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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FT Masterclass: Ukulele with Joe BrownFinancial Times, February 12th
Brown has mastered many instruments during his 54-year recording career but the ukulele remains his favourite. When Harrison passed away in 2001, Brown's uke-led rendition of the 1920s ballad “I'll See You in My Dreams” closed the memorial concert for ...Read more
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra continues to spread Hawaii's little ...Knoxville News Sentinel, February 12th
When the Portuguese introduced what became known as the ukulele to Hawaiians in the 1800s, the Hawaiians gave the little instrument the name "jumping flea." Since that time, the little flea has hopped from island to island and continent to continent, ...Read more
Annual Valentine ukulele open mic and play-along set for FridayThe Bozeman Daily Chronicle, February 12th
Open mic performers are guaranteed a warm reception in the all-ukulele open mic cabaret. Prizes for “Saddest Song,” “Sweetest Song” and “Valentine Attire” will be decided by audience ballot. Performers can sign up in advance online, or grab remaining ...Read more
Cupid's ukulele: Singing telegram's upgradePhilly.com, February 12th
A MODERN-DAY Cupid is strumming love, maybe something less serious, on his ukulele, and the song is slipping out an open door in a Center City apartment to flirt with the snow flurries, just before Valentine's Day. Eric Jaffe's beard is painted as red...Read more
Handstands, a ukulele, music and dancing will all be part of Wyoming Area Key ...Wilkes Barre Times-Leader, February 11th
the floor doing handstands, somersaults and high kicks; 12-year-old Gianna Colella sang “Hallelujah” as her friend Ryan Dietrich, also 12, strummed an electric guitar; and 16-year-old Lacey Fassett accompanied herself and Antonio Rivera, 18, on...Read more
The Prettiots: Fun's Cool review – imagine Lena Dunham with a ukuleleThe Guardian, February 6th
“Lena Dunham with a ukulele” might run a crude sales pitch for the debut album of the Prettiots, the New York duo of Kay Kasparhauser and Lulu Prat who set the travails of early twentysomething life to naive folk-pop. Handclaps and harmonies share...Read more
Music festival celebrates the ukuleleKHON2, February 5th
Plans are strumming along for this year's 8th Annual Ukulele Picnic in Hawaii. The three-day event runs from February 12 – 14, with the grand finale taking place Sunday, February 14, at Kaka'ako Makai Gateway Park. The festivities, which celebrate...Read more
Ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro returns to Anchorage after releasing new albumAlaska Dispatch News, February 3rd
As a child, he was exposed to the ukulele at home as well as at school, where classes were required for elementary students. Since then, Shimabukuro has taken the underdog of the strings section to new levels throughout his musical career, creating...Read more