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Gadzukes!
11-16-2011, 05:57 AM
What got you started playing the ukulele?

Pippin
11-16-2011, 06:19 AM
I grew up with it... long, long ago.

bynapkinart
11-16-2011, 06:23 AM
I had gotten into a rut with songwriting on guitar, so I picked up a uke. Now it's pretty much all I play these days.

I guess I was kind of inspired by George Harrison, but not really...I heard that he was nuts for the ukulele, and I loved Joe Brown's tribute to him at the Concert for George, so I figured it couldn't be that bad!

A couple of months later I see the simplicity of the ukulele as its greatest asset; I can write more complex songs and play a much wider range of sounds on uke than I can with guitar, because I worked so hard at pigeonholing myself on guitar. Uke frees me from everything I've ever worked on and I can focus on the music and what the song wants to do instead of worrying about what I'm capable of doing.

mascompro
11-16-2011, 06:28 AM
Had one as a kid, and always wanted to get another one, since it was the only thing I ever had any luck at playing. Fast forward about 30 years, I was on a business trip in Florida, and saw a Uke shop, figured it would be a cool gift to bring back to the kids, so I went in a bought 4. Next day went back and got one for myself. Got back home, found out we had a place in town that gave lessons, enrolled, and a love affair was born. Now I can't put it down. I keep that first one, that got me started, at the office, so I can strum all day, then I get home to my Paulele, and most recently my KoAloha, and I am in Heaven. And there you have it, the birth of an obsession. :music:

PoiDog
11-16-2011, 06:28 AM
The seed of playing the 'ukulele for me came about 15 years ago when my wife and I lived on O'ahu, near the UH campus. Her uncle (well, not technically, but her dad's best friend from when they were kids), would either bust out a samisen or an 'ukulele to play during the daily pau-hana time. One day, after a few beers, I asked about his uke, and he showed me a couple of chords. I'd try and strum a bit, trying to accompany him when he played samisen. I sucked, but it was all about the fun. And the beer. When we left Hawai'i a couple years later, I just sort of forgot about the uke.

Fast forward to about 7 years ago when, during a return visit to Hawai'i, I saw a low-end uke, remembered how much fun it was, and got it for my dad thinking he'd like it during his retirement. He didn't, as I found out earlier this year when I saw it boxed in his garage. I asked if I could have it, and he said yes. Now armed with a uke, I figured there was no harm in at least trying it.

Happy days.

Kem
11-16-2011, 06:38 AM
Yes, you forgot the whole "I learned when I was a little kid" option. I know there are a lot of people on this forum who picked the instrument up later, but some of us were introduced to the uke by our parents. Some Canadians would even have taken music classes on it in elementary school decades ago. I was probably given my first uke when I was about eight; it was a Christmas or birthday present. I was very proud of it, as I considered it the first "real" instrument I had ever owned all by myself. It's a bit scary to think that I've been playing the ukulele for nearly thirty years.

molokinirum
11-16-2011, 06:38 AM
Easy...a trip to Hawaii!!!

vanflynn
11-16-2011, 06:40 AM
3rd grade music class at Pear Harbor Kai Elementary, 1968

ItsMrPitchy
11-16-2011, 07:18 AM
For me it was charlieissocoollike and all his awesome uke originals.

808boy
11-16-2011, 07:19 AM
Born and raised in Honolulu, it was a given that most kids learn it, like kids learning how to ride horses in Texas or Montana. Started in 3rd grade...........

kamaka_4_life
11-16-2011, 07:55 AM
I first picked it up in the 4th grade for my Hawaiiana class, but I wasn't as interested in it as I am now. Then in my freshman year of high school, I saw the video of Jake playing in Central Park and Aldrine jamming body surfing, and I was like "damn, I gotta learn how to play like them," and ever since then I started taking lessons and now I can't stop playing hahaha :p

Dan Uke
11-16-2011, 08:05 AM
I visited Hawaii around 12 times as my wife is from Hawaii and her family is still there but never had a desire to play. This being my 40th b-day, she wanted to get me something special and different so she mentioned a uke! I said sure as I couldn't think of anything besides a golf trip (hard to plan as I need 3 others to join me). Now I can't wait to go back to Hawaii so I can visit all the factories!!!

