Ukulele Facts: Shop for Instruments, Accessories, Gifts

Ukulele Facts

Ukulele Facts

The ukulele or uke is a member of the lute family. It has four nylon strings and is usually played with the bare thumb and fingertips or a felt pick. Common types of ukuleles include concert, soprano, tenor, and baritone. The soprano is the second-smallest and was the original size. It’s referred to as “standard” in Hawaii.

The diminutive string instrument has origins in 19th century Hawaii, when Portuguese immigrants who worked in the sugar cane fields introduced a small guitar-like instrument called a machete. Native Hawaiians incorporated elements of European music and Spanish guitar to the playing of their own songs, and the ukulele was born. The instrument was a hit with King Kalākaua, a patron of the arts who arranged for it to be performed at royal gatherings. Today the instrument is synonymous with Hawaiian music and culture.

A plastics manufacturer sold more than 9 million inexpensive ukuleles after WWII, which boosted the instrument’s popularity in the United States. In the sixties, entertainer Tiny Tim made a splash when he appeared on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and played “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.”

More Ukulele Facts

Fun Fact
A person who performs on this string instrument is called a ukulelist.

Notable ukulelists include Troy Fernandez, George Formby, Gordon Freitas, Kalei Gamiao, Joni Mitchell, Amanda Palmer, Elvis Presley, Jake Shimabukuro, Taylor Swift, and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam).

Hula Girl and Ukulele

Vintage Hawaii Travel Poster
Premium Giclee Fine Art Print

Hula Girl and Ukulele Hawaii Travel PosterHula Girl and Ukulele Hawaii Travel Poster

Listen to the Ukulele

Performed by Jake Shimabukuro

Who doesn’t love Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody?” But have you ever heard it played on a ukulele? Musician Jake Shimabukuro was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He loves the instrument and began taking lessons from his mother at the age of four. Jake was the first ukulele player to sign with Sony Music. He was also the subject of an award-winning documentary, “Jake Shimabukuro: Life On Four Strings.”

We Love Ukuleles

Looking for more ukulele facts? Here are some of our favorite pages about ukuleles for you to enjoy:

Business Cards for Performers and Teachers
Left-Hand Chord Charts

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We’ve created more than 2,000 string instrument gifts for players and fans. View the complete String Kings Music Ukulele collection.

Ukulele Facts

Find a Ukulele Online

Traditional Soprano Ukulele Start Pack

Product details:

  • Traditional 21-inch basswood stain body ukulele
  • Four nylon strings
  • 12 brass frets
  • Fret position marks at 5th, 7th and 10th frets on neck and top of fingerboard
  • Chrome-plated guitar style tuners with plastic buttons
  • Start Pack includes black gig bag, strap, picks, extra strings, polishing cloth, digital tuner
  • Perfect for beginners, both children and adults!

Traditional Soprano Ukulele Start PackTraditional Soprano Ukulele Start PackUkulele DetailUkulele Detail

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Ukulele Facts

Ukulele Deals Online

Keep an eye on this automatically updating gallery of ukuleles and accessories available on eBay. Find a ukulele sale and add this fun-to-play instrument to your collection.

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