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billcarr
04-08-2013, 08:30 AM
What explains the current explosion in popularity for ukulele?

I started just a few months ago after losing motivation and the desire to play my previous instrument which I had been totally hooked on for 20+ years.

One of my work mates plays uke and she introduced me to this wonderful instrument. She is an avid Pearl Jam.. Eddie Vedder fan. Is it these high profile artist who have made the uke “cool” for the masses again?

I also notice so very many tv and radio commercials with ukulele playing in the background now.

Bill

finkdaddy
04-08-2013, 08:34 AM
All the people who remember Tiny Tim are either dead or senile.

BIGDB
04-08-2013, 08:46 AM
Jake shimabukuro inspired me and I think a lot of people to start playing by doing such recognizable songs like bohemian rhapsody etc. so I think he had a big part in making the ukulele "Cool". And I think Eddie vedder and George Harrison made it very well known and also made it a cool just because who doesn't really know the Beatles or pearl jam.

ukemunga
04-08-2013, 08:46 AM
All the people who remember Tiny Tim are either dead or senile.

I knew there had to be SOME explanation! :smileybounce:

And that would make me senile.

Now, what were we talking about... ?

Rick Turner
04-08-2013, 09:15 AM
Why do you think it's so sudden?

I'd put it at ten years plus for this wave, and I'd suggest that Jim Beloff has a lot to do with it.

70sSanO
04-08-2013, 09:23 AM
Actually, sudden popularity is probably not entirely accurate, but it is good to see people constantly finding the ukulele as a legitimate instrument.

The explosion probably got into full force after Jake Shimabukuro's 2006 youtube, but the ukulele had already started to get popular before then.

What really helps the ukulele is that it truly is the instrument for the masses. One person can strum along without too much effort or musical background and another can just rip melodies and complex finger patterns.

And it doesn't hurt that it is portable and just plain fun to play.

John

dnewton2
04-08-2013, 09:24 AM
Why do you think it's so sudden?



That was my first thought.

dirtiestkidever
04-08-2013, 09:27 AM
I think there are really two parts to this question.

1) What inspired people to check out a ukulele for the first time?

2) Why do people like it so much after they try it?


I don't have much insight into #1 though it probably involves people like Jake Shimabukuro, Eddie Vedder, and mumford and sons.

But I think I undersand part 2. The ukulele is popular because it is versatile and relatively easy (perhaps 'accessible' is a better word than 'easy'). Versatile instruments include other instruments like piano and guitar. They are well suited to a variety of styles of music and sound great by themselves or with other instruments. Contrast this to less versatile instruments like flute, bass, or trombone. The problem with piano and guitar is that they require quite of bit of time and expertise to master. In fact, they require quite a lot of time just to play pretty basic tunes. Ukulele on there other hand is incredibly accessible. People can play easy songs (even popular tunes that they like) in the first week. And after that it is possible to progress quickly into finger picking and beyond. Please don't be offended when I say that ukulele is relatively easy. What Jake Shimabukuro and James Hill do is not anywhere close to easy. They are equally as talented and doing equally difficult things as anyone playing guitar or any other instrument at the highest level. I just mean to say that getting started and making progress at the beginning is easier than with some other instruments. On top of that they are typically cheaper, more portable, and smaller (guitars can be too big for children or those with smaller hands) than other versatile instruments. All of these things contribute to its accessibility.

Almost every one would like to make music. And ukuleles get you to the point of making music much faster.

There are certainly other reasons to like the ukulele (its happy sounding, people like hawaiian music, etc) but I think the versatility and accessibility are the major reasons. Those are certainly what drew me in.

The question I always have is why weren't they already popular? Why did they lose popularity in the past?

Anyway, that's what I think. I am sure others have different ideas and am interested to see what they say.

GASguy
04-08-2013, 09:36 AM
My first experience with ukuleles that made me want to play was the first time I viewed "The Concert for George" DVD about five years ago.

