The ukulele, let’s begin with a simple bit of trivia. While most of us pronounce the word ukulele as yoo-kuh–ley-lee, the correct Hawaiian pronunciation is actually oo-koo–ley-ley. A small thing, but if you’re going to play one of these awesome little instruments, it’s worth knowing how to say it right?
Now that we have that out-of-the-way, let’s talk about the current ukulele fad.
The reality is, it’s far from a fad, and more like an ever-growing phenomenon. Heck, the oldest Ukulele company (Kamaka) in Hawaii just celebrated their 100th Anniversary in 2016. And they actually have an extremely long backorder at this time. Along with Kamaka, there are two other Hawaiian builders who makeup the “trinity” of what are considered to be the finest handmade ukulele from Hawaii. They are referred to as the Three K’s – Kamaka, KoAloha, and Kanile’a. Many also consider the high-end Japanese built Kiwaya brand to make up a Fourth “K”. (Most of these builders are available right here at Dave’s Woodstock Music)
Now while these are considered the premier ukuleles, there are many other small builders who make fine handmade instruments, as do the likes of CF Martin, Collings and others.
Pricing on these higher end instruments can certainly be a stretch for many, but that doesn’t need to sway you from jumping into the ukulele world.
In fact, its companies like Kala, Amahi, Ohana, Ibanez and others that have brought quality Chinese made instruments into the states at extremely affordable prices. But be warned, the ukulele is highly addictive! I know very few people who have started playing and still only own one. I personally already own three, and I’m sure there will be more in my future.
You see the thing about the Uke is not only its affordability, but the ease of learning to play and the undeniable fact that it makes you smile. In fact it will likely make those around you smile too! It truly seems impossible to be angry or sad when you start playing one. And its diminutive size makes it easy to take everywhere with you. The couch, the beach, the park, the plane, the train; your Uke fits right in everywhere you go and will most certainly garner you a few friends along the way.
So if you haven’t yet joined the ukulele world, I highly recommend that you dive right in. And once you do, remember there is no need to thank me. The smile on your face is all the reward I need!
Click here for a History of the ukulele