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Thread: Your story: how ukulele found you?

  1. #121
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Winton, Queensland
    Posts
    81

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    My Dad was quite musical, but I almost never saw him play. He was on TV as a kid playing piano accordian, there was a guitar in the wardrobe he never touched, but give him an instrument and play him some music and he'd be playing by ear in no time.
    I don't believe I have inherited this talent.

    My Nan on mum's side always had organs/keyboards. She'd teach us stuff, and whenever she bought a new instrument we'd get the old one, along with some of her old music books. I had a basic idea of how to play as a kid, and in high school I took a keyboard class and for a while I could even play two handed, but that's gone now.

    I didn't really touch instruments once I moved out of home, until a few years ago I was talking to my brother and said I always wanted to play guitar, and he gave me one.
    Turns out all you need to do to learn is get a guitar and start playing. Who knew?

    One day I was in a friend's car, she's a music teacher, and she had a uke on the back seat. I started playing with it and somehow actually managed to play a little Nirvana, without knowing any of the chords or notes or anything. (Couldn't do it again!)
    So one day while browsing electric guitars I saw the cheap $30 ukes in the window and went home with one.

    Plenty of fun on that, and then I started dating this girl who played uke. We went to a uke jam for a date, and I heard just how terrible my toy uke sounded when surrounded by decent instruments, so my Gretsch came along just after that.

    I've now got the Gretsch, my old cheapie, my acoustic and an electric guitar, a melodica and a harmonica. Sold my mandolin because I needed the cash when out of work.

    I find there's some songs that are easier on guitar and some are easier on uke, but the uke comes out more just because it's smaller and easier to grab.

  2. #122
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    1,223

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    My musical journey started when I was 10, and took guitar lessons. Played in a band in the early 70's, doing Southern rock, Dead, Band, etc. Then decades went by where I only occasionally played acoustic guitar for my own pleasure/stress relief. After kids were grown, I got back into guitar, joined a classic rock band where we gig 2x a month now, I play electric rhythm/lead guitar, sing back up and play harp. Anyhoo, the uke part started 6 years ago, when my elderly aunt gave me an old uke she bought in the late 50's. while on vacation in Hawaii. She was giving away most of her things, before moving to an assisted living place. This was at a big family Christmas party, with probably 50 in attendance. I guess I got it because I was the only musical one in the whole bunch, and had played acoustic guitar for her previously. She never played it, and it had sat in her closet for over 50 years. When presented with the uke, I looked at it, was touched and grateful, but thought it was probably just a cute little toy, probably tourist grade. How could something so tiny (soprano) be a serious instrument? It had a big crack in the top, and the bridge was lifting, so I stashed it away. In Dec. 2016, I dug it out again. It was a Kamaka gold label soprano. I sent it off for repair and setup, and once returned in Feb. 2017, realized what a nice uke I had been given. Since then, I've been playing uke every day, mostly ignoring guitar, except to keep up with band commitments, and have gone through a bunch of ukes, to find what I liked. I now have a few ukes, and find that I like soprano and concerts best. I mostly strum/sing both modern and old-timey stuff, and find it a lot of fun learning new songs, and it is very soothing to the soul. Portability and low cost (compared to fine guitars) are big pluses too. I'm really looking forward to learning how to fingerpick better, and attempting some classical pieces. I often think of, and thank my late aunt for introducing me to the ukelele.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 08-31-2017 at 03:53 AM.

  3. #123
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Washington State, USA
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    21

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    I tried and failed to teach myself musical instruments for most of my adult life, going so far as to torture a helpless violin for almost two years. I figured that, with my track record, I'd try again at some point and sort of toyed around with the idea of the ukulele. The trouble was that I thought that ukes were too small and I didn't like the plinka-plinka sound I associated with the toystore models.

    One day I was at work and I heard a student singing and playing a guitar and I went down to check it out. I asked him what he was playing and when he told me it was an ukulele I couldn't believe it. "They can sound like that?" I asked him. After he explained that it was a tenor ukulele I hemmed and hawed for about a week before I went on Amazon and bought a beginner's kit and started talking to that student about once a week to learn news chords and the like.

    It didn't take long before I was in love (with the ukulele, not the student). After all those years I finally found an instrument that actually liked me back! I don't know if the ukulele is the easiest instrument in the world as the Guinness Book of World Records claims, but it's definitely the friendliest. I like to write and draw but sort of feel that those pursuits don't have value unless I share them with others. With my uke, though, I can just sit back and let that moment be enough.
    Last edited by Tigermelon; 09-01-2017 at 10:58 AM.

  4. #124
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Massachusetts, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigermelon View Post
    .....I don't know if the ukulele is the easiest instrument in the world as the Guinness Book of World Records claims, but it's definitely the friendliest.
    Uke the easiest instrument? No way! Personally, I find the Guinness book the easiest to ignore, chronicling a bunch of fame wannabes, kinda like America's Funniest Home Videos.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 09-01-2017 at 11:23 AM.