It took a while before I actually purchased my first uke, but that concert film planted the UAS seed in my mind.

billcarr
04-08-2013, 09:37 AM
Ok so its not so sudden. I just never noticed the ukulele before I started playing myself.

Bill

UkeKiddinMe
04-08-2013, 09:48 AM
I had thought that the magnitude of the hit Soul Sister helped sell some ukes.

Hippie Dribble
04-08-2013, 10:08 AM
Jim Beloff had a huge amount to do with the resurgence of the uke this time around. Many folks owe him a lotta money....not that he'll ever see it!

http://www.hampshire.edu/news/17626.htm

70sSanO
04-08-2013, 10:13 AM
Bill,

Don't feel bad. In January 2007 I had just picked up Guild Songbird guitar, by March I bought my first ukulele.

Ironically I heard "Over the Rainbow" for the 10,000th time and decided to do a search on ukuleles. I figured I would at least look at chord patterns to see if I wanted to put in any time learning them. Much to my surprise, they are the same shape as the guitar.

I found a ukulele forum (Uke Talk) and couldn't believe the number of people talking about a ukulele. It blew me away. There was a whole world out there that I had no clue existed.

So the players come and go, but the uke just keeps going along.

John

electrauke
04-08-2013, 10:16 AM
Many people attribute it to Jake post While My Guitar Gently Weeps on Youtube.

uke4ia
04-08-2013, 10:19 AM
All the people who remember Tiny Tim are either dead or senile.

Definitely. We had to wait for a new generation to come along that didn't stigmatize the instrument because of Tiny Tim.

The other big thing was that makers of quality beginner ukes came along. Back in the '80s, all I was seeing in stores was Martin sopranos and the occasional baritone. There weren't any Dolphins, Fleas, etc.

After that, the uke was capable of popularizing itself, through the ease with which a newcomer can pick up a uke and play a song. And seeing pop artists like Train, Taylor Swift, Eddie Vedder playing the uke helped teenagers see the uke as a possibility.

ScooterD35
04-08-2013, 10:30 AM
Why do you think it's so sudden?

I'd put it at ten years plus for this wave, and I'd suggest that Jim Beloff has a lot to do with it.

What Rick said. Sometimes I think that Jim simply willed the Uke back into popularity. His passion and dedication is extremely contagious!


Scooter

Dwjkerr
04-08-2013, 10:32 AM
All the people who remember Tiny Tim are either dead or senile.
Actually, no we aren't

Pundabaya
04-08-2013, 10:37 AM
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain got me interested, personally.

ickybaby
04-08-2013, 10:43 AM
Seems to be an amount, if not hatred, heavy dislike for Tiny Tim. Both here and also in that on-line Ukulele Player magazine.

He wasn't a ukulele virtuoso by any means... but he did play the uke better than Elvis played guitar. He was a great entertainer, a walking enclyclopedia of early 20th century music, and by all accounts he exhibited the "aloha spirit" that I've seen written about countless times here, with the best of them.

I'm neither old, dead, nor senile. I not only remember Tiny Tim, I admire his whole body of work. Those that think of him as a joke have either not looked into the man's art or have a very close minded view of what a musician is, can be, or should be.

AKuker
04-08-2013, 10:50 AM
All the people who remember Tiny Tim are either dead or senile.

Well, I'm not dead,so.....?

Pondoro
04-08-2013, 10:56 AM
Seems to be an amount, if not hatred, heavy dislike for Tiny Tim. Both here and also in that on-line Ukulele Player magazine.

He wasn't a ukulele virtuoso by any means... but he did play the uke better than Elvis played guitar. He was a great entertainer, a walking enclyclopedia of early 20th century music, and by all accounts he exhibited the "aloha spirit" that I've seen written about countless times here, with the best of them.

I'm neither old, dead, nor senile. I not only remember Tiny Tim, I admire his whole body of work. Those that think of him as a joke have either not looked into the man's art or have a very close minded view of what a musician is, can be, or should be.

