was so surprised about the story. It turns out that after the documentary, the filmmakers and James Hill got up to speak to the theater audience, answer questions, and discuss the film. It was a fantastic experience. Next I discovered that the reason the film was showing was because there was a uke fest in town that weekend. So I got up the next morning and bought a festival ticket, and then walked around the the various vendors and bought a starter uke. After a day of workshops and concerts, I was hooked for good.

04-14-2012, 02:26 PM
For me it was actually super random. I went to guitar center one day to get new acoustic strings and price guitars. well needless to say after looking around a bit i saw the ukulele stand. I picked it up, messed around a little. And then i saw the price... $70 bucks! for a broke college kid that would be like buying steaks at the dollar store haha. I bought it and have been addicted since... i almost feel bad for the neglect i've given my other instruments since i bought my uk though, but at least i'm still playing something.

04-14-2012, 03:24 PM
A couple of years ago some one gave me a Grizzly kit. I built it and learned this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV_5e0YluSk) (not me in the video).

05-01-2012, 11:22 AM
I owe it all to George Formby and Roy Smeck.

05-01-2012, 12:00 PM
Amanda Palmer and a broken ankle.

Ok, maybe I should elaborate: I broke my ankle playing roller derby. With limited mobility and and a ton of new-found time on my hands, I needed something to do. The lyrics to "Ukulele Anthem" pointed out how inexpensive they are, and I figured it would be a lot easier to haul around a uke on crutches than my bass.

I also figured, "well, my underarms are starting to look like AFP's, might as well get the musical chops too!" ;)
(lemme tell ya, when you're broken anything beyond the bare minimum of staying clean becomes superfluous!)

05-01-2012, 02:11 PM
I was just inspired to keep playing a stringed instrument. I started to play the Ukulele because my hands are worn out from manual labor and I have the beginnings of arthritus in my hands. One day I realized I couid no longer play the Guitar without pain and problems. I switched to the uke and never looked back. I enjoy playing a ukulele so much that I don't even miss the guitar and sold or gave away all except for my very first Yamaha. I never realized the resurgence and popularity of the ukulele until after I started to look into getting one. The ukulele led to my looking into Hawaiian culture amd music and then even buying my first hawaiian shirt. Now I have about nine shirts (no loud, tacky ones). I don't care what people say. I like the shirts now too. How could I go all my life missing out on how darned comfrtable a Hawaiian shirt is? Even have shirts with ukuleles on them as well. So the ukulele not only changed me musically but in my clothing choices as well. Love the Uke and love being comfortable.

05-01-2012, 10:38 PM
What inspired you to pick up ukulele?

I was tripping on mushrooms and my guitar looked really small, from there on it was a logical process to get a uke.

05-01-2012, 10:44 PM
The Devil made me do it.

05-02-2012, 03:44 AM
Mr Mastuda in 4th grade music class at Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary

05-02-2012, 04:58 AM
I didn't know what a Ukulele was until the video of the Japanese Ukulele boy went viral. From there I went on to browse videos of people playing pop songs on the Uke. You can really tell that they really enjoy singing and playing (I mean the lesser viewed videos - not the Youtube teenagers trying to be famous). It inspired me to buy a Ukulele and try my hand at it. I've always wanted to learn an instrument and although I'm not musically inclined in any way, I find it to be very fun and a great stress reliever.

05-02-2012, 05:04 AM
Quite frankly I have no idea what inspired me to pick up the uke. Two months ago I turned 42 and that day I decided for no reason at all to buy myself a uke for my birthday. I have since become quite hooked :)

05-02-2012, 05:05 AM
For me I heard of IZ around 1999. Hearing him play and sing Over the Rainbow had me mesmerized. To this day, if I'm in a bad mood, I put that song on and I instantly feel ok :)

But I ended up buying a $19 (Shipping included) ukulele on ebay. Wasn't going to spend more money, because ukes are kind of a joke instrument right? ;) Played that off and on for a few years. Then got a Lanikai Koa Tenor, and a Fluke Tenor around 2003-2004. Then had numerous ukes come in and out of my life. Past few years I've played uke more seriously, my poor guitars don't get as much attention.

