What is an unpopular/controversial opinion you have regarding the ukulele?

The universal standard ukulele should be a soprano, tuned ADF#B.
 
My only nitpick with chord melody playing is that everything is in the same frequencies. There's not enough separation between the chord & the melody.

I'm at a point where I'm working mostly on chord melody. I certainly prefer a low G so I can get a bit more spread in the harmonies...and a better range of options.

I don't even consider the baritone a ukulele really.

One of the problems I come across with chord melody playing is the way some songs lay on the fret board. Some songs the meldy is either way to high to sound pleasant. I can play the melody an octave lower, but then you often end up without the ability to play the harmony under the melody---which is where it generally belongs. Now, I certainly could transpose the song into a different key but often that's not the key I would want to sing it, and because I aspire to play jazz, you really want to try to play the tune in the original key that others will know it in.

In those cases, it can often make sense to work out the tune on my baritone uke as it will lay on the fretboard differently.

I love the sound of a baritone but is it a ukulele or is it some kind of tenor guitar?

I may be among the worst offenders here: I have one of the Pono Nui baritones with a 23" scale length. Typical baritone ukes are 20". Typical tenor guitars are 23". So is mine really a tenor guitar? Meh, I'll go with: the manufacturer calls it a uke, and I'm comfortable going along with that. If I really want to argue the point---which I have done with myself---a real tenor guitar has steel strings and is tuned like a banjo in fifths. None the less, it's too big to say it's a uke with a straight face, and sounds like a classical guitar...a beautiful classical guitar, and I love playing it because it sounds so lovely. So, it's my big beautiful uke; nyah, nyah, nya nyah, nyaaaaaahh.
 
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Oh, I didn't add my hot take: I'm pretty comfortable with movable chords and strum up and down the neck fluently. I find that some tunes are extremely well suited to using movable chords so that the flow of the voices sounds right. For example the Dm-C-Bb-A of "Happy Together" sounds great as barre chords coming down the neck, but, to my ears, doesn't sound nearly as good strummed in open chord positions. And yet, as I look at the players in the Austin Ukulele group videos and others, and as I look around in my local group, I see virtually no one playing barre chords. I'd say 95% of sing and strum group players are only using open chords...and it kinda makes me crazy. I teach beginner ukulele around town, I know people have to work very hard to get the dexterity to just play simple chords. And they do do the work to get to the point of playing many chords and tunes with open chords. But at the point where they could start learning barre chords, they throw up their hands and say, "It's too damned hard. I can't do it. and I won't bother trying. I can play and sing along just fine, I don't want to torture myself anymore learning new chords. Leave me alone and let me play and sing with my friends."

The problem is, if you can get over the hump with barre chords and movable chords, you may find, like I have, that it's MUCH easier to play competently in many keys with more complex tunes with movable chords than open chords. If you learn the movable chords, the world is your oyster and you can play all sorts of tunes in many keys with relative ease. But once people have a handle on a fair few open chords and can play the basic 365 Daily Tunes they're done with the struggle to make the next step. And it makes me a little crazy because I see it as so worth the effort.

I've found my peace though. The whole purpose of the ukulele, at some level, is that it's the easiest instrument to play to accompany yourself singing common popular tunes. Nobody gives a damn that they can't play "Lush Life" or "Moonlight in Vermont" or "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts roasting in an open fire) when there are a million other popular songs that are easy to play. So, let them play and sing easy songs and have fun. That's what the damned ukulele is for!

I've made my peace with it, but it still hurts deep inside. Keep learning; music has soooooo much subtle beauty to offer if you continue to advance.
 
Fred MacMurray had a B/W Television show called My Three Sons, back in the 60s.
And don’t forget he was in ‘Double Indemnity’ with Barbara Stanwyck. The best example of film noir ever. He did not play an ukulele in that film however.
 
You sound like you may be a product of the Canadian educational system.
Yep. Chalmers Doanes brought in that tuning to Canada it seems but it goes way to Hawaii too from my vintage songbooks
 
George Formby's music makes me cringe. Maybe it's because I'm from the U.S. but I'd burn my ukuleles before I'd try playing anything like that. :rolleyes:
 
"Dislike" wouldn't have piqued my interest, but "resent" certainly does! Why?
Fair question. I will attempt to keep it brief. Because I could write a diatribe.

I have a thing where I spend a little time each week rescuing, rehabbing, and rehoming castoff and homeless ukes to people who want/need to play music but otherwise couldn’t afford them. An inordinate number of these ukuleles are manufactured by the usual suspects. In my experience the quality is not worth what Kala charges.

Kala is absolutely not alone in this. What sets them apart is that they position the company as “the world’s most popular and most trusted ukulele brand” and they repeat it so often that people start to believe it. Paid posts show up constantly in both my Facebook and my Reverb feeds so I know it’s common. How many people are quitting because they got a uke that isn’t fun to play?

That’s the dislike. If I have resentment, I think it may come from the company doing very little (other than price) to distinguish the, ahem, genuine-layered-wood assembly-line instruments from the ones that range from actually decent to first-rate, finely crafted instruments. Sure, we know the difference here on this board. But the new players have no point of reference, they are convinced that it’s a great brand, and it smells intentional to me.

I get that I am probably alone on this and that’s okay. I came by my opinion honestly through handling more Kalas than most ever will. I keep my mind open to rebuttals and opposing views.
 
George Formby's music makes me cringe. Maybe it's because I'm from the U.S. but I'd burn my ukuleles before I'd try playing anything like that. :rolleyes:
Yeah, it's the British Music Hall tradition. We called it Vaudeville in the states.

I actually like Formby's playing style okay, but his vocals and the cheesiness of the songs themselves do tend to grate after awhile.

I can take a little of it. A few songs here and there, but it does wear thin.

For a uke player and singer from roughly the same time period who mined roughly the same vein of music, I much, much prefer Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards.

In fact Cliff was sort of a big influence on me when I took up the uke 25 years ago. I still do a few of his songs (more on the crooner/ballad side) but while I still do a lot of 1920s-1930s material I've branched off a lot into other styles.
 
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Here's a super duper unpopular opinion: Plastic ukes are bad for the environment.
I don't think that's unpopular (or inaccurate). You could also say that trimming strings, and making more tiny pieces of plastic, is bad too.
 
Here's a super duper unpopular opinion: Plastic ukes are bad for the environment.
I get your point but I’d be surprised if the lifetime impact of plastic ukuleles on all the landfills in the world equal the impact of a months worth of plastic soda/water bottles sold at a few high-volume convenience stores here in the states.
 
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