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Harold O.
04-03-2011, 04:07 PM
Anyone of any gender can and does play the ukulele. Fair enough. But I have noticed something just recently in the uke circles I've been playing in: IT'S MOSTLY WOMEN.

With my local group, Canogahana Players (see thread in Regional Get Togethers), we typically draw about 7 women to 3 men. No big deal, I didn't even think about it until this weekend at a Ukulele Bartt show in Kulak's Woodshed.

Bartt recently held a three-Saturday workshop followed by having the class play three songs as opening act for his show last night. In looking around at the crowd, there was the usual mix of couples and family members. But in the class of about 25 there were 18 women! Thinking back on other large groups I've heard, it strikes me that most were women.

So does this mean that learning the ukulele is a great way to meet women?
...Or is learning the ukulele a "girl thing?"
...Or maybe I simply overlook the men and am focusing elsewhere?
...Or could it be that I'm thinking too hard about this?

I realize it doesn't matter in the larger scheme, but I have grown curious.

What's the uke gender balance in your neck of the woods?

aljanny
04-03-2011, 04:31 PM
I've noticed it to be about equal in male-to-female ratio in my area.

As a girl, I like the ukulele because I naturally have small hands, so the guitar is uncomfortable (and sometimes frustratingly near impossible) for me to make chords on it.

The ukulele isn't either girly or manly by nature - it is what you make of it. As long as it makes you happy to play it, then that's what matters =)

Chris Tarman
04-03-2011, 05:00 PM
Without opening up a big can of worms here, I have a theory... Well, TWO theories. The more likely (and less Freudian) is that guys often take up guitar to be cool, and perhaps (in THIS wave at least), the ukulele hasn't yet caught up to the guitar in perceived Coolness Factor. At least, my theory might hold true for SOME guys. There's also the whole guitar-as-..... *ahem*... "Male" -symbol. You know... making up for some inadequacy somewhere else (bear in mind that I play bass before you jump on me!)....

janeray1940
04-03-2011, 05:10 PM
Bartt recently held a three-Saturday workshop followed by having the class play three songs as opening act for his show last night. In looking around at the crowd, there was the usual mix of couples and family members. But in the class of about 25 there were 18 women!

LOL, I was one of those 18 women you saw last night :) That class started out at around 40 people, and seemed pretty equally divided between male/female. Not sure why the turnout last night was mainly women.

I play in a group in Santa Monica that is all women, with maybe one guy from time to time. I've played in a couple other groups... Jumping Flea Circus Players always seemed to have more men than women, and ULU Ohana seemed to have a pretty equal male/female ratio.

And I have to say - while the ukulele is a great way to meet *people* I really hope it doesn't become a "how to meet women" kind of thing. I've sensed that from time to time at some of the ukulele things I've attended, and it's just... kinda icky to me, especially when it's during a class I'm paying for. But then I probably take myself too seriously as a ukulele player. And as a woman :)

aljanny
04-03-2011, 05:15 PM
And I have to say - while the ukulele is a great way to meet *people* I really hope it doesn't become a "how to meet women" kind of thing. I've sensed that from time to time at some of the ukulele things I've attended, and it's just... kinda icky to me, especially when it's during a class I'm paying for. But then I probably take myself too seriously as a ukulele player. And as a woman :)

Yes! Completely agree... =)

tjomball
04-03-2011, 05:33 PM
Without opening up a big can of worms here, I have a theory... Well, TWO theories. The more likely (and less Freudian) is that guys often take up guitar to be cool, and perhaps (in THIS wave at least), the ukulele hasn't yet caught up to the guitar in perceived Coolness Factor. At least, my theory might hold true for SOME guys. There's also the whole guitar-as-..... *ahem*... "Male" -symbol. You know... making up for some inadequacy somewhere else (bear in mind that I play bass before you jump on me!)....

Haha.. Good one mate..
But what does that say about me? I play banjo? :D

Harold O.
04-04-2011, 04:25 AM
Haha.. Good one mate..
But what does that say about me? I play banjo? :D

A pro banjo player friend says,"Welcome to hell. Here's your banjo."

