What Inspired You to Play Uke?

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  2. 6 years ago

    the awesome performer, singer and songwriter, Amanda Palmer. ♥
    since i've listened to her Ukulele Anthem for the first time i was in complete love with the ukulele. then a few months later i ordered my soprano Lanikai, and here i am!

  3. I saw one at Barnes & Nobles and I had a gift card so I bought it. A day after buying it my dad broke it while trying to tune it. I was so upset that I ran to the nearest Guitar Center and bought a nicer one! I was so excited that I was going to learn something for my own enjoyment! I've been in love with it ever since!

  4. Sweet - Dave Matthews Band.

  5. A bunch of my friends got ukes, so I decided to get one as well

  6. Fiji. Everyone was getting around with one and all the natives knew how to play them. Even the kids.

  7. [color=#BFBFFF]Actually I never knew that playing ukulele will come up to me. I just woke up and realize that ukulele was really my thing. I tried playing Guitar, Piano, Drums but none of it worked out. So I really am so glad that now I know what really is my thing. i am so glad and so of knowing that I can play ukulele. [/color]

  8. I spent a week visiting my mother last month. She's retired, and developed a ukulele obsession last year. She now has four ukes, and despite her real lack of aptitude, she spends a few hours every day chilling out on her porch singing and playing ukulele, having a great time. She tried for days to encourage me to try the uke, and I was not interested. Eventually, it was clear she intended to send me home with one of her ukes whether I wanted it or not, so I decided to give it a try.

    It was one of the best musical decisions I've ever made. I don't have great musical aptitude - I sing in a choir, which I enjoy a lot, but I've not had any real success with musical instruments. I've played fiddle on and off for the past ten years, and I sort of enjoy playing, but it is frustrating how bad I am at it. I've got a few easy pieces I'm okay at, but no way can I just hang out and play with friends.

    The uke is a whole different experience for me. The return on investment is a thousand times higher. Within a week I could stumble through a handful of songs, with my partner who plays guitar. I've got less than a dozen chords I can play smoothly, and about a third of the songs I randomly hear and enjoy, I look up the chords and I can play them well enough to entertain myself and sing along. If I can't transpose it to avoid harder chords, I don't worry about playing it. I'm not interested in struggling with this, just having a good time.

  9. Well, as a kid in my home we had an accordeon and a guitar which were my grandfathers. Naturally I had some experience with both but neither of them stuck with me. Several months ago I began listening to Andean music and looking up the charango, I found out that it was similar to the ukulele. I have never heard of any of the artists that you all are ranting and raving about. Nor have I heard "over the rainbow" but as I have said before I don't like pop music. So yeah I've been playing ukulele for a few months now.

  10. My new year's resolution was to (finally) learn to play an instrument. And then I heard Amanda Palmer's Ukulele Anthem and I immediately decided on the instrument!

  11. Christofer Drew from Nevershoutnever xx I absolutely loved his EP "Me and My Uke" and so I bought one :3

  12. I am a geezer, born in 1950. My grandmother was a big band singer, and when the big bands were dying, the great musicians formed smaller combos. I remember going with her to nightclubs in San Francisco (usually on Sunday afternoons) and hanging around as the various combos would rehearse. Brubeck, Tjader, Guaraldi, Zeitlin... occasionally Getz, Brookmeyer, Sheldon, Mulligan, Baker... She loved jazz. Her daughter, my mom, loved swing music and early 1950's pop music. My dad loved Hank Williams. So when rock and roll took over radio, we listened to that, too. If it was music, I heard it. By the time 1958 rolled around, I was so in love with music, I wanted to play. It took me until after junior high school (June 1963) to get my first guitar. It was a cheap Japanese classical that had been strung with still folk guitar strings. I started learning the popular folk music... teaching myself from instruction books. I quickly realized that I loved instrumental surf music... Dick Dale, the Surfaris, the Chantays, the Lively Ones, the Pyramids, etc. Even after I had replaced the awful steel string on my acoustic guitar with the easier to play nylon ones, I could not get the sound I wanted. In high school (Fall 1963) I met two guys named Steve, one played piano, one played clarinet. We decided to form a band. Steve would get an electric organ (he hoped for a Vox Continental, his folks got him a Farfisa); Steve would get a tenor saxophone (he never did); and I would get an electric guitar... and we would find a drummer and maybe a bass player. I got a Jazzmaster/Jaguar style Japanese electric, a St. George, and a Gibson Falcon amplifier with a great reverb tank, Steve had his Farfisa and some weird amplifier, and he knew a kid who played drums in a few bands. We practiced and sounded terrible. The drummer gave up on us.

