Why do you play? What got you started?

clear

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I play the ukulele to entertain my son; that's also what got me started.

I used to play the guitar to him when I was learning the guitar. That lasted a few years. After that I put the guitar away and he wasn't able to request it anymore. That was several years ago.

About a year ago, I decided to clean out my storage closet and that brought the guitars out. My son immediately recognized them and asked me to play. I played for him again and give him a guitar so he can play it too. Unfortunately, the guitar strings were too dangerous so I had to take the guitars back.

I got a classical guitar and let him play with it. The problem was that he also wants to sleep with the guitar, which was difficult because it is a rather big instrument relative to the bed size.

Enter the ukulele.

It's funny, I actually had an ukulele some years back and decided I didn't like it. So, it is funny that I'm now getting a uke, but the situation is different. Oh, BTW, that first uke from years ago died from being thrown down the stairs.

So, I bought a uke for my son. As all parents know, kids are interested in things that you do. Since I don't play the uke, my son wasn't interested in it. So, I decided to learn a few chords and play it to get him interested in it.

Once I started playing my uke, I noticed a problem and joined this forum.

As they say, the rest is history.
 

donboody

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Back in college around 2010, I got an ukulele from a little shop next to the bar I lived upstairs from because it was cheap and small, and I liked the idea of having a little instrument I could just pick up and play whenever I wanted. I was playing bass in a punk band at the time, playing a lot of shows actually, and I liked that I could have a little instrument that I didn't need to plug into an amp. I learned C, F, and G and basically would just play those chords, and I also figured out the overworld theme to Super Mario World.

I played on and off like that, mostly off, until 2015 when my parents randomly got me a concert sized uke as a birthday gift. I played heavily for a few months, then on and off again until January this past year.

I picked it up again because I wanted my kids to see me doing something other than playing with them and watching cartoons with them. I remember my dad doing a lot of work around the house. He played with me plenty, but most of my memories of him are of him doing productive things and I wanted my kids to see me doing productive things too. My dad is still alive by the way. Anyhow, I started playing again for my kids but now I'm playing for myself too. They get to see me practicing and failing and succeeding, and not just sitting on my ass watching Bluey.
 

dgame

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Wanted to.learn to play an acoustic guitar. Had trouble playing chords. Bought a baritone ukulele to learn the chords on the 'bottom four strings." Most ukulele tutorials on YouTube were in GCEA tuning. Tried a concert and fell on love with a soprano. Only have a soprano now. Still in love.
 

kohanmike

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I've told this story a few times here, but glad to tell it again.

I started playing guitar in 1965 when I was 15 with the advent of the British Invasion, as some of my friends did. Took a few lessons, then went on to play for almost 50 years. In June of 2013, shortly after I retired, I was leafing through a Musicians Friend magazine and came across a ukulele that looked like my Fender Telecaster electric guitar. It was only $60, so I bought it just to hang next to my Tele.

About two weeks later I received a postcard from the Los Angeles Music Center for their annual Summer Play-Along series, three Saturdays, six hours a day. I had participated in the past for guitar, but this time it was for ukulele. Hey, I thought, I have one, so I signed up. After the first day (with 400 people attending), I was hooked and never touched my guitars again. (I gave my four to my nephew, a very accomplished guitar player and now film composer.)

That evening I went online and found The CC Strummers seniors uke group that met twice a week, and the Westside Ukulele Ensemble that met once a month. I melded very well with the seniors group, but after a year with the ensemble, I found they were just a too advanced for me so I left. At the same time the leader of the seniors group asked if anyone would take up the bass to fill in our sound. All the years I played rhythm guitar, I was often told I should play bass because I have good feel and tempo, but I didn't want to be encumbered by a big electric bass, forget a standup double bass.

With her request, I got online and discovered all the bass ukes and mini bass guitars out there, so I went for it. Little did I know that bass was right up my ally, especially small ones. So now bass uke/mini bass guitar is my main instrument, ukulele a close second, with harmonica following up.


This is Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
8 tenor cutaway ukes, 4 acoustic bass ukes, 10 solid body bass ukes, 14 mini electric bass guitars (Total: 36)

Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
Member The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
 

WestyShane

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It gives me something to do when springtime comes along and it's too nice out to go to the gym after work but not yet nice enough to bicycle. It's either play uke or sit in my yard pulling weeds, although either is relaxing.

It's also just plain fun.
 
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Played guitar for 15 years. Decided to get my wife an instrument for Christmas so she could learn and play along with me. Well got her a soprano uke and she didn’t take to it, so I learned a few chords and was pretty much hooked instantly. Hardly ever play guitar anymore. By the way that Kala “learn to play” soprano is still the one I play the most it sounds and plays great for being a cheap starter instrument.
 

ripock

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About 6 years or so ago, I saw a video of this beautiful woman playing a Cordoba concert. My reasoning was: she's totally hot, I'm totally going to play the ukulele. That's my story.
 

wqking

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Before Ukulele, I learned several Chinese traditional wind instruments, including Hulusi (Cucurbit flute), Xun (the most ancient instrument), and Bamboo flute.
All are so loud. I can't play them home, I have to go to the park to play them. That brings several problems I'm not satisfied with,
1, That's quite time consuming. I spend too much time in the park.
2, During the winter, or the weather is bad, I can't go to the park and I can't play the instruments. During the winter, I tried to play them home with lower volume, the feeling is horrible.
3, I can't play the instruments whenever I want to, such as in the morning or night.

