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UkeCan1
10-21-2013, 07:21 AM
Okay, Lily, UkeyDave, and Ginny encouraged me to start this thread, which grew out of Season 88 (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?87582-Season-88-of-the-Ukulele-Forget-What-You-Know!/page5).

I said, "I started playing uke only on August 31st, 7 weeks ago. Except for a very brief flirtation many years ago with a too-hard-to-play guitar (which remains against my wall, unplayed, to this day), and an even briefer one with a Strumstick, I have never played a stringed instrument before. For some reason, this was the right instrument at the right time. Loving it. Having fun. Learning as fast as I can."

Lily (ukuLily Mars) replied, "I love that you say the 'uke was "the right instrument at the right time." I think that's true for many of us."

And I shared my "origin story" and said, "Now I think we need a new thread for people's first 'uke moments'."

Then everyone said, "Do it!" And now I have.

Please share yours!

And (thanks to Decaturcomp's excellent suggestion) I highly recommend adding photos and videos of your earliest days if you have them!

- Wendy of Uke Can 2!

UkeCan1
10-21-2013, 07:22 AM
Here's mine, as I shared it there:

I guess you must be right about the "uke moment" for many of us. Mine was especially magical. NJ had its first UkeFest. In which I had pretty much zero interest, not playing a stringed instrument and all. I was on the fence about going Friday night to see the "Mighty Uke" movie; only went because someone else I knew was going.

That movie is like crack - totally hooked me from the first minutes. After that I *had* to go back on Saturday, borrow a loaner uke, attend every playing workshop all day, and practice those songs in my lame thumb strum every minute in between. After the second workshop, I bought a uke, and that was pretty much the end of me ever getting any work done ever again. Like now. :-)

[And now I've started a whole new thread, so it's bound to only get more so from here. :-)]

- Wendy

Added 10/22/13: Decaturcomp suggested adding our first video or photo ... wonderful idea ... here's my first Seasonista effort, at 4 weeks + 1 day of uking:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmnW0ptMLo8

My profile pic is also from UkeFest NJ on Day 1 - here's a bigger version:
(That's not my uke, that's a tie-dye Flea to go with my wardrobe of self-made tie-dyed tanks that I wear all summer - mine is a Tiki Flea that you see in the videos. Please excuse the really bad hair day. Click the pic to see me in my full glory.)
60081

kohanmike
10-21-2013, 07:53 AM
I've played guitar for almost 50 years (just OK). In late May I bought a Fender Telecaster electric. Shortly after, I was leafing through a Musicians Friend catalogue and came across a Mahalo UT, designed to look like a Telecaster, I thought that would be cute hanging next to the Telecaster.

Coincidentally I received a flyer from the Los Angeles Music Center for their summer play along series, which I attended a few years earlier for guitar, this year they had three days of ukulele play along. I signed up and sat down with my new uke in front of the computer and started to learn, but I found it difficult to hold many of the cords. Doing a bit of research, I learned about sizes, the Maholo is a soprano, and coming from guitar, I found that tenor was a better choice.

To make a long story short, I now have five tenor ukes (yes, UAS has it's hold on me) and I play them far more than my guitars in years. The Music Center had an attendance of a few hundred, and I also joined the CC Strummers group in Culver City (having "tons of fun"), and the Westside Ukulele Ensemble (trying to keep up, they're mainly an instrumental group).

greenie44
10-21-2013, 08:13 AM
I was a long time, mediocre guitar player. And had owned ukes for at least 5 years, since we go to Hawaii every summer to escape the AZ heat.

But the moment was at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, when I picked up a Lanikai 6 string tenor, and somehow the sounds that came out were just great. I shopped for a couple more weeks, but left Hawaii with a Lanikai. That was about 3 years ago and my uke affair has just deepened.

Tonya
10-21-2013, 09:01 AM
I was totally *not* a musical person. I flunked Tonette in fourth grade (required recorder-type instrument when I was growing up); in seventh grade, I was assigned to be the "mimeograph" person in our required girls' choir class. I was that bad. With that heritage, I always felt that music was something *other* people did.

On a trip to Maui, though, I just kept looking at the cheap little tourist ukes in the ABC Stores. The resort we were staying at offered a free ukulele lesson one morning and, in a weak moment, I took it (I figured no one there knew me and if I failed at this kind of making music, too, there'd be no one to carry the sordid tale back home).

You guessed it--I discovered that the ukulele was my map to musical fun and success. Just four strings, simple strumming, singing along with others--and I could *do* this! Wowser!!! I borrowed that cheap little ukulele from the class (action was so high my fingertips ached) for the rest of the trip and soon bought one (a nicer one with decent action) of my own. Returning home, I discovered an ukulele festival at a Rhode Island college (yes, really) scheduled a few months' later. I flew across country on a free Southwest pass and walked into ukulele heaven. At one in the morning, I looked at the 30-plus new friends who were gathered around in a dorm meeting room. All of us were playing "Love Potion Number Nine" and laughing heartily. Me? Jamming? Oh, yes. And loving it.

When I discovered the ukulele I discovered that I, too, could be "musical." What a great late-in-life surprise!

FiL
10-21-2013, 10:52 AM
For me, the right instrument at the right time was a used Laniaki O-8E I bought on eBay around September 2006. I was a mediocre guitarist who dabbled in lots of odd instruments. I had already purchased (on a complete whim) a cheap $20 uke that wasn't very playable, as well as one of those California-style banjo ukes, and a cheap charrango. The charrango interested me the most--I loved the chiming string pairs--but the bowl back and the 5th pair of strings made it difficult to play.

Then I discovered that there was something called an 8-string ukulele. I found my Lanikai on eBay and bought it, hoping for the best. I couldn't be happier with it.

About a year later, I was at an informal jam and an acquaintance I didn't see too often said to me that it seemed like I "found my sound".

Seven years and several ukes later, it's still my go-to instrument. I play it almost every day. Even a cracked top from a bad fall hasn't slowed it down. Not that it has quieted my UAS, mind you. (There's a Mainland Red Cedar bari on the way as we speak!) I still love variety, but I always come back to the 8-stringer.

I may get a better one someday, but I don't think I'll ever get rid of it. We've been through a lot together.

- FiL

decaturcomp
10-21-2013, 01:48 PM
I was inspried to start playing uke after many decades of guitar noodlidge (are we sensing a theme here?) by one of my musical heros, Cyndi Craven. Here's a video of her with another musician I love Bruce Gilbert. He's a great composer and jazz pianist and she writes amazing songs, too. They were kind enough to come to a ukulele open mic that we host as Woven Pines, each month. Here they are doing a classic, "cow cow boogie"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f-hVulDEww

Bumgardner
10-21-2013, 03:25 PM
I became intreated in the ukulele when I was searching for an instrument for my daughter to play. I have a two year old daughter that loves music. So I thought it would be awesome to get her a cute Dolphin ukulele for her to "play" with daddy as I play guitar. Well that cute Dolphin soon began to draw my interest.

What really interested me about the ukulele was that I was able to sit comfortably on the couch and play. The ukulele is quiet enough that I can play while my daughter is sleeping. Also the ukulele is an easy instrument to play. One of the things that I like about the ukulele is that I can easily play more chord voicings, despite the fact that I got good at playing up and down the neck of the guitar it is much easier on the ukulele.

I came to the ukulele from a pretty musical background. I have been playing music for the last twenty years. I started off playing piano, then saxophone, and then guitar. I learned plenty of music theory over the years. So adding the ukulele was a little challenging at first but I learned pretty quickly.

The reason I pick up the uke so much these days is that it is so easy. I don't have space in my home for a piano (I do play when I visit my parents though), the saxophone is to loud to play with a sleeping child, and the guitar while I still play it a lot is just so much more cumbersome, and the electric guitar is way to loud to play with my daughter around.

decaturcomp
10-21-2013, 05:06 PM
Awesome of you to start this forum Wendy.
I love your story.
I wonder how many folks have been grabbed by that flick?
It takes a certain type of folk to 'get it' i think.
I've found ukers to be kind and good folks almost without exception.
Now, have you got something ready for this season, yet??

:music:


Here's mine, as I shared it there:

I guess you must be right about the "uke moment" for many of us. Mine was especially magical. NJ had its first UkeFest. In which I had pretty much zero interest, not playing a stringed instrument and all. I was on the fence about going Friday night to see the "Mighty Uke" movie; only went because someone else I knew was going.

That movie is like crack - totally hooked me from the first minutes. After that I *had* to go back on Saturday, borrow a loaner uke, attend every playing workshop all day, and practice those songs in my lame thumb strum every minute in between. After the second workshop, I bought a uke, and that was pretty much the end of me ever getting any work done ever again. Like now. :-)

[And now I've started a whole new thread, so it's bound to only get more so from here. :-)]

- Wendy

decaturcomp
10-21-2013, 05:15 PM
Just a thought but would folks like to post their earliest videos here along with their stories?
Maybe just a photo or a video from a uke jam where you played?

UkeCan1
10-22-2013, 12:27 AM
Awesome of you to start this forum Wendy.
I love your story.
I wonder how many folks have been grabbed by that flick?
It takes a certain type of folk to 'get it' i think.
I've found ukers to be kind and good folks almost without exception.

