So, what turned this blogger on to Ukulele?

1 Oct 2010

So, what turned this blogger on to Ukulele?

A common question I get asked - particularly when out jamming or gigging with the uke.

Well I've always been musical.  Not accomplished, but adore music and (trying) to make it.  I've been playing guitars (self taught, acoustic and electric) for about 20 years now and love it.  Dont think I'm that great, but I can jam along and contribute.  I play a lot of jam sessions and impromptu gigs with friends on guitars.

About three years ago now I decided to bite the bullet and buy a ukulele ( the wife looked confused).  I had known about ukuleles for a long time, and a hero of mine in particular George Harrison was a huge fan.  I always loved the story about George that he always carried two ukuleles with him wherever he went.  This was so that if he started playing for a friend he could give them one too to join in!  George was often quoted as saying that he loved ukulele above all else, even guitars or his beloved sitar.

Anyway, I think what pushed me over the edge was seeing the Concert for George that was staged at the Albert Hall after he died.  It was a great and emotional show, but the absolute highlight was his old friend Joe Brown coming on at the end and playing "I'll See You In My Dreams" on ukulele, solo, whilst thousands of orange petals fell from the roof and scattered over the audience.  It was a real tear jerker moment - google the lyrics to see just how appropriate that song is.

Shortly thereafter, I (mistakenly) ordered the cheapest uke I could find - a dodgy Mahalo, but it was enough to get me hooked.  Within a month or two I had ordered myself a Flea on the basis that it took away the headaches associated with badly set up instruments - beginners don't need this hassle, and that is why I still say today that if you can afford it and you are serious - beginners should seriously consider these instruments.

Since the Flea arrived, the Ukulele bug bit hard, and I developed the terrible affliction of UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome....) and now own several more.

I now seem to play the uke more than my guitars - particularly as they are real play anywhere instruments.  I'm typing this in my living room on my netbook and I can see two ukuleles popping their heads up from the side of the sofa...

I've since gigged with them, jammed with them, and have them in most rooms in the house.

I still don't think I'm accomplished, but I play my ukes like I play my guitars - for pleasure.  I can bang out a load of tunes and entertain myself and others.

Its such an easy instrument to get in to, particularly if you come from a stringed instrument background.  Even if not, I guarantee I could teach an absolute beginner a song in 15 minutes.


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