have given some thought to my top ten reasons why you should take up playing the ukulele. No particular order, but all good reasons in my view. Perhaps this may help to sway my readers who remain undecided!
1. They can be cheap
Whilst you can see some silly prices for high end, boutique or hand made ukes, for a beginner wanting to start playing, the initial outlay need not be high. Compared to buying a guitar, violin, or piano (which can be a serious financial consideration) a starter uke can be had for £30 in the case of the excellent Makala dolphin. Other good ukes exist around the £50 mark and at just over £100 you will see your first solid wood instruments.
2. They are happy instruments
Whilst I don't want to sound 'twee', my experience of playing in front of people with the uke is that they automatically make people smile in a good way! They have a happy, bright sound that is hard not to like!
3. They are easy to start to learn
Note, I didn't say they are easy, full stop! No instrument is easy and all require practice and dedication. The uke however is one of the easiest to start with. Many chords require a single finger only and new players can get a simple song out of one in an afternoon (my record is teaching a song to a total beginner in under ten minutes!)
4. They are portable
Size is the thing. Being small they are easily taken wherever you go. You can carry them on planes, easily throw them in the trunk of the car. Because of that you can always have one with you, meaning more practice. I have played mine in the passenger seat of my car whilst my wife was driving. Try that with a guitar!
5. They are sociable
More than any other instrument I play, the uke is by far the most fun to play with others at parties. It's the perfect singalong instrument, and I am losing count of the amount of people who have been introduced that way and the next time I see them they have bought one!
6. They can express your personality
Again, unlike other instruments, the uke can come in a bewildering range of styles, shapes and colours. Sure, you can have one that looks like a plain wood guitar, but you will also find bright pink if you like!
7. They are good with small children
Not a reason for everyone, but it works for me. Small children love to be sung to. If you are a parent, and can't play an instrument you will be amazed at how quickly you can pick up nursery rhymes on the uke. Speaking from experience with my daughter, adding a uke to song time brightens her face even more! I even bought her one of her own!
8. They are (generally) maintenance free
Assuming you didn't buy a duff instrument, there isn't much to go wrong. Just four strings to tune. Unlike a guitar, the strings also last for ages, so you are not swapping strings every two weeks.
9. You are playing alongside some huge famous names
If the uke is good enough for Elvis, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello,..... Need I say more?
10. You are joining a wonderful community
I play several instruments, but have never before come across such a helpful, friendly and positive community as those who play uke. These people will go out of their way to help you along!
So there you have it, some thoughts of mine that I hope help to sway you. If you already play, what were your reasons? Email me and tell me your story. If it's interesting, I'll put it on the blog!