One BIG advantage Hawaii has over other states is that they have so many good priced ukes on CL!!

mattydee
11-16-2011, 08:08 AM
Nearly all of the above, for me. I had always wanted to play an instrument, but piano didn't stick, harmonica didn't stick. A bunch of friends had started playing uke, independently of one another. I had recently heard tell of the Milwaukee Uke Club, and then saw an NPR story about the uke renaissance, which led me to Jake's Gently Weeps. A couple of months later I saw a toy uke at a yard sale for 5 bucks, whcih seemed a fine investment to try it out, and taught myself some basic chords and a couple of songs, trying to keep it in tune all the while. A couple of weeks later I bought an Ohana SK-10, and a couple months later, the Kala Acacia Concert followed. Now I go to every club meeting I can, play every day, and basically spread the gospel of uke wherever I go.

PoiDog
11-16-2011, 08:09 AM
One BIG advantage Hawaii has over other states is that they have so many good priced ukes on CL!!

Um, in my opinion that is just one of many, many, many BIG advantages Hawai'i has over other states.

:shaka:

csibona
11-16-2011, 08:09 AM
I was in Hawaii for a conference and there was an ukulele vendor in the lobby. My wife went over and started inquiring about the instrument. She bought the ukulele and started playing. And, well, then I started playing. I bought a Mya-Moe about two months later at the Denver Ukulele Festival.

wheelgunner
11-16-2011, 08:29 AM
It's a long story. Short version, Doris Day.

cantcook1
11-16-2011, 08:30 AM
I watched the local Yorkshire BBC news, they were commenting on how popular the uke had became, and a local music shop had been given free lessons that had become extremelly popular. As i have a guitar that i am not that keen on i decided to buy a ukulele. I havn't looked back and coming along just nicely.

Chap
11-16-2011, 09:26 AM
This:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t28COxEp2k

Gadzukes!
11-16-2011, 10:02 AM
It looks like Hawaii is a major factor in people playing the uke!

Coconut Willie
11-16-2011, 10:17 AM
The nice folks at Bounty Music in Maui, Hawaii got me going!!!

PoiDog
11-16-2011, 10:30 AM
It looks like Hawaii is a major factor in people playing the uke!

Not too surprising. After all, it's a great way to take some of paradise with you when you have to leave.

ChrisRCovington
11-16-2011, 11:28 AM
I heard Over the Rainbow by Brudda Iz on ER in 2002. Thought it sounded awesome so I got my father a cheap ukulele for Father's day to see if he could play it (he's a guitar player). He strummed out a few songs and then I got a matching cheap ukulele to strum along. The funny thing is I found a baby photo of me circa 1980 or 1981 and I'm standing with an old plastic ukulele in hand. Don't know what happened to it but I guess I was meant to play the thing? How well is another story... lol :)

Best regards,
Chris

PatriciaPDX
11-16-2011, 11:57 AM
I received a plastic ukulele for Christmas in the third grade, and remember playing it in a class talent show. I continued for awhile but moved on to playing the flute for many years, with a smattering of piano, guitar, saxophone and cello. I hadn't been making music for a few years, but recently felt a yearning to do so again, and considered the ukulele, as my sister (CountryMouse here on UU) was enjoying it; I was watching videos and was impressed with what one could do on the ukulele, and was going to buy a used one right off, but CountryMouse recently sent me a new Makala soprano as a gift. Well, it's been my best friend and constant companion ever since; I play it every chance I get, totaling about 2 hours a day. I'm so inspired by how accomplished so many are here, but more than that, playing the ukulele just makes me happy, and I expect it always will.

mr moonlight
11-16-2011, 12:34 PM
I did it for the money. I figured playing the uke was a quick way to get rich.:p

gyosh
11-16-2011, 12:35 PM
A trip to Hawaii . . . where I heard Iz!!!