05-11-2012, 10:10 AM
My wife asked for a uke for her birthday, both of us knowing nothing about them. I did research to buy her one and then got HOOOKED, like obsessed. And now she accuses me of hijacking it from her...

05-11-2012, 10:15 AM
Impulse purchase for Christmas for "the family". Nobody touched it, really, until I picked it up in mid-January and I fell in love. The kids like it now, too, so I bought myself a Mainland Red Cedar Soprano and left them the cute red Hilo. And now I've got a Willie Wixom mango concert on order. Thankfully, it won't be ready until January -- one year after I started playing. By then, I hope to be more worthy of it.

05-11-2012, 10:18 AM
Jake Shimabukuro

05-11-2012, 02:05 PM
GREAT Question, lots of great and personal answers....

I have been to Hawaii several times in the last 20+ years, and I always loved the sound. But I only ever saw the crappy, no-good toys sold in souvenir shops while there. And no store locally ever carried them where I live. (Reno, NV.) But the current resurgence and popularity changed the availability (and the internet, eh?) and thus my first purchase was at a Guitar Center.... And all others via internet.

My inspiration? Traveling to Hawaii for the first time in 1990.

The person/people that showed it was a serious musical instrument?

Jake S., and James Hill. Well, and Greg Hawkes. He's a SUPER GENIOUS.

05-11-2012, 02:07 PM

I must humbly apologize...... and admit that I am inspired and in AWE of the late, Great, John King.

He mastered 'little' ukuleles, which I tend to gravitate toward.

05-11-2012, 06:57 PM
The fact that not many people around here play the uke, its pretty unique and the sound really appeals to my ear. Not to mention its small and great for traveling, a lovely campfire instrument in my opinion!

05-11-2012, 07:14 PM
A KoAloha soprano was calling my name at a little shop in Kona, Hawaii. The rest is history.

05-11-2012, 09:26 PM
Firstly, before this thread, I thought the Hawaii + ukulele thing was merely a stereotype. Seems there's more to it :)

Having played guitar and mandolin for a few years, I found myself in Brisbane, attending a funeral. I was extremely unsettled, so friends took me to a music shop. It was there I noticed ''tiny little guitar things'' hanging on the wall. My friend saw me staring at them, and asked the guy what it was. He started playing stuff... so I bought one, as a distraction from that horrible day. Figured out about 20 songs on the car drive home (I was in the back seat). Since then, I've converted 6 people in my city to Ukulelism.

Influences (later on) were Elvis movies, Eddie Vedder, and this guy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAg5KjnAhuU).

05-12-2012, 02:53 AM
I've always liked the bright, happy sound but like many others, thought of it as a novelty instrument and didn't give it much thought. Over the years, I kept seeing it show up in pop culture where I didn't expect it:

Steve Martin in "The Jerk"
George Harrison
Zooey Deshanel
Kate Micucci
Tony Danza
William H. Macy
as background music in commercials

As I began to see/hear it more over time, my interest grew and I really wanted to give it a try. I had played guitar off and on (mostly off) over the years and basically had written it off as a passing interest that would come back every now and then. Thinking the uke might be the same, I got a starter uke so I wouldn't be too far in if I lost interest. So far, I've been loving it! I'm having so much more fun with it than I did the guitar. I really like its unique sound and how great the same songs I'd play on guitar sound on it.

07-11-2013, 04:52 AM
As the title say, what inspired you to pick up ukulele, UU?
Also, what song/ jingle/ musician do you think are the iconic symbols of ukulele?
I'm awfully curious to see the responses.

Aldrine inspired me to pick up a uke. He's just so awesome. I saw him play Schizophrenic Snowflakes and just went crazy.

As far as ukulele icons? Amanda Palmer's "Ukulele Anthem" for sure.

07-11-2013, 05:57 AM
About a year ago my buddys now ex girlfriend bought him a lanikai 21t and he hung it from his wall, never really thinking about playing. Id always take it down and fiddle with it and it bugged me that i couldnt make music with it. So i started looking up easy chords and whatnot, bought myself a makala and tried to play. Seeing Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots play cant help falling i love from Elvis is what really got me. Such a simple beautiful song.