Thank you! I'm curious too. Am I the only weirdo who watched that movie and immediately drank the Koolaid?

Here's what I think got me about it (ha, it got me, not the other way round):

1) It looked like so much fun (... and it is!)
2) It seemed so easy (... TRUE!)
3) The strong sense of community in the uke world (... THAT certainly has been my experience - here and locally!!!!!!!)
4) I wanted to go back and grow up in that school in Vancouver!
4a) I wanted to grow up to be James Hill

Oh, and probably 4b) It seems to involve trips to Hawaii. :-)


Now, have you got something ready for this season, yet??

:music:

I rely on FiL's office studio and expert production skills to make my/our videos, and we are both pretty booked all week. So the weekend is when we can make them.

It's a bit of a cheat, since I wrote it last week, but ... I wrote an entire song! At Week 6.5 of uking. I'm pretty proud of that, and will most likely invoke the slack-for-newbies clause in Lily's contract and do that one. The week gives me time to learn it.

(FWIW, last week's video would have been a perfect fit for this week's rules ... we changed course on Saturday when I heard A Halo Called Fred and knew we had to do "Drinking for Science" as our Season 87 alcohol song. AND we learned it in one day and videoed it in three takes, so it totally fit the Season 88 rules (except for having already been entered for S87).

It also took us 5 hours to learn it and make the video, and I don't think we're up to that two weeks in a row!

Gratuitous video post of DFS here, because you really MUST see it. (Again.):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZbg_zwM0kc

Thanks for asking, thanks for listening!

- Wendy (UkeCan1 of Uke Can 2!)

UkeCan1
10-22-2013, 12:40 AM
Just a thought but would folks like to post their earliest videos here along with their stories?
Maybe just a photo or a video from a uke jam where you played?

Wonderful idea, DC! I added to my story post on page 1 (post #2):
1) My first Seasons video, at Day 29 of uking
2) A photo of tie-dye me playing Scooter's tie-dye uke at UkeFest NJ on Day 1

(Day 1 = August 31, 2013)

I hope others will do the same. But don't let lack of visuals stop you from posting your story. You can always go back and add them later, as I did.

I'm curious if Tonya and I are the only ones who didn't play guitar first ... and/or for whom uke is our first instrument (or in my case, first stringed instrument).

I neglected to mention I played bassoon for many years. And assorted percussion, flute, recorder, and some other stuff. And then sang a cappella for about the last 13 years. So I'm not new to music, just new to strings, and new to playing and singing simultaneously. :-)

[Okay, now my mind's buzzing again ... wonder if there's a way to combine a barbershop quartet with uking for a Seasons video? ....
Hmmm, pretty sure you cannot get uke chords to ring like that .....]

- Wendy

we tigers
10-22-2013, 12:46 AM
great thread. Two months ago I wrote my/our story over here:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?84840-a-moment-of-reflection-after-two-years-of-uke-playing

UkeCan1
10-22-2013, 02:03 AM
great thread. Two months ago I wrote my/our story over here:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?84840-a-moment-of-reflection-after-two-years-of-uke-playing

Beautiful story! Love you guys! Thanks for sharing that. I hope everyone here takes a moment to go read that ... it's truly inspiring.

bonesigh
10-22-2013, 04:11 AM
I think I've told my story somewhere here on UU but here goes....On a vacation back to California to visit family (moved to Virginia 8 yrs ago) when my youngest was just 5 we were visiting and staying with my younger brother and his wife. On my husbands side of the family there had been some contention and stress related to a 50yr anniversary for his parents. Anyway, that's another story but it has bearing on my actions at the time. I was stressed out and not really paying attention. When we were at my brothers house his wife would occasionally take out her ukulele to play. While I saw this, I never really "heard" it.

So, fast forward to getting back home. My little one asked if she could have a ukulele. I thought "Yeah, right, a ukulele", lol. It will just end up sitting around the house. So I bought the cheapest thing that seemed to be not just a toy but a real instrument. It was a 20 dollar mahalo. When the mailman arrived at my door with the package and I opened it up. I thought "What the heck was I thinking! I don't know a thing about how to play this!" We'll do anything for our kids! I went online to learn a few simple chords. That's it I WAS HOOKED! Found U.U. and Aldrine, contracted UAS. Now I'm totally sick with it. Can't put it down or get anything done!

My background in music involved mostly just singing. My mother was a good guitarist and would get together with a friend often. We went to hootenanny's and I played a zither once in a while. When I was old enough she thought I would like to learn the guitar. Though I took lessons in school and had private lessons with a lady named "Bunny". It just never took. I wanted to play the piano! I don't remember a thing about the guitar. But I still know a couple of little ditties on the piano. The uke is just, IT, for me. My youngest plays with me sometimes and has quite a knack for it but sadly she is not passionate about it. YET!

