If playing the ukulele has ever piqued your interest,
now is the very best time to pick one up!
Learning to play the ‘ukulele was the best decision I have ever made. It is incredibly portable, easy to get started (especially compared to a guitar) and incredibly social! Playing the uke has introduced me to so many people in my journey (including my now wife!), there are ‘ukulele clubs that have sprouted up all over the world, many online courses (like Ukulele Underground, ArtistWorks with myself and Sarah, the James Hill’s The Ukulele Way), and of course festivals all across the USA, to Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Germany, and other countries, celebrating this little instrument! For many people, this has turned into their big social event. I’ve seen many groups start off at a jam gathering then go to open mics, or perform at hospitals or schools or even carving out some time to play with their grandchildren. I strongly feel that the ‘ukulele has started to bring music back into the living room and is now taken seriously as a musical instrument.
Growing up in Hawai’i there weren’t many options for all things ‘ukulele. At the time there was one real brand (Kamaka ‘Ukulele)…nothing else really compared. Strings were made from cheap fishing cable, cases were made to fit from other instruments (or were made from cheap particle board) and electronics had to be customized to work properly. Fast forward to today, and you have an incredible amount of ‘ukulele choices (Kanile’a, KoAloha, DaSilva, Mya-Moe, Bean Sprout, Ohana, and much more!). Many of these companies have pushed innovation and developed their own signature sound which makes having an instrument “fit” your style so much more possible. Strings have also been changed with technology and many strings makers, like GHS, are creating different sets of higher grade material. Fusion Bags has become the go-to bag for many travelling ‘ukulele artists. Not only are the bags created with incredible materials (our current urban bags have travelled over 300,000 miles with us) but are meticulously thought out for travel (see attached photo). Big name brands like LR Baggs and Fishman have dedicated electronics made for ‘ukulele.
Being a Ukulele Artist has been made possible by trailblazers like Jake Shimabukuro and Benny Chong paving that path. Even pop groups have utilized the ‘ukulele in many recent hits. Listen carefully and you’ll hear that instrument in TV commercials and shows - even as background music at venues. It’s amazing how far the instrument has come to be accepted into the mainstream.
This humble instrument can be found all around the globe - giving everyone the joy of music. Even if you don’t have a local uke store - like Southern Ukulele Store (Bournemouth, UK), U-Space (Los Angeles, USA), Hale ‘Ukulele (San Diego, CA), or Elderly Instruments (Lansing, MI), you can always find them online at places like The ‘Ukulele Site (theukulelesite.com
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to join in the jam!
About the Author:
Craig Chee along with his partner in music and life, Sarah Maisel, are renowned for their teaching and performances. They have travelled the globe numerous times sharing their love for music and education with festivals, retreats and other music events.
To find out more about their music, events and ArtistWorks online school, please visit CraigandSarah.com
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