07-11-2013, 07:47 AM
My 5-year-old daughter wanted to play guitar. No local guitar teachers will teach her this young, so we looked at other instruments and she got really excited about the ukulele. We each got one so I could teach her and now I'm hooked. :)

07-11-2013, 10:38 AM
I've always wanted to play an instrument. Tried piano, flute, recorder, harmonica, and nothing stuck. Then, on my 58th birthday,my nephew walked into my house playing Happy Birthday on his uke and I knew I had found my instrument. 2 years and a few months later and playing every day for hours, I can play around 500 songs. Yippee!! Love this instrument. Only 2 months into playing, I saw Jake Shimabukuro at a small local venue. We had a meet and greet and he gave me some tips. He's my inspiration. Although I will not live long enough to play like him, he inspires me to play everyday. To quote him "If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a happier place" So true!

07-11-2013, 11:00 AM
I thought they were cool, and I was right! ;)

Captain Simian
07-11-2013, 11:15 AM
I bought a Fender uke as an impulse buy last October as part of my 44th birthday extravaganza. I was up that night until 3AM playing it. What was supposed to be just a chord instrument for me to develop song ideas for my band has turned into something else. Since tendinitis has now ended my bass and guitar playing days I'm officially a uke player.

'ili puakea
07-11-2013, 06:55 PM
I <3 <3 <3 Hawaiian music!

07-12-2013, 01:03 AM
Been lovin reading bout everyone's stories, cool thread.

I'm fairly certain that my first uke chose me instead of the other way round. I was flicking through Trade Me one day (New Zealand's version of EBay) not looking for anything in particular when all of a sudden I saw it... A bright green Kala Kiwifruit Soprano.
I wasn't looking for a uke, had never considered picking one up, and as it was a wee bit out of my budget at the time I went on about my business.
That night, the Kiwifruit literally haunted my dreams. I had 5 different dreams, all of which were relaxed, happy and featured a bright green uke very prominently. I thought maybe I'd gone a bit loopy but got up the next morning convinced that I HAD TO HAVE IT! My parents rang & I told them about my sudden, inexplicable need for a uke which they politely said "You're a nutter, what are you thinking? Bye".
I tell you what, the uke must've rang them and put in a good word because lo & behold, they rang me back the next day and said "Happy early Xmas prezzy, just charge it to our credit card" - wowsers!!!
Since it arrived I don't think there's hardly been a day that I haven't picked up a uke (I've also noticed that they seem to breed like rabbits - that's my excuse & I'm sticking to it!) hehe.
Who do I look up to? Any musician that enjoys playing so much that you can hear it in their playing - at any level.

07-12-2013, 01:30 AM
I've really enjoyed reading through these stories!

Mine was kind of out of necessity but that turned into joy. I was looking to do some solo gigs away from my main band and had to travel to gigs and radio stations on my little Vespa. For one radio slot I had to ride 40 miles down a busy road in a storm. The acoustic guitar strapped to my back acted rather like a boating sail and the wind pushed me all over the place. After several near collisions I decided I needed a more portable instrument. I bought a Makala and started working out my songs on that. I pretty much used this bright red makala for all my early solo gigs and slots for a few years. I never was any good though.

It's only really the last year or so of stalking this forum that I decided to invest in a better ukulele and then I got truly hooked!! I've been playing the ukulele as my main instrument now for a couple of years and trying to do it justice by getting to a decent (though not amazing) standard. Now, rather than just using it for my own songs I play to relax and for the sheer joy of it and end up playing all sorts - old time being my favorite. I can't be without a ukulele and take one to work every day to play at lunch.

Whenever I feel a bit glum I reach for my ukulele and it never fails to cheer me up. I have my anuenue right next to me now.

07-12-2013, 03:16 AM
Amanda Palmer and her Ukelele Anthem (seen here as she played it on a public transit vehicle in the "tram sessions" NOTE: some NSFW language here) http://vimeo.com/36833704

07-12-2013, 11:11 AM
Pick any island.

07-12-2013, 12:51 PM
Nothing except how it sounded and the way it felt in my hands! I strummed one in 2007 and bought it on the spot.