Unfortunately Tiny Tim is remembered for his bizarre looks and falsetto voice more than any artistic accomplishment. But he brought that on himself. I bear him no animosity but it was annoying in 2006 to 2008, every time I mentioned the ukulele outside of uke circles all anyone wanted to talk about was Tiny Tim. Then it seemed all anyone wanted to talk about was "Soul Sister". Finally people seem ready to consider the uke as an instrument in the broader sense.

I think Beloff and Jake and UOGB all hitting in the same time frame gave the uke critical mass. The internet, with forums and YouTube and Facebook, made critical mass easier to achieve. So I do not think there is one factor.

Sporin
04-08-2013, 11:00 AM
As a long-time Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder fan, he put it on my radar and made me want one. I got mine just before EV's "Ukulele Songs" came out.

Jake Shimabukuro seems to be the tipping point for most people though. His early YouTube videos have millions of hits and I think it was Jake who "showed" a wide audience what a serious instrument the ukulele could be.

mketom
04-08-2013, 11:08 AM
Definitely. We had to wait for a new generation to come along that didn't stigmatize the instrument because of Tiny Tim

No, not definitely. Many of us are older, but not dead OR senile (yet).
And Tiny Tim stigmatized himself not the ukulele. It was his voice, not the uke that was hard on the ears.

mredican
04-08-2013, 11:24 AM
I think the increased awareness of the uke and exploding popularity can be attributed to the age we live in. Access to uke music is on the rise through folks like Eddie V and others. I have noticed a lot of tv commercials feature uke music. Let's not forget YouTube! There are also better quality ukes on the market.

-Emma-
04-08-2013, 11:40 AM
I'm a big fan of Eddie Vedder & Pearl Jam and after seeing Eddie's solo show in 2011, I bought my first uke a few months later.

OldePhart
04-08-2013, 12:55 PM
All the people who remember Tiny Tim are either dead or senile.

Hey! I obje...I mean...hey...is that jello?! <wanders away absently scratching crotch in public>

:)

OldePhart
04-08-2013, 12:57 PM
I think it's probably due to the internet more than any other single thing. Anything that catches the imagination today spreads about 1000 times faster than it ever did before the internet and especially social media and YouTube.

John

good_uke_boy
04-08-2013, 01:05 PM
I think it's probably due to the internet more than any other single thing. Anything that catches the imagination today spreads about 1000 times faster than it ever did before the internet and especially social media and YouTube.

John

In other words, Al Gore was responsible.

OldePhart
04-08-2013, 01:13 PM
In other words, Al Gore was responsible.

Uhhh, yeah, to hear him tell it anyway... :)

BTW, what do you call it when you do the same thing over and over expecting a different result?

An Al Gorithm... LOL

John

cantsing
04-08-2013, 01:32 PM
I think it's probably due to the internet more than any other single thing. Anything that catches the imagination today spreads about 1000 times faster than it ever did before the internet and especially social media and YouTube.


Not only have more people been exposed to the ukulele through the internet, they can learn how to play from the internet. More players, more interest.

ickybaby
04-08-2013, 01:43 PM
Unfortunately Tiny Tim is remembered for his bizarre looks and falsetto voice more than any artistic accomplishment. But he brought that on himself. I bear him no animosity but it was annoying in 2006 to 2008, every time I mentioned the ukulele outside of uke circles all anyone wanted to talk about was Tiny Tim. Then it seemed all anyone wanted to talk about was "Soul Sister". Finally people seem ready to consider the uke as an instrument in the broader sense.


I get what you are saying about it being annoying when you mentioned the uke that folks wanted to talk about Tiny Tim. I empathize because when I talk about Tiny I always hear about his falsetto, ukulele, and "Tiptoe Through the Tulips"....like that sums up his body of work. And yes, he did bring that on himself by having and promoting a hit song.

I would encourage any reading this to seek out a copy of "Tiny Tim at the Royal Albert Hall". It truly showcases the man's talent.

