Uke Rock and Ukes Rock!

fluke.jpgOn a whim a while ago, I acquired a ukulele (a nice black concert Fluke that I am trading (w/ an old 512 MB MP3 player) for a tenor Fluke) via craigslist from a guy who was looking to trade it for an MP3 player and $20. I only played it sporadically until I picked it up about a three weeks ago and fell in with love it. It is a simple little instrument to play if you just strum chords. Jonah and I looked up songs on the computer and played and sang them for quite a while last Friday. I stayed up later and discovered it can become quite a complex instrument as well. No matter what I play (or attempt to play), it is the most relaxing, low stress, and sheer fun musical instrument I have played.

Anyway, I started to do some research on the ukulele and discovered there is a thriving ukulele culture worldwide right now. Eddie Vedder has written several songs for uke and Stephen Merrit (of Magnetic Fields) apparently writes on uke and plays almost exlusively ukulele at shows. Everyone knows of George Harrison’s love of the ukulele and even Boss Springsteen has been playing them live. Also, there are thousands of YouTube videos of folks playing virtually any song you can imagine on ukuleles. Before deciding that I needed a tenor ukulele, I watched several of these to get a feel for the difference in sound between all the C-tuned uke sizes (soprano, concert, and tenor). There are some really great videos out there but this one from “Max the Ukulele Punk Rocker” in Japan is my favorite. It doesn’t feature great uke playing or a great song but I love the big toe-keyboard action:

flea-icon.giffluke-icon.gifIf anyone is interested in taking up the Uke, I advise looking into a Fluke or a Flea. These are indestructible, have great intonation, and are very attractive instruments at a modest price (and even better if you can get one through a trade (I have worked out trades on craigslist and Flea Market Music for my two ukes, which has meant virtually no cost other than shipping)).

Also, check out this article from 2006 that ran in our local paper here in Houston.

Why? Because the banjo and mandolin just weren’t quite goofy/dorky enough for me.

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