J

My very first youtube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EoWr37WvzI

xommen
10-22-2013, 04:36 AM
I first encountered the ukulele while on vacation, somebody had dragged his ukulele with him and I thought that it would be great for the holidays (I still think it's great for that). So after the holidays I bought a cheap soprano and really liked playing uke. I now have three concert that get the most playing time as I have decided that is my size. I have been playing bass and guitar for some years and still sometime do, but the uke is my goto instrument nowadays. My first seasons vid was this one, the camera flipped the image I am no lefty ;).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYX57l7OH58

drbekken
10-22-2013, 05:25 AM
I have played music since I was about five or six years old, with the piano as my main instrument. I also play tuba, diatonic accordion and guitar, as well as the ukulele. I got a ukulele in my early teens, and treated it as a toy, and when I was 19, in 1983, I moved away from home to study. Then I quite simply forgot about the ukulele. I studied Music, English and Drama, got an MA in Music, and went on with my work as a jazz/blues/folk pianist - which I still do. I have had an interesting career so far, but the uke was nowhere in my musical world.
Then, in 2011, that film you've been talking about was shown on Norwegian TV. I suddenly realized that I had indeed myself at one time played the uke, and that I'd forgotten all about the very existence of the instrument. I ordered a cheap soprano, and was stunned by the sound and feel. I started watching ukulele videos on youtube, and discovered this web site and forum right here. It's a very beautiful thing. But the film - 'The Mighty Uke' - was my turning point. Believe me, I will NEVER forget about the ukulele again, if I can help it.

greenie44
10-22-2013, 05:43 AM
WRT to The Mighty Uke - no complaints about the movie, it's great. But I saw it about a year into my uke journey, and I noticed something about it. The movie seemed to focus on two aspects of uking - virtuosos and the social element. I am no virtuoso, and don't play with other people, for the most part, but play frequently for myself and make recordings.

So there is more to the uke as a musical enabler than was shown in the film, but it would be a pretty boring moving showing guys sitting in chairs in their office . . . .

BlueLatitude
10-22-2013, 06:30 AM
For me, it was going into music stores with my BF who would be wanting to pick up some software or strings or whatever. Having failed miserably at a short attempt at learning guitar 30 years ago, I'd just wander around the store while he was getting his stuff...and once I ended up in from of the Lanikai ukulele display. "Hmmm," I said to myself and gently ran my finger over the strings. (For a wonder, the store seemed to have them all tuned up pretty well.) "Hmmm," I said again. "That sounds rather...nice." *strum* "And, hey, it doesn't hurt like guitar strings! It's...nice. Pretty! WANT!"

So my friend found me standing there gazing in rapture at the ukes. "Maybe I'll get one, they don't cost that much, and maybe I could actually learn to play it. I think they aren't supposed to be hard to play."

"Well, if you get one, don't get one of these, get a good one. Get a Kamaka or something."

So when I got home that day I went and googled Lanikai and Kamaka and found this site and learned about setups before the week was over I'd ordered my first Kala from HMS.

I still can't really PLAY, not in front of people, but I keep at it and it makes me happy every time I pick one up.

caukulele
10-22-2013, 06:51 AM
Great thread.... I think I shared before..but I played guitar for over thirty years, and my husband liked to sing with me sometimes...so I saw a performance of Jake online and couldn't believe what one could do with the uke...and I decided to buyt a uke for my husband for Christmas as a surprise, because I thought it would be so wonderful if he learned the uke so we could sing and play together.... When it arrived, my husband was not that interested, so I picked it up to try and learn something and encourage him...After a few days, I was hooked and fell completely in love with the uke... I also discovered that I could play the uke for hours and not get back aches. (Due to a bad back, I was finding it always increasingly difficult to play the guitar without back and shoulder pain).. Anyway, eventually I sold my guitar and never looked back.....and my husband and I still sing together, but now it's with the uke instead of the guitar...

decaturcomp
10-22-2013, 07:04 AM
First video I made playing uke was Sept 15 2011 so about two years ago. I've made 327 more since then including a more recent version of this one which seems more sophisticated in some ways (for the horse racing season).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGpgPNznhkY

decaturcomp
10-22-2013, 07:05 AM
Great story!
Do you have any video?
Seems like you've posted some here, right?