Problem is, when you have an appreciation for "fringe" things (artists, instruments, etc...), the unwashed masses out there tend to only know a miniscule amount concerning said "thing" and base all judgements from that. Even with the wave of popularity the ukulele is now riding, it's still fringe by society's standards.

PereBourik
04-08-2013, 02:23 PM
All the people who remember Tiny Tim are either dead or senile.

I remember Tiny Tim. But I play because of the modern greats. Jake, Iz, Aldrine, Aaron, and others. And because we have a good uke club culture here in KC.

PereBourik
04-08-2013, 02:41 PM
Hey! I obje...I mean...hey...is that jello?! <wanders away absently scratching crotch in public>

:)

OP you are definitely special. Thanks for an even bigger smile.

roxhum
04-08-2013, 03:11 PM
All the people who remember Tiny Tim are either dead or senile.


Hey, Hey, I am not dead or senile and I remember Tiny Tim.

itsme
04-08-2013, 03:17 PM
I don't think the uke's popularity is exactly sudden.


Not only have more people been exposed to the ukulele through the internet, they can learn how to play from the internet. More players, more interest.
Absolutely! I'm sure multitudes of new players have been inspired by seeing someone on youtube who sits down and plays in front of their webcam.

But I also have a theory that part of the attraction of the uke is that, in this day and age of always on/always connected, some people have more of a need to balance that out by doing something off-line, real DIY. I think most people reading this thread already know what fun it is and how satisfying it can be to actually make music yourself or with others.

Most of us will never be pros, but the pure joy of playing is enough. The uke is perfect for its size, cost, portability, and ease of initial learning.

uke4ia
04-08-2013, 04:46 PM
Unfortunately Tiny Tim is remembered for his bizarre looks and falsetto voice more than any artistic accomplishment. But he brought that on himself. I bear him no animosity but it was annoying in 2006 to 2008, every time I mentioned the ukulele outside of uke circles all anyone wanted to talk about was Tiny Tim.
It was more like 1970 to 2000 for me. Tiny Tim singlehandedly made the ukulele a laughingstock for anyone who wasn't already a uke player. He was the only person except maybe Don Ho who the average person ever heard playing a ukulele. He was a ridiculous figure, so everyone took the ukulele as a joke too. Other musicians weren't willing to play with uke players. It was only after a new generation came along who knew nothing of him that the uke became popular again.

bborzell
04-08-2013, 05:55 PM
I doubt that whether Tiny Tim had a net negative effect on the acceptance of the ukulele can be determined by any one person's memories of his performances. I saw him in his heyday and my view was then, and continues to be, that he defined himself; he didn't define the ukulele. I and virtually everyone I have ever discussed Tiny Tim with all had differentiated the man from the instrument. I don't know anyone who automatically decided to disparage the ukulele because of seeing Tiny Tim perform.

For what it's worth, I didn't take a serious look at a ukelele until a month ago. After buying my first stringed instrument over 50 years ago, I now have a house full of guitars, basses and mandolins, and I never had an interest in an instrument that I generally associated with simple strums and basic chord changes. But the image of Tiny Tim as a rather silly, albiet very successful, showman had nothing to do with me forming my impression of the uke as having limited musicality. Most every uke performance that I have happened onto over the years continued to reinforce my view of the instrument as a simple strumming box, and that view began withh Arthur Godfrey. I didn't need a recollection of Tiny Tim to perpetuate that image. I no longer hold that view as it has been cast aside by a Jake concert, not because I forgot about or decided to forgive Tiny Tim.

Hippie Dribble
04-08-2013, 06:33 PM
some interesting views on Tiny Tim from this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?75261-Tiny-Tim-Why-so-much-hate&highlight=tiny) not so long back

haolejohn
04-08-2013, 07:24 PM
What explains the current explosion in popularity for ukulele?

I started just a few months ago after losing motivation and the desire to play my previous instrument which I had been totally hooked on for 20+ years.

