Uke Craze Continues in the US

For those of you who are unenlightened regarding all things ukulele, the popularity of this diminutive instrument continues to increase here in the US as well as abroad.  We just attended TowJam Music Weekend in Kalkaska Michigan and the ukulele played a prominent role both onstage as well as throughout the weekend.  Lansing Michigan based band The Springtails featured the lead singer on Uke.  The band played a mix of old swingtime standards, rock, country and some originals that kept the crowd enthralled with their musical abilities as well as making old time songs sound distinctly modern.  Members of the Drawbridge Uke Club from Charlevoix Michigan were wondering around the campsites looking for open jams and generally having fun sharing their love for all things ukulele.

325 miles to the south in Ft Mitchell Kentucky, the Cool Hand Ukes club led by Lynette Jolicoeur, continues to grow and ad both those who are new to playing music to seasoned musicians looking for a fun new instrument to play.  The Cool Hand Ukes are continually asked to play at local events, retirement homes, festivals, and fairs.  Many members were recently found at Stoney’s Toy Shop in Covington Kentucky playing for “national play music on your porch day”  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10211704215735610&set=a.2268325382321.121682.1074158131&type=3&theater

Needless to say, Ukuleles continue to make people smile!

 

Keep on Strummin’

River Roots Festival

Jbovier ukuleles will be on display at the River Roots Music and Art festival in Madison Indiana this weekend (May 19&20)  Be sure to check out www.riverroots.org and look at this years line up.  We will have our ukes available to see and play at the Madison City Campground, just look for the Airstream with the JBOVIER UKULELE banner or ask Mike or MJ (wearing their ever so stylish JBovier tee shirts) If you can see and play one of our incredible ukuleles.  We look forward to meeting you and talking music, travel, and ukuleles.

Happy Strummin’

Choosing the best materials

When selecting materials for out JBovier ukuleles, we decided we needed to create a balance between quality, price, and sound.  These varying options don’t lend themselves to a one answer fits all so we spent a considerable amount of time weighing out these items as we selected our materials and manufacturing processes.  First and foremost, we new Aquila Strings were the best available and we were not willing to compromise when it came to uke strings.  The tone woods we selected for the bodies had to be visually appealing, durable, and produce a high quality sound.  We selected Bokote and Zebra woods for those very reasons.  We did decide to go with a laminate body as opposed to solid as we felt that laminate would both keep the price down but also offer more consistency in sound reproduction throughout the entire manufacturing process.  Laminated instruments also tend to maintain their tone over the life of the instrument and we felt this is a positive attribute of the JBovier brand in general.  Solid spruce tops, rosewood necks provide quality and yet keep the price in the affordable range.  We hope you like every aspect of your JBovier Ukulele and enjoy it for years to come.

 

Keep on Strummin’

Why Ukuleles?

Many people wonder how we got into the business of selling JBovier Ukuleles, like most business stories, this one begins with a passion for music and a friendship with Jeff Cowherd the founder and genius behind the JBovier brand of Mandolins and other instruments in the mandolin family.  We knew of Jeff’s work and attention to detail in the manufacturing of his mandolins and approached him with the idea of licensing us to sell ukuleles under the JBovier name.  Why ukuleles?  They are fun, easy to play, affordable, portable, can be made with great tonewoods, and the ukulele has seen a resurgence in popularity over the past several years.  At first, Jeff was “cool” to the idea but as we talked about our ideas of sourcing high quality manufacturers as well as using high end materials he warmed up to the idea.  Our first prototypes gave us the incentive to move forward and the rest, as they say, is history.  We hope you continue to support our project of providing high quality ukuleles at affordable prices and be sure to tell your friends about JBovier ukuleles and mandolins.

Keep on Strummin’

Famous and infamous Ukesters

Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards and Herbert “Tiny Tim” Khaury are probably considered the most noteworthy ukulele players from the recent past.  While Ukulele Ike was also known as the voice of Jiminy Cricket in early Disney films it was Tiny Tim who brought a new and comedic face to the ukulele as he “Tiptoed Through the Tulips” on Rowan and Martins Laugh In during the 60’s.

Todays resurgence of the popularity of the ukulele is fueled by such serious artists as Jake Shimabukuro who is considered by many as a modern day virtuoso of the uke.  Jakes amazing talent has shown music enthusiasts throughout the world that the ukulele can be a serious musical instrument producing a broad range of sounds and tones.  Other serious ukulele fans include Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame, Tom Petty, who actually has a ukulele instruction book attributed to his name, and the late George Harrison of the Beatles.  George Harrison often gave ukuleles as gifts to other musician friends so they could get together for informal uke jams.  So remember, next time you pick up and start strumming your JBovier Ukulele, you are in great company!

Keep on Strummin’

Why are Ukuleles so popular?

The rise in popularity of ukuleles are of no coincidence:  There are several factors that have caused ukes to become one of the hottest stringed instruments being sold today.

  1.  They are fun!  With their diminutive size, unique sound, and overall cool factor, ukes are just plain fun to play!
  2. They are inexpensive:  You can get a good quality instrument for $150 to $250 making them extremely affordable for everyone.
  3. They are portable:  Small size means easy carry and transport.  Whether around town or on vacation, you can take your uke any where you go.
  4. They are easy to learn:  With just 4 strings and no overly complex chord patterns, you can literally be playing your new JBovier ukulele the day you bring it home.
  5. They are social:  Ukulele and music societies are forming all over the world bringing like minded people together for the love of learning something new, the sharing of making music, and general socialization.

Bottom line:  Get yourself a new uke and get out and play!  You’ll be glad you did.

Students love JBovier Ukeleles

We have noticed how popular the JBovier Ukuleles are with college (and some high school) students so we decided to do a bit of polling.  When asked “why did you choose a JBovier Ukulele over other brands”  The responses varied but all seemed to focus on the overall value of the uke, the beautiful tone woods that are used, and the great sound they produce.  When compared to more known brands, the overall aesthetics and sound won every time.  While JBovier ukes are still relatively unknown, the JBovier mandolins have been the choice of both professional and amateur musicians for over ten years.  We’re sure that once you compare the JBovier’s to the other brands of ukes you’ll agree too!

Uke Strings: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

When it comes to choosing strings for your JBovier Ukulele it is important to remember that all strings are not created equal.  While the vast majority of ukulele strings are made of nylon or nylon polymers, the sound quality of these strings can vary greatly amongst brands.  While the lease expensive strings are created through an extrusion process where nylon monofilament (think fishing line) is made by pushing molten nylon through a hole of specific diameter, better quality ukulele strings are then ground to produce more consistent diameter and therefore more consistent and better sound.

JBovier Ukuleles come standard with high quality Aquila strings and when it comes time to replace your strings, we recommend staying with Aquila or other top rated brands to get the best sound quality out of your uke.  Keep in mind that new strings will stretch and may require more tuning when they are fist put on you uke.  Once they stretch, you’ll not have to tune as much or as greatly.  Only by testing and playing will you find ukulele strings that fit your playing style and sound desires.  In the meantime:  Keep On Strummin!

Uke clubs around the world!

Playing the ukulele is not just a solo pursuit, as it turns out there are ukulele clubs all over the world as more and more people discover the social aspects of playing ukulele in groups.  These groups go from total beginners to Ukulele Orchestras that perform in front of large audiences.  If you are interested in finding a group in your area check out http://www.gotaukulele.com/p/ukulele-clubs-and-societies.html this is an excellent resource for uke groups throughout the US as well as Europe.

Have fun and “keep on strummin”