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View Full Version : What Does the Ukulele Mean to You?



Kyle23
01-28-2013, 07:21 PM
I'd like to hear some people's thoughts on playing/owning/learning the ukulele. For me, it's the best $100 I've ever spent. Coming home after a stressful day and just playing is a beautiful thing. It kind of makes me upset that I didn't buy one 2 years ago when I initially was interested in learning, but better late than never. Also just learning new songs that you never thought you'd be able to do really pushes me to learn harder ones. Progressing, slowly, but surely is so rewarding and honestly I've never been happier because of this. I never thought an instrument could mean so much to me. And I'm just a few weeks in. I can't wait to see what else could come of this.

So that's my little opinion. I'd love to hear your guys opinions, how you started, what pushes you to keep going, and overall what it has done for you.

Mandalyn
01-28-2013, 07:32 PM
Ukulele is my lifeline. I started almost 2 years ago and I believe it to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Hippie Dribble
01-28-2013, 07:36 PM
wow Kyle!!! Great question!!!! Well, I reckon I'd be dead if I never picked up a uke. Played guitar for twenty years before I even knew what a uke was. Bought one out of curiosity about 6 years ago and have hardly touched my guitar since. It is my therapy, my relaxation, my joy, my little friend who just loves to be picked up and cuddled and played. After sex, the uke is the best form of recreation ever invented. It's got me through some rough times, good ones too, entertained lots of old folks and children alike, made waits at bus stops and for appointments go in a flash, opened up so many conversations with different people. It's pretty much taken over my life and it continues to challenge me daily to get better as a player. It can play any genre of music and can be taken anywhere. And they're just so doggone pretty and sound so incredibly beautiful. Best thing that ever happened to me, apart from meeting eugenie - was picking up that ol' sky blue mahalo in the local music shop 6 years ago. I share your joy mate, I've never been happier either.

Tigeralum2001
01-28-2013, 07:44 PM
wow Kyle!!! Great question!!!! Well, I reckon I'd be dead if I never picked up a uke. Played guitar for twenty years before I even knew what a uke was. Bought one out of curiosity about 6 years ago and have hardly touched my guitar since. It is my therapy, my relaxation, my joy, my little friend who just loves to be picked up and cuddled and played. After sex, the uke is the best form of recreation ever invented. It's got me through some rough times, good ones too, entertained lots of old folks and children alike, made waits at bus stops and for appointments go in a flash, opened up so many conversations with different people. It's pretty much taken over my life and it continues to challenge me daily to get better as a player. It can play any genre of music and can be taken anywhere. And they're just so doggone pretty and sound so incredibly beautiful. Best thing that ever happened to me, apart from meeting eugenie - was picking up that ol' sky blue mahalo in the local music shop 6 years ago. I share your joy mate, I've never been happier either.
I'm not sure how you top that!

For me, it means being able to play something other than the radio or kazoo. For the first time in my life, I can make music. I grew up too poor to have lessons of any kind. I've always loved music, so I finally have an artistic outlet... Even though I will never be a Jake or even a Eugene.

Kyle23
01-28-2013, 07:47 PM
wow Kyle!!! Great question!!!! Well, I reckon I'd be dead if I never picked up a uke. Played guitar for twenty years before I even knew what a uke was. Bought one out of curiosity about 6 years ago and have hardly touched my guitar since. It is my therapy, my relaxation, my joy, my little friend who just loves to be picked up and cuddled and played. After sex, the uke is the best form of recreation ever invented. It's got me through some rough times, good ones too, entertained lots of old folks and children alike, made waits at bus stops and for appointments go in a flash, opened up so many conversations with different people. It's pretty much taken over my life and it continues to challenge me daily to get better as a player. It can play any genre of music and can be taken anywhere. And they're just so doggone pretty and sound so incredibly beautiful. Best thing that ever happened to me, apart from meeting eugenie - was picking up that ol' sky blue mahalo in the local music shop 6 years ago. I share your joy mate, I've never been happier either.

