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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Ukulele more than strum of its partsThe Canberra Times, April 16th
Through the magic of soul travel, Mozart never misses Canberra's National Folk Festival and was there in spirit at EPIC on Wednesday, listening to Jeff Peterson's ukulele workshop. He, Mozart, told me he was kicking himself that he never had the chance...Read more
Reading Ukulele Group invites new members to join the happy bandReading Post, April 15th
A Reading ukulele group is hoping to encourage more people in the town to pick up the tiny instrument. The popularity of the ukulele has boomed in recent years and the Reading Ukulele Group (RUG) is eager to share its enthusiasm for the uke with the...Read more
Ukulele made easy at Sheffield workshopSheffield Telegraph, April 14th
Ukulele skills were taught in a day at a Sheffield course. Published on the 15 April 2014 06:00. Published 15/04/2014 06:00. Print this. Music lovers enjoyed a 'play in a day' workshop teaching the ukulele to complete beginners at Sheffield's...Read more
Acclaimed ukulele ensemble in Surrey, then HawaiiSurrey Now, April 14th
Langley Ukulele Ensemble during a recent performance in Kelowna. The acclaimed group performs in Surrey this Saturday evening, April 19. SURREY — World-renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble recently returned from a four-day tour of the Okanagan...Read more
Gatesville Elementary teacher offers ukulele club to third-gradersKilleen Daily Herald, April 13th
gathered at the entrance of Christeena Sweeney's classroom. One-by-one Sweeney, an art and music teacher at Gatesville Elementary School, tuned about 60 students' instruments before the school's ukulele club started its weekly Wednesday rehearsal...Read more
Ukulele Sensation Jake ShimabukuroWBUR, April 9th
Jake Shimabukuro started playing ukulele at the age of 4 and soon fell in love with the instrument. As he tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson, ”My parents would have to take the ukulele away from me so that I would do things like my homework, eat dinner, ...Read more
Natomas Seniors Strummin' Along with Ukulele BandNatomas Buzz, March 31st
The Ukulele Heaven Orchestra – a band of 20 musicians from Heritage Park – has been strumming for audiences at their community clubhouse and senior care homes throughout Sacramento since 2005. “When you get to the point where you know you're ...Read more
Nationwide Ukulele Craze Takes South Florida By StrumMiamiHerald.com, March 27th
Olopai is the founder of the Florida Ukulele Network — or F.U.N. for short. He started the nonprofit about five years ago. Its original six members used to play together at Olopai's local Starbucks until the group outgrew the space. The network now...Read more