@janeray1940:
I enjoyed the show and playing with the Bartt class. The gender makeup didn't even occur to me until I was looking for a place to stand while performing. Then I noticed I was taller than most and should find a spot near the back. From that, I saw there were mostly women. Since my goals did not include finding a date, this proved to be merely an interesting observation. And so I grew curiouser...

hoosierhiver
04-04-2011, 04:28 AM
I think the ratio of female to male players has risen dramatically in the past two years.

janeray1940
04-04-2011, 04:48 AM
I think the ratio of female to male players has risen dramatically in the past two years.

I think you're right. At McCabe's in Santa Monica, where I do most of my ukulele stuff, from what I hear it used to be almost exclusively guys back in the mid-2000s. Jim Beloff used to put on these ukulele showcase concerts, and the players were mostly male. The first class I took there probably was 60% male, but as the classes grew more advanced the male drop-out rate was pretty high.



I enjoyed the show and playing with the Bartt class. The gender makeup didn't even occur to me until I was looking for a place to stand while performing. Then I noticed I was taller than most and should find a spot near the back. From that, I saw there were mostly women. Since my goals did not include finding a date, this proved to be merely an interesting observation. And so I grew curiouser...

It was a fun class, if a bit more beginner-oriented than I had first been led to believe. It's a good thing more of us didn't show up that night - I don't think we all would have fit!

Harold O.
04-04-2011, 07:25 PM
It was a fun class, if a bit more beginner-oriented than I had first been led to believe. It's a good thing more of us didn't show up that night - I don't think we all would have fit!

I agree on both counts.

Hearing Jim "Kimo" West play was a special treat.

Chris Tarman
04-05-2011, 06:42 PM
I agree on both counts.

Hearing Jim "Kimo" West play was a special treat.

I've heard him play live three times, but only in his "REAL" job as Weird Al's guitarist.

Harold O.
04-06-2011, 04:59 PM
I've heard him play live three times, but only in his "REAL" job as Weird Al's guitarist.

As odd as it seems to the uninitiated, a Weird Al concert is a great show. He plays such a variety of music that he hits a lot of solid targets. His band has been together a long time and they are tight. I saw them in Ventura last July. That's when I first met Kimo West and learned he is a slack key player. He said he tried talking Al into using a ukulele on a couple of songs but hasn't had any luck yet.

Plainsong
04-06-2011, 07:46 PM
Locally, the uke world is a man's world. There are only a few women. But like any instrument, I don't perceive them as gender-specific. It's just the way the cards fell here.

SuzukHammer
04-06-2011, 10:25 PM
I'm an old married guy and one lady asked me to show her my uke which I carry around so I can play or practice at will.

I was showing her my chords and fingering and my wife came up to the table. I introduced my wife.

So anyways, this girl tells me she wants me to teach her how to play ukulele and gives me her phone number and email address.... right in front of the wife. I was shocked. She kinda really let me know she wanted me to teach her and not anybody else. awkward.

As that lady left, I gave my wife all the data because I don't need the grief.

I would have told her that there are other avenues to learn uke if I did contact her. so.......... Don't tell me the uke aint cool. haha :)

Skitzic
04-07-2011, 02:36 AM
Hm. The two jams I frequent regularly are male heavy, but it's basically the same group of people frequenting these jams. Sometimes a new face pops in at one or the other, but they're usually male.

The Philly jam was larger, and had a few more females...but even that was pretty male dominated. That's the area though...I think the music scene in general here is pretty male dominated.

Chris Tarman
04-07-2011, 12:52 PM
As odd as it seems to the uninitiated, a Weird Al concert is a great show. He plays such a variety of music that he hits a lot of solid targets. His band has been together a long time and they are tight. I saw them in Ventura last July. That's when I first met Kimo West and learned he is a slack key player. He said he tried talking Al into using a ukulele on a couple of songs but hasn't had any luck yet.

