Just about every major guitar maker has produced a ukulele (often misspelled ukelele) at one time or another. Martin offered three ukulele models to its customers in 1918. The diminutive 12- and 17-fret instruments were followed in the 1920s by concert and tenor models, while the Martin 5-K from 1922, with its koa wood body and abalone inlay, is much in demand among collectors.

Gibson introduced its first ukulele in 1926. The highly collectible Uke-2 and Uke-3 styles from that year had mahogany bodies and rosewood fingerboards. Gibson also made tenor ukuleles (1927) and a baritone model (1961).

Today, ukuleles are experiencing a revival, thanks in no small part to the sustained popularity of the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole’s ukulele medley of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World,” which has provided the soundtrack for everything from films to TV commercials. Aspiring musicians, with perhaps more good intentions than natural talent, also love them, probably because they are just so darned easy to play.

Not surprisingly, a host of guitar makers have jumped on the uke bandwagon. National makes an entire line of resonator ukuleles, from steel-body models to maple and mahogany ones. Martin and Gibson continue to make ukuleles, as does a well-regarded boutique ukulele maker named Barking Dog.

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Recent News: Ukuleles

Source: Google News

Smart 55: Ukulele all about the fun, fun, fun
Williams Lake Tribune, October 6th

The ukulele may be one of the smallest stringed instruments but it is big on fun for players and group entertainment. A ukulele group started about five years ago by a small group of retired teachers continues to blossom and grow today. “A bunch of us...Read more

ACL Fest artist Vance Joy played a ukulele for free tacos
austin360 (blog), October 6th

Vance Joy visited Tyson's Tacos on Monday with KSGR to take on their ukulele challenge. (He's scheduled to perform both weekends of Austin City Limits Music Festival so he has time to kill before Weekend 2 starts up.) The taco joint implemented a ...Read more

Strumming the Soundtrack of Life: Kamaka Family Rocks the Ukulele
Indian Country Today Media Network, October 6th

The soundtrack to many a Hawaiian daydream includes the soothing tropical strum of a ukulele. This small, four-stringed instrument is as iconically Hawaiian as palm trees, pristine beaches and turquoise waves, but it is also inextricably tied to Native...Read more

Ukulele group strums up support for Hartlepool hospice
Hartlepool Mail, October 6th

Hartlepool Ukulele Group (HUG) has already raised more than £5,500 for the hospice through performances and sales of CDs. The group, which formed two years ago, has been supporting and donating all funds collected from performances which consist of ...Read more

Ukulele-star Jake Shimabukuro set for "Travels"
Reuters UK, October 5th

Strumming up a storm with a Virginia audience, ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro discusses his passion for the ''friendly instrument'' as the release date for his latest album ''Travels'' approaches. Produced by Jillian Kitchener. ? Hide Transcript...Read more

There's a place in LA that sells ukuleles and espresso, and it is terrific
Boing Boing, October 5th

The store has a large wall of ukuleles in all the sizes, from the itty bitty sopranos all the way up to the baritones (which are typically tuned like the four high strings on a guitar). U-Space has tables and comfy couches for drinking coffee and...Read more

Ukulele Orchestra to perform at Emens
Muncie Star Press, October 5th

MUNCIE — The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, a group of all-singing, all-strumming ukulele players, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Emens Auditorium. A pre-concert “ukulele jam” will take place 5-7 p.m. Wednesday in Emens' Williams ...Read more

Dueling UK ukulele orchestras battle for US fans on near-simultaneous tours
The Guardian, September 29th

Members of the orchestra have been left outraged, however, after discovering that the UK Ukulele Orchestra – which was recently banned in the UK for passing themselves off as the more established act – plans to tour the east coast in just 10 days' time...Read more