The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #84223   Message #3652252
Posted By: Don Firth
19-Aug-14 - 08:45 PM
Thread Name: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
When my girlfriend back in 1952 or so, who had just become interested in folk music, was given a fine old parlor guitar by her grandmother (1898 George Washburn "Ladies' Model")—the venerable lady hadn't played it in years—Claire was having so much fun with it that I got myself a guitar. Clueless! It was a "Regal," a real cheapie, $9.95! Fortunately the intonation was close enough that it could be tuned okay (I was lucky!), but it sounded like it was made from wood normally used for making apple crates—and probably was.

But I learned my first chords on that clunker, and was well on the way to developing a good repertoire of songs when I bought myself a Martin 00-18 about a year later. Since then, I've owned several guitars, and had a pretty decent career singing folk songs and ballads professionally. I also play some classical guitar, and currently own a Spanish-made guitar that I'm told is worth around $20,000 (I paid nowhere near that, but I got it in 1960 or so, and it's appreciated a lot since! Lucky again!).

But that $10 Regal got me started.

If an instrument is playable at all, you can at least get started on it.

A ukulele, particularly a baritone ukulele, is not much different from a Renaissance guitar, and although lutenists at the time looked down their noses at it, some damned fine music was written for it.

And in fact, it just occurred to me, that some of that same music could just as well be played on a ukulele.

Renaissance guitar. Whole batch of stuff on that page. (Sounds a lot like a ukulele to me!).

Don Firth