One of my work mates plays uke and she introduced me to this wonderful instrument. She is an avid Pearl Jam.. Eddie Vedder fan. Is it these high profile artist who have made the uke “cool” for the masses again?

I also notice so very many tv and radio commercials with ukulele playing in the background now.

Bill

You are over the pond from the US. I think the craze has been going on for about 5 years now.

mds725
04-08-2013, 09:24 PM
All the people who remember Tiny Tim are either dead or senile.

Get off of my lawn!

mm stan
04-08-2013, 11:14 PM
Did you know Penn Jillette the magician probally has more tiny tims ukes than anyone in his collection....

Roselynne
04-08-2013, 11:22 PM
Acoustic guitar is also ... errrr ... booming. For much the same reasons, I suspect.

As for ukulele, I'd also like to give major credit to Iz Kamakawiwo'ole, and, in particular, Over the Rainbow, performed with That Voice and a tiny soprano ukulele.

Players can make real music on acoustic guitars and ukuleles, both, after they learn a few simple chords. Both are serious instruments, however, and true mastery is no simple matter. Perfect tools for musical creativity.

But it seems to me that the ukulele has a couple of advantages over its 6- or 12-string sibling: Those first chords are simpler, and the instrument's hidden potential is only now being revealed. (Plus, yeah, decent ukuleles tend to come cheaper than a decent guitar. Plus-plus, they're smaller.)

I love 'em both.

ChrisRCovington
04-09-2013, 02:35 AM
I started playing in 2002 after I heard Iz on an episode of ER. I picked up my first few songs from jumping Jim Beloff's books. Been hooked ever since. With forums like UU my playing has just gotten better.

Kem
04-09-2013, 02:54 AM
Trends are funny things. In many ways, they have a lot to do with what you might call social permission. The ukulele--like, I dunno, comics--went through a period where it was trivialised as a toy, something of interest only to children. An adult who played the ukulele was seen as not taking music seriously. However, eventually, people regarded as "real musicians" began using the ukulele, and people liked what they heard. It became permissible to play the ukulele because there were now examples of "legitimate" uses of it. People who may have felt shame at playing the ukulele a decade before could now pick it up and claim to be real musicians too. (I'm not saying ukulele players aren't real musicians, by the way. I've been playing the uke for thirty years. I'm just talking about perception.)

Incidentally, and I'm sorry about this comment because I do want to have a sense of humour about it, but...could we possibly lay off the sneers at "senility" a bit? As someone with a parent suffering from Alzheimer's, I'm finding it a bit difficult to laugh. I want to continue to follow this thread, but my stomach gives a little lurch every time someone makes light of the issue. Again, I know I'm probably coming across as humourless, which I swear I'm not. It's just a bit too close to home.

coolkayaker1
04-09-2013, 04:01 AM
Trends are funny things. In many ways, they have a lot to do with what you might call social permission. The ukulele--like, I dunno, comics--went through a period where it was trivialised as a toy, something of interest only to children. An adult who played the ukulele was seen as not taking music seriously. However, eventually, people regarded as "real musicians" began using the ukulele, and people liked what they heard. It became permissible to play the ukulele because there were now examples of "legitimate" uses of it. People who may have felt shame at playing the ukulele a decade before could now pick it up and claim to be real musicians too. (I'm not saying ukulele players aren't real musicians, by the way. I've been playing the uke for thirty years. I'm just talking about perception.)

Incidentally, and I'm sorry about this comment because I do want to have a sense of humour about it, but...could we possibly lay off the sneers at "senility" a bit? As someone with a parent suffering from Alzheimer's, I'm finding it a bit difficult to laugh. I want to continue to follow this thread, but my stomach gives a little lurch every time someone makes light of the issue. Again, I know I'm probably coming across as humourless, which I swear I'm not. It's just a bit too close to home.

The internet's a pretty open place, Kem. To police the internet--or even just UU Forums-- based on your personal situation will be, in the end, frustrating for you.