Appreciate it. And I appreciate your answer too. Exactly the kind of response I was looking forward to reading.

kaizersoza
01-28-2013, 08:02 PM
the ukulele is the best thing I ever bought, it has seen me through illness, boredom, despair and made me realise how much I have missed out on in my life, before the uke I had never touched a musical instrument, I have been playing the uke for 18 months or so and it has improved my life no end in fact it has taken over my life, I now run a uke club in my hometown with another UU member who I met through this forum and I also run a moderately successful band, we have played for charities such as Cancer Research and Breast cancer, we have helped out our local community with free gigs so they can make some money, we now are getting paying gigs in pubs and clubs, but most important of all I have made a lot of friends both locally and around the world just because of that little instrument, my only regret is that I didn't pick one up years ago, but as one poster has already stated its never too late to start

Sven-Uke
01-28-2013, 08:10 PM
Great question, beautiful answers.

To me, the ukulele is like a new best friend.
Initially I bought a ukulele because I wanted to take a musical instument with me on holidays. I could not have imagined the world it opened up for me.
Every ukulele tutorial I watched on YouTube showed a smiling, helpful and happy person. And every time I pick up a ukulele, I think back to those first video's.
The ukulele allows me to express myself musically in ways that I never knew before. Being a bassplayer, I always needed at least one more bandmember to play a coherent song :)
I'm learning new songs and techniques every week and enjoy every minute of it.

bodhran
01-28-2013, 08:30 PM
Playing the ukulele brings a little sunshine into even the darkest day. I find it impossible to do anything but smile while playing the ukulele.

foxisaac
01-28-2013, 09:04 PM
I started out playing the guitar, It was always around the house because my dad used to play, and I learned off youtube and such, when I got to school I wanted nothing more that to play for the school band, but there supposed "Audition process" involved the conductor choosing people based on who he knew personally. I got given a ukulele as a present from a friend and took that up, had some fun noodling around on it, but didn't really take it seriously, but as time went on I found myself reaching for the ukulele, because on the ukulele I only had to learn songs I wanted, when I felt like it. Now the ukulele is my first love.

Kyle23
01-28-2013, 09:20 PM
Love reading these. Keep em coming.

Hochapeafarm
01-28-2013, 09:54 PM
This is a wonderful thread and I have loved reading through everyone's heartfelt responses! My uke is one of my best friends -- I can share joy, sorrow -- and so much more with my uke -- the relationship is one of reciprocity; a partnership of expression that is undeniably crucial in my life. I have played a handful of instruments in my life -- but none have captivated me the way that the uke has. The more that I give to my uke, the more my uke gives back to me -- it's truly amazing! The ukulele is indeed a special, unique, instrument; it's diminutive size makes it charming, endearing, and inviting to play. This incredible instrument has united people around the world; the uke community is made up of folks who are so supportive, encouraging, giving. I'll say it (write it) again, i feel so blessed to be a part of the UU community! Playing my uke, and also listening to others play their uke, is the equivalent of a huge, warm musical hug...and smile!!!!

Kyle23
01-28-2013, 09:56 PM
I agree, the uke community is amazing. I was hesitant to post this because if I would have made this on any other forum I'm apart of it would have been called too corny to get serious responses. But then I remembered how great the people are here.

Sven-Uke
01-28-2013, 10:01 PM
I agree, the uke community is amazing. I was hesitant to post this because if I would have made this on any other forum I'm apart of it would have been called too corny to get serious responses. But then I remembered how great the people are here.

I know exactly what you mean, and I am glad you decided to post!

Mattyukaholic
01-28-2013, 10:03 PM
Reading this thread made my morning.

Scottiver
01-28-2013, 10:12 PM
Well I bought my first uke, a Kanilea k2 tenor a little over two years ago and it was one of the best things i've ever done as well. I'd been playing guitar and a little piano for 30 years but wasn't playing much any more but getting that uke and then learning dozens and dozens of new songs was just so much fun and re-inspired me to play music every day. I also joined the local uke club and i've done three open mike nights which were each one of the highlights of my life. I'd never played in front of a crowd before but always wanted to and the ukulele helped me achieve that goal.
I've also led singalongs with family and friends at get togethers and camping trips that every one really enjoyed. Definitely a life changing event getting that little uke. And i'm more popular now too :)
Tell your friends!

