View Full Version : Fun thread - Who got you inspired to take up the ukulele?

06-10-2011, 10:57 AM
It's always fun to see how people got interrested in ukes. I was first inspired when I found some post on You Tube of Ohta san playing his concert uke. I was blown away by his use of chords as well as variety of songs that he played, yet kept that Hawaiian strum sound. Then I heard Peter Moon, and I was hooked! Who was your inspiration?

06-10-2011, 11:03 AM
My inspiration was that at the age of 15, I had to spend two weeks one summer in a very boring place with nothing to do. But it turned out there was a ukulele and a Mel Bay instruction book there. So I used the two weeks to learn to play the uke.

06-10-2011, 11:07 AM
I wanted a more portable instrument than my acoustic guitar. I complained about it enough that a good friend bought me a ukulele for Christmas! It was love at first strum.

I guess that means I inspired myself.

06-10-2011, 11:23 AM
I always loved Jake Shimabukuro's music growing up, but I never actually thought about trying to learn the ukulele seriously until about 8 months ago when I found Aldrine's youtube videos. One of my friends on facebook linked his supermario medley and I was hooked. So I guess Aldrine Guerrero and Jake Shimabukuro are my main inspirations as far as this instrument.

06-10-2011, 11:27 AM
James Hill....the Jimi Hendrix of uke ;)

06-10-2011, 11:55 AM
I had tried guitar and not been playing it for years. I tried mandolin. I heard of a ukulele and decided to get one and found it was easy to play in the easy chair! that did it. I had no real inspiration from any fantastic player.

Dan Uke
06-10-2011, 12:17 PM
I had tried guitar and not been playing it for years. I tried mandolin. I heard of a ukulele and decided to get one and found it was easy to play in the easy chair! that did it. I had no real inspiration from any fantastic player.

Same as Huna...no one inspired me but it came time for my 40th Bday and I am very happy with my worldly possession so didn't want anything. My wife wanted to get me something different so got me a uke...BIG mistake...now I'm constantly looking for new ones!!! UAS

06-10-2011, 12:20 PM
David Grisman, who plays the mandolin. I've loved his music for years, so I finally set out a few years ago to find a mandolin on Craigslist. While I was researching the mandolin, though I discovered that it's hard to play (odd chord shapes, double strings, small fretboard), so when I went into a music shop to try one out, I ended up playing the ukuleles instead. I ended up buying a Kala solid mahogany concert from that music shop, although I later decided I preferred to play tenors.

06-10-2011, 12:26 PM
I have no idea, I just decided I wanted one on a whim. :s

06-10-2011, 12:29 PM
I was looking at classical guitars as My hands couldnt handle the steel strings and wide necks anymore and I was layed up at home for a bit.Wanted to start playing again after several years off. Knew I didn't want a big dobro as I have one with steel strings. can't play worth a darn ,never could. So I was up on U tube looking at classicals and ran across a couple uke videos OMG uke's cant sound that well!!! well I looked and found some unreal players and several so so but they were all having fun!!! So I ordered a Uke and been smiling since. Then there's UU and UAS but thats another story.

06-10-2011, 12:57 PM
This book : http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Manifesto-Government-Supermarkets-Melancholy/dp/0060823224

suggested it as a powerful anti-capitalist device.

06-10-2011, 01:17 PM
My grandfather gave me his tenor banjo and tenor guitar just before he died. Before that he had gotten me interested in tin pan alley songs. I started playing the two instruments but then the busy schedule of work and raising kids got in the way and I quit. I ended up breaking my ring finger and my index finger on my fretting hand. When I tried to go back to playing I could not handle the long stretches to fret those instruments with my weakened fingers. The uke requires much less finger strength and is a natuural for tin pan alley.

06-10-2011, 01:18 PM
I went on a Scout camp where I was the leader one of the other leaders played the banjo, I thought I could make one, I researched how to and found that it looked pretty tough thing to do, I spoke to a friend who had a plan to build a ukulele from stuff that I had kicking around the workshop. I built one with the children then I bought a Kala pineapple, then I gave my wife a ukulele then it started to snowball from there.

06-10-2011, 01:40 PM
My dad, he has a couple ukuleles and one day he sent me two YouTube links, one James Hill, the other Jake. I thought it looked like fun and decided to get a Uke. It's been great sharing the whole ukulele thing with my dad. I have a bunch of guitars, but now I play ukulele.

06-10-2011, 01:44 PM
It was boring day, i opened up youtube then i realized that guitar is too big for me.
But yeah, Jake and James Hill. Never thought small instruments can make a damn good performance ^^

06-10-2011, 01:53 PM
I was in Hawaii and saw a dude no older than 18 playing Metallica on an acoustic tenor and absolutely owning the absurdity of it. He was with a small number of other, less hilarious street performers so I just sat and watched them. They were a whole lot of fun so I picked up a tenor uke and loved it.

06-10-2011, 05:40 PM
My grandfather was an amateur musician and barbershop singer who passed away when I was about 10. His two ukes had been floating around for years, but I lacked the discipline and musical know-how to pick anything up from the old Mel Bay books (Boil Them Cabbage Down anyone?).
Enter electronic tuners and youtube, and suddenly there is so much more to work with. I have always wanted to learn to play his little Martins, and I'm well on my way! So my inspiration was O.A., as he was known.