I agree with everything you wrote in the first paragraph. Comics, baseball cards, etc., just as you write, have gone through boom, then bust, cycles. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is making ukuleles now. That's usually a sign of a peak in trend.

People referring to a ukulele "wave" started about 2008 (see youtube uke vids from then, and the word is used). Because many of us have jumped on the uke bandwagon after that does not mean the wave is as strong as ever---it only means we are in it up to our necks individually.

Ukes on the UU Marketplace are lingering much longer and fetching much less price (KoAlohas, etc) than they were even during the economic crash of three years back. That's one trend, certainly. The best gauge of the uke is UU new member signups (which is still hard to decipher because many sign up to sell a uke then leave). If that trend ebbs, the uke craze is hitting shore.

The ukulele will not be as popular five years from now as it is currently. You heard it here first.

lkdumas
04-09-2013, 04:25 AM
Don't overlook the social aspect; ever see forty piano players sitting around the bar jammin'? As Willie says: "...makin' music with my friends" is just plain fun, and Ukers can strum together without years of labor. Uke clubs are the glue that will keep the third wave moving for a long, long time.

strumsilly
04-09-2013, 04:38 AM
all this talk about Tiny Tim and Tiptoe made me want to learn the song. It's actually a sweet song with some nice chords, not just a simple CFG. I lika it. and when someone says, you play the uke, play tiptoe, I can whip it out.

Dan Uke
04-09-2013, 04:46 AM
I feel like I'm deep in the ocean and can't feel the waves coming or going. I just know that I love playing the uke and purchasing ukes that I will play for a long time. I am definitely a quality over quantity guy and don't need many different sizes to make me happy.

If I lose money selling my ukes because my interest wanes, so be it.

fowl
04-09-2013, 05:19 AM
A few years ago my wife and I got to fly to Kona for free when my son was with an airline. We wanted to soak up the island culture not the tourist stuff. Went up the hill to the Kanakapila. A diverse group. I had never played an instrument and have a tin ear. Saw a number of folks like me playing with some good musicians and having a wonderful time. I was hooked. Came home and got a Flea. Been having a great time ever since.

Cliff Smith
04-09-2013, 05:29 AM
I met my friend for a drink last week. We used to jam together on guitar for a a couple of years but hadn't seen each other for ages.

I brought my concert uke with me and played him something. Of course he wanted a go. The massive smile on his face as he quickly figured out how to transfer his guitar playing knowledge onto the ukulele was priceless!

I think that uke playing is totally contagious, and a wholly positive experience! It's so much fun and we all need something that makes us smile. Plus, in these times of austerity it's one of the cheapest instruments to get into.

The uke has lost it's reputation as being an 'old style' instrument due to all the covers of rock and pop tunes on YouTube etc.

bnolsen
04-09-2013, 08:15 AM
all this talk about Tiny Tim and Tiptoe made me want to learn the song. It's actually a sweet song with some nice chords, not just a simple CFG. I lika it. and when someone says, you play the uke, play tiptoe, I can whip it out.

Absolutely I've added it to my repertoire. Need to just memorize the lyrics on the first 2 verses better and probably once more listen to the bridge and I should be good. Playing "tiptoe through the tulips" for real and not as a joke should get some respect!


If I lose money selling my ukes because my interest wanes, so be it.

I agree. I'll give away my bad ukuleles and sell my better old ones to help someone else get a good start. I'll be a bit mad if they would flip my uke for a profit though.

Stackabones
04-09-2013, 09:02 AM
I haven't a clue, but it sure is fun!

gitarzan
04-09-2013, 09:14 AM
The next big fad will be the Cittern. Just you wait and see.

:p

Barbablanca
04-09-2013, 09:47 AM
.........Problem is, when you have an appreciation for "fringe" things (artists, instruments, etc...), the unwashed masses out there tend to only know a miniscule amount concerning said "thing" and base all judgements from that.