The survey form wouldn't let me choose two.

kaizersoza
11-16-2011, 01:40 PM
the first thing that happened to me concerning music was i bought guitar hero for the ps3, not being a musician or much of a gamer i thought it would be fun at christmas for all the family, so i started practising on that and to be honest i started feeling a bit like the edge (U2) this got me thinking maybe i could get into this music makin thing, the next nudge in this direction came when i read a book about an english school teacher who rode a mountain bike from London to somewhere in India for charity and guess what, he took a uke with him, wherever he stopped off during the trip he got his uke out and played to the local kids and this kind of inspired me, so i put 2+2 together and figured my axe that came with the guitar hero game was about the same size as a uke, and i bought a makala dolphin, a marriage was made in heaven, my only regret is that i wish i had started to learn this wonderful instrument years ago

Gillian
11-16-2011, 02:08 PM
I would have chosen 'Other', 'trip to Hawaii' and 'saw one in a store'.

I listened to my granddad play one as I was growing up in Yorkshire. It wasn't until 50 years later when I was on a trip to Hawaii that I saw a cheap Lanikai in the Costco in Hawaii Kai and bought it.

Now I'm obsessed with them.

mm stan
11-16-2011, 02:09 PM
Second time around, My father passed and my cousin played at the service..it was the moost beautiful thing I heard....after that I was hooked....

metricfuture
11-16-2011, 03:47 PM
I'd always been fascinated with it as a kid, since my paternal grandmother listened to quite a bit of music from the 20's. The first time I heard Flamin' Mamie, she was singing it with my aunt. I played piano as a kid, and bass as an adult until a worsening nickel allergy made bass nearly impossible. My SO bought me my first uke in '05, and it just seemed perfect. I loved the way it sounded, it was a ton of fun, and I got my four strings (albeit played and tuned completely differently) without the hazards of suspect metal. The one lingering downside being my yearning for both a resonator and tiple. Haven't quite figured that out yet, but I'm sure there's a way around the issue.

Big_e
11-16-2011, 08:16 PM
I never really gave the ukulele much thought and very few people here in town even know what a uke is. I was watching the movie, "Shallow Hal" one day and this actor was in it playing the ukulele. I thought it was the coolest instrument. Joshua Shintani and he sounded good with the uke. After listening to other musicians on the ukulele, I knew that I had to get one!
Ernest

ukebuilder
11-16-2011, 08:50 PM
I had a toy one as a kid and then out grew it. Seven years ago I met a man making three string dulcimers and I wanted one for the wife. After looking it over I thought, I could make this. So I then started and then found cigar box types and loved them and made a few, then everyone wanted one and then more and more and then one day a man asked if I would make him a cigar box uke. After making it I payed with it a little and found that I loved it. It was like falling in love again with a long lost love. Weird but I made a few more and then just in the last couple month I have decided to stick with the uke. I am devoting all my time and effort to them and making only them and playing only them. I just got sick of dinking around with all the others and I wanted to try and master just one and the only one I feel it right is the uke.

ukuhippo
11-16-2011, 09:30 PM
I've been struggling with a guitar for a while, and couldn't get anything decent out of it. I really liked the idea of playing a stringed instrument, did some online research, bumped into the Doplhin and it reviews, ordered one, etc. I'm not planning on looking back. I thought I was immune to UAS, but now....itchy. Want a concert and a tenor. Must...buy....must...buy....must...buy...must...bu y.

MisterRios
11-16-2011, 09:50 PM
Does Kate Micucci count as a Uke celebrity? For some reason, I got hooked on Garfunkel and Oates and was really curious about the uke Kate was playing. After some googling including (I kid you not) "How easy it is to learn the Ukulele" I really wanted to play. By chance, I also saw an ad in the Zitty (the bi-weekly what's happening in Berlin mag) for a store called Leleland (the local uke store), and after a week of agonizing over a purchase, I headed over there. The funny thing is that it's right across the street from a bakery that I go to quite often, so it must be happenstance.

I still have only one uke, the Kala KA-P, though I'm eyeing quite a few others.