For me, it was going into music stores with my BF who would be wanting to pick up some software or strings or whatever. Having failed miserably at a short attempt at learning guitar 30 years ago, I'd just wander around the store while he was getting his stuff...and once I ended up in from of the Lanikai ukulele display. "Hmmm," I said to myself and gently ran my finger over the strings. (For a wonder, the store seemed to have them all tuned up pretty well.) "Hmmm," I said again. "That sounds rather...nice." *strum* "And, hey, it doesn't hurt like guitar strings! It's...nice. Pretty! WANT!"

So my friend found me standing there gazing in rapture at the ukes. "Maybe I'll get one, they don't cost that much, and maybe I could actually learn to play it. I think they aren't supposed to be hard to play."

"Well, if you get one, don't get one of these, get a good one. Get a Kamaka or something."

So when I got home that day I went and googled Lanikai and Kamaka and found this site and learned about setups before the week was over I'd ordered my first Kala from HMS.

I still can't really PLAY, not in front of people, but I keep at it and it makes me happy every time I pick one up.

decaturcomp
10-22-2013, 07:07 AM
Great story! I'm glad this happened.
Personally, I don't know if I'll ever be able to sell my main guitar the way you did but I do play uke as almost my only instrument for the last couple of years.


Great thread.... I think I shared before..but I played guitar for over thirty years, and my husband liked to sing with me sometimes...so I saw a performance of Jake online and couldn't believe what one could do with the uke...and I decided to buyt a uke for my husband for Christmas as a surprise, because I thought it would be so wonderful if he learned the uke so we could sing and play together.... When it arrived, my husband was not that interested, so I picked it up to try and learn something and encourage him...After a few days, I was hooked and fell completely in love with the uke... I also discovered that I could play the uke for hours and not get back aches. (Due to a bad back, I was finding it always increasingly difficult to play the guitar without back and shoulder pain).. Anyway, eventually I sold my guitar and never looked back.....and my husband and I still sing together, but now it's with the uke instead of the guitar...

decaturcomp
10-22-2013, 07:10 AM
...and, that's a good point.
I don't care about becoming a virtuoso but I LOVE playing music with other folks. In my case I play a uke with folks on other instruments a good portion of the time.
I suppose I think of the Seasons as a major part of social playing, too although we don't actually meet IRL all that often.


WRT to The Mighty Uke - no complaints about the movie, it's great. But I saw it about a year into my uke journey, and I noticed something about it. The movie seemed to focus on two aspects of uking - virtuosos and the social element. I am no virtuoso, and don't play with other people, for the most part, but play frequently for myself and make recordings.

So there is more to the uke as a musical enabler than was shown in the film, but it would be a pretty boring moving showing guys sitting in chairs in their office . . . .

decaturcomp
10-22-2013, 07:11 AM
Not surprised you're a pro, Doc. I always expected as much!


I have played music since I was about five or six years old, with the piano as my main instrument. I also play tuba, diatonic accordion and guitar, as well as the ukulele. I got a ukulele in my early teens, and treated it as a toy, and when I was 19, in 1983, I moved away from home to study. Then I quite simply forgot about the ukulele. I studied Music, English and Drama, got an MA in Music, and went on with my work as a jazz/blues/folk pianist - which I still do. I have had an interesting career so far, but the uke was nowhere in my musical world.
Then, in 2011, that film you've been talking about was shown on Norwegian TV. I suddenly realized that I had indeed myself at one time played the uke, and that I'd forgotten all about the very existence of the instrument. I ordered a cheap soprano, and was stunned by the sound and feel. I started watching ukulele videos on youtube, and discovered this web site and forum right here. It's a very beautiful thing. But the film - 'The Mighty Uke' - was my turning point. Believe me, I will NEVER forget about the ukulele again, if I can help it.

BlueLatitude
10-22-2013, 07:37 AM
Great story!
Do you have any video?
Seems like you've posted some here, right?

Yes, good eye, but those are all my friend playing!

Gumby Ya Ya
10-22-2013, 12:34 PM
I would occasionally buy myself a new instrument when I had enough money, of course gas as opposed to uas. Then for my birthday, the first one sober in long, long time, I had gas bad, and all I had money for was a small instrument, aha I've seen ukes for around $30. I soon found out that's more for cheap toyish ukes, but I was able to spend around 70 for a decent uke - just about the only uke I could find in Mpls at the time. Then hooking up StrumMN and playing at Lake Como watching others smile as they walked by, then playing at a wedding, able to make the bride's dream come true w/ Iz's Over the Rainbow.