07-12-2013, 02:06 PM
I was tired of playing guitar and pedal steel guitar and wanted something new. So I was listening to Pandora radio one day and heard IZ's somewhere over the rainbow and then I got one and haven't stop playing since

12-04-2013, 04:34 PM
Corey Fujimoto made me wanted to play uke seriously, but in the first place it's The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson. He played uke in Journey to the World 2 :D

12-04-2013, 08:38 PM
I'd swear I told this story, must have been on a different thread; About 5 months ago I was leafing through a Musicians Friend catalogue and came across a Mahalo UT-30 that is designed after a Fender Telecaster (I bought a Telecaster a few months before). I thought it would be cute to have the Mahalo to go along with my Telecaster, so I ordered it.

That same week I received a postcard from the Los Angeles Music Center announcing this years summer play along, which I attended for guitar a couple of years ago. This year they had a ukulele play along, so I signed up. That's how I started playing ukulele.

For me Iz was the one I heard the most with "Rainbow". Now that I've been involved, Jake is just amazing, and I even though I'm a pretty good Beatles fan, never knew George played.

12-05-2013, 05:01 AM
In 1998 on vacation in Hawaii a friend and I happened upon a group singing on the beach. They mostly had ukuleles, but also a washtub bass, guitars, a steel string guitar and mandolins. We sat and listened for a while. Since we were both guitar players we wanted to join in. We went over to Kapiolani Mall which had a Ukulele store at the time and tried some handmade ukes for the first time. Since we were both reasonably proficient on the guitar, we could pretty much play the uke right off. We each bought a nice ukulele there and then. I bought a Koaloha soprano (an early one, no misubi sound hole). We spent the rest of our trip joining that group and others. We then made several ukulele pilgrimages back to Hawaii.

For a long time uke was my "Hawaii trip" instrument. I played guitar, saxophone, clarinet, flute. For a number of years I was playing in a jazz band and a woodwind orchestra. However, those groups tended to be too serious to be fun. The intensity and tension undermined the joy of music for me. I quit the bands, but felt a loss of the satisfaction of playing music in groups. Then the internet, a wonderful tool, led me to various local ukulele groups. This provides the opportunity to get together and play music with people who are focused on the joy of the experience. Ironically, it isn't really musically challenging enough for me, so I've generally become the bass player where I can use my knowledge of music to add a little flavor to the group and help keep it together. But I still bring my uke and still play my uke all the time, and get together with friends and play uke.

12-05-2013, 05:21 AM
Some friends on a guitar forum I frequent were talking up how much fun the ukulele was. Little did I know UAS was worse than GAS. Less than a year and 8 ukes in there seems to be no end to the fun!

12-05-2013, 05:29 AM
The uke itself. They're so little and cute! When I got my first one, I really didn't know any players or much about ukes at all.

Five Ways
12-05-2013, 05:45 AM
I was inspired when beginning uke by Mr ken Middleton, and my first tune was Arkansas traveller, which I still love to play.

12-05-2013, 09:03 AM
Hawaii. Iz, Herb Ohta, Troy Fernadez, Ledward Kaapana, etc.... I was a guitar player origanally, been playing Ukulele for two years now and in two years I have owned about 12 of this little things, from all sizes. I have UAS real bad, expecting a delivery of a new Kanilea super concert today actually and can't wait to play it!

12-06-2013, 08:37 AM
George Harrison, and

George Harrison

12-06-2013, 12:12 PM
Price would be it for me. Saw one for twenty bucks. Thought about it for a couple days. Figured that I wouldn't miss the money if it didn't take.

12-06-2013, 12:43 PM
The guy playing on Pandora right now...Israel Kamakawio'ole (I think I spelled that right, but I'm sure someone will tell me if I didn't).

A local morning DJ passed away a few years ago (Bill Austin) and since then, his former partner, Beth, played the "Somewhere/Wonderful World" medley at the end of every show. It sounded so beautiful and soulful, I wanted to make that sound. I kind of have the uke part down, but the vocal part has a llloooong way to go. We played it at the end of my Dad's memorial last year too. So, anyway...Iz!

And even though most people on here don't like it and I prefer concert size, I'd buy the Martin Iz "replica", if I had the extra $$'s.

12-06-2013, 07:10 PM
Random station on a dish network music station. I heard WMGGW, from a Jimmy Buffett show. Jimmy stepped aside, and had Jake Shimabukuro take the stage with a great steel drum player (from Trinidad IIRC). Completely blew my mind.