I've seen Weird Al live three times, and I have to say I would rate any one of them in the top ten concerts I have ever seen. Possibly the top five. The only shows that come to mind that were better were Rush in '10, Rush in '02, Paul McCartney in '04 (I think), and perhaps one of the seven or eight times I've seen Jethro Tull. A Weird Al concert is Non-Stop fun, and your face and sides will hurt for days from laughing. And the band kicks butt!

Chris Tarman
04-07-2011, 12:53 PM
Sorry for taking this off-subject!

v30
04-07-2011, 01:08 PM
Isn't the ratio of women to men higher in the general population? If so, it makes sense that you'd see more women than men in any gathering that isn't gender specific.
If not, then I have no idea what I'm talking about. In any case, I like women. I find them warmer and just generally more friendly than the average dude. :)

Mim
04-07-2011, 02:18 PM
I have jams in my shop and it is always very male heavy. Always more guys than girls and last time I was the only gal there. So I have always been under the imperssion that there are more males than females. But maybe it is just my social group.

itsme
04-07-2011, 02:34 PM
Isn't the ratio of women to men higher in the general population? If so, it makes sense that you'd see more women than men in any gathering that isn't gender specific.
I don't think it's significant enough to be statistically relevant.

OP, you specifically mentioned uke gatherings. I will postulate a wild theory here... take guitars. While there are plenty of female guitarists, guitar has generally been more the realm of males, who often have that "rock star" attitude and want to be in the spotlight as the alpha male. Females, on the other hand, tend to be more cooperative with each other and therefore more likely to seek out group settings. Like I said, it's just a wild theory and I could be way off base.

mangorockfish
04-07-2011, 04:35 PM
In Benton, AR it is male only. I'm the only one I know who plays uke in Benton. Wish I had someone to play with male or female, makes no difference. If you have sosmeone to play with, male or female, be happy.

Harold O.
04-08-2011, 04:07 AM
I have jams in my shop and it is always very male heavy. Always more guys than girls and last time I was the only gal there. So I have always been under the imperssion that there are more males than females. But maybe it is just my social group.

Though we've not met, Mim, I've heard guys flock in your general direction anyway. Must be the great deals you offer. heh heh

I wondered about the regionality of group makeup as well. It strikes me as unlikely we'll ever have enough data to do a definitive study. But I suppose there could be an interprising student on the UU forum who needs a thesis topic. Start with a poll from the Regional Get Together list guys and go from there.

Huna
04-08-2011, 06:12 AM
I think proportionally way more women buy pink ukuleles than men.

janeray1940
04-10-2011, 10:59 AM
Back to the gender counting... Yesterday a new class with Fred Sokolow started, and there were eight of us: 4 men, 4 women. Very balanced!

wheelgunner
04-10-2011, 11:21 AM
In my area ukers are 100% male. Of course I'm the only uker I know so that may be slanting the statistics slightly.

Chris Tarman
04-10-2011, 12:09 PM
In my area ukers are 100% male. Of course I'm the only uker I know so that may be slanting the statistics slightly.

Same here! There are no other uke players in my town that I know of. In my family, it's 50-50, since my niece plays now too. But she's across the state from me.

Harold O.
04-10-2011, 02:16 PM
Don't it figure? At today's Canogahana Players gathering, we had 6 men and 4 women. So much believing anything I say.

Plainsong
04-10-2011, 06:25 PM
For me it's not the gender that's a problem, it's location and language. They like jamming at this pub in the city center, and like all big city centers, there's no parking anywhere, and it's not close by if taking the bus.

But way bigger than that is language. Of course everyone speaks English, but I don't impose myself too much on anything extra they have going because I only find out about it after the fact on Facebook. I don't put myself forward with "Hey let me know next time! I wanna play too!" because I figure the reason why I wasn't exactly invited would be my lack of Finnish. I don't want my poor language skills to be an annoyance. I'm pretty sure they prefer I don't press the issue.

philpot
04-10-2011, 06:36 PM
I know 1 female uker... and 1 male uker... pretty balanced sounding to me ;)