Uke choices of the professionals pt2

22 Oct 2012

Uke choices of the professionals pt2

It's a while since I posted my first edition on this subject (link here)  - so I thought it was about time to revisit and take another look at the ukulele choices of some professional musicians.

Zach Condon

Zach Condon with ukulele

Zach plays and fronts the band Beirut and amongst other instruments plays the ukulele. He started on uke after sustaining an injury which affects the movement in his arm and finds the smaller sized instrument more comfortable to play.  He owns many ukes, including various cheapies and Kala ukes. In the picture above he is playing a Fluke uke and has also been seen on stage recently playing a six string Kamaka.

Jimmy Stafford

Jimmy Stafford with ukulele

Lead guitarist with the band Train (they of one of the most requested "what are the chords for" songs - Hey Soul Sister), Jimmy plays a Martin Tenor uke, though in the video for Hey Sould Sister he is playing a Fender Nohea.

George Harrison

George Harrison with ukulele

Ahhh, George Harrison - the guy that turned so many players today on to the ukulele. George was a massive fan of the uke and had a massive uke collection. He used to carry several around with him most of the time so he could always jam with others and was known to give them away to friends regularly too.  It would be impossible to speculate on every instrument he played, but in most photos and vids of him you will likely see him playing either a Martin (as above) or a Kamaka which he particularly favoured. He can also be seen playing a Ludwig Banjolele.

Israel Kamakawiwo'le

IZ with ukulele

Israel (or IZ) probably shares one of the top spots with George Harrison for turning many of todays players on to the ukulele with his beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. IZ favoured Martin Ukes and if you check out the video of him singing his most famous track that is what you will see him playing.

Hope to bring you more examples of these again soon.


  1. Did IZ play mostly tenor uke?

  2. Not always, but I believe it was his favourite.

  3. Thanks for this post, very reassuring that I play something that these GREATS enjoyed as well!

  4. Some others to find out about:

    Jason Mraz (Kala, maybe?)
    Sara Bareilles (seen videos of her playing uke on stage)
    Sara Watkins (records & performs with ukes)

  5. I'm pretty certain IZ used sopranos extensively.

  6. Not so. Whilst I'm not saying he didn't play soprano he favoured his Martin tenor, see the picture!


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