Ordered a Kala SMHT from HMS the following week.

12-07-2013, 10:00 AM
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

12-08-2013, 07:35 AM
For me...derrick sebastian

12-28-2013, 01:57 PM
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

Just watching a live video of the man now....RIP Hawaiian Superman.

12-28-2013, 04:13 PM
A recent trip to Kauai inspired me to purchase the two most iconic souvenirs...a Hawaiian shirt and a Kamoa ukalale from thier shop near Poipu beach.

12-29-2013, 12:45 AM
My Grandfather gave me a ca. 1950's Harmony Baritone in 2004 when he and my Grandmother moved to Florida and they were cleaning out their house in NY. I did not know what to do with it at the time.

It sat in my closet until after he passed away in 2009 at 93 yrs old. Although not his career, he played a mean foxtrot and ragtime piano all of my life, and many times was offered and declined to record an album or two of his songs.

I picked up the Harmony Baritone and fooled with it a little bit (having played guitar for 35 yrs), but it was not until I saw Jake's TEDTalks video where he plays Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody', and then James Hill playing Michael Jackson's 'Billy Jean', and then the clincher was the 3 or 4 videos of the late, great John King on his Nalumusic youtube channel, but his videos of Chopsticks (aka The Chop Waltz) and Bach's Bouree sealed the deal for me.

That was last January. I SOON after found UU and lurked for months before creating an account. I noodled around on the Harmony, but really struggled with the friction tuners. In March 2013, the first ukulele I bought, was for my birthday as a gift to myself. (KALA in my sig below).

Then sadly my Grandmother passed away in June 2013 at 92 yrs old, after a long decline due to diabetes, Alzheimer's and dementia, and after her passing she left me a small handful of sheckles, which I felt it was only fitting to use some of it towards adding to my uke collection. I now have 6 ukuleles that I bought all in the past 9 months. This is motivated partly as an homage to my Grandfather, who's music was a formative and very important part of my life. I also have all of his old sheet music (over 2,000 songs).

His music and his spirit lives on in me.

His legacy is something I plan to pay forwards by giving piano, guitar and ukulele lessons to my niece and nephew when they are old enough.

Having both seen them all perform live and having met in person (and had actual conversations with) James Hill & Anne Janelle, Victoria Vox, Jim & Liz Beloff at the Morristown Ukulele Festival on the weekend of 8/31/2013 was a life-changing experience which I will cherish forever - THANKS SCOOTERD35 !!! :)

See enclosed photos:
62413 62414 62415 62417

My UAS is in high gear still, and I am continually inspired by newer ukuele performers, as in new-to-me over time on my journey, like Aldrine Guerrero, Daniel Ho, Brittni Paiva, Taimane Gardner, L'il Rev, Corey Fujimoto, Chris Fuchigami, Sophie Madeleine, Kalei Gamiao, Kimo Hussey, Herb Ohta, and many others I cant name right now...and I am also continually inspired by ALL of the UU Seasonistas, who have shown me and reminded me how to have fun with my ukulele learnings, and inspired me to keep learning new songs. It's almost a perfect feedback loop.

I think that Jake Shimabukuro is both a fine example of a decent and good human being (from what I can tell at a distance), as well as a current ambassador of the ukulele, is someone whom I respect and revere very much.

From the videos I've seen of him on all kinds of shows on tv and youtube, as well as press conferences and tour support, in addition to his video blog of his tour, he is living the ukulele, not evangelizing it, but actually showing the world what NEW things that the ukulele can do as an instrument BEYOND traditional Hawaiian music.

Aside from being a performer (as if that was not enough), James Hill, along with J. Chalmers Doane have gone to great lengths to insure that all children in the school systems in Canada are provided with a ukulele, and the classroom and private instruction (if needed) to master the instrument. Their efforts in this area are significant to the point of being priceless. These are very important things they have done. Children are the future!

These acts are also a source of inspiration for me. Anyone can buy their books and start up your own ukulele program using the groundwork that they have laid out.

This is a great time to be alive and I am thankful for all the choices we have, and thankful for the sense of community, camaraderie and reciprocity that UU provides to everyone.


