Posted in music

Why I Began Playing the Ukulele

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I am sure you have heard something like this many times, “The ukulele is a great instrument to begin on before you move up to the guitar.” For some that may be true. I know my grandson is learning the uke because his hands are not big enough for the guitar yet. When they are he may learn it too  but I am sure he will always enjoy playing the ukulele. He is a natural!

You see, I had played guitar and bass for decades before I touched my first ukulele. In fact I hadn’t touched a stringed instrument for four years as I was concentrating on my photography. My wife kept asking me to get a guitar so I purchased a Cordoba nylon string guitar. The problem was I had no callouses so I could play for about five minutes. I went back to the music store and it was suggested I try a tenor ukulele. The tenor uke has less string tension so it takes less pressure to make a note or chord.

My original intent was to play the uke until I got some callouses and then to move to the guitar. As I played the uke and learned some chords and songs I was having a great time. In fact, I was having more fun musically than I had experienced in years. It also seemed my musical ear was adapting quickly to the ukulele. One thing led to another and I bought a soprano ukulele which has even less string tension. I loved playing it so much I sold the tenor uke and guitar. More ukuleles were to follow.

Here we are 7 months down the road and all I have now are a “few” ukuleles. When I pick up a guitar it feels like I am holding a whale. It is huge and not at all comfortable for me. I love to sit in my cave, turn on the TV and play my soprano and concert scale ukes. For the most part I have some sopranos and long neck sopranos with a couple of concerts. I own one tenor. I may sell that. I haven’t made a final decision about that yet.

My hope is to get together with other ukulele players and to possibly form a duet with a guitar player. The ukulele and guitar sound great together.

The ukulele may be a stepping stone for some to playing the guitar but for me it was the gate to returning to music and to enjoying music for the first time in years. Really, isn’t enjoying music the most important thing?


I retired in the Spring of 2015. My free time is spent with my family and playing my ukuleles.