And then I started taking hula lessons....

mm stan
11-16-2011, 10:04 PM
I received a plastic ukulele for Christmas in the third grade, and remember playing it in a class talent show. I continued for awhile but moved on to playing the flute for many years, with a smattering of piano, guitar, saxophone and cello. I hadn't been making music for a few years, but recently felt a yearning to do so again, and considered the ukulele, as my sister (CountryMouse here on UU) was enjoying it; I was watching videos and was impressed with what one could do on the ukulele, and was going to buy a used one right off, but CountryMouse recently sent me a new Makala soprano as a gift. Well, it's been my best friend and constant companion ever since; I play it every chance I get, totaling about 2 hours a day. I'm so inspired by how accomplished so many are here, but more than that, playing the ukulele just makes me happy, and I expect it always will.
Are You Joanna's sister?? what happened to her..we never have seen her for a while now.....can you fill us in? is she all right and knitting yet?? MM Stan

itsme
11-16-2011, 10:38 PM
Classical guitar player, won an uke in a drawing. Thought it would just be a lark, but I was so wrong on that. :)

Uke Whisperer
11-17-2011, 01:20 AM
Wanted to learn to play a uke when I was kid, never had the opportunity, plus I realized I couldn't "carry a tune in a bucket". Always liked to listen to Banjo playing but never to the point of trying one myself.

I retired last winter and while surfing the web I ran across the Banjolele. Figured the time had come to give the Uke a go. 1st I bought a $19.95 "special" at local a store and after a couple of weeks I had learned a few chords/strums and I decided that there was a chance for me to learn to play. I then ordered a Banjolele and after a couple of months of medical issues, I ordered my Sk-38 from Mike at Uke Republic. I was "hooked"! I have practiced and/or played a uke every day since!

Uncle Leroy
11-17-2011, 01:22 AM
30 years of playing Skynyrd in a bar band.

guitarsnrotts
11-17-2011, 06:25 AM
Heard a 'Ukulele Ike' song on the radio back when there was such a thing as Free Form Radio.

ukuhelen
11-17-2011, 08:32 PM
heh... never thought of playing it, but a friend dragged me into a music store here in seattle, to helpher pick out a uke (she knew I'd been a music major/ musician, years ago before going to law school). long story short? I'm the one who got hooked on the ukulele. loving it. sold my marimba to finance ukes. that's serious.

vickersdc
11-18-2011, 02:31 AM
I heard the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB) in a program on Radio 4 a couple of years ago (whilst doing the ironing - not that that is important to the story). I was blown away by what they played, and then xmas '09 Santa kindly brought me a Makala Dolphin. Still got it, love playing it - the nut has been filed ever so slightly, the bottom of the saddle sanded lightly and currently fitted with D'Addario strings.

Now I need another uke as this was is tuned in the key of D, and I want one in the key of C!

ukuleleforbeginners
11-18-2011, 03:35 AM
Wife was doing Hula.

PoiDog
11-18-2011, 05:17 AM
sold my marimba to finance ukes. that's serious.

That most definitely is serious. I wonder how those two would sound together? Sounds like something Zappa would have tried.

zac987
11-18-2011, 05:23 AM
Beirut and Noah and the Whale got me interested. Nowadays, I'm leaning more towards the tiple and 5-string banjo, but I'll always love the uke.

lancemanion
11-18-2011, 08:39 AM
A friend emailed me a link to this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=866KbFchY_4&list=PL455FD06936EE3076&index=3&feature=plpp_video
I saw it and thought, "Wow you can play the kind of music I love on an ukulele!" That got me searching youtube and I found Seeso's channel. "Crazy Train" and "Santaria". I went to straight to eBay and bought my first uke (wish I would have done a little research first). I backpack and travel a lot and the idea of having an instrument that I could take everywhere and play the kind of music I like was too much to pass up.
BTW, when I first starting looking into ukes they had NOTHING at Guitar Center and almost nothing on eBay. What a difference a few years makes.
Anyways, thanks to "Wayne Federman" and UU's own "Seeso" for changing my life.

seeso
11-18-2011, 11:15 AM
Anyways, thanks to "Wayne Federman" and UU's own "Seeso" for changing my life.