    I met a kid (another Steve!) who claimed to sing with a rock band, he turned me onto blues rock... Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters. We found a kid who was the younger brother of a kid in our class... he had a Slingerland drumset and a rhythm guitarist and they wanted to form a band. Steve sang and played tambourine and a good blues harmonica, Oyvind played rhythm guitar (he was so bad, I had to tune his guitar for him), Vic was on drums, and I was the lead guitarist and musical director. Because we had no bass player, when I wasn't playing a lead line (intro or ad-libbed bridge), I would play the bass lines on my guitar. We added Al, a harpsichordist, on a Vox Continental through a Roland J-120. He would add baroque harpsichord lines as leads while I layed down bass lines on my guitar, or he would play the bass line on his organ while I played lead (like The Doors were live). Steve and I kept introducing rock blues, imitating The Blues Project, John Mayall, Paul Butterfield, etc. Vic wanted to play Beatles' pop songs. So he fired Steve and me. We stole Al, grabbed a junior college drummer, and were thrust upon us a girl singer Linda who had an amazing voice and I was a bandleader. Sold my guitar and amp to buy one of the first Fender Mustang basses, rented Ampeg or Fender bass amps, borrowed a buddy's Gretsch Country Club guitar and we became successful.

    So I've been playing guitar since 1963, bass since 1966. Joined a cool band while in college, opened for Muddy Waters, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, The Byrds, and many others. Got to fill in on bass for John Lee Hooker once. Sat in with Jimmy Smith once.

    In 2007, I barely knew of ukuleles. Liked Iz's Somewhere/Wonderful World, but little else. In July, my wife took off two weeks work, I took off a month, and we took or 16-year-old daughter with us for a two week trip to Hawaii. My wife's older nephew was marrying a Hawaiian girl on the beach north of Diamond Head, and our daughter had a former classmate who had moved to Hilo, and a former ice skater pal who had moved with his wife to south of Kona-Kailua. So we spent the first week in a rented cabin in Lanikai, and the second week partially in a bed and breakfast near Hilo then in a B&B in Captain Cook.

    While on Oahu, we shopped for Aloha shirts, and while checking out the new Royal Hawaiian shopping mall, there was an ukulele shop. Huge two story tall wall of ukes, priced from $60 to more than $1,000. The sales help was terrible. "Buy a Kamaka." "Why?" "It's solid koa." "What does thet do?" "It's the best." and other nonsense. The cheapest Kamaka they sold was $650 plus a $65 case. We passed. When we got to Hilo, the B&B had a few business cards for local merchants, including one for Hilo Guitars and Ukuleles. Tuesday was the Hilo farmers' market, across the street from the shop. As we drove up, we saw a sign on a nearby furniture store advertising Musical Instruments. We went to the farmers' market, bought a few things, then checked out the Guitar/Ukulele shop. A couple about our age was inquiring about a beginner uke for their daughter who was about to go off to college. Their sales person explained about laminate ukes, solid wood ukes, factory made Chinese ukes, factory and hand-made Hawaiian ukes, and suggested the same Kamaka Standard the Waikiki shop tried to sell me, only they were asking $450 for the uke (still $65 for the case). The couple hesitated at the more than $500 price... (aside, if the salesman had shifted to one of the $160-$200 solid wood ukes, he would have sold them a uke). They left, buying nothing. I asked about the various woods: koa, mahogany, etc. The explanation was weak. I played a Kala spruce top ($175 as I recall) and the Kamaka Standard. Very cool and I could feel and hear a real difference.

    We went back to the farmers' market and had lunch. After lunch my wife suggested we check out the "musical instruments" at the furniture store. We went in and an older woman approached and asked how she might assist us. She led us back to a separate room that had a few drums and a wall full of Kamaka ukuleles behind locked glass. A Standard like the previous two shops had. A fancy inlaid Standard. A Pineapple; a concert; a bell-shaped concert. Many tenors... typical ones, fancy ones, limited editions, a couple of custom made ones. A couple of baritones. There were more than a dozen and a half and possibly more than two dozen Kamaka ukuleles. The basic Standard was labeled $396. She unlocked the case hand handed it to me after checking its tuning. It sounded better than the one next door. She said she had other in the back if I wanted to compare. My wife said yes. The lady brought out twelve hard cases with a Standard Kamaka in each.

