Origins of the Ukulele

Not many people know this but the Ukulele is actually a Portuguese instrument. However, the people and place we associate them with have taken the uke and made it a unique piece of their rich history. Traditionally, the Huna people that populate Hawaii (and many of the south pacific islands) were not a melodic culture. Instead they passed their lore and traditions through chants and dance. Typically the women were drum players and bearers of the history while the men danced and made display of the words. 


Eventually the western world landed in the islands and brought with them melody, harmony and also instrumentation. Not having the large timber avail to them back home, the travelers built smaller guitar-like instruments from local vegetation that they called Ukulele’s. With a little time and the amazing adaptivity of the local people, the uke and beautiful harmonies we hear in modern Hawaiian culture today came to life. 

With uke season upon us we wanted to spot light one of our local uke makers that we carry here at the shop, Sound Smith. To preface this next bit I wanted to share that I learned how to build ukuleles from a gentleman named Shutan Wu who’s best friend growing up and next door neighbor was Sam Kamaka, the same Kamaka family that makes some of the best ukes in the world today. That said, Sound smith provides a solid line of ukes from soprano thru baritone and even has specialty models like a resonator ukulele. I absolutely love the build & playability of their ukes! For under $175 you can purchase a stunning double bound, Solid Spruce top w/Rosewood back and sides tenor uke. They even have solid Koa topped instruments for an amazing price, too!


We would love to show you more about Sound Smith and the many other ukes we have in stock! Give us a ring: 541.323.2332 or stop bye anyway of the week and put on in your hands. Have a great week and keep playing music.