Right on, man! Glad to have been part of your journey.

nscafe
11-18-2011, 12:03 PM
For me it was a combination of hearing Iz's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", and Eddie Vedder's "Soon Forget" (I'm a huge Pearl Jam fan). That planted the seed, but it took me several more years before I decided to get a uke of my own. One of the best decisions I've ever made.

Hippie Dribble
11-18-2011, 12:24 PM
I'd been playing and writing songs on an acoustic guitar for nearly 20 years and was just looking to branch out and try some other folky instruments. Anyway, was in the local music shop one day in 2006 and saw these little coloured mahalo ukes being sold for a song. just picked one up, got the guy to show me a couple of chords and off I went. Bought that uke and now rarely play the guitar at all. Enjoyed the different sound, and found it was much more sympathetic to the singing voice...softer, more gentle.

Since then I've also found it easier to play jazz and blues as I'd struggled a bit with these genres on the guitar. Like Nate said, best thing I ever did, only wish it had happened sooner.

Here's a picture of the uke...I still own it and play it daily, it has enormous sentimental value to me and I could never part with it

30100

vickimc
01-13-2012, 03:49 AM
Almost 40 & working far too hard. Actively seeking calm, I came across this article: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/01/07/10-ways-to-enjoy-doing-nothing/

I had my first ukulele 2 hours later. It has been *exactly* what I needed. <3

The article's nice, but I pasted the uke-relevant part below.

5. Play the ukulele.
The ukulele is the sound of not working. My wife hates it for that very reason: The twang of those strings means that I am not doing something useful around the house. I keep my ukulele in the kitchen and play it at odd moments, like while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil.

Sporin
01-13-2012, 04:35 AM
I have no idea what got me thinking about it but about 3 months before my 40th birthday I became obsessed with getting one and my wife gifted me my Kala. It's been love ever since. :)

My Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder love certainly had some influence.

janeray1940
01-13-2012, 05:51 AM
Yes, you forgot the whole "I learned when I was a little kid" option. I know there are a lot of people on this forum who picked the instrument up later, but some of us were introduced to the uke by our parents.

Yes, this.

When I was little, my best friend got a guitar for her 7th birthday. My 7th birthday was a month later so I wanted one too - trouble was, I was really small for my age and back then kid-size guitars were hard to come by. The salesman suggested a ukulele instead, so that's what I got. I never took lessons, just kinda learned from my dad, and a couple years later when we left the country I had to leave the uke behind and that was the end of that.

I spent the next 35 years wanting to play something but absolutely sucking at everything I tried - guitar, piano, bass. A couple years ago the stars aligned - I had the time, the money, and an instructor - and I picked up a uke again, and I really haven't wanted to do anything else ever since :)

fretie
01-13-2012, 06:16 AM
Our outrigger racing canoe team has a winter training trip in Hawaii planned and a couple of my teammates who play uke talked about jamming on the beach. That image grabbed me and immediately I wanted to join them. So I bought a cheap uke on craigslist to try learn to play before the trip. Naturally started researching ukes and songs and within a month had a new acacia Kala concert uke.

Have gone to three different uke meetups so far, play everyday and am about to leave for playing in Hawaii on Monday!

Manalishi
01-13-2012, 08:27 AM
I had a life threatening illness a while back,and after I
recovered,my guitars (pals for almost 50 years!) just
didn't do it for me anymore.So I gave them all away,
and then a brightly painted Mahalo sop in a local
music shop caught my eye....
The rest,as many folk have experienced,is history!

