It’s a long-held belief that the ukulele is a “girly” instrument. It’s not too hard to see why: it has four strings and a small, round body and comes in all colors of the rainbow.
Its pearlescent sheen makes it look like something you would wear on your head for sun protection. But as with any instrument, the ukulele is only as “girly” as the person playing it.
In fact, there are plenty of men who shred on the uke. So if you’re a guy and you’re wondering if the uke is for you, don’t let anyone tell you what’s too “girly” for you to play.
Why The Ukulele Isn’t a Girly Instrument
I have to say that the higher tones that a ukulele produces sound a bit more feminine than let’s say, a guitar. But that doesn’t mean It’s an instrument for girls.
Most people who think a ukulele is a girly instrument probably do so because of how the ukulele is often portrayed. In the hands of a Hawaiian girl with a flower necklace for instance.
It’s the same reason people believe pink is a girly color. Because they have been told it is, not because it’s actually true.
Even though people think of a Hawaiian girl when they think of the ukulele, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of good male ