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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Historic Gibson ukulele stolen from 103-year-old Kalamazoo womanFox17, July 29th
KALAMAZOO TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A piece of Kalamazoo's music history appears to have been stolen from a 103-year-old woman. Kalamazoo Township Police are looking for the beloved heirloom, a 1930's Soprano Gibson Ukulele 3, everywhere, from eBay ...Read more
Grimes Taught Herself to Play Violin, Drums, Keys, Guitar, and Ukulele for Her ...Flavorwire, July 29th
In Fader's most recent cover story, both Grimes and the feature's author, Emilie Friedlander, reveal some key information about the artist's anticipated upcoming album, including the fact that Grimes taught herself to play at least five instruments for...Read more
Wine Country 'Ukulele Festival: Put It On Your Calendar!Patch.com, July 28th
“There's loads of 'ukulele merriment coming your way at this year's festival, starting with a camp-fire jam at Bothe State Park, Thursday evening, September 10, and ending with Heidi Swedberg and the Smoking Jackets at Velo Vino on Sunday afternoon, ...Read more
Enjoy Ukulele Mix Plate at The Shops at WaileaMaui Now, July 27th
Mele Ukulele and The Shops at Wailea will host Ukulele Mix Plate on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 12 and 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Shops at Wailea fountain courtyard, where guests can take part in an entertaining learning experience about Hawai'i's official ...Read more
The funny little ukulele finds a following in ClermontDaily Commercial, July 25th
Most of the players at Ukulele Revolution use the standard concert ukulele. The library-owned instruments are soprano ukuleles, smaller than the concert size, but pitched exactly the same. Bruce plays a slightly larger tenor ukulele and reports that...Read more
Armie Hammer Plays the Ukulele – and He's Pretty Amazing at ItYahoo Celebrity UK, July 22nd
“A little birdie tells me that you, sir, are quite the Renaissance man [and] can play any string instrument, so we brought … a ukulele,” Steel offered, before presenting Hammer with the instrument. Though Hammer was admittedly nervous – he even...Read more
Hawaii's Ukulele Festival still going strong after 45 yearsHawaii News Now, July 17th
The ukulele – considered a symbol of aloha – will show its power to bring people together when performers from Hawaii and around the world gather at the 45th Annual Ukulele Festival Sunday, July 19, 2015 at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki. Presented by Tony ...Read more
Judge rules in battle of the ukulele orchestrasThe Guardian, July 2nd
Judge Hacon found the German promoter Erwin Clausen was guilty of passing off when he used the name UK Ukulele Orchestra for a band he put together in 2009 because fans might confuse it with the longer established Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain...Read more