Yep. If Yoko Ono had never met John Lennon she'd probably be remembered as the weird Japanese artist who filmed people's bottoms as they walked on a conveyor belt (IMS). ;)

Barbablanca
04-09-2013, 09:50 AM
The next big fad will be the Cittern. Just you wait and see. :p

Hope so. I'm prepared already ;)

http://api.ning.com/files/z2rd8zF7kQyugpYvYiXbLa8aZzMMsWic7ilHjO6v1A*QNuM5s5 BS1m5*f4zYM*EscDtadqb8UOKDO0VHKXhsBwFP5jWZt3An/ChineseCittern.JPG?width=184&height=184&crop=1%3A1

SailingUke
04-09-2013, 10:16 AM
Look at the number of seniors that have taken up ukulele since retirement.
I believe the ease of getting to a proficient level to strum and sing is a big reason for the rebirth.
Getting together with friends and singing is a great joy.
All the factors that many previous posts have mentioned have all created this new wave of ukulele.

aspieman456
04-09-2013, 10:26 AM
I used to take piano lessons when I was young. I hated it all. I'm not that coordinated for it. Then, the ukulele changed that for me. It was something simple but challenging. I've been enjoyed it for six to seven years and I haven't stopped since.

Shastastan
04-09-2013, 12:15 PM
Look at the number of seniors that have taken up ukulele since retirement.
I believe the ease of getting to a proficient level to strum and sing is a big reason for the rebirth.
Getting together with friends and singing is a great joy.
All the factors that many previous posts have mentioned have all created this new wave of ukulele.

I'm one of those seniors. I play trumpet in some bands and small groups, but I had always wanted to learn guitar. The guitar and I couldn't work out a deceent relationship. A teacher suggested the uke which she was just starting. I decided to give it a try and we both got Lanikai tenors. It was oh so much easier than guitar and really fun. I decided that's all it would be for me so I'm not a serious uke player. I'm not anal about practicing it like I have to be with my trumpet. I immediately decided that the uke was going to be stress free and that's the way that I've kept it. Yes, it takes me longer to get proficient at chord changes and I only know about 25 chords now. That's ok though. The uke is really fun and that's the way music should be.

As to Tiny Tim. Yeah, I remember and yeah, I'm a geezer. Our small band director decided to do Tip Toe Through The Tulips for our retiremeht home gigs and asked some of us to bring ukes. Hey, that's not easy for me to play since I'm not doing so good on songs that change chords every note. Not to mention that I really don't like that song.

I'm hoping that the popularity continues and more and more uke clubs spring up all over the planet.

Tootler
04-09-2013, 01:18 PM
Look at the number of seniors that have taken up ukulele since retirement.
I believe the ease of getting to a proficient level to strum and sing is a big reason for the rebirth.
Getting together with friends and singing is a great joy.
All the factors that many previous posts have mentioned have all created this new wave of ukulele.


I'm one of those seniors. I play trumpet in some bands and small groups, but I had always wanted to learn guitar. The guitar and I couldn't work out a deceent relationship. A teacher suggested the uke which she was just starting. I decided to give it a try and we both got Lanikai tenors. It was oh so much easier than guitar and really fun. I decided that's all it would be for me so I'm not a serious uke player. I'm not anal about practicing it like I have to be with my trumpet. I immediately decided that the uke was going to be stress free and that's the way that I've kept it. Yes, it takes me longer to get proficient at chord changes and I only know about 25 chords now. That's ok though. The uke is really fun and that's the way music should be.

As to Tiny Tim. Yeah, I remember and yeah, I'm a geezer. Our small band director decided to do Tip Toe Through The Tulips for our retiremeht home gigs and asked some of us to bring ukes. Hey, that's not easy for me to play since I'm not doing so good on songs that change chords every note. Not to mention that I really don't like that song.

I'm hoping that the popularity continues and more and more uke clubs spring up all over the planet.

