I am astounded at the current level of popularity of the ukulele!!
Everyone is playing these things. There is no specific age group, as everyone from grade school kids to retirees have caught the “Uke Bug”. The title to this blog says they are still hot, because to be honest, I figured this would just be a passing trend or fad. Man…I stand corrected!! It looks to me like the folks taking up the ukulele are in it for the long haul.
Check out YouTube…use “ukulele” as your search and see how many videos pop up. Ukulele clubs are forming all over the country. Recently, the group “Train” had a #1 record with a tune called “Hey, Soul Sister” that featured a ukulele out front in the rhythm section. Don Ho must be looking down from the heavens with a smile on his face!!
Manufacturers are coming out with more ukulele products and accessories daily. I get correspondence from everyone offering tuners, gig bags, hardshell cases, etc. for all the uke enthusiasts. Fender has released a couple of ukuleles shaped like their legendary “Telecaster” guitars. Not to be outdone, Ibanez has released the “Iceman” uke…I guess this one is for the “shredder” uke player!!!
More and more songbooks are coming from all the music publishers, along with instruction books and chord charts. (My favorite is "AC/DC for Ukulele"). Check out the internet and see how many websites are devoted to the ukulele. The resurgence in the popularity of this instrument is truly amazing!!
This makes me very happy, and not just from the standpoint of my being a Music Retailer. It’s great to see this because the ukulele is now responsible for making more new music makers, regardless of their age group. It has also brought a ton of people back to being music makers. I have talked to many people that had given up the recreational pastime of playing music for one reason or another, and now they are back experiencing the joy of making music. Many are taking part in ukulele clubs like the Johnson County Ukulele Social Club in Iowa City, Iowa.
Many grade schools across the country are starting children as early as the 3rd grade on the uke, challenging the recorder in popularity among this age group. Again, creating more music makers. I wonder how many of these "junior" uke players will move on to another stringed instrument like the guitar or violin.
Well, in terms of popularity, the uke is back!! True it never really went away, it just took us a while to rediscover it. If it is just a trend or a fad, I hope it stays around for a long, long time. It’s such a happy sounding instrument and will make you smile!!
Click here to see West Music's Ukuleles and accessories.