Then I find Ukulele. Now I can play it any time any where, that's great. And Ukulele is harmonic instrument, it's more fun than the monophony instruments.
 

Graylights

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About 2.5 years ago, my wife bought a ukulele. At that time, I had no idea what it was but once I started strumming it I became addicted to it. Although I don't play well, I find playing ukulele relaxing and feel good about improving my skill little by little.
 

VegasGeorge

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I play music because I was an only child in an abusive dysfunctional alcoholic home. Music, and playing an instrument, was my only escape. It's still my primary or "go to" solution for coping. For me, it's therapy. The Uke came along later, when my wife brought a nice little Kamaka Soprano home from an Hawaii trip as a present for me. My interest in Ukulele grew from that.
 
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UkingViking

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I saw one in the window of a shop and desired it, so I bought it.
It turned out that "jazz chords" was way easier on an ukulele than on guitar, so many of the songs that I wanted to sing but were afraid to try on guitar were suddenly within reach. Yes, this is because I never learned the guitar properly and looked a chord diagrams strumming most strings at the same time, but uke is a shortcut.
The Seasons of the Ukulele kept me going. Gave me a reason to learn new songs, other than just play them for myself and forget them again as I used to do with anything.
 

dcw uke

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I purchased my first ukulele approx 10 years ago. It was a beginner"ish" Lanikai. Both of my kids are musicians, talented in multiple instruments, I am not. The uke seemed like an instrument that I might be able to learn, playing music and spending time with my kids. After a year or so, my Lanikai was stolen. Life got busy and I had little down time. Enter... COVID. During a time of quarantining, I realized that I had no hobbies to take my mind off of life's challenges. I love to read, but I also read a lot for my vocation, so even that wasn't a total break. I began talking about taking up the ukulele again, mentioned I'd have to save up for the one that I wanted (a Kala KA-SMHCE-C). My son (now a young adult) found out and purchased that very ukulele as a Father's Day gift for me in 2020. I then purchased a ukulele for him and we spend time strumming together. He's much better than me, but it's the time together that I mostly enjoy. :)
 

ukantor

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I live next door to a pub which hosted regular play/sing along sessions. I wanted to be able to join in. Tried a guitar, but it was much too big and cumbersome. Then I found a ukulele in the attic, complete with a tutor book. That was about twenty-five years ago. It's the longest I've ever stayed with any hobby, apart from being a keen motorcyclist for fifty years.
 

TopDog

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I play because I simply love music.Many kinds. After almost fifty years being a competent but hardly original guitarist, I simply bought a cheapie painted Mahalo that caught my eye in our local music shop. And have never touched a guitar since!
 
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When I was a kid I got to live in Hawaii for a couple years and a friend showed me how to play a couple chords. Unfortunately, I was too into metal and trying to seem cool to admit that there was a real connection to the uke and I spent decades thrashing about on the guitar until a wrist injury stopped that.

Fortunately, I got the chance to move back to Hawaii for a few more years, this time older and mature enough to realize I had made a big mistake as a young teenager.

I got to the islands, picked up a uke, and started playing. A lot. I love it, especially trying to play melodies. I taught my kids some stuff for their homeschool programs, but they didn’t stick with it. That’s okay. It’s not for everyone and sometimes I hear them playing in their rooms so you never know - it could develop into something later.
 

Bluesy

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I began talking about taking up the ukulele again, mentioned I'd have to save up for the one that I wanted (a Kala KA-SMHCE-C). My son (now a young adult) found out and purchased that very ukulele as a Father's Day gift for me in 2020. I then purchased a ukulele for him and we spend time strumming together.

That is a beautiful story.

Bluesy.
 
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I took up the acoustic guitar after playing the drums for 25 years. It's hard to play the drums with babies in the house! In another life, I think I would've loved the guitar. But at that point in my life I didn't like using a pick (and fingerpicking on the guitar seemed way off) and the fact that many chords don't involve all the strings. I hit a plateau pretty quickly and lost interest.

My wife got me a Kala concert for our anniversary, and I was hooked. Now, I play because it's my chief hobby to relieve stress (something that drums did when I was a kid). It has become my main form or musical expression. The tactile activity of strumming and plucking the strings that creates beautiful sounding notes makes it such an intimate instrument. In addition, I have found the ukulele community is absolutely awesome in every way!
 

UkerDanno

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Iz, is why I play.

Used to listen to a morning radio show at work, Beth and Bill on 99.9 KEZ. Bill passed away from cancer and after that, at the end of the show everyday, they would play Iz's Wonderful World/Over the Rainbow medley, I thought it was such a cool sounding song and instrument that I bought a $45 Lanikai and learned a few chords. About a year after that, I moved to Sun City and joined the Ukulele Club and the rest is history...😁🤙🎶
 

bacchettadavid

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My 'ukulele journey started on my cousin's couch. She had a uke hanging on the wall, so I grabbed it, learned a few chords, and something just clicked. 3-4 hours later, I was hooked (my other instruments are all woodwinds, so the 'ukulele was a refreshing change of pace).

My reasons for playing the uke have expanded over time. At first, it was for meditation and self-therapy. Then it became part of my social life as I began to frequent 'ukulele groups and festivals and participated in an ensemble. Then the uke became a teaching tool as I started a weekly beginner workshop at a mom & pop music store & cafe where the proprietors are sympathetic to the 'ukulele. These days, the 'ukulele is both a musical conduit for me and an important tool for supplementing my income.
 
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