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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Laurie Kallevig's Survivor Girl Ukulele ProjectHometown Pasadena, October 22nd
IMG 1239 300x225 Laurie Kallevigs Survivor Girl Ukulele Project Ukulele Project Survivor Girl Ukulele Band Project For most of us, human trafficking is a grim statistic in the news. For Laurie Kallevig, it's up-close-and-personal. She works with...Read more
Play That Funky Ukulele, White BoyHuffington Post (satire), October 22nd
"It's hard to be depressed around a ukulele. You just pick it up and you're halfway home." -- William H. Macy in The New Yorker. Me, I was born with rhythm and soul -- almost too much. I credit my Norwegian heritage for my innate sense of rhythm and ...Read more
Ukulele Genius Jake Shimabukuro ReturnsSanta Barbara Independent, October 20th
An aura of inherent boyishness infuses ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro. He has the gee-whiz adventurousness of an extreme skateboarder, game to go for the impossible, coupled with a disarming humility and genuineness that wonders at his skyrocketed ...Read more
Cat to Musician: No One Cares About Your Stupid Ukulele SoloJezebel, October 16th
If there's one thing that ruins a beautiful YouTube performance of a ukulele song about being frightened of "dentists and the dark." It's a music-hating cat who's not at all interested in your soulful crooning and enthusiastic strumming. Fuck you...Read more
Hero Cat Saves World From Another Goddamn Fucking Ukulele CoverGawker, October 15th
This video has become popular today as a short vignette about how cats are selfish and malicious and constantly interrupting your Important Human Business. Slice of life, right? We can all relate to those wacky cats! They're annoying as hell, but we...Read more
Duelling ukulele orchestras may take turf war to high courtThe Guardian, October 14th
To the anger of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, a group established in 1985 which moved from strumming in folk clubs to packing out the Royal Albert Hall with unlikely cover versions of songs such as Wuthering Heights and Smells Like Teen...Read more
Ukulele slam punches up Kansas City folk sceneKansas City Star, October 4th
A couple of years ago, Pam Waters got a call from a friend. “You know that ukulele you have?” The friend had heard about a group, the Ukulele Fight Club of Kansas City, and suggested Waters check it out. “So I took my ukulele, and it was like I was...Read more
Judge refuses injunction in battle of ukulele orchestrasThe Guardian, September 23rd
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain bosses claimed that their German rival was infringing trademark rights. They took action weeks before the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra was due to start its first British tour, and asked for an injunction...Read more