Peterjens
10-22-2013, 01:15 PM
Never laid hands on a musical instrument.
Retired at 59 and wifey told me I need to exercise my brain or dementia might set in.
Hanging out by the pool on The Big Island in April 2013 and heard the sweet sound of ukulele being strummed.
Only four strings? - Hmmm, I can do that.
My brain is out of its comfort zone but there is hope.
But importantly, my soul is being fed.

bunnyf
10-22-2013, 05:39 PM
For me, it really was love at first strum. I have always loved music, but had no success with any instruments that I tried over the years. My husband was in bands in the 70s,doing gigs when he was in his 20s and could always grab a guitar and play a little something (even though he was a bass player). About 10 years back, on a whim, don't know where the idea came from, but I got him a Lanikai baritone uke for his b'day, thinking..hey, it's portable, affordable, guitar-like..he'll have some fun with it. Well...not so much so, he just wasn't very interested(granted we were busy with work and six kids). Any way, I retired a couple of years ago and somehow, even though we downsized and got rid of most of our stuff when we moved from NJ to FL, I somehow managed to hang onto that uke (it didn't even have a case..what was I thinking?). It must have been meant to be.
So I break out the uke after we were settled here and try to get my hubby interested in it now that he has free time. We had seen the movie "Sideways" and heard the song by Citizen Cope and he said "That would be a good one to learn to play." So now I was on a mission. At that time, I barely knew how to turn on a computer and knew next to nothing about stringed instruments. Somehow though, I managed to blunder my way onto a website and got the uke chords (now, I can't understand what was so difficult, but at the time, I really had NO idea how computers worked). I hand-copied the words and chords out and even drew chord diagrams (didn't know how a printer worked either). Guess what? He wasn't really all that interested in checking it out. So, there I was with my stuff neatly written out on a legal pad for nothing. I looked at those little chord diagrams and I thought "what the heck, I think I might be able to do this, after all there's only 4 simple chords and the song is real slow..let me give it a go" And you know what? I wasn't half bad. It surprisingly sounded quite a bit like the tune and I could play and sing (my playing was actually better than my singing). I couldn't wait to look up some more songs and the love affair continues. I play every day for a few hours for the past 2 years, and while I am not good, I get a world of pleasure out of playing my uke. I guess I was lucky that my husband didn't just grab up that sheet music and go to town. I might have left him to his own devices and never have discovered for myself the joy of the uke.

myrnaukelele
10-22-2013, 07:33 PM
Well...I play the ukulele because way back in 1980(?) a friend mentioned that if I mixed all the letters of my name around it spelled Myrna Ukelele. Really. My user name is an anagram for my real name. (And those of you who keep correcting my spelling by putting in two Us are just wrong lol! I spell it the way I spell it because it's an anagram and I only have one U in my name :o). Anyway, I was in my 20s and just starting to play guitar and bass in bands and at festivals. Voila! The perfect stage name. But how could I have a stage name like Myrna Ukelele and not play the ukulele? So I picked up an old Silvertone and some May Singhi Breen uke books (no one played ukulele back then and the internet was not really around yet). I taught myself old standards -Ukulele Lady, Tiptoe Through the Tulips, 5'2, etc. I'd start or end my solo shows with uke tunes but I'd mostly play guitar. That was about the extent of my uke playing for many years- just for fun and always a soprano tuned ADF#G. Fast forward to 2010. I'd wanted a tenor guitar for awhile. I ended up accidentally buying a Favilla baritone uke instead. One strum of this beautiful uke and I was hooked. I couldn't stop strumming it. And there was internet now!! All sorts of sites with ukulele info/chords/songs/other people who played ukulele!!! I found UU and contracted a case of UAS and started buying ukes like crazy. Realizing that everyone else played in GCEA opened up a whole new world. My poor guitar now sits lonely in its case because I can't stop playing my ukuleles.

iamesperambient
10-22-2013, 07:43 PM
Okay, Lily, UkeyDave, and Ginny encouraged me to start this thread, which grew out of Season 88 (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?87582-Season-88-of-the-Ukulele-Forget-What-You-Know!/page5).

I said, "I started playing uke only on August 31st, 7 weeks ago. Except for a very brief flirtation many years ago with a too-hard-to-play guitar (which remains against my wall, unplayed, to this day), and an even briefer one with a Strumstick, I have never played a stringed instrument before. For some reason, this was the right instrument at the right time. Loving it. Having fun. Learning as fast as I can."

Lily (ukuLily Mars) replied, "I love that you say the 'uke was "the right instrument at the right time." I think that's true for many of us."

And I shared my "origin story" and said, "Now I think we need a new thread for people's first 'uke moments'."

Then everyone said, "Do it!" And now I have.

Please share yours!

- Wendy of Uke Can 2!

I started playing guitar when i was 14 (im almost 32 now)
than around 15 i got a bass. I played in various bands on guitar
or bass and tried my hands in different genres. The guitar never full spoke to me
as an instrument it just seemed so ordinary.