    We set up three stacks: untried, played and great, played and less great. The showcase model went into the played and great stack. As I played all thirteen ukes, some sounded better than others, some played better than others. Too much bottom end; too bright; lots of mids but little bass nor treble. Eight ukes were in the "lesser" stack, five in the "greater" stack. The lady took away the eight lesser ukulele cases with instruments in them. I went through the selected five. The showcase model still sounded great. Another had less high end... ever so slightly muffled. Another sounded balanced. A fourth had too much treble... ever so slightly brittle. The fifth was fairly well balanced, too. The showcase uke, the third and fifth ukes remained. It took a while to eliminate the fifth uke: I decided the mids were slightly too prominent. The warmth of the other two (and their bright clarity) were enough to be better. The lady explained that a great solid wood ukulele would sound better as it got played and the years and decades passed. The showcase model had tight grain with little in light and dark in the beautiful koa. The third uke had two slightly darker stripes either side of the soundhole.

    I kept going back and fourth between the two. The were not the same, but each played slightly differently. I finally decided the non-showcase one sounded slightly better playing chords. Extremely subtle. We bough it, the case for $35, a pitch pipe, and two books: a basic Jumpin' Jim book and an Iz book with Somewhere/Wonderful World. We went next door and bought two extra sets of strings and a polishing cloth.

    I broke out the Kamaka five or six times since 2007. The key change melted my mind. Then in mid-2011, I was invited to join an uke group at my church. I found the C/G, G/D, A/E, D/A, etc key change was very difficult. So I bought a dropped D solid mahogany baritone. Then I bought a U-Bass. Then a KoAloha concert. Then a zebrawood electric Lanikai tenor. Then some Makala Dolphins. And now I no longer think guitar and translate: I think ukulele.

  13. I was actually kind of drunk and amazon was having a sale on a Lanikai $36.

  14. Quite simple, really..

    Lee Evans and Tiny Tim.
    Both for their sense of humor, but also because (mostly) Lee Evans was brilliant with 3 Second Memory!
    Since first i laid eyes on him and had stomach cramps from laughing at his jokes,
    i have also wanted to play that song and many others.

  15. I've done music my entire life, mostly piano, and my mother decided on a whim to join a ukulele group. She bought a ukulele and as soon as she brought it home I took over; I wouldn't put it down. She got sick of me hogging the uke, so she bought my my very first cheapo one (which I still pick up sometimes ) and I played around on that for a few months by my lonesome before I joined the same group. Through a combination of getting tabs off the net, songs from the group, and just fiddling around with the sexy instrument, I've whiled away the past 2 years. Uke's are just so much more portable than a piano.

  16. To be honest, when I was looking for new instruments to learn I tried to teach myself guitar but I couldn't reach half the chords even with my long skinny fingers. So I thought ukulele might be easier. After asking for one for a year, I got one for christmas of 2011 and I just fell in love with it.

  17. Like many others, I saw Julia Nunes and this way discovered the amazing instruement. I tried guitar and got some basics down, but my hands are really small so many chords were hard to do. I wanted to buy a uke for almost a year and finally did it last Friday.

    I am so happy I finally got it, I love it lots.

  18. Hi! New to the boards! I started playing a little over a month ago. When I was in 9th grade, a girl from Hawaii transferred to my school up here in Minnesota. She had a ukulele and was so good at it! She even taught me a song. Well, when she had to move back, I still had a ukulele in my heart! My memory of my love for the ukulele was restored when I heard Phildel's Storm Song on YouTube. She has a version where she's playing the ukulele and I was struck with the desire again! Well, this last christmas, I asked my parents about five months in advance if I could have one! I'm very glad that they got me one! I think I have only gone a total of three days without playing it at least a little! XD <3

  19. Charlieissocoollike

  20. I am the only one in my family who is not a musician! After my son was born I realized I really wanted to play songs for him like my dad used to play for me when I was a kid... It happened to be at the same time I discovered Ukulele Songs by Eddie Vedder and Here I am!

  21. Christofer Drew did. He inspired me to start singing first off, and after a while I thought "hey, why not play an instrument and sing?" And that's where I started the ukulele.

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