Uke choices of the professionals - pt1

18 Jun 2012

Uke choices of the professionals - pt1

As amateur players you probably beat yourself up enough over which ukulele to choose to play (or, like me, to play next!). I suppose it's the same for the pro's too, but have you wondered what ukuleles the professional players choose to play? Check out this first selection.

Jake Shimabukuro

jake shimabukuro

Whilst Jake may have other ukes in his collection, he started playing ukulele as a child on a Kamaka uke and is said to have played them ever since. Today if you see him play he will most likely be performing on a beautiful custom built Tenor model, made specially for him.

James Hill

james hill

James is known to play many ukes, and chooses what he wants depending on the voice he needs for a particular track. If you have seen his online videos of him performing tracks like Billie Jean he is playing that on a custom uke from G String.

Eddie Vedder

eddie vedder with ukulele

I had to mention Eddie - whilst not most famous for being a ukulele player, he certainly hit the headlines and shook the uke world up last year with the release of his Ukulele Songs LP. Eddie has reported in interviews that he plays many types of uke, but on the record he is most famously associated with playing custom models from his friends at De Vine guitars.

Amanda Palmer

amanda palmer with ukulele

Another player who divides opinions, but Amanda has become completely linked to the ukulele, releasing EP's and other tracks played on it. She has been seen in city centres playing impromptu live jams on the ukulele on a range of cheap Mahalo type ukes, or playing the one above which was a gift from her father (it's a Hilo). Interestingly, whilst in her punk tradition she claims that quality and tuning don't matter too much, it would appear that Ms Palmer recognises that a bit of tuning and intonation are kinda important - playing live recently she has been spotted with a Pono model!

I hope to revisit this theme soon on Got A Ukulele with a roundup of some other famous players 'ukes of choice'.


  1. I bought my first uke on December 31 and I settled on a kala ka t mahogany uke. I tried several of the same model and different sopranos and concert ukes. I find that you can have several of the same model and no two sound the same. You have to play it and see if it looks, sounds and feels right. I love my kala t and I believe it gets better the more you play it


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