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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600 ukulele players strung alongThe Queensland Times, March 15th
HIGHLY STRUNG: John Pascua got into the swing of things in his Hawaiian shirt at the Sunshine Coast Ukulele Fest at Borumba Deer Park, Imbil. Iain Curry. ABOVE the little rural town of Imbil, the relaxing sounds of Hawaii have been filling the air...Read more
East Lansing seniors love to strum the ukuleleLansing State Journal, March 15th
EAST LANSING — Multi-talented musician Ben Hassenger is a true ambassador for one of his favorite instruments, the ukulele. The Okemos resident will host Mighty Uke Day IV May 9-10 in Lansing's Old Town neighborhood, featuring numerous musical ...Read more
Students in Hualien on mission to fund ukulele tripTaipei Times, March 13th
Bebin added ukulele lessons to the school curriculum in 2010 and the instrument quickly became popular among the children as it is portable, affordable and easy to learn, said Lin Chia-jung (???), one of the school's ukulele instructors. “They have...Read more
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Brooklyn Brings MISSIONARY IN MANHATAN: A ...Broadway World, March 11th
The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Brooklyn, will present MISSIONARY IN MANHATTAN: A MORMON MUSICAL, a musical comedy about the fundamentals of big hair, blind faith, and just how plural a marriage can get. Tonight, March 12, 2014 at 8pm and ...Read more
Free ukulele workshop at Clinton libraryWicked Local Bolton, March 5th
Jim Webster, a Clinton resident and builder of stringed instruments (www.nashuariverinstruments.com) will lead a two hour Ukulele 101 workshop Saturday, March 15 from 10 A.M. to noon at the Bigelow Free Public Library, 54 Walnut Street (at the corner...Read more
'Bachelor' contestant Lucy Aragon tells Juan Pablo 'Ess Okay' with naked ...Kansas City Star, March 4th
With only a ukulele covering her goods, Aragon posted a video Monday of her original song “Ess Okay” to YouTube for our enjoyment. “Juan Pablo, you kicked us off of your show. We're doing so fine, we're drinking red wine all night,” she sings. “You...Read more
Ukulele festival could be axedBend Bulletin, March 1st
Organizers of the annual Ukulele University festival in Bend say it could be canceled, because Deschutes County may not grant it a permit. “We're hoping that they'll grant it, but we're not hopeful,” Bob Rasmussen, chairman of the Ukulele University...Read more
Bill acknowledges ukulele's influenceHonolulu Star-Advertiser, February 16th
Soocheol Jang stands and plays an ukulele solo while the Pica Pica Ukulele Orchestra from Korea plays the Eagles' "Hotel California" at Roy Sakuma's 43rd Annual Ukulele Festival at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand. Dozens of groups and artists graced the ...Read more