Once the pop-culture musical quarry of Don Ho and Tiny Tim pretty much exclusively, the ukulele has enjoyed a run of popularity in recent years that has reached the status of a genuine renaissance. The four-stringed, reentrant-tuned axe owes its newfound fashionability to a variety of factors: It is portable. It is relatively easy to learn out of the gate, but supports as much virtuosity as you care to achieve, as YouTube phenom Jake Shimabukuro has demonstrated beyond doubt. Uke tab is available for practically any standard you’d want to learn, and George Harrison loved the instrument. Furthermore, the current generation of non-electronic musicians seems far more interested in writing and performing their own songs than in shredding in all its forms. All these conditions have smiled on the humble ukulele.
In the ’80s, you’d be lucky to find one in a typical guitar store. Today, you will find all manner at all sizes and price points. And as a small-bodied nylon-stringed instrument, cheap ukuleles sound nearly as good as the expensive ones: something that can never be said of guitars.
The Phoenicia Library hosts a free ukulele lesson and jam on the first Saturday of each month. It caters to beginners and to more advanced players. Ukes are available to borrow.
Ukulele Lesson & Jam
Saturday, Jan. 4, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Free, Phoenicia Library
48 Main St., Phoenicia