Than one day about 10 years ago i heard the magnetic fields
and heard ukulele fully for the first time and i knew what instrument
it was but never knew the uke could be used in indie rock in such a
unique way. I quickly went out and bought a ukulele and picked up
the chords (the basics) over night. I obsessively played for years
and finally got myself a martin soprano ukulele. I ended up selling my martin
in a time of need and quickly regretted it and still do to this day. Anyway
i got upset and ended up getting a baritone electric guitar and played in a doom
metal band, than that stopped and i started making ambient music using the baritone
guitar. I had been making that music for years and still do, but recently one day i said
'screw this guitar crap i want to go back to playing an instrument i feel comfortable with"
so i sold my guitar and bought a les paul uke, and 2 other sopranos. Now i have my baritone
konablaster and I'm planning on getting a tenor, and acoustic baritone (and a bunch of others)
UAS to the max!

Anyway no plans on looking back on guitar in my opinion screw 6 strings 4 is where its at!

notgeorgeformby
10-22-2013, 08:09 PM
Okay, Lily, UkeyDave, and Ginny encouraged me to start this thread, which grew out of Season 88 (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?87582-Season-88-of-the-Ukulele-Forget-What-You-Know!/page5).

I said, "I started playing uke only on August 31st, 7 weeks ago. Except for a very brief flirtation many years ago with a too-hard-to-play guitar (which remains against my wall, unplayed, to this day), and an even briefer one with a Strumstick, I have never played a stringed instrument before. For some reason, this was the right instrument at the right time. Loving it. Having fun. Learning as fast as I can."

Lily (ukuLily Mars) replied, "I love that you say the 'uke was "the right instrument at the right time." I think that's true for many of us."

And I shared my "origin story" and said, "Now I think we need a new thread for people's first 'uke moments'."

Then everyone said, "Do it!" And now I have.

Please share yours!

- Wendy of Uke Can 2!

First, what a great thread! And your rendition of Deed I Do is magical!

I don't know how I missed ukuleles for so long. I scrimped my earnings from a Saturday job and bought my first guitar at age 15, self taught myself a few chords on mostly four strings and managed to muddle along like that for years. But I didn't pick up a uke until forty years later when Mr Notgeorgeformby gave me a pineapple soprano as a present last Christmas. That proved too tricky to finger but something must have clicked because I recently upgraded to a tenor and that was my Love At First Strum moment. Given that I played guitar on four strings I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner to go for a four stringed instrument. Doh!

tainauke
10-22-2013, 10:38 PM
Great thread!

When I was 9-11 years old, my parents wanted me to learn an instrument. I wanted to learn the piano, but they wanted me to learn the guitar. So, I tried to learn the guitar. In 2 years, I must have changed 4 or 5 times teachers; my former teachers moved a lot. But one thing was consistent, they all wanted me to learn blues (which I don't like) and my mom forced me to learn Beatles songs because that's what she liked.
I wanted to learn REM or Nirvana songs (it was the early 90s), but persisted, hoping that someday I would learn something that I liked.

After 2 years of not at all enjoying myself, and "learning" things other people liked, I quit.

I never wanted to go back to music and believed it would always be the same way: people forcing you to learn things you don't care about, just because it's how they were taught. I felt discouraged; felt that I was no good for music and had no talent. Though I enjoyed music, I never tried to learn, until...

My boyfriend started to listen to a lot of hawaiian music with the ukulele on it, and then in France Iz's most popular song "Under the Rainbow" started to be played on the radio. I enjoyed this and thought that it didn't sound too difficult.
I searched the internet and fell in love with this instrument. It's small and unassuming, but with so much potential. I dove 2 feet into this beautiful musical world and haven't looked back since!

UkeCan1
10-23-2013, 01:32 AM
Decaturcomp made an excellent suggestion a while back, which I just added to the opening post, and hereby remind you of if you missed it:

I highly recommend adding photos and videos of your earliest days if you have them!

Loving the participation on this thread ... wish I had time to respond to you all. Really wonderful to hear all your joyful stories!

Thanks so much for playing,
Wendy

FiL
10-23-2013, 03:29 AM
I'm really enjoying this thread!

I think this is the earliest video of me on uke, warbling my way through Iz's big hit:


http://youtu.be/U2AK6cuVGe4

This was recorded in March 2009, during a break from a recording session with my former experimental band One Note Drone, which did not feature ukuleles at all.

And I'm pretty sure this is my first recording that included a uke, probably from early 2005:

https://soundcloud.com/fil-wisneski/04-i-cant-believe

The uke used was a $20 First Act soprano.

