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by Grid View
Originating in the late 19th century, the ukulele was created as a Hawaiian adaptation of several small guitar-like instruments that were introduced to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants. With endorsement by King Kalākaua, the ukulele quickly became popular amongst the people of Hawaii and arrived in the United States in the early 1900s.
Ukulele became popular during the Jazz Age of the 1920s and '30s, and found its way into genres such as country and old-time music. Maintaining a level of popularity over the next couple of decades, the ukulele truly became a mainstream instrument during the 1960s thanks to artists such as Don Ho and, more specifically, Tiny Tim. After the '60s, interest in the ukulele started to wane until the late '90s, when a Hawaiian singer-songwriter named Israel Kamakawiwo'ole released a medley of the songs "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "What A Wonderful World" that went on to be used in countless films, television shows, and commercials.
In recent years, the popularity of the ukulele has skyrocketed tremendously. Masterful uke players such as Jake Shimabukuro have proven the uke to be an incredible instrument with plenty of sonic versatility and tonal character. The beautiful, distinctive sound of the uke can even be heard on the tracks of some of today's most popular bands and artists, including Train, Bruno Mars, and more recently, the 2016 winner of America's Got Talent, Grace VanderWaal.
Learning to Play Ukulele
For beginners, the uke serves as a fantastic stepping stone into the world of fretted instruments. Its small body makes the ukulele extremely comfortable to hold while its four-string design and short scale length make it easy to play and switch between chords. If you want to learn more about the history of the ukulele, the four main types of ukes, and which uke will fit you best, be sure to check out our informative Ukulele Buyer’s Guide that will teach you everything you need to know and help you find the perfect instrument! Sam Ash also offers a wide selection of ukulele music and instruction books to help you enjoy your new instrument.
Ukuleles are like potato chips, one is never enough! Sam Ash has everything you need to feed your uke habit. We carry all the most widely recognized brands, including Cordoba, Gold Tone, The Loar, Lanikai, and Kala, as well as ukes from great guitar makers such as Martin, Ibanez, Fender, Gretsch, and Epiphone. We have ukes in all different shapes and sizes including the traditional soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone ukes, electric ukes, resonator ukes, uke basses and novelty models.
So, give us a call at 800-472-6274 or chat with us online for personalized, knowledgeable customer service from one of our experts at Sam Ash Music.