Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can you recommend a good first ukulele for beginners ?
Certainly. "Where you buy" is as important as "what you buy". Quality problems abound in low-cost ukes and reputable stores check quality, saving you a ton of hassle. (We don't get any commission from these companies.) IMPORTANT: Explicitly ask the store to do two things before you buy 1) adjust string height, which makes a uke MUCH easier to play, and 2) install one "button" on the bottom of your uke that allows you to attach a mandolin-style strap; not two buttons; just one.
RECOMMENDED BEGINNER UKES (Concert Sized)
RECOMMENDED BEGINNER UKES (Concert Sized)
- Ohana Brand Model CK-10
- Kala Brand Model KA-C
- Spruce Tree Music (brick-n-mortar)
- Ward Brodt Music (brick-n-mortar)
- Mim's Ukes (online)
- Elderly Instruments (online)
2. Is there anything else I need to buy as a beginner ?
The above recommended beginner ukes do NOT require a humidifier or case that retains humidity...two things often needed for more expensive and larger ukes. We DO recommend a clip-on tuner and a strap. A strap is important; it holds up the uke's head and allows your chording hand to relax. Here are two, simple, inexpensive ways to make your own strap using string, yarn, shoelace, or ribbon: method #1 and method #2. We don't have a specific recommended tuner, although the Snark Brand Model ST-8 is nice for approx. $15.
3. What exactly is MAUI ? I hear about other local ukulele gatherings and get a little confused.
Madison is blessed with a thriving ukulele community. MAUI is the Madison Area Ukulele Initiative, an organization that 1) supports other regional ukulele groups 2) offers it's own events 3) publishes a monthly newsletter and calendar of all ukulele events in the region 4) provides this website, and 5) maintains a free, high-quality song book for everyone to use. MAUI's own events include monthly Sing-Alongs as well as frequent concerts by MAUI's performance group. A wide variety of ukulele classes are taught by MAUI director Andrew Wilke. They're offered through MAUI's sister company called Good Day Ukulele. For a list of other ukulele groups in the Madison area, and respective contact people, see the "Calendar" page of this website.
4. How do I join MAUI ?
Joining MAUI is simple. Just subscribe to our email list on the "Join" page and indicate your ukulele interests. That's it! We include an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every email. So you can leave any time. And we never share your information. Our top priority is helping you find enjoyable, encouraging, and trusting musical community.
5. I signed-up for MAUI but I'm not receiving emails ?
Because our club has been so successful, we have more members than Gmail allows. So we now send email through a service called MailChimp. This occasionally results in emails being mis-categorized. For example, some email programs may route MailChimp emails to a promotional, or spam, folder. When you first submit your subscription request to MAUI, MailChimp will automatically send you a confirmation email. You haven't joined until you confirm. So, if the confirmation email doesn't appear in your inbox, look for it in another folder, like "promotional", "spam", or "social", and then tell your email software to allow future correspondence from this sender.
6. What's required to participate in MAUI Sing-Alongs ?
Just show up! All skill levels are welcome. If you only know one chord, play that chord every time it comes around. Soon enough, you'll learn another. Ukulele culture is very accepting. We sound great and have a lot of fun collectively even though many of us fall off the wagon every now and then. We just get back on and no one even notices. Many beginners think a certain level of proficiency is required before participating. Not true. Just come as you are. Let the group inspire you to play. Proficiency will happen at it's own pace...and you'll be smiling along the way.
7. What's the best way to manage the MAUI songbook ? It has so many songs !
If you're new to MAUI, we suggest attending without the song book and sitting next to someone who has a copy. Each month, 4 to 6 new songs are added based on member's requests. That will continue. Consequently, many members have migrated to electronic tablets, like iPads. We recommend you do the same. Used tablets are rather inexpensive these days and offer significant advantages over a printed book. The song book will continue to evolve in favor of convenient tablet viewing.