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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Man, 97, was 'thrown out of his retirement home for playing the ukulele too ...Daily Mail, July 21st
A 97-year-old man was evicted from his retirement center in Napa, California and he claims it's because he played the ukulele too much. An anonymous donor helped Jim Farrell, 97, find a new home after being thrown out by Redwood Retirement Center with ...Read more
West Norfolk ukulele group formedLynn News, July 20th
Two West Norfolk ukulele players have set up a new club for budding musicians and are now appealing for more members to come foward and join their fortnightly meetings. Grimston's Richard English founded the group earlier this year with the help of...Read more
97-year-old ukulele player evicted from retirement homeKTVU San Francisco, July 18th
Ninety-seven-year-old Jim Farrell likes to sing and play his ukulele. He says he's a veteran of three wars. But most recently he's found himself homeless. He had been living independently at the Redwood Retirement Residence in Napa, until eleven days...Read more
Justin Bieber Has A Fever, And The Only Prescription Is More UkuleleMTV.com, July 18th
Good thing Scooter Braun has Justin Bieber to make everything right in the world of music. Braun posted a cute Instagram video on Friday (July 18) of a jam sesh that needed a little something more. Thankfully, Justin was there to deliver the ukulele...Read more
Thousands unofficially break largest ukulele ensemble recordBBC News, July 17th
"It seemed that the saints really had come marching in as the stadium resounded to the sound of their enthusiastic singing and dancing as they strummed the afternoon away on their ukuleles." Organiser Jill Larner, of Hampshire Music Service, said...Read more
Ukulele University comes to HillsboroHillsboro Tribune, July 17th
Ukulele University continues Saturday, July 26 with a workshop taught by Ivan Camacho. All skill levels are welcome. Children 10-14 may register and participate in class with an adult who is also registered and participating. The workshop is from 9 a.m...Read more
Donated ukuleles brighten mood for hospitalized childrenMiamiHerald.com, July 16th
The music therapy program falls under the hospital's Child Life Services department and is largely funded by the hospital's foundation. Corey Bergman's ukulele Kids Club is the only organization that gives the hospital instruments to pass on to...Read more
Ukulele Festival Celebrates 44th Year in HonoluluABC News, July 16th
An effort to the name the ukulele as Hawaii's official instrument was unsuccessful during the 2014 legislative session. Bills that would've declared the ukulele Hawaii's official instrument died amid debate that other instruments such as the steel...Read more