  5. #125
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    4,913

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigermelon View Post
    I tried and failed to teach myself musical instruments for most of my adult life, ......
    I know that feeling, it wasn't until I retired that I tried again, first piano, then Harmonica, & eventually ukulele, & it was with ukulele that I succeeded.

    Whether or not it is easy, is very debatable, but it is a manageable instrument, & has a lot of fun within it.

    (I'm also doing pretty good on my harmonicas as well now.)
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  6. #126
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
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    78

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    I've dabbled with guitar, harmonica, and banjo for many years, but never got serious enough to make any real progress.
    Late January of this year, I was in Toronto visiting my older son. His older son is a musician, pretty serious, even at 18. He owns several guitars of various kinds, a bass, a violin and a couple of ukuleles; one of which was a Cordoba 15CM with a broken neck. I looked it over, and in spite of not being a luthier, I said "I can fix that.." I've done a fair bit of fine woodwork, including a riverboat banjo that I played, (badly), in an amateur bluegrass band, so I was pretty confident.
    I took the uke home and epoxied it back together, straight and level. Did a pretty good job of it, restrung it and tuned it up. Little did I know that I had just taken the first step down a very slippery slope! It went something like this:
    "Hmm...nice tone....I wonder what the chords are...pretty simple chord shapes...take a look on youtube.. Yup, I can do that, doesn't sound too bad....Hey, this is kinda fun...any tabs out there....Ok Honey, just as soon as I finish this Cynthia Lin tutorial... Does Ciaran want his uke back? He does? Damn! I wonder what they cost...hmm not terribly expensive. I think I'll get a cheap concert .."
    And so it went, 7 months later I have a Kala TEM, a Cordoba 24B, a Pono MTSHC, an unbranded acacia that I bought unfinished on Ebay, plus the Andoer concert that I bought first then gave to my 8 year old granddaughter.
    I'm not addicted! Really I'm not!!


    UKE copy.jpg
    Last edited by olphart; 09-02-2017 at 02:29 AM.

  7. #127
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    Nov 2015
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    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    No, you're not addicted, you're just trying them out for someone else.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  8. #128
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Maine, USA
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    11

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    6A50863F-95D3-4284-8840-77A9878E2FD1.jpgI played bass (kind of) when I was a teenager and later in life in church. For years, as my children grew, we would be listening to music, mostly classic rock, I would say jokingly “That would be an awesome song on the ukulele”. My son, now 32, and daughter-in-law bought me a concert Córdoba... hooked! Shopping for a tenor. The Córdoba is a priceless gift is so many ways but UAS has set in. Play every day and smile.

  9. #129
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Staffordshire Moorlands
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    43

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    I have played guitar for over 35 years, and never considered another instrument.
    I stumbled upon Joe Brown playing at the George Harrison memorial gig on youtube, and fell in love with the song "I'll see you in My Dreams", to the point where I announced to my wife, when i die please play that tune at my funeral. I decided to try out this ukulele thing. On another forum I joined I started asking a few questions, and about a week later 2 lads rocked up to the pub i run, and showed me a few different ukes, one I bought from them, and away I went. Funny how things go though, that was the beginning of August this year, and I went to me mam and dads 60th wedding anniversary on 17th August, took me uke, stumbled through a few tunes, me dad loved it. Sadly he passed away 2 days later, and we played "I'll see you in my dreams" at his funeral.
    Well, I can now play that song, and it makes me smile as I think of me dad, and in the 3 months since I started gettin interested i have bought 6 ukes, one i have sold, and one other is about to be sold.
    So there ya have it, my lil story of how when what, still not sure of the why :-)
    Last edited by Dansimpson; 11-17-2017 at 05:26 AM. Reason: spelling mistake

  10. #130
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Darlington UK
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    575

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    Well my musical story began with keyboard instruments. My older brother was into synth music back in the 70s and so I grew up loving jean michel jarre, Tomita, gary numan etc etc, and one year when I was about 11 I was bought a small Bontempi reed organ. Awful thing it was but it got me wanting to be a keyboard player. That never happened but piano has always been my favourite instrument. Then in the early 2000s I wanted a guitar. And my partner bought me one for Christmas 2004. I still have it, and still cant play it! But I love acoustic instruments, its like theyre alive. One year our kids were bought ukuleles (not by us). The usual thing, great for kids! Trouble is my kids arent interested in learning to play it. And in 2014 I was bought my own uke, a Tanglewood, because my other, better guitar is a Tanglewood. The rest is history. Oh and I'd love a baritone. Guitar tuning, yay!
    Interestingly that ukulele was bought from a small shop that was closing, under pressure from the big music store that had recently opened a few doors down. Turned out the guy from the small shop got a job at the big shop as guitar repairer, and he's the one who did a set up on my uke recently!
    Last edited by LarryS; 12-04-2017 at 01:15 AM.
    You don't stop playing when you get old. You get old when you stop playing

    Tanglewood TU13M concert called Kalea
    Brunswick BU4-B baritone called Kalua

    My Music Blog

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