The Humble & Wonderful Ukulele

In recent years, the humble Ukulele has emerged as a highly popular instrument and songwriting tool for musicians of all styles from all over the world. Although, fun and easy instruments to play and jam with and of course a favourite of many, many Youtube based musicians these days, the Ukelele has a rich and storied history as well as a variety of types, with regards to size, construction and brands of course. Commonly variations and sizes include: soprano, concert, tenor, bass and baritone.

History of Ukuleles

The ukulele (roughly translated as “jumping flea”) originated as the Hawaiian adaptation of the Portuguese machete, introduced by Portuguese immigrants in the 19th century, gaining great popularity in the rest of the U.S during the early 20th century and spreading internationally from that point onwards including most notably Japan in the 20’s and Canada in the 60’s.

The Instrument

Tuning- Featuring a similar aesthetic to a normal acoustic guitar but obviously in a much smaller size, the Ukulele only requires four strings. This of course effects the method of tuning used, separating it even more so with a standard tuning of GCEA (high to low) called ‘re-entrant tuning’,meaning the strings don’t tune low to high as they usually would, creating it unique vibe. 

Strings- The strings themselves are usually made from nylon much like classical/spanish guitar, making it easier for beginners and non-players to play, the opposite effect of playing on a Steel String Acoustic for example which can be difficult to play and harsh on new fingertips which haven’t developed callouses from constant playing.

Body- Ukulele bodies are almost always made from wood of many different varieties for example koa, ebony, mahogany and ply in the entry and beginner models. Like Guitars, the wood is very important to the overall sound of the instrument, setting apart the entry level and top end models in feel and tone significantly.

Brands

We offer a variety of great top end Ukulele brands in our store including Kiwaya, Kai, Cordoba, Baton Rouge, Kala, Isuzi, Vtab, Gold Tone, Freshman and more.