It’s National Ukulele Day: 9 Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask Red Wanting Blue’s Scott Terry About The Ukulele

First introduced to the Hawaiians at the tail-end of the 19th century, the ukulele has long been a staple of Hawaiian music. Much smaller (and often more affordable than a guitar), the ukulele is one helluva way to bring people together — no matter if you’re on the mainland, or if you’re basking somewhere in the sunlight of one of Hawaii’s many, many beaches.

There is perhaps no more peaceful a sound than the one that reverberates from those tender nylon strings; and that’s why we’ve decided to bring in a Blue Élan artist and ukulele expert to talk all things “uke” on this national holiday.

Oh yeah, and you can take 30% OFF all Red Wanting Blue The Wanting merch in our store this weekend only from 1/31 – 2/2. That’s right. Get The Wanting on 180 gram vinyl for just $14. Or, if you’re still holding onto that 5-CD changer in your car, you can cop a disc for just $8 bucks. Discount automatically applied at checkout. 

 

Over the last twenty years, Midwestern rock heroes, Red Wanting Blue, have worked to establish themselves as one of the indie world’s most enduring and self-sufficient acts. But, in between their infectious performances at live shows all around the country, frontman and multi-instrumentalist Scott Terry has quietly nurtured his craft for the four stringed nylon instrument. Somewhere in between their recent string of dates with Carbon Leaf and The Alternate Routes and the Rock Boat this year, we decided to ask Terry a few questions about why he loves the ukulele.

Why did you start playing ukulele?

“I started playing the uke about 15 years ago because for whatever reason…the 6 string guitar just never clicked with me. The ukulele was small like a couch cushion…always there for me. I fell in love with its sound. It’s so percussive for its size…a mighty little instrument…and it doesn’t wake up the neighborhood!”

How did you get your first ukulele?

“I purchased my very first ukulele at The Blue Gator Music shop in Athens, Ohio (where our band first and started) for $25, if you can believe it! It was a little orange Mahalo and I loved it. I wrote a majority of our album These Magnificent Miles with that little guy. He’s a treasure and I still have him to this day.”

How many ukuleles do you have?

“I have about a dozen or so ukuleles.”

What’s your preferred ukulele brand?

“Well, I’m very partial to my 1963 Gibson Baritone Ukulele…that’s probably my favorite at the moment, but I love them all. I don’t own a Kamaka or a Martin yet. They’re on my UKE wish list.”

Favorite ukulele song?

“Ooh…good question. Probably “Tonight You Belong To Me” performed by Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters in the film “The Jerk.” It made me want to pick up the instrument.”

Do you have a hot tip for someone learning to play?

“Start with songs that have C,F, and G chords and then add on from there. There’s literally thousands of songs with those 3 simple chords.”

Name a popular song that would be vastly improved by adding ukulele.

“Uhhh….EVERY SONG!”

Do you think ukulele is an underrated instrument?

“Sure do. The baritone uke is making a comeback.  I am personally trying to see to that!”

Do guitar skills carry over to ukulele?

“Oh, absolutely. And vice versa. Ukulele skills carry over to guitar.”

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