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
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Rye holds first ukulele festivalBBC News, May 25th
A dozen ukulele bands from across Kent and East Sussex gathered in Rye for the town's first ukulele festival this weekend. Organiser Lorna Hall said the ukulele was the "instrument of the moment" and the playlist included ranged from blues and jazz to...Read more
Ukulele fans unite for bluegrass/old-time music festSt. Cloud Times, May 24th
RICHMOND – The signature on Tony Anthonisen's emails sums up his feelings: "You just never see someone playing a ukulele without a smile on their face!" If that's true, there will be many happy people next weekend at El Rancho Manana campgrounds...Read more
Grand Ukulele Festival proves a massive hit in town with performances at ...Huddersfield Examiner, May 24th
It was the second time the town had hosted such an event. Among those taking part were US jazz ukulele player, Sarah Maisel, originally from Birmingham, Alabama, the world's number one ukulele blues player and her Hawaiian husband-to-be Craig Chee...Read more
Bermuda's ukulele star woos UKRoyal Gazette, May 23rd
Mr Hind, also known by his stage name of Uncle Elvis, now graces the front page of a magazine: appropriately enough, Uke — the UK's only ukulele magazine. He also appeared in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner after stopping by John Smith's Stadium to ...Read more
Students drawn to ukulele program in Upper ArlingtonColumbus Dispatch, May 18th
The choice seemed fitting for members of the Windermere Ukulele Orchestra: After all, the Top 40 love song is marked by ukulele throughout. Jason Hudson, the founder of the ensemble and a third-grade teacher at Windermere Elementary School in Upper ...Read more
Voxel8 Designer 3D Prints an Incredible Electric Ukulele & You Can Too!3DPrint.com, May 7th
The idea for Noguera's ukulele stemmed from his master's thesis, where he realized that designers can fabricate small spaces and distribution channels for branded and well designed things exclusively created for 3D printing. He believes that by...Read more
Ukulele fest to rock Old Town LansingDetroit Free Press, May 2nd
Expect lots of performances, including headliners Stuart Fuchs and Victoria Vox; workshops on everything from ukulele care and songwriting to chord melody and left-hand technique; and a chance to see the world's largest playable ukulele, which is 13...Read more
Warren Buffett and his ukulele: The greatest hitsMarketWatch, April 30th
True, Buffett, who apparently learned to play the instrument in college, wasn't in tune. Nor was this his first time at the ukulele rodeo. Just a few weeks ago, he was belting it out at the new Nebraska Furniture Mart, a Berkshire-owned company. And...Read more