Perhaps the uke-craze of the last decade has worn off to a small, extent, but for millions, the passion for these beautiful, yet humble little instruments is alive and thriving. It’s even what provided the inspiration for this post.
A little while back, my friend Cheryl Johnson, an adept musician, was going through her Christmas list. Like me, she’s never had children, and yet, has LOTS of children. For both of us, being aunties and God-mothers has been among the greatest blessings of our lives, and with Cheryl having some very young ones on her Christmas list, she decided to gift them ukuleles.
They’re still young enough that there’s no risk of them reading this and spoiling the surprise. And, since I know others are already preparing their holiday gifting lists, I hoped to inspire a few more to consider adding ukuleles to their lists.
Music is such an enhancement to life in general, and ukuleles are so affordable and easy, (SERIOUSLY EASY) to learn to play, I wish every family would invest in at least one. But, it’d be even better if they invested in enough to go around!
Ukes are a fun addition to loads of activities. I appreciate any opportunity to play, and this time of the year (autumn) they’re especially nice to pluck and strum when porch-sitting, or around the fire pit, at a picnic table or even while sitting on the ground (which isn’t my thing, but to each their own). Their easy portability is one perk that keeps them so popular. Some are even weather-proof, and can not only be played in the rain, but totally underwater! I own a Kala Waterman Edition that I’ve tested this with (at least in the rain) and can assure you, it’s totally true!
My Waterman came with its own gig bag, but I purchased an inexpensive, yet well-made Ammoon padded gig bag to provide it with some extra protection as well as some storage area for spare strings, music, pics and guitar strap. The polycarbon ukes tend to be a bit slippery and the strap does a lot to help it stay in place while playing.
The uke’s name is Blackfish, after one of my favorite animals and restaurants in British Columbia, introduced to me by my close friend and colleague, Vicki Warner of WarnerWords, who lives in the area. She also sent me the Blackfish that’s pictured in the uke’s artwork, (made by yours truly) via a Mail-A-Whale postcard that could be made into a cut-out mobile to hang for decoration. Instead of using it for a mobile, Blackfish wears it instead.
The “Blackfish” lettering is a cut-out of one of the several coasters gifted to me by the Blackfish pub. I loved how it turned out. It provided a great way of educating my music students about the Sunshine Coast’s beautiful Davis Bay, and the marine animals that it’s home to, which includes seals, dolphins, orcas and even humpback whales!
On a side-note, it’d be way cool to play a uke by the seashore and have some dolphins or whales begin singing along. I’ll have to add that to my epic-to-do list.
Affordable accessories and necessities
Things you gotta have for musical instruments can be very, VERY pricey, but ukes are, or at least can be, the exception. A great example is strings. My fav brand of uke strings is the Lava series by Aquila. They’re soooooo nice to the touch and sound beautiful! A whole set can often be purchased for less than $8 (with free shipping) via eBay.
All of my ukes wear Aquila's Lava Series strings, which include a tiny, Fender soprano, Blackfish (a concert) and my big, baritone. The Lava strings provide rich, full sounds to every size of uke, and can often poorly crafted ukes sound great for a small price.
Other necessities and accessories (gig bags, shoulder straps, plectrums and picks) can also be found on eBay, Amazon and even directly from the manufacturers for impressively low prices, or you can go as high as you like and splurge on the same items listed at a much higher rate if that’s your preference.
I hope this post has persuaded you to put a uke(s) on your gifting list. Even if the recipient only wants to hang it on a wall, or rest it in a corner of a favorite room, it’s gonna be a blessing with lots of potential, especially for folks who live in a tiny space, or live and work in the nomad community.
Starting with a simple, inexpensive uke is also a good alternative to purchasing a higher-end model, just to see how you (or for whomever you’re purchasing it) is gonna like it.
“...speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord...” Ephesians 5:19--World Messianic Translation
Hope you’ve found this week’s post not only interesting but helpful with your holiday gifting ideas and that you’ll share it with others who may enjoy it as well. If you’re a music fan and have any helpful info to add, please leave a comment. I’d love to read all about it!
‘Til next time,
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