Steedy
01-13-2012, 08:41 AM
Bought my ladyfriend's 4-year-old granddaughter a cheap ukulele, learned a few songs, and fell in love with the uke. :love:

Then got Makala Dolphins for the woman and both her grand-daughters, and started buying ukuleles for myself. :music:

Currently looking for a UAS treatment facility. :stop:

:cool:

Nickie
01-13-2012, 09:28 AM
This:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t28COxEp2k

This is the first rap song I've ever liked!
I must say I'm a little envious of all you folks who have been to Hawaii. I'd love to go. The only thing stopping me is money and time off. I do have a dream of going there to buy a really great uke.
I got started because I saw the You Tube video of the Good, Bad and the Ugly," by the fabulous Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Nickie
01-13-2012, 09:42 AM
A friend emailed me a link to this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=866KbFchY_4&list=PL455FD06936EE3076&index=3&feature=plpp_video
I saw it and thought, "Wow you can play the kind of music I love on an ukulele!" That got me searching youtube and I found Seeso's channel. "Crazy Train" and "Santaria". I went to straight to eBay and bought my first uke (wish I would have done a little research first). I backpack and travel a lot and the idea of having an instrument that I could take everywhere and play the kind of music I like was too much to pass up.
BTW, when I first starting looking into ukes they had NOTHING at Guitar Center and almost nothing on eBay. What a difference a few years makes.
Anyways, thanks to "Wayne Federman" and UU's own "Seeso" for changing my life.

Darn you, lancemanion, I can't stop laughing. This is priceless, thank you!

Elegant.
01-13-2012, 10:29 AM
Zach Condon, from Beirut band, when he played Postcards From Italy on a ukulele. One year later I decided to buy a nice ukulele and now I'm a beginner since three days. :)

BashfulPuppet
01-13-2012, 10:43 AM
I've played the guitar for more than 20 years and have loved it. But when I travel with my family of six I find that a guitar doesn't fit in with the rest of the luggage. Then after several days hanging out in a hotel or at the in laws I find myself wanting to play and the guitar is several hundred miles away. Then I thought of the ukulele. Much smaller but in many ways similar to play. So I bought one a few years ago. Now I find that I play the uke much more than the guitar. I also find that the ukulele fits much nicer with my backpacking hobby. Not much better than picking and strumming on the trail.

stevepetergal
01-13-2012, 11:17 AM
Jake in Central Park, Gently Weeping

ukecantdothat
01-13-2012, 12:19 PM
I was a guitarist in my previous musical life, and came down with a hand condition called Dupytrens contracture, which causes fingers to curl into a fist. It affects my pinky the most and restricts the reach I once had. The scale of the uke fits so much better and breathed new life into an essentially abandoned interest in music making. Music was such a huge part of my identity, and I was artistically in a deep funk until I picked up a really nice uke on a trip to the North Shore of Oahu some six years ago. It was like a light getting switched back on. I now have music in my head all the time again, thanks to the ukulele. I've even transposed a lot of my old original stuff to the little fella!

myrnaukelele
01-15-2012, 10:22 AM
It's so interesting to read all the different ways folks found their way to the ukulele.
My story: Long ago, as a budding guitarist just starting to play in public, I had a friend comment that if I switched all the letters in my name around it spelled Myrna Ukelele. Instant stage name! (yes I know ukulele has two u,s but I have only one u in my name- thus the mispelling). Well, how can someone have a stage name like that and not play the ukulele? It wasn't long before I found an old Silvertone and a ukulele book and began to teach myself ukulele. I've loved playing uke ever since.

janeray1940
01-15-2012, 10:34 AM
(yes I know ukulele has two u,s but I have only one u in my name- thus the mispelling)

Think of it more as... archaic, rather than a misspelling - the "ukelele" spelling was actually pretty common back in the 1920s. (But to a Hawaiian, yes, it's a misspelling!)

ItsTweak
01-12-2014, 12:06 PM
I wanted to play guitar, but i was not confident with 6 strings [fooled around on a electric bass as a teen]. so i decided on ukulele because of the size and #of strings. while the choice was oddly made, it was one of the best i have made.

Shady Wilbury
01-12-2014, 12:13 PM
Joe Brown at the Concert for George. (Wasn't there in person, but became a George/Beatles nut in 2004.)

4stringjonty
01-13-2014, 02:56 AM
It was recommended to me at all music stores I went to.