The Ukulele is a small-sized, four-string instrument that we normally associate with Hawaii. The little instrument is vitally important in the area’s musical culture. It was created in 1880 by immigrants, before that there were no string instruments on the islands. Let’s find out more about this fun instrument.
Unlike the guitar, which has six strings, the ukulele only has four, so it is easier to learn to play it.
Types of Ukulele
The most common to find are: soprano, concerto, tenor and baritone. Others have also been built such as sopraninos (smaller than soprano), low ukuleles and banjoleles. There are even some ukuleles in an electro-acoustic format, known as electric ukuleles. While the “concert” ukulele has a sound with more body and depth, the smaller ones, such as the soprano, better preserve the bright and exotic tone so characteristic of Hawaii.
One fact which may help you to choose which ukulele to play, is that the bigger its size, the more “lower” it sounds.
Ukulele prices depend on many issues, like any other instrument, material, quality and method of production, brand. It helps to try a few out to see which sound you prefer.
Important accessories for your ukulele
It is important to buy a good case to protect the instrument from bumps and knocks and from natural exposure to the sun, air and dust. Some other things that will help you are a capo and a tuner. The capo is placed on the frets and allows you to raise the tone of the song or melody you are playing. The lower you place it the tone will be higher. If the tone is too low for your voice, if you are singing, you can lower it with the capo without problem and the same in reverse, to find the right match.
The tuner is another resource that makes things much easier when playing any instrument, it is inexpensive and easy to get, you can find one in any music shop.
On the internet you can find a lot of information, videos and history that will help you when you decide to start playing your ukulele, as well as practice videos and tutorials. Read our post on free apps that might help you out too!
If you have the instrument and want to start testing yourself you can find a song that you would like to play and practice! You can also do this using the Ukulele-tabs or Ukutabs tabs that you can easily find online.
Besides being easy to learn, one of the best features of this instrument is its diminutive size, you can take it everywhere. It’s so lightweight that you can take it out for dinner at a friends house, or even travel across the world with it stashed safely in your hand luggage! And did we mention it’s easy to learn?! With very few chords you can play many of your favourite songs.
As with any instrument, practice is very important to incorporate sounds and rhythms. As you move forward with your ukulele playing, you can make them more complex.
Famous ukulele musicians
Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole is one of the main references of Hawaiian music, well known worldwide for his versions of the songs Over the rainbow and What a Wonderful World. His incredible voice, along with his skill at combining ukulele playing with jazz and reggae fusions, made him renowned.
Another of the musicians who loved this little instrument was Frank Sinatra, Fly me to the moon is one of his wonderful songs on ukulele.Paul McCartney, meanwhile, often plays the ukulele in his live recitals in his version of Something.
If you are a lover of Pearl Jam, you can not stop listening to the album Ukulele Songs, by Eddie Vedder. It is an unmissable album to always have on your playlist.
If you are interested in taking Ukulele classes, you can contact us as we have great teachers who will help you learn and improve very quickly. In no time you will be playing your favourite songs and composing your own music.