Ukulele Facts

Ukulele Facts
The ukulele is a musical instrument in the string family. The ukulele was invented in Hawaii in the 1880s, believed to be based on several other instruments including the rajao, timple, cavaquinho, and the machete - which are all Portuguese instruments. The first three people credited with creating the four string instrument were Augusto Dias, Jose do Espirito Santo, and Manuel Nunes - cabinetmakers that arrived in Hawaii in 1879. King Kalakaua incorporated the new instrument into royal gatherings which helped increase its popularity.
Interesting Ukulele Facts:
The word 'ukulele' is the Hawaiian word for 'jumping flea'.
The ukulele was introduced in Japan in 1929 and it grew in popularity there along with other forms of Western music.
In the 1960s the ukulele began to be used in schools in musical education in Canada.
The ukulele grew in popularity in the UK in the 1960s and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain was formed.
The ukulele began to become popular in the United States in 1915 at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition.
During the jazz age in the United States the ukulele was an iconic instrument.
The original ukuleles were made of wood. There are still ukuleles being made of wood today - but there are also many being made of plastic or other materials which makes them cheaper for consumers to buy.
Traditional and more expensive ukuleles are made of acacia koa wood or mahogany. Cheaper versions are made of laminate or plywood, or even spruce or plastic.
Ukuleles tend to have a figure-eight shape and look similar to an acoustic guitar but some are non-standard. Non-standard ukuleles are often oval and referred to as the 'pineapple' ukulele.
Some ukuleles have been made out of wood cigar boxes and other items.
Ukuleles most commonly have four strings but some are paired and therefore an instrument may have as many as eight strings. The tuning of a four string ukulele is to the notes G, C, E, A.
Playing the ukulele involves plucking at the strings.
The strings of early ukuleles were made of sheep gut or cat gut. Today they are usually made of nylon, although gut strings can still be found in some places.
A six or eight string ukulele is often referred to as a taropatch ukulele.
Common ukuleles include the baritone, tenor, soprano, and concert ukulele sizes.
Less common ukulele sizes include the small sopranino ukulele which is also referred to as the pocket uke, bambino, or piccolo. There are also bass and contrabass ukulele sizes, which are the largest.
The ukulele made it to the top of the music charts in 1968 with Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe through the Tulips".
George Harrison of the iconic band The Beatles was a ukulele fan and had a collection of hundreds. He often gave them away to friends.
The most popular and best-selling ukulele song was "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz in 2008. The song was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a total of 76 weeks and sold more than $6 million downloads.
Electric ukuleles have been introduced to the music world.


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