Youkalaylee
01-28-2013, 11:29 PM
To me its therapy. Last year was really rough for me, normally I'm a pretty open person but I think I was playing uke for several weeks before I told anyone besides my partner I was learning. To this day I haven't mentioned ukulele on Facebook. Why? Because my uke is so close to my soul that I didn't want anyone to belittle what was going on or not understand how important it is. If I'm having a rough few days I can just get comfy with my uke and belt out a couple chords and feel happy again. After failing my degree last year due to things outside of my control its made me feel like I can achieve something and its helped remove the depression. I've always medicated myself with music, if I've had a bad day ill play my favourite song over and over and my uke is just an extension of that. The ukulele community is something that's really surprised me, for such a little instrument it has a big heart.

And, so much more than the above, but I just can't put it into words.

NewKid
01-29-2013, 12:00 AM
I'm most grateful to my ukuleles for my new friends. We play every other Sunday in the basement of a bar and once in a while at gigs together. Before that I played guitar alone in my room for many years. After a year with my uke group we've all made great progress but our fondness for each other has grown too. We're starting to go to each others non-uke events. I feel so rich and blessed to have these people in my life. We make wonderful music together and we're having so much fun. I never expected this to happen and I'm so happy that it did.

vanflynn
01-29-2013, 03:46 AM
I floundered unsuccessfully with drums, guitar, madolin, back to guitar...... never really "got it". Sure I looked at the little diagrams and made what seemed like music but in truth it was more semiorganized noise. When I started playing the uke (partially to knowing the chord shapes from guitar) then the why started clicking in my head (at least at a very basic level, the F goes after the C here, now a G..) Anyway, I feel that I am now making true music and am really enjoying it.

TG&Y
01-29-2013, 03:56 AM
Everything. Only regret that it took most of a lifetime before finding one in my hands. But here it is!

Nicko
01-29-2013, 04:33 AM
To me the ukulele means a great hobby. What makes a great hobby?

> Intellectually engaging -- history, culture, geography, technology and technique, a bit of music theory, etc
> Social aspects -- online and local friends
> Creativity -- musicality, performance, etc
> Therapeutic -- meditative sometimes, mindful practice, come aside and fully engage with the music in the midst of life's demands
> (Inter)active -- beats the heck out of passively letting "entertainment" wash over me

Also reanimates a layer of me that was active in my past (fiddle and banjo that I set aside years ago when a band I played in broke up for a variety of reasons). The shutting down of that aspect of my previous life was welcome at the time, but missed again recently.

I'm having a ball with the uke!

Freeda
01-29-2013, 05:10 AM
To me the ukulele means a great hobby. What makes a great hobby?

> Intellectually engaging -- history, culture, geography, technology and technique, a bit of music theory, etc
> Social aspects -- online and local friends
> Creativity -- musicality, performance, etc
> Therapeutic -- meditative sometimes, mindful practice, come aside and fully engage with the music in the midst of life's demands
> (Inter)active -- beats the heck out of passively letting "entertainment" wash over me

Also reanimates a layer of me that was active in my past (fiddle and banjo that I set aside years ago when a band I played in broke up for a variety of reasons). The shutting down of that aspect of my previous life was welcome at the time, but missed again recently.

I'm having a ball with the uke!
Couldn't say it better than that. :)

Plainsong
01-29-2013, 10:47 AM
I also waited years after discovering that this might be for me, due to some misinformation about it.

For me, it's not the instrument that I'm best at, by a long way (Not that I'm super-awesome or anything, just lots of time clocked on those.). I'll always lag behind the crowd. But it's the one I enjoy playing the most. It's a very me type instrument, suits me well.

Otherwise I don't really fit in with the Sunshine & Cupcakes crowd of how the uke is some new-agey pseudo-cure-all just because it's the ukulele. Nah, it's an instrument. It allows the player to make music, and it is what we make of it. And there's no reason in the world that it shouldn't be considered a serious instrument.


I'd like to hear some people's thoughts on playing/owning/learning the ukulele. For me, it's the best $100 I've ever spent. Coming home after a stressful day and just playing is a beautiful thing. It kind of makes me upset that I didn't buy one 2 years ago when I initially was interested in learning, but better late than never. Also just learning new songs that you never thought you'd be able to do really pushes me to learn harder ones. Progressing, slowly, but surely is so rewarding and honestly I've never been happier because of this. I never thought an instrument could mean so much to me. And I'm just a few weeks in. I can't wait to see what else could come of this.

So that's my little opinion. I'd love to hear your guys opinions, how you started, what pushes you to keep going, and overall what it has done for you.

wallyboy
01-29-2013, 11:16 AM
i've been trying to play since october, must say it is one of the best decisions i made to buy one, not from any music background at all, so i have struggled a bit, it is coming slowly, it is something that focuses the mind, cant see myself without one now, it is so portable so take it to work, it makes me smile, makes me happy, when i learn something new it is a real high, so all in all it means alot,

sukie
01-29-2013, 11:18 AM
People consider it not a serious instrument? I kid, I know they don't. I am doing my darnedest to prove them wrong.
I love to play the ukulele. It is coming up on 5 years in a couple of weeks. It's been a fabulous time. I have taken lessons most of the time and have come a long way. I never played a stringed instrument before this. It's just so fun!

I have many new friends through the ukulele. Friends around the world! My local circle of friends know that come end of May I will be gone for a week while I go to Summer Camp -- aka UWC. They are learning to respect my instrument.

Ukulele makes me smile. Best hobby I ever started.

Kem
01-29-2013, 11:25 AM
I've been playing for thirty years. I told my parents I wanted an instrument of my very own, and I got a ukulele for my birthday (or maybe Christmas; I was about eight, so I can't remember). I play many instruments now, but I've always come back to the uke, and because I'm entirely self-taught, I've developed my own slightly wonky technique. The ukulele renaissance took me by surprise. For my entire life, the ukulele had been considered a dorky instrument played mostly by little kids; suddenly, it was verging on cool. People are still reluctant to take it seriously, and I'm continually asked why I don't just play the guitar, but I don't care. The uke is plenty versatile. It's also currently my main performance instrument, and I've even finally started a YouTube channel to show off my original music, something I've never done with any other instrument. So...yeah: ukuleles please me.

xyz
01-29-2013, 11:52 AM
Wonderful thread.
I've played the cello from age 6 to 21. Almost made a career out of it... but for a variety of reasons I completely stopped playing music... during 15 years. Then one day picked up a uke in a store and instantly reconnected with my musical self... what a blast ! Since then I've also started playing the guitar (parlor), which I enjoy also very much for its own sound... but I still spend 2/3 of my playing time on the uke... music therapy works...

PeteyHoudini
01-29-2013, 12:01 PM
The social aspects of the online uke groups are really great and I've made friends in Germany that I would have never met before, and I even went to Berlin three times. When I started in 2006, it was a solitary pursuit and I felt isolated. By 2009, I was on a few European forums on the web and that inspired me. It also inspired me to write new songs about my current life and trips overseas. I was always looking for a reason to get into photography and videos in more depth and the uke gave me that! I'm very grateful!

I played acoustic and rock guitar since my teenage years but I was only mediocre. The uke, with all its associated techniques (split-stroke, etc…) has given me challenges and I love that!

And last but not least: the uke makes me smile when I sing while playing it.

Petey

26tiki
01-29-2013, 12:10 PM
Great Thread! Love your answer Eugene btw;)

Been playin piano since I was 7, playing guitar since I was 13 - musical friends of mine have always noticed my frustration at playing these instruments over the years. Then I bought a uke! Finally Im able to play and express all the music thats been bottled up in my head for the last 30 years.
My uke has become my everything, my best friend. I take one everywhere and I stoke out on the smiles that me and my uke have put on peoples faces. I recently was playing to 7 kids dancing on the back of a truck and I tell you what, it was one of the best feelings I've ever had - you cant buy that.
Im lucky that I have a couple of very talented musical friends that play a varied collection of instruments. We jam once a week & its nice to have someone that shares my musical madness. Thursdays are now the highlight of my week.
Its also great to have a forum like this of like-minded individuals to learn from and share with - gives me warm fuzzies.

