Without a doubt, over the past few years the ukulele has gained a stronger presence in popular music. Commonly associated with music from Hawaii, where the word “ukulele” roughly translates to “jumping flea” (perhaps due to movement of the player's fingers), the uke is a great addition to any player’s arsenal, and an excellent way to get started for new musicians.
Ukuleles can be made of various types of wood. Lesser expensive ukuleles are typically made from laminate woods, in some cases with a soundboard (top) of an acoustically superior wood, such as spruce. More expensive ukuleles are made of solid hardwoods such as mahogany, and most high-quality ukuleles are made from the Hawaiian wood, koa.
Typically, ukuleles have a figure-eight body shape similar to that of a small acoustic guitar. Four sizes of ukuleles are common: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. The soprano, often called the standard, is the smallest and original ukulele size. The concert size was developed as an enhanced soprano, slightly larger and louder with a deeper tone. Shortly thereafter, the tenor was created, having more volume and deeper bass tone, followed by the even larger and deeper baritone size.
The most common ukulele tuning is G-C-E-A, where the G string is tuned an octave higher than might be expected. Some prefer “Low G” tuning on the tenor uke, with the G in sequence, an octave lower. The baritone is usually tuned to D-G-B-E, which is the same as the highest four strings of a standard 6-string guitar.
In addition to the standard ukulele, hybrid instruments such as the guitar ukulele (guitalele), banjo ukulele (banjolele), harp ukulele, and lap steel ukulele, as well as the electric ukulele, offer players variations on the popular instrument. Whatever your personal style or musical preference, Guitar Center has what you need to start your journey into the world of ukulele.