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

This is my favourite thing on this thread, and I hope it's not really an unpopular opinion. "It's okay just to have a hobby" is true about so many things. It's meant to be fun.
Isn't that the very definition of the word amateur?

It is rooted in the word amare. We're doing this for the passion of doing it, regardless of skill level...It's definitely not for any financial gain.

That said, if you play music long enough, you're bound to learn SOME theory especially if you play & communicate with other musicians.
 
Isn't that the very definition of the word amateur?

It is rooted in the word amare. We're doing this for the passion of doing it, regardless of skill level...It's definitely not for any financial gain.

That said, if you play music long enough, you're bound to learn SOME theory especially if you play & communicate with other musicians.

Indeed. Although I deliberately chopped out the bit about music theory because personally I think it's fascinating even if my knowledge is still mostly quite basic :). It's also handy just for have a way of discussing things with others (not that I play with others all that often). I still agree with the sentiment though. Do what's fun and don't let anyone tell you you're doing it wrong. They're not your boss, pretty much by definition.
 
I've enjoyed watching this thread for a few days but when I try to conjure something controversial and/or unpopular that I actually feel strongly about, it's difficult. Somehow my experience with the ukulele and the ukulele community is rather the opposite of controversy--the instrument is more joyous than frustrating and the community seems very welcoming and tolerant. Even the strap/nostrap debate seems more at the periphery and the core take on it is basically Whatevahs.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are aspects of my playing and what I say about music in general and the ukulele in particular that cause many to at least roll their eyes, and others to shake their heads and mutter. I don't like lyric sheets and much prefer sheet music. Sheet music with tabs can be helpful while I am first learning something, but I read and play from the treble staff most of the time. I mark up my music with fingerings, dynamics, and phrasing (in pencil). I think music theory is very cool, and I have tried reading theory books, but it only sticks when it explains something I've done in practice. I treat my ukuleles more like classical instruments than folk instruments. I don't decorate my ukuleles or put stickers on my cases. But I don't feel strongly about people who do things differently and I don't consider what I do as the way it should be done. It's just how I do it.
 
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Well, I certainly answered the brief! 😇

The late great John King who knew more about the history of the ukulele than anyone else ever conclusively demonstrated that the 'jumping flea' story is a foundation myth (one of five); first promulgated in the 1920s, & long after all the passing of those involved in the original transplantation of the little Madeiran chordophone to Hawaiian soil (it's all referenced in the link I provided).

So if you want to call our beloved little instrument a 'jumping flea, then by all means, honour the 'okina, but if you're not invested in this particular foundation myth, you're under no obligation to do so.

Rupert Brooke, who travelled extensively in what were then called the South Seas in the early years of the twentieth century, writes in his poem "Waikiki" (dated 1913) of the "eukaleli"'s "plangent... thrills and cries..." Brooke is obviously spelling phonetically & without reference to back-formations based on foundation myths, the pronunciation he heard when living on Waikiki in those years.

In 1919, also before the first publication of the "jumping flea" story, P.G. Wodehouse wrote of the "ukalele" (in Damsel In Distress).


So I'll go further (!). There's no 'correct' spelling of ukelele either - the original spelling (1896) according to both Webster & the OED!

Think about it for a moment, if the original pronunciation had been "ook-kalaylee", wouldn't the earliest spellings reflected that pronunciation? The representation of vowel sounds in English hasn't changed that much in the past hundred years.
#ducksandruns
Sigh... I guess one can debate for a while... my point was not to argue the origin of the name (and you are more learned about this then I). But ...

From Ukulele magazine ("The Birth of the Ukulele):
"Having a unique name is something else that helps distinguish early ukuleles from other instruments, but exactly how the uke got its name is another mystery. There are many stories out there, but here’s one sensible explanation: Hawaii actually had the word “ukulele” before they had the instrument. An 1865 dictionary defined the word as “a cat flea,” a pest that had found its way to the islands decades earlier. Around 1900, novelist Jack London wrote that the ukulele was “the Hawaiian (word) for ‘jumping flea’ as it is also a certain musical instrument that may be likened to a young guitar.”

Six years later, the virtuoso uke player and teacher Ernest Kaai wrote in his ukulele instruction book that “the Hawaiians have a way of playing all over the strings… hence the name ukulele.”
.........

Apparently John King was born in 1953. In his 2012 book (and your referenced article), the myth he dispels is that it was named after E W Purvis, who had the nickname "ukulele" due to a nightmare he related. In his book, Chapter 4 is titled: "Have You Seen the Bouncing Flea?"
.........

As to the spelling not being "ook-kalaylee"... the Hawaiian language is a phonetic language that translate to using the English alphabet, but using only five vowels and eight consonants (and the 'okina'). So anglicizing the name becomes "ukulele". No "y" sound in their language so no written representation of it. There is only one vowel attached to a syllable, so no "ook" or "lee".

So my original point is that one should not berate or make fun of the word sounding silly or being pronounced as "an ook..." And that an entire American state that honors the instrument agrees on its pronounciation, but allows for the alternate.
 
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But, I also think that there are too little recorded albums of strictly solo ukulele music. Led Kaapana's Jus Press Vol 2 is up next in my listening queue. Without recordings like these, the instrument doesn't stand alone in the same way that all the other classical orchestral instruments do.
I see both sides but I can’t get enough of Gerald Ross’s uke solos, just backed up by guitar and bass.
 
To draw attention away from the far too serious debate regarding the pronunciation of the name of the instrument that I shan't even mention for fear of reprisal . . .

I would like to announce an opinion so unpopular that there is a thread dedicated to this exact topic that has been running for nearly fifteen years and this opinion has never been mentioned, not even once:

The best E chord to teach beginners is Esus4 (4400)

(Just uh, please don't mention this to anyone in that E chords thread, or I'll have to open a new account under an even more fake name)
 
This is also likely to piss people off - don't understand the attraction of a banjolele. Everybody strums them; never finger pick. Would sound better travis picking an actual banjo.

A couple of really talented banjo players sit in with us on occasion & they really add to the songs. (Esp songs like City of New Orleans & Foggy Mountain Breakdown.)
 
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This is also likely to piss people off - don't understand the attraction of a banjolele. Everybody strums them; never finger pick. Would sound better travis picking an actual banjo.
I actually bought a banjolele to encourage myself to do more finger picking. It hasn't been a complete success because it's so fun to strum, but that's the goal.
 
Agreed. I don't see the appeal of the banjo or the banjolele, but folk music doesn't really grab me so ymmv.

That said, I really would like a Mando or a sitar for when certain moods hit me.
 
Very funny indeed, but a low G string does have benefits in not only having the ability to go to it in melodies, but also in chord melody.

Simon
As a person who writes chord melody that can intentionally be used by either, you are correct. If you are willing to only offer your work for Low G players, then you can end on a Low G, by itself, in G or Gm. If allowing for High G, as I do, you can only end on Middle C. I want to make sure anyone can play my arrangements, but then you don’t make great use of the Low G.
 
Glossy necks not only look nicer than satin, they are perfectly serviceable.
 
:unsure: But are they generally grippier? (I've only ever played a satin neck.)
Well, I was practicing just now on my flight phantom. Having noticed it had a glossy neck is what prompted me to post. I live in a fairly dry climate — the summers for sure, not so much the winters, but at least inside is warm and dry — so sweaty palms sticking to glossy necks aren’t really ever a problem.
 
mutant ukes, just say NO (define "mutant" however you wish)
 
Glossy necks aren’t a problem if you don’t have sweaty hands 🙌
 
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