- FiL

drbekken
10-23-2013, 05:16 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahyffAClhng

I think this is my first ukulele video. April 2011.

Brian W
10-23-2013, 10:46 AM
What a great thread! My first musical instrument was a baritone ukulele that my grandfather gave to me on my 12th birthday back in 1981. This was a hand-me-down that he had purchased for himself back in the 1960's. He hadn't played it much in years and found out from my parents that I wanted to play the guitar. At the same time, my cousin also gave me her old, beat-up nylon stringed guitar. I used that guitar when I started taking lessons, but that was after about a year of playing the ukulele so I could better develop my left hand. I didn't play the uke much after that, since it wasn't "cool" to me like the guitar was. Fast forward 32 years, and my daughter, who is 6, was bugging me to play the guitar like me, but her hands are just too small to comfortably finger chords on the neck. So remembering my roots, and how I started, I thought a ukulele would be a great starter instrument. I went to a local music store here in Raleigh and started "fiddling" around with various brands and eventually purchased a Mitchell concert size, along with some music books, to get her started. We did lessons for a couple months, but being a typical 6 year old, has gone on to other things. I, on the other hand, couldn't stop playing it. I would play that uke EVERY night after she went to bed, and was shocked to discover how incredibly fun it is to play. It has been such a long time since I felt so charged-up and inspired to play music, but that is how I feel when I play the ukulele. In fact I rarely even play the guitar anymore. What I love most is its bright and happy tone (you really can't be mad when you play it), plus the short scale makes it easy to octave notes that are only 1 string apart (you cannot do that on the guitar). I have since then settled on a soprano size, mostly because I like the traditional feel, tone, and relaxed string tension; plus I can take it anywhere, since it is so small. It is the perfect musical companion when I travel.

peaceweaver3
11-19-2013, 07:53 AM
I read the thread title and went, "Awww!" immediately taken back to my first ever uke. It was a high school junior year graduation gift from me, to me for surviving what I still consider the worst year of my life. I'd gotten a guitar for my 16th birthday, but couldn't wrap either head or hands around... Ok, I have 4 fretting fingers and 4 strumming fingers, and 6 strings? Not happening. It never did click, though I play a piano with, count 'em, 88 keys? Mine is not to question why!

So I went looking for a smaller stringed instrument, but without much hope or belief in success. I don't know how I found it. But the uke was a Lehua concert from Pegasus Guitars. It came in the mail 2 days into summer vacation. I had no Internet at home then, but the package came with gig bag and pitch pipe, and before leaving school Bob Gleason had told me to tune GCEA. So I did. And immediately, without even trying, found a C chord.

I took that uke on a cruise to the Bahamas, planes to Europe, used it as part of my Senior Project, and went through college with her.

Then, the tuition bill came, and she went. I'm not ashamed to admit I cried boxing her up. Ever since then I've toyed with the idea of another Lehua. But what if it's just not as good? I guess I'll never know.

Maybe a journey of 1000 miles starts with... a single chord?

Thanks for the reminder!

peaceweaver3
11-19-2013, 08:08 AM
snipped.

The guitar never full spoke to me
as an instrument it just seemed so ordinary.

... I ended up selling my martin
in a time of need and quickly regretted it and still do to this day.

... recently one day i said
'screw this guitar crap i want to go back to playing an instrument i feel comfortable with"
... Anyway no plans on looking back on guitar in my opinion screw 6 strings 4 is where its at!

I feel the same way. Also, I perceive all instruments now as valuable, "worth it" if you will, etc. But the question I always ask if I'm considering one, is, "Is that a sound I can hear myself creating?" If the answer is no, I continue to appreciate the instrument and/or musician, but don't play it. The uke makes a sound I hear myself making, a sound that is mine.

I ask the same question though, even about ukes. I love all ukes! But I'm close to very few. There is A Sound that is mine. And if a uke doesn't make that sound, I still like it as a uke. But not My Uke.

Same goes for tunings, and songs for that matter!

<Steps down from soap box with thanks for your kind attention!>

janeray1940
11-19-2013, 09:24 AM
I was seven. Wanted a guitar but kid-size guitars were hard to come by in those days, so I got a uke. Carried that thing around everywhere until I moved overseas with my dad and could only bring one suitcase. When I returned to the U.S., I was a too-cool adolescent and abandoned uke completely, only to waste many years trying to play guitar, bass, and piano. And sing. Badly. Very, very badly, and when I realized it, I gave up on music entirely for many years.

Picked up the uke again in my mid-40s and that was my real love at first sight moment - I've learned more musicianship in 4 years on the uke than an entire childhood of music lessons!