Your favorite things about ukes

Ukecaster

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What are your favorite things about ukes? For me, they are:

- The intimate, small size, allowing great music and tones anywhere, ease of packing/travel, yet still very serious instruments, on which you can do any style of music, if you try.

- Increased space between strings, compared to guitars, where many of us came from

- The Aloha Spirit - uke players are generally very open minded, accepting, happy and considerate folks.

These are a few of my favorite things...about ukes. How about you?
 
Strings that are nylon and span a short scale length
Sounds that are sweet and subdued yet rich in strength
Rhythms complex and arrangements simple
These are what make ‘ukulele essential
 
The intimacy is a big attraction for me. I love playing a resonant instrument that fits snugly against the body and can be played on the move even without a neck strap. The smaller size has other advantages, too. Both my shoulders have taken a hit in sports injuries. I'd find it difficult to play guitar for an extended period, but anything up to a baritone ukulele scale is fine, and fluorocarbon or nylon strings are much more forgiving than steel. I also like the enormous tonal variation that different woods and design features accentuate in a short-scale, four string instrument. I have solid wood baritone, tenor and soprano ukes made with a range of woods -- koa, mahogany, myrtle, redwood, spruce, cedar and rosewood, among others. No two sound remotely alike, and they're all beautiful. Beautiful to look at, too -- another attraction.
 
I love the snuggly size! Plus, like Quad57, I can't really play a guitar for very long (nor even a tenor ukulele) before my shoulder starts to gripe at me. It's fun to (try to!) make beautiful music on such a delightful little instrument. I, too, love the woods used, I used to do a little bit of woodworking, and I'm totally addicted to beautiful wood grain.

I also love the challenge: it's a relatively easy instrument to pick up and be able to make pretty ok sounding music with in a very short period of time; but it's also an instrument that takes a lot of effort to build skill on if that's what you want from it. If not, then it's fun to play regardless. I love that I can play classical and early music on it, and that a lot of music written for a Renaissance guitar is perfect for the ukulele, even in original tablature.
 
A portable, unassuming instrument that elicits low expectations from the general populous - which enabled me to have a stress free learning experience, with no impossible goals, just loads of fun.
 
I haven’t met a friendlier community!

I really like how compact it is. I can bring one anywhere and it barely takes up any space. Easy to get started but there’s always something to learn and improve on. The amount of sound variance between woods, sizes and strings.
 
I’m mostly a Soprano player - though sometimes I play Concerts - and that is because the classic or original sized Uke is best at ticking the majority of my boxes. My initial attraction to the Uke was its ‘folk’ or working class roots that gave access to music to the masses in a portable instrument. Being an instrument that could be sung along with too was also an attraction. The questions in my mind were what has historically brought musical joy to ordinary folk and could those same instruments bring me happiness too?

In some aspects the Soprano has perhaps been bettered by the larger sizes. However the Soprano is, as was no doubt originally intended, perfect for many reasons that include: ease of transport, ready affordability, sweetness of voice, musical versatility, ease of learning to play, and ease of use.
 
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I agree with all the previous posts, and after playing guitar for almost 50 years, then discovering the uke in mid 2013, the reentrant tuning is my favorite part, so much so that I gave up guitar completely.
 
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For my 2-cents: One of the biggest problems in the music world today is that almost everybody in a certain genre seems to be trying to sound the same as everyone else - there is very little originality . . . and when something new and different does come along, everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. Personally, I like to be different, and bring something new to the table with my music . . . and like it or hate it, when I show up at an open-mic with a ukulele, amidst a sea of guitar players, I am certainly different.
 
Sound, size, versatility, ability to customize, cost (for average player), and community. Also like the fact that like MikeZito it is different (read not guitar) which may be another reason I prefer the baritone in that it is in the uke community different from the GCEA majority.

Plus it has a great forum here that embraces all in a friendly and supportive manner no matter experience level or musical background.
 
Agree with all your posts and in addition, songs just seem to “fall out of them”.
I like to write my own stuff, and on a uke, ideas come so easily and without trying too hard. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just been strumming a chord or two, and then, from out of the blue, a melody happens with a few lyrics, and a new song is born. I’ve never had that ease on any other instrument.
 
Nothing new to add: portability and cost are two big bonuses in my view.

If I had to replace my Gibson J-45, it would be a pretty serious cash outlay (for me). If I had to replace my KoAloha soprano (which is arguably a better instrument than the Gibson), not nearly so bad.
 
The uke is a fun instrument to play. Sometimes I imagine that it's a dreadnought guitar and that I am a giant. Fee Fi Fo Fum!!!
 
For me, it's not having to sling a 9 pound guitar around.
Ukuleles are light and lap friendly.
PLUS, the strings are softer and easier on arthritic hands
 
I won't list everything I like about them, but rather just share the story that got me hooked. As a little kid of maybe 6 or 7, my sisters and I had ukuleles. I don't remember where we got them, or even when. But I'm sure they were really cheap. I think I knew three chords and enjoyed playing around on it. But then at some point they sort of faded... as have any clear memories of what happened to them. But then over 40 years later, on March 11, 2011 Japan (where I live) was hit with the biggest earthquake and tsunami to strike this little island since such things were measurable. Over the next year or so I made over ten trips to the disaster zone with volunteer relief workers. The first trip was about 1 week after the quake. That team was mostly made up of young people from Hawaii. One of the guys had a uke with him and he played it everywhere. In the car, at our base camp, amidst the rubble of washed away towns and villages... it was a constant backdrop in the middle of unimaginable horror and devastation. It was comforting, it was encouraging and it sort of set the mood for our entire trip. That was when I decided I wanted to get a uke for myself. The ability of that little instrument to bring peace and joy in the midst of chaos and sadness got me hooked!
 
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