Ukulele Facts

By James Gilmore

The ukulele is a small, four-stringed musical instrument that is played by plucking. Native to Hawaii, it comes in a variety of sizes and models. Pop musicians helped popularize the ukulele in the 1960s.

History

Hawaiians developed the ukulele during the 1880s. It is based on the machete, a small, guitar-like instrument introduced by Portuguese and Spanish immigrants.

Jumping Flea

Ukulele is Hawaiian for "jumping flea." The name is based on the way a player's fingers move while playing it.

Sizes

Ukuleles come in four different sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone (smallest to largest). The soprano is the standard size ukulele.

Types

There are several different types of ukulele, including the resonator ukulele, electric ukulele, banjo ukulele, harp ukulele and Tahitian ukulele.

Fun Fact

Tiny Tim brought ukulele playing to the pop charts with his 1968 hit single "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."

About the Author

James Gilmore has written professionally since 2005. Since then, he has written and proofread obituaries for "The Press & Sun-Bulletin" in Binghamton, N.Y., press releases for "Goals, Seminars and Consultants" and articles for Made Man and various other websites. He writes a good deal of music-related content and holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ithaca College.