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

Source: Google News

MUSIC: Vancouver ukulele showman Ralph Shaw at Mount Baker Theatre's ...
Bellingham Herald, April 23rd

Shaw performs at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at Mount Baker Theatre's Encore Room, 104 N. Commercial St., hosted by Bellingham Ukulele Group. Whether he's singing about a village vicar or a brothel handyman, or embodying an evil cat, his hilarious and ...Read more

OU student becomes famous on campus for ukulele
Oklahoma Daily, April 22nd

John Milligan hugged his ukulele to him, hiding the signatures of the band members of 'Walk Off the Earth' scrawled on the back. Stepping onto his longboard, he began strumming a chord and humming. “When it's sunny I like to just ride around playing...Read more

Ukulele, pahu now official state musical instruments
KITV Honolulu, April 20th

It's thanks to the Portuguese and Manuel Nunes whose gravestone gives him credit for bringing the ukulele to the islands. But now it's the official “modern” instrument for the state. When lawmakers first proposed the idea of an official instrument last...Read more

Big Ukulele Gathering in Los Angeles Fails to Break Record
TIME, April 19th

More than 1,100 ukulele players gathered in Los Angeles to play in what they hoped would be the world's largest ever ukulele ensemble. But despite the fun atmosphere as they strummed along to the Ukulele standard “Pua i Ka Ua,” the Los Angeles Times ...Read more

Better pluck next time: Ukulele ensemble in LA again falls short of record
Los Angeles Times, April 18th

Displaying screamingly loud Hawaiian shirts, the occasional neon-hued lei and inspiring pluck, more than 1,000 ukulele players on Saturday swarmed the plaza in front of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in downtown Los Angeles...Read more

Speaking truth to power is the way to go. Using a ukulele to do it isn't
The Guardian, April 17th

Ukuleles are one of the external signifiers of The New Twee, a cosy fashion cult that's forgotten whether it's being ironic or not. Ukes are lightweight four-stringed bantam guitars that are easy to play, colourful to look at and small enough to slip...Read more

Ukulele lovers seek world record in LaLa land
Los Angeles Times, April 16th

The first Los Angeles attempt, last year, fell well-shy of breaking the 2013 record of 2,135 ukulele players held by Yokohama, Japan. The 2014 record-holder, with 2,370 musicians, is Hampshire, England. "We're hoping to bring [the record] to L.A. and...Read more

Ukulele Orchestra Tries To Break Record
NPR, April 14th

Over the weekend, 4,750 ukulele players traveled from all over French Polynesia to Tahiti to play "Bora Bora E." The attempt is being verified to see if the record was broken. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. And what we're ...Read more