I'm another of those seniors. I sing folk songs and I'd been looking for an instrument to accompany myself. I had tried guitar more than once and never really took to it, though I love those who do accompany themselves on guitar. I had also tried squeeze box and, although I can knock a tune out on my concertina, singing while playing it is harder than patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.

Then I saw a uke absolute beginner workshop locally, so I signed up and that was it. I'm enjoying myself and learning more songs. I don't have a huge repertoire of chords but enough for the songs I sing and the uke works really well with folk songs.

Here in the UK, it's not Tiny Tim that gets mentioned but George Formby and particularly When I'm Cleaning Windows. George Formby has an enthusiastic following here but most people don't see under the surface of what he did. His songs are not that easy to play and to learn the Formby split strum and fan stroke takes time and effort.

When I'm playing for others, I tell them outright that I don't do George Formby. I admire his playing and enjoy his songs, but it's not what I do musically and I think it better to make that clear from the outset. In any case, you really need a banjo uke to really bring his songs off and I don't have one and have no plans to get one in the near future.

Shastastan
04-09-2013, 04:31 PM
Nice job on including those folk songs. Very clear to follow. thanks!

drbekken
04-09-2013, 11:57 PM
some interesting views on Tiny Tim from this thread (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?75261-Tiny-Tim-Why-so-much-hate&highlight=tiny) not so long back

Right. Go here for the Tiny Tim debate. It's an interesting one.

The current popularity of the ukulele, however, has more to do with Jim Beloff and his efforts as a publisher and maker of affordable instruments; as well as the general impact of the mighty internet. The instrument also sounds wonderful, and it is easy to start playing... It is an instrument for the people, wherever they are!

hmgberg
04-10-2013, 01:21 AM
The next big fad will be the Cittern. Just you wait and see.

:p

Maybe in particularly dry areas where water is scarce. Here we have city water and there really is no need .... Oh, you said "cittern" ... never mind.

barefootgypsy
04-10-2013, 01:31 AM
No, not definitely. Many of us are older, but not dead OR senile (yet).
And Tiny Tim stigmatized himself not the ukulele. It was his voice, not the uke that was hard on the ears.As another that well remembers and is neither dead nor senile, I couldn't agree more. And it took a long, long time to put that experience behind. He may have been a gifted player but he did the uke no favours. This topic of TT has actually been covered several times before....

gszaboky
04-10-2013, 11:54 AM
In the early 90's the ukulele revival began in Hawaii with musicians/groups like Brudda Iz and the Ka' Crater boys. They played a mix of traditional stuff as well as originals and covers. Their style is a mix of genres including Hawaiian, flamenco, reggae and rock and roll. As a matter of fact, reggae sounds so good on a uke that there is now a genre of music called Jawaiian. They fostered a tremendous regained pride in being from Hawaiian with the youth and were listened to widely on the islands. Remember, this was before the internet. Then internet changed everything and slowly by word of mouth over the internet people are being exposed to something really special. In recent years the exposure has gotten so great that you are seeing main steam artists and media use the ukulele. If you can pick up some of that early music from Ka' Crater boys or Pure Heart or Brudda Iz I think you hear what I am talking about.

George

barefootgypsy
04-11-2013, 12:58 AM
In the early 90's the ukulele revival began in Hawaii with musicians/groups like Brudda Iz and the Ka' Crater boys. They played a mix of traditional stuff as well as originals and covers. Their style is a mix of genres including Hawaiian, flamenco, reggae and rock and roll. As a matter of fact, reggae sounds so good on a uke that there is now a genre of music called Jawaiian. They fostered a tremendous regained pride in being from Hawaiian with the youth and were listened to widely on the islands. Remember, this was before the internet. Then internet changed everything and slowly by word of mouth over the internet people are being exposed to something really special. In recent years the exposure has gotten so great that you are seeing main steam artists and media use the ukulele. If you can pick up some of that early music from Ka' Crater boys or Pure Heart or Brudda Iz I think you hear what I am talking about.

GeorgeIf what you're saying is accurate, George, that's really interesting .... thanks for sharing!