What Is A Ukulele

What Is A Ukulele? The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Before jumping to play the ukulele, we will start by telling you what is a ukulele?. After that, we will notify you about the history of the ukulele you should know about it.

It is a four-string musical instrument. It’s a small musical instrument made from wood. On the other hand, it gives calmness and an extraordinary musical environment. It originated in Hawaii in the late 19th century.

For its simplicity and uniqueness, it gained popularity around the world. In general, the ukulele strum with the finger or play with a pick. As a result, it is easy to play with and easy to carry. Sweet sound and superb built quality keep it different from the others instrument. 

Besides, it is also known as the uke. The exciting factor is ukulele means “jumping flea”. This name was given for its small size and sounding, delightful and affluent sound. It is mostly heard in country music, world music, and rock, etc.


History of ukulele

Its history dates back to the nineteenth century. Meanwhile, it was first introduced to Hawaiian by Portuguese immigrants from Madeira. In 1879, the Portuguese immigrants from Madeira started arriving in the Hawaiian archipelago. Also known as the sandwich Islands.

They were left their home and came to Hawaiian Island for a better life. They carried Machete, which was gained by the local people’s hearts. Manuel Nunes, Augusto Dias, and Jose do Espirito Santo are the first ukulele makers.

The Portuguese immigrants were magnificent guitar players. They gained the gratitude of the local and the royal family. Hawai’s King Kalakaua publicize the instrument by playing the ukulele at royal events. King also added the ukulele in Hawaiian music and culture. 


United States

During the early 20th century, it gained great popularity in the United States. From there, spread around the world.

In 1915, it was introduced to the United States mainland during the Panama Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco. George E K Awai and his Royal Hawaiian Quarter ensemble a guitar and ukulele in the Hawaiian Theatre.

Lots of record sales of Hawaiian music grew up quickly. The United States guitar maker started selling their version of the ukulele. From the 1920s to the 1930s, the ukulele popularity increase all over North America. 



In Japan, the ukulele arrived in 1929. Yikihiko Haida carried it to Japan. There it has enjoyed and gained long-lasting popularity since Japan is considered a second home for Hawaii Musicians.


Inexpensive ukuleles were mass-produced in 1960. Educator J. Chalmers Done modified the school music program in Canada. They started using it as a teaching instrument in Canada. More than Ten thousand Canadian children learned music at a time in the school music programs by using a ukulele.

Since then, the story of the ukulele developed naturally. Once, it established as a national instrument of Hawaiian culture. It didn’t take a long time to spread in the United States and around the world.


Raw Materials

The ukulele frame is made of wood. There are many types of wood that are being used all over the world, such as Hawaiian Koa, Walnut, Rosewood, Maple, Myrtle. Also, Brazilian Canary, Cocobolo, Madrone, Elm, Lacewood, and Black Limba some of them. The different types of wood affect the sound of the instrument.

 For instance, Mahogany is a smooth hardwood, and it produces a warm melodious sound. Many ukulele makers thought that it is one of the finest wood for the uke. It also has fantastic features.

 Koa is one of the best tonewood for the uke. Manufacturing the uke Koa wood is one of the most honor for Hawaiian woods. Koa will give you the best tonal feature you can get.

Apart from the wood, other raw materials are being used in ukulele manufacture. Those are nylon, steel-string, plastics, coatings, and glues. It string usually makes from nylon. Some ukuleles are made with steel strings.

Different types of glue can be used, such as yellow glue, hide glue, epoxy, superglue, and aliphatic.


Design and Manufacturing process

The ukulele is a comfortable instrument with a small guitar-like body. It contains the main body, four strings, a short neck, tuning keys, a bridge, a fretboard, and a soundhole. 

In addition, the parts of the ukulele are many but made in different processes. All the elements are set together in a final step. The process starts with wood selection. That is the most necessary factor because it will affect sound quality and instrument outlook.


Types and Sizes

There are four main sizes of ukuleles. For example, Soprano Ukulele, Concert, Tenor, Baritone are four common sizes. The most standard is the soprano ukulele.

You can find some less ukulele are “pocket uke,” contrabass, piccolo, bambino. But the four main sizes of ukulele are the most popular.

You can find out more about the individual sizes of the ukulele. A brief description is below.



The popular and standard is the soprano ukulele. From the popular size of the ukulele, it is the smallest. Its typical length of around 21″ Inches, with 12 to 15 frets. The standard tuning of G-C-E-A.


 It gives the classical ukulele tone – bright sounding and joys. It is excellent for children and adults for the smaller sizes.



The concert ukulele is mini bigger than a soprano. It is two inches longer, both in length and scale. Its length 23” inch, with 15 to 18 frets. You can tune it to G-C-E-A.


For its increase in size, you can get a bright sound. You can get a little louder and richer sound than soprano. It is also lovely for beginners.



Tenor size is three inches longer than the Concert size ukulele. Its length about 26” inc, with 17 to 15 fets. Tuning is the same as concert uke.


The bigger size means a deep and fuller sound. It’s probably great for the stage performer. Other ukes are fantastic for adult beginners because of the bigger fretboard.



The baritone is one of the biggest of the popular sizes. Its typical length 21” inch, with 18 to 21 frets. That has one common tunning, which is D G B E.


For beginners, it is not suitable. It’s best for guitarists who will familiar with setup and setup. Baritone produces a deep and louder sound experience.



In conclusion, it is an affordable and great instrument to play. Similarly, it is most important to know about the history of the ukulele. Click here to know “How To Play Ukulele“.

In addition, it is that kind of instrument, which is capable of putting a smile on anyone’s face within a moment.

However, maybe you are a complete beginner or experienced player. We hope you have learned something new about the uke. 


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