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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Cerritos College makes music in ukulele workshopLong Beach Press-Telegram, December 7th
Guitar-maker Monica Esparza recently led a ukulele-building workshop at Cerritos College. Pictured with some of the students, from left to right: Vic Norcia, Wesley Gravesen, Josie Hu, Lee Gravesen, Hilda Ruvalcaba, Monica Esparza, Mike Ceja, Todd ...Read more
Small ladies with ukulelesABC Local, December 5th
Courtney Guild and Emily Hurst, both eight-years-old, are learning the ukulele with the help of instructor Edith Pidgeon at Our Lady's School in Longreach. Mrs Pidgeon says learning the the instrument helps the students develop memory and social skills...Read more
Ukulele center of Bakersfield Museum of Art lectureKERO-TV 23, December 4th
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The ukulele has had a recent resurgence in popular music on top of its role in American history. It was a topic of discussion at the Bakersfield Museum of Art as part of its First Wednesday series. Kevin Birkbeck led the lecture...Read more
Vote For Local Ukulele Player To Win National CompetitionKMPH Fox 26, December 4th
A Valley man is in the hunt to win a national ukulele competition. The contest ends Friday so with only two days to go Edward Hernandez, the strumming musician from Hanford needs your vote. Hernandez has been playing the ukulele for the past two and a ...Read more
James Hill's ukulele epiphanyStuff.co.nz, November 28th
While the ukulele is often ridiculed as a children's play-thing, Hill has earned a worldwide reputation for taking the instrument to a new level, with his version of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean clocking up more than 800,000 views on YouTube. "I've...Read more
Carolina Ukulele Ensemble to put on first full-length concertThe Daily Tar Heel, November 22nd
The Carolina Ukulele Ensemble plans to prove that the humble ukulele is a musical force to be reckoned with. CUE, formed in 2010, is putting on its first-ever full-length concert tonight, titled “The Happiest Night of the Year.” “We want to have the...Read more
Blackbird launches the Clara plant-fiber composite ukuleleGizmag, November 19th
The stork flew over San Francisco today and delivered a new baby to the workshop of Blackbird Guitars. Unlike its stablemates, such as the gorgeous Rider, the Clara concert-level ukulele is not made from carbon fiber. It's made from a newly-developed ...Read more
Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro travels lightDesMoinesRegister.com, November 14th
Jake Shimabukuro travels light. Most musicians who travel the world have cases full of instruments and amps and roadies to haul them all. Shimabukuro can bring his instrument, the ukulele, on planes as his carry-on luggage. “I just have one, setup is...Read more