SailingUke
01-29-2013, 12:16 PM
I agree, great question.
Ukulele always meant joy and good times for me.
Through my darkest hours in a hospital bed it was a companion.
My music friends are my closest and most dear.
The ukulele brought me the love of my life. When she left, she took all the joy with her.
Ukulele now brings back painful memories. I am still here hoping to heal and my music friends are helping.

hawaii 50
01-29-2013, 12:49 PM
wow Kyle!!! Great question!!!! Well, I reckon I'd be dead if I never picked up a uke. Played guitar for twenty years before I even knew what a uke was. Bought one out of curiosity about 6 years ago and have hardly touched my guitar since. It is my therapy, my relaxation, my joy, my little friend who just loves to be picked up and cuddled and played. After sex, the uke is the best form of recreation ever invented. It's got me through some rough times, good ones too, entertained lots of old folks and children alike, made waits at bus stops and for appointments go in a flash, opened up so many conversations with different people. It's pretty much taken over my life and it continues to challenge me daily to get better as a player. It can play any genre of music and can be taken anywhere. And they're just so doggone pretty and sound so incredibly beautiful. Best thing that ever happened to me, apart from meeting eugenie - was picking up that ol' sky blue mahalo in the local music shop 6 years ago. I share your joy mate, I've never been happier either.



Eugene
Right on!! nicely put!

you too CJ...i grew up poor and still poor Lol

Plainsong
01-29-2013, 01:09 PM
I hope that one day you can rebuild those pathways in the brain, so that the uke is associated with the good times that are still yet to come. Music forms strong associations to moments in our lives. A song can take us right back to a time, place, or a feeling. But we're pretty good at bouncing back too. I don't want to lay any blame since I don't know the story, but I hope that one day, your love of music is your own.


I agree, great question.
Ukulele always meant joy and good times for me.
Through my darkest hours in a hospital bed it was a companion.
My music friends are my closest and most dear.
The ukulele brought me the love of my life. When she left, she took all the joy with her.
Ukulele now brings back painful memories. I am still here hoping to heal and my music friends are helping.

PatriciaPDX
01-29-2013, 03:45 PM
During a very difficult period in my life in late 2011 I was casting about for something positive to do to take my mind off the negatives. I'd noticed how much my sister enjoyed playing the ukulele and how happy it seemed to make her, so I began looking about for a used uke. My sister, however, insisted on buying me a new one, which became my best friend right away. I've played several instruments over the years so the chords came pretty easily (once my fingertips toughened up a bit), and although I played songs written by others, of course, I spent a lot of time writing songs about my sadness and frustration and banged them out on the uke daily, which was a good release. Soon I sought out two local uke groups and a local jam and really liked attending those until transportation issues got in the way (though that will change with my upcoming move across town). When I stopped being able to go to the groups my playing time became more erratic, until last fall when I decided I wanted to get more serious about playing and learning and improving. Gaining the confidence to make videos and sing here on UU has been huge for me, as I have spent my life avoiding singing in front of others. As for my ukes (I now have 4), I enjoy picking them up and giving each some playing time every day. They've seen me through good times and bad and I wouldn't part with them for anything.

Thanks for posting this thought-provoking question!

veejayblox
01-29-2013, 05:37 PM
definitely a sunshine and cupcakes sort of guy here. but seriously..
guitar plus zero piano plus dolphin collection at the music store equals a brand new ukulele.
and a brand new direction in life. and yes, musically my abilities have improved, from keeping a basic rhythm to being able to partially pick songs and/or melodies out of the air.

Kyle23
01-29-2013, 06:38 PM
Appreciate all of the responses/stories.

bbqribs
01-29-2013, 06:42 PM
Playing has been a pleasurable journey from the first song. Enjoyable every step/strum of the way. An area of personal growth. Seeing that self discipline pays off, and that it's easy to do when it's your passion. Forming friendships with my ukulele ohana. Being called a musician for the first time in my (middle aged) life.
Look for my uke music download in 10 years!