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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Once-homeless Napa ukulele player performs for LA jazz recordingNapa Valley Register, July 31st
In less than a month, James Farrell's fortunes have swung from the worst old age can offer to the best – from expulsion from his retirement home and a few days of homelessness, to a chance to perform on a jazz recording on the ukulele that has been his...Read more
Ukulele Club Hosts Jam Session in Fort Greene ParkDNAinfo, July 31st
"We'll take requests but the requester better have a ukulele in hand." Rabson Schnore, 48, bought a ukulele for $25 on a whim years ago but didn't start to play until recently when she noticed it "lying around the house," she said. Once she started to...Read more
Ukuleles aplenty at Uke East festival in NorwichNorfolk Eastern Daily Press, July 28th
Sophie Madeleine is an award-winning singer-songwriter and ukulele player from Brighton whose third album Silent Cynic has just been released. Her songs have featured on TV adverts such as track You Make Me Happy on a Pets At Home advert. She has ...Read more
Rob Scallon Does Death Metal On A Ukulele, Playing 'Frantic Disembowelment ...Huffington Post, July 28th
If you've never heard death metal on a ukulele before, you don't know what you've been missing. Musician Rob Scallon, who's built a reputation for posting his crazy-creative covers online, may have outdone himself with this latest effort. It's "Frantic ...Read more
Pete Waters: Joe Arnold, civics teacher with a ukuleleHerald-Mail Media, July 26th
On St. Patrick's Day, he would bring his ukulele and Irish songs to the classroom. Joe Arnold made civics an enjoyable learning experience. Along with the humor and entertainment, however, you had better bring the right answers to the test questions...Read more
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
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
44th Annual Ukulele Festival continues despite rainy weatherHawaii News Now, 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