12-29-2013, 02:49 AM
What made me buy my first ukulele...
Concert for George. The highlight for me was Joe Brown!. His daughter Sam sang a belter too. Next, Youtube arrived. Izzy + Jake, then the UOGB on The Proms. So much fun from four strings, but still I didn't buy.
Next, I whacked my head somewhat and needed meaningful physio. The guitar was tricky with all those strings, and I didn't have the strength for my beloved bass. Cue my first ukulele. The guitar is now back, but usually tuned to a chord or just playing along to Wilko + Bo. That's when they have six strings. Seasick Steve and his three string trance wonder boogie machine mean a broken string is followed by cutting another two off :-) The bass is coming back. Ukes rule.

12-29-2013, 05:21 AM
My wife had a conversation with a friend about her learning and playing the ukulele with the kids:
I purchased 2 very cheap ukes for them to learn with:
Wife never touched it, but I did..
after realising I could play 3 chords in under 10 mins, I thought "hey, I can do this!"

I quickly went out and purchased a 'better' Concert Uke, play almost every day and have even inspired work colleagues to learn to play...
I use every resource I can find...
probably played for nearly a year now, I am HOOKED. improving, and loving!
(also suffering with UAS!)

01-04-2014, 05:56 AM
I played guitar up to about 15 years ago, when it got put away as family life soaked up what used to be my music time. During those guitar years I went busking with a friend around Scandinavia, which taught me two things - busking is a lot of fun, but lugging a guitar around can be hard work.

So since then I have from time to time looked for something smaller which I might be able to play. I have tried a couple of concertinas with a bit of success, but not enough to perform anywhere. And then last year my wife bought me "The Uke of Wallington" by Mark Wallington, the journey of one man and his ukulele around Britain. Superb. He was a similar age to me, similar musical tastes, similar not-quite-made-it musical background.

And a few months later, here I am. Whether I will ever be good enough & brave enough to busk again is anybody's guess, but I am having a heap of fun learning.

01-04-2014, 06:17 AM
I wanted to accompany my own singing. I had tried guitar a few times and never really got on with it. I tried concertina with which I had some success but it was like rubbing your head and patting your stomach. I saw an ad for absolute beginners' workshop for ukulele and for some reason it clicked. I think maybe just four strings and smaller scale length made the difference. Even with guitar, I never found strumming while singing a problem. Maybe it also helped that the the easy keys of C, G & D suited my vocal range. I still occasionally sing with concertina. Some slow songs work quite well.

01-04-2014, 06:21 AM
I started playing the ukulele because I thought Taimane was a fox and she plays one.

01-04-2014, 06:35 AM
As the title say, what inspired you to pick up ukulele, UU?
Also, what song/ jingle/ musician do you think are the iconic symbols of ukulele?
I'm awfully curious to see the responses.

I picked up the ukulele because I was the one who dropped it.

Iconic symbols: Jake Shimabukuro-No one else had the tools to bring the ukulele out to the world as he has.
Kimo Hussey-all round treasure steeped in the ukulele culture like no one else
James Hill-an extraordinary innovator

01-04-2014, 06:49 AM
Iconic symbols: Jake Shimabukuro-No one else had the tools to bring the ukulele out to the world as he has.
Kimo Hussey-all round treasure steeped in the ukulele culture like no one else
James Hill-an extraordinary innovator

And Taimane--a fox.

01-04-2014, 07:00 AM
My family and I went on a mega 2 year road-trip across the USA. I played piano at the time, but there was no way to bring a piano into the RV. So, when I found the ukulele, I knew that it was perfect for our situation. I got one for Christmas a few years back and have been jamming on it ever since. I think that Te UU team is iconic because they have done the most to help people learn to play, I mean just look at the site you are browsing now!

01-04-2014, 08:04 AM
Iz and Gorge Harrison !! :-)

01-04-2014, 09:20 AM
Concert for George

01-04-2014, 03:44 PM
And Taimane--a fox.

A Vixen, even.

01-05-2014, 03:00 PM
Strange as it is, I was buying strings for my guitar when I saw this young guys buying a ukulele. I saw him and thought, "haha. what a joke. He should buy a real instrument like an electric guitar"

Later, after I left the music store, I saw the same young man standing at the bus stop strumming his uke. He was just strumming without a care in the world with the biggest grin on his face. I thought to myself that there must be something to a uke if it can make a person that happy.

