The ukulele is a stringed instrument, member of the chordophone family. It generally has four nylon or gut strings. Ukuleles have a small, guitar shaped body and produce sound by plucking and strumming the strings. The instrument consists of a body, short neck, tuning keys, four strings, a fretboard, a sound hole, and a bridge. The vibration that the strings produce, is amplified by the resonating body. The volume and tone of these instruments vary with construction and size. Usually ukuleles come in four sizes: concert, tenor, soprano and baritone.

They are usually made of wood, also there are variants which have been composed using plastic or other materials. Cheaper variants of this instrument are made from plywood or laminate woods. More expensive ukuleles are made of solid hardwoods. The most traditional wood used for these instruments is koa. The strings were originally made of catgut. Modern instruments use nylon polymer strings, and various types of material. There are different types of glue that can be used such as aliphatic glue, superglue, epoxy and hide glue.

This instrument first originated in the 19th century in Hawaii as an adaption of the Portuguese machete. Although ukuleles are usually associated with Hawaii, only in 1879 the first instrument was brought over from Portugal. It was the Portuguese immigrant Joao Fernandez who started playing his four string instrument known as a braghuina. Then the instrument was adopted by the locals who renamed it ukulele. The development of ukuleles has been influenced by instruments from South America, Spain, and Africa.

These instruments are used in a variety of music genres, but most often they are associated with Hawaiian, pop, and rock music. George Formby is probably the most famous ukulele player from the UK. George Harrison used the Kamaka ukuleles. He played the tenor size as well as the concert size.

Looking for a Ukulele? Try our shop in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

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