06-10-2011, 05:59 PM
(Boil Them Cabbage Down anyone?)

I only know that one from the Smothers Brothers playing it. That was the song where Tom broke the folk singer's creed by refusing to "take it" when Dick said "Take it!"


06-10-2011, 06:20 PM
My friend coming back from a holiday to Indonesia inspired me, he was raving about finding this really cool guy who was living on a street corner making ukes out of old waste timber, packing cases, left over building site waste, old furniture, anything he could get his hands on, he was making guitars and ukes and giving them away to the street kids so they could busk with them. He was making some really whacky shaped original instruments and my friend brought back half a dozen ukes.

Now I'm a pretty serious guitar player, have been playing for nearly 40 years, and had never played a uke, I mean I'd strummed a couple of old cheap ones but never actually picked up one that was in tune and tried to get any proper sounds out of it, but I got hooked almost instantly and just had to have one.

Now, 6 months later, I hardly play my guitars at all and live on the ukes.

first I bought a Mahalo cheapy from the local music shop and the bridge snapped in 2 after a few days, so I took it back to the shop with the intention of either a refund or another Mahalo, Instead a came away with a 100 series rosewood eleuke for a total bargain price of 170 bucks (well it was ticketed at 300 but I got a 100 dollar discount because they were moving the shop to a new location and were just clearing stock, then I got the 29bucks credit for the Mahalo credited so for 171 dollars a had me an Eleuke and just totally fell in love with it.

Explaining it to the wife was a bit tricky, but it was close enough to my birthday to use that as the excuse :)

Since then I have bought a new Tanglewood concert for my wifeand I have had a few of these custom street ukes from indonesea knocking around the house too and i have been desperately trying to get my hands on a Dolphin, I haver emailed shops all over the world and people either don't have any in stock or don't ship to australia, I tried pretty much every australian music shop that google threw up and none of them have any Dolphins until at least late july, so if anyone wants to sell me one, please let me know. I cant wait to throw a set of aquilas on a good cheapy but only a dolphin will do, I have heard so many people rave about them.

So now im thinking of doing a luthiers workshop and building my own Tenor out of Australian timber, Maybe red cedar or a nice snow gum or red river gum eucalypt.

So thanks to Fritzy, the Indonesean chap that just loves making instruments and giving them away to kids, he was my inspiration.

06-10-2011, 07:36 PM
Originally? My best friend when I was 7. She got a guitar for her birthday and of course I wanted one too for mine a month later, but I was very small for my age so I ended up with a ukulele instead. Within a couple years I moved on to other things and didn't think about it again until over 30 years later, when I saw Janet Klein play and I thought it would be fun to get a uke again. That led me to discovering the amazing world of ukulele goodness here in SoCal, and now there's no turning back :)

06-10-2011, 09:05 PM
When I was 8 or 9, we always drove past Roy Sakuma's, and I always saw kids walking around, or getting dropped of with their ukes.

But I was raised with music always around x)

06-10-2011, 09:21 PM
Jerry Mouse in "Cruise Cat".

06-10-2011, 09:51 PM
I saw this video of Wayne Federman (sorry Beergeek, he is the real Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele):
after watching this video I searched you tube and came across Seeso's cover of Ozzy's Crazy Train (unfortunatly that video is no longer up on uTube). I was sold, I bought a uke that very day. Funny thing, Guitar Center didn't have a single uke then, now they must have over twenty. I ended getting one on eBay, still have that original uke, doesn't get played much any more, I use it for collecting autographs.
Thank you Wayne Federman and Seeso.

06-10-2011, 10:32 PM
I've always loved to sing but never played a string instrument (ugh, clarinet in jr. high back in the last century) I was going overseas for several months and thought, well I'll have plenty of time to learn how to play something. Let's see, what has the fewest strings and a happy sound and is easily transported? Y'all know the answer to that question. In NZ I was able to sit in on some practices of the uke band 4Play and that gave me much inspiration even if I couldn't keep up <g>. Now I'm back home playin every day and lovin my ukes.

06-10-2011, 10:50 PM
Gus and Fin (Gugug) were featured on the front page of Youtube, playing the Theme from Rawhide. I just kept watching and watching, amazed by how great it sounded as well as how much fun they were having. Did an eBay search and found a bright yellow Mahalo for 12, and the rest is history.

06-10-2011, 11:00 PM
I had a friend who was "collecting" Ukuleles, not really playing them and I saw a purple one in a charity shop, so I brought it and then decided to learn how to play, and ten months later, I now own 5 Ukuleles, and can play a bit, my friend doesn't really play hers at all, but I seemed to have been bitten by the bug and haven't looked back since!

Hippie Dribble
06-10-2011, 11:15 PM
I'd always played the acoustic guitar and one day in 2006, I just bought a cheap one for the heck of it...they were only $25 and I thought they'd be great fun to play at parties, the beach etc because they were so portable. Went along like this for a couple of years.

It wasn't until I heard Lil' Rev in around early 2009 that I really sat up and took notice. Then once I heard James Hill, I was blown away and started trying to develop my playing ability more seriously.

Hradly ever touch my guitar now.

06-10-2011, 11:31 PM
Jake Shimabukuro sitting on a rock in Central Park. That completely sold me.

06-11-2011, 12:02 AM
Charleissocoollike. When he used a uke in his duet with my self.
Then Jake and Aldrine inspired me to play instrumentals.