I never knew who he was, but he was my inspiration. whoever you are, thank you.

Slow Eddie
01-08-2014, 05:11 PM
My daughter.

Ellen and I had a daughter back at the end of May of this year. My parents instilled in me a love of music, and that is something I want to pass on to Audrey. I love to sing, and can pick out tunes on the piano, but it's not so easy to throw a piano in the back of a kid trailer, and ride your bike to the beach/park/farmer's market and spend a few hours making music and watching the world go by (try it sometime). Plus, my plan is for her to pick it up early, become an Internet sensation, cash in, and take care of her mother and me in our golden years, so i figure I should set a good example for her.

01-13-2014, 06:40 AM
What got me interested in the ukulele was after I saw one at a pawn shop. At the time I was a piano, and drum player and was trying to learn guitar from the same teacher who was giving me drum lessons(he teaches both). I bought the ukulele, went home and played it for a while, having no serious interest in the ukulele whatsoever, until I bough my Epiphone concert ukule. In fat, just this year I started taking ukulele lessons from the same teacher I take steel drum lessons from. I have never had so much fun playing music as have in my life until know, in fact, I plan on recording some songs with my ukulele.
Oh, by the way, I gave up on learning the guitar after learning about the easy of creating chords on the ukulele(at least the basic chords).

02-05-2014, 05:57 PM
IZ, somewhere over the rainbow. the uke had such a beatiful sound i couldnt resist playing it, even if my first one was just an ABC store type one

02-05-2014, 08:28 PM
A postcard from the Los Angeles Music Center 2013 summer ukulele play-along the same week I bought a wall hanger Mahalo soprano uke (that looked like my Fender Telecaster), so I decided to play the uke rather than look at it. Within a week I bought a tenor, and have applied myself more to the uke these past 6 months than I have to my guitars in 20 years. I'm also a member of two groups and play gigs with them.

02-05-2014, 08:39 PM
My Wife and I both play other instruments, she plays piano and guitar and I play sax. Last year we moved into a 1969 Airstream and didn't really have room for a piano or full size guitar so I started looking for alternatives. I looked at travel guitars, had size guitars etc and stumbled across the ukulele on one of my many internet searches.

I started watching a few YouTube videos and became hooked myself. The sax is just to loud for a small space like an Airstream so I decided to try the uke and I am really enjoying learning a completely new instrument.

I don't really have any ukulele heros yet apart from people I see on YouTube etc but what has inspired me the most is the apparent lack of ego attached to this instrument and the willingness of everyone to give.

Thanks guys


02-06-2014, 04:45 AM
I've been a guitar player since the "Blizzard of '93" in East Tennessee. Our power was out for 17 days (we were very rural and low priority). I had a chord book, a fake book, and some John Denver tapes to try to copy. Although my Dad has played since the 60's, he really wasn't a teacher. I understand that because I can't teach my son either. Singer/Songwriter for several years in the 90's. Had a very small presence in the local scene for a while.

My attention shifted to old country and bluegrass over the last few years and I hadn't written a song since 1999 or 2000 until recently. Started banjo last year. In October, I was visiting family back in TN and my Dad said he either wanted to learn mandolin or ukulele. I told him he should learn Mandolin. He picked Uke. Visited again in December and he had the Uke. He showed me some Jake Videos and some of his own progress and I liked the sound.

Then I found George Formby Society videos, most of them Andy Eastwood. Knew I wanted to learn it then.

Coincidentally, I learned how to use chopsticks during that same power outage. I had a pair of sticks and a can of cashews. :)

02-06-2014, 05:46 AM
I've played guitar for 45 years - mostly fingerstyle. I've been exploring different sounds - lately a baritone guitar and an Eastman tenor Ukulele. I am almost 100% fingerstyle on the uke so far. People who inspire would be the usual suspects: Jake S, Del Rey, John King, and various Hawaiian traditional players.


02-06-2014, 04:27 PM
It started with George Harrison, and then through him, it was George Formby (I would LOVE to be able to play syncopation like him!). The more recent influence would be Eddie Vedder...I love the Ukulele Songs album. But it was George Harrison that inspired me to pick up the thing in the first place!