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Thread: Are ukulele players more dedicated?

  1. #1
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    Default Are ukulele players more dedicated?

    Saw an article today about Fender trying to increase retention of guitar players. From the article - "But novice players often stop playing and don’t pick it up again.

    “As an industry, we do not have a problem attracting new entrants,” Fender CEO Andy Mooney said in a presentation in New York City recently. The “bad news is we have a retention challenge.”

    According to Fender, the majority of first-time guitar buyers — 90% — abandon the instrument within the first year."
    My question - what are ukulele's first year retention numbers? Anyone have an idea?

  2. #2
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    No stats but after 40 years working as a classroom and studio music teacher, I suspect people are about the same as far as commitment to musical hobbies whether it be guitar, ukulele, piano, voice, etc. Once they figure out how much work is involved in becoming good at making music, they move on to the next hobby.

  3. #3
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    That may be because the guitar is somewhat hard, so most new players quit. The ukulele is much easier, so I can see why it is easier to stick with.
    Just Feel The Groooooove

  4. #4
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    I quit guitar (long ago) partly because it hurt the fingers. It was much more difficult to become proficient at than the ukulele.

    I also suspect that most guitar players start much younger than most ukulele players. The younger you are, the easier it is to move on to another activity. Not so true if you pick up an instrument when you retire.

  5. #5
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    Omg I am one of those who gave up the guitar after about two years everyone's experiences are different of course, but my reason for stopping had a lot to do with the reason I started in the first place... My friends and I wanted to start a girl group (we wanted to be the spice girls but punk rock haha) but then it never really got together and our drummer quit before we had even had a practice session so I don't think my heart was ever really in it to begin with.

    Now, let's gather around the campfire as I tell the story of all the instruments I've ever played!!
    The violin I've stuck with since childhood but I will 100% say that is due to my parents enforcing my lessons and practice schedule. And then in university I kept playing even tho I said many times as a child that I would quit after I moved out. It was such a part of my routine that it felt weird not to practice even if I didn't necessarily look forward to it haha (can you have stockholm syndrome with an instrument???!!)

    With the viola, I started it after having played the violin for a while, but the difficulty of leaning to read a whole.new clef when I wasn't that good at reading music to begin with (did a lot by ear and never learned any theory, ) was too big of a hurdle for me to overcome with my limited self discipline

    Finally we get to the ukulele! Even though my interest kind of started on a whim (seeing Zooey Deschanel play the uke in her SNL opening) it was the first instrument I really considered and thought about before choosing to learn. There have been other instruments I have impulsively wanted to play (the harp! The auto harp! The accordion!), the ukulele stayed in my thoughts for a while. That combined with the relative affordability of an entry level model, plus the leg up with having some prior experience playing guitar convinced me to try it out. Having played for almost a year now, I think the ukulele is my ride or die!!

  6. #6
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    I think Peter hit the nail on the head when he mentioned so many people quite so many instruments because they find out how much work is involved in learning. Guitar is more popular then ukulele but harder to learn so I can see how those numbers of 90% are possible.

    That being said the 6 people who had an interest in learning ukulele because I played all quite after a little while. Maybe it was me, I shouldn’t have yelled at them and rapped their knuckles at every mistake
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Enya Nova *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gochugogi View Post
    No stats but after 40 years working as a classroom and studio music teacher, I suspect people are about the same as far as commitment to musical hobbies whether it be guitar, ukulele, piano, voice, etc. Once they figure out how much work is involved in becoming good at making music, they move on to the next hobby.
    In my opinion, it's the ukulele groups that keep people interested in the ukulele. I look forward to several jam sessions a week - lots of laughing. Sitting alone in the house and playing the uke by myself just isn't the same.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  8. #8
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    I have tried piano, recorder and guitar before the ukulele stuck! For me personally the size, sound and community have been useful in making it stick.

  9. #9
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    To build on several points already raised, it is easier and cheaper to get into ukulele than most other instruments and once started you find a very welcoming and forgiving attitude toward beginners or those, like myself, who aren't great players. My perception is that with most other instruments you have reach a higher level of competency before you can participate in group play on a regular basis.
    Kamaka HF3, Tenor
    Martin S1, Soprano
    Ko'olau C1, Concert

  10. #10
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    Comparatively, the Ukulele is so much easier, only 4 strings, much smaller, cheaper and shorter scale. You can learn a dozen chords an play almost anything. And, as mentioned before, the clubs, groups and socializing are what kept me going and how I learned. We have a great club in Sun City, with free mentoring a couple times a month in the winter season and weekly jams. Even in the summer, we have 30-40 people every week, in the high winter season, there can be 100! I also play with a couple other groups and enjoy playing Ubass with them more than anything.
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins
    Concerts: Kanile'a K-2 CP - Living Water | Islander AC-4 - Living Water | Waverly Street banjolele - Worth Browns
    Tenor: Epiphone Hummingbird - Living Water low G
    UBass: Kala FS2 - Pahoehoe

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