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 lessons strike a chord with U3A groupOldham Chronicle, February 9th
“It's only in its second week but they all seemed to enjoy it and I'm happy to help out,” said Glen, who has also been drafting in students from the school's own ukulele group to help out. Members range in age from 55 to 70 and over: “I think it's...Read more
The Ukulele turns 100 and 9 other e komo mai (welcoming) reasons to visit OahuExaminer.com, February 8th
1) The Hawaiian Ukulele Turns 100--Kamaka Hawaii, Inc., celebrates 100 years of manufacturing the world's premier 'ukulele with a limited edition custom Kamaka pineapple ukulele. In 1916, Sam Kaialiilii Kamaka founded his one-man shop and today three ...Read more
The DIY Musician: 1917 Film on 'The Making of a Ukulele,' Plus Free DIY Uke PlansGuitar World Magazine, February 8th
Build Your own Homemade Hawaiian Cigar Box Ukulele (Published 1917): In it, S.H. Samuels walks the reader through the basics of constructing a uke, which in 1917 “was made at a cost of 30 cents, by careful selection of materials from the shop scrap stock...Read more
Ukulele players gather in their hundredsOtago Daily Times, February 7th
Pic'n'Mix, of Invercargill, tunes up for its performance at the Lauder Ukulele Festival yesterday. The group comprises (from left) Des Collins (with a hand-made banjolele, a cross between a banjo and a ukulele), Bernadette Ford, Lawrence Livingstone...Read more
The Prettiots: Fun's Cool review – imagine Lena Dunham with a ukuleleThe Guardian, February 6th
“Lena Dunham with a ukulele” might run a crude sales pitch for the debut album of the Prettiots, the New York duo of Kay Kasparhauser and Lulu Prat who set the travails of early twentysomething life to naive folk-pop. Handclaps and harmonies share...Read more
Music festival celebrates the ukuleleKHON2, February 5th
Wade Cambern, Ukulele Picnic in Hawaii spokesperson, says, “The three-day celebration kicks off Friday, February 12, with the 4th Annual Ukulele Museum Benefit Concert at the Hawaii Prince Hotel's Mauna Kea Ballroom. The highlight of the evening ...Read more
Ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro returns to Anchorage after releasing new albumAlaska Dispatch News, February 3rd
As a child, he was exposed to the ukulele at home as well as at school, where classes were required for elementary students. Since then, Shimabukuro has taken the underdog of the strings section to new levels throughout his musical career, creating...Read more
Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra Performs In Escondido TuesdayKPBS, February 2nd
It is tempting to hope that they tiptoed through the tulips to get here. But alas, no. The New Zealand band, the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra is in San Diego Tuesday as part of a 40-city tour across the U.S. The eight-member band will...Read more