14 fun and interesting facts about the ukulele (2023)

The ukulele is a joyous instrument that brings an exotic and adventurous touch to any tune. His Hawaiian origins, edgy melodies, and close connection to the smooth songs of Elvis Presley certainly helped set the mood.

This small instrument, which looks a lot like a guitar, belongs, unsurprisingly, to the lute family. It contains just four strings that are usually plucked in fast patterns to create a lively, healthy melody.

If you're interested in learning more about this instrument, here are 14 cool ukulele facts you might want to know.


1. The true inventor of the ukulele remains unknown

The ukulele found great fame and popularity in Hawaii in the late 18th century.

But while the ukulele is definitely considered aHawaiian musical instrument, most historical accounts agree that it was not invented there.

The true roots of the ukulele are attributed to Portuguese immigrants who immigrated to Hawaii in search of better living conditions.

At this time, sugarcane plantations and the sugar-dependent industry flourished in Hawaii. In Portugal, the economy collapsed.

It is believed that a group of Portuguese workers brought this instrument to Hawaii.

Three in particular had great talent for playing the cavaquinho, called a machete or braguinha in their culture.

2. Ukulele means "A jumping flea"

On August 23, 1879, João Fernandes left his hometown, the port city of Funchal, Madeira, for Honolulu.

As soon as he entered the port, Fernandes took off his panties and began to play and sing happily.

The Hawaiians who were there loved the show, the new instrument and the music.

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They also thought that Fernande's hands moved as fast on the fingerboard as a "ukulele", which means "jumping flea" in Hawaiian!

3. A true reception for the ukulele.

Like many Hawaiians, King David Kalakauna enjoyed ukulele music and the songs that accompanied it.

Before long, he became very fond of these tunes, and ukulele playing became a regular feature at all royal gatherings.

Enthusiastic royal support for the ukulele helped make it part of Hawaiian tradition and increased its popularity.

4. George Harrison had a large collection of ukuleles.

famous ukulele playerNicknamed the "Silent Beatle," George Harrison was quite upbeat and funny.

He was an adventurous soul who loved to try new tastes in life, but especially in music.

A trip to Hawaii, plus George Formby concerts, was enough to make him fall in love with the ukulele.

George Harrison's solos included playing the ukulele quite often and he rarely left it.

His obsession with the diminutive instrument peaked around the 1980s, and over the years he has amassed aawesome collection of ukuleles.

5. Neil Armstrong was a huge ukulele fan.

The first man to set foot on the moonNeil ArmstrongHe had a special admiration for the ukulele that few people knew about.

But as soon as he returned from his interstellar journey, the whole world found out about his little hobby.

Because during his quarantine after the Apollo 11 expedition, an iconic photo of him and his colleague appeared.

In this photo, he was deeply immersed playing the ukulele.

6. From old wood to commercial plastic

14 fun and interesting facts about the ukulele (1)

The ukulele has gained worldwide popularity as a versatile and easy-to-learn instrument.

(Video) 10 Fun Facts About the Ukulele!

But the price was still prohibitive for beginners.

For this reason, manufacturers, such as Mario Maccaferri, resorted to producing plastic models, which were sold at a cheap cost.

In fact, they released about 9 million ukuleles in the 1940s.

However, the best and best ukuleles are still the wooden variants.

Harmony, Regal and Martin are some of the leading manufacturers of the ukulele in its newest form.

They also made some variations that fused the ukulele with other instruments such as the banjolele and the tiple.

7. It is a good instrument for beginners.

The ukulele has only four strings and a generous neck. It has a compact size, making it easy to carry.

And there are many low-end brands in the market, so buying a brand is not a burden on the budget.

All of these reasons make the ukulele one of the most popular options for beginners.

Players also noted that getting started on the ukulele is less of a hassle for someone just starting out.

Plus, it makes learning to play the guitar or even the violin much easier later on, as you'll get used to playing chords and strumming.

8. The ukulele that appears in the best Elvis Presley movie

The warm voice of the king blended beautifully with the soft sounds of the ukulele.

So it wasn't a big surprise that he played the cult song "Ku-u-i-po" on a ukulele in his movie "Blue Hawaii."

Elvis Presley wasn't the only superstar strumming the joyous chords of a ukulele.

Haya lot of movieswhere a song calls for the use of this cute little instrument.

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9. The ukulele found its way into Japanese music

Many people who visit Japan are amazed at the popularity of the ukulele at all levels.

Some even describe Japan as "the second home of the ukulele“.

The story begins in Hawaii in 1885, when Japanese immigrants arrived en masse.

It was a time of economic boom in Hawaii and faltering business elsewhere.

It was also at that time that the Portuguese arrived with their small musical instruments.

Japanese immigrants had some difficulties in communicating with others and it seems that ukulele music was a better means of bonding.

They brought it back to Japan, and by the 1920s it was very popular with both amateur and professional artists and became very popular.instrument in japan.

10. A ukulele song is breaking records

Few songs make it to the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it's rare for a song to stay there for 76 weeks.

Interestingly, a ukulele song achieved this great feat.

That was the bestsellerI'm Yours" by Jason Mraz, and this incredible story happened in 2008.

It is worth mentioning that this great success started a new wave of popularity for the ukulele.

11. There are many different types of ukuleles.

14 fun and interesting facts about the ukulele (2)

The current form of the cavaquinho is based on four Portuguese instruments that immigrants brought to Hawaii.

The popular Portuguese instruments that inspired the cavaquinho were the machete, the timple, the cavaquinho and the rajão.

The mixed origins and constant development of this instrument naturally led in different directions, with each instrument having different sizes, tunings, and tonal ranges, depending largely on the types of music and songs played in different venues.

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So there are many differentTypes of Ukulelessuch as soprano, concert, tenor, baritone, bass ukulele, as well as banjolele and guitalele.

12. Ukuleles only have four strings.

The ukulele is often compared to the guitar, and some believe that the only difference between them is their size.

However, there is a much more fundamental issue, and that is the number of strings.

Guitars come with 6 strings while ukuleles only have four. This makes it easy to learn, play and tune the ukulele.

The standard ukulele is often tuned G4-C4-E4-A4, but this of course changes with the larger sizes as they are tuned differently.

13. Comedians and artists prefer the ukulele

Ukulele tunes and songs can be so naive, happy-go-lucky and carefree that they sound silly!

This instrument looks like fun, so it's no surprise that many comedians and entertainers use it to set the mood.

Cliff Edwards, Tiny Tim and Bette Midler are among the stars who carry a ukulele wherever they play.

14. Marilyn Monroe once played the ukulele

In the 1959 epic film "some like it hot' was released, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon.

The movie was a romantic comedy and dealt with the world of female bands.

In the film, Monroe plays a singer, dancer, and ukulele player.

Our summary of ukulele facts

The ukulele is one of the few instruments that sings only for joy, being almost incapable of playing sad melodies.

But it can also be a bit of nostalgia, a memorable moment, a beautiful place or an unforgettable person.

The Hawaiian and Portuguese origins of this little instrument, and the way it brought people together from all over the world, are probably credited for that upbeat vibe.

We hope you enjoyed learning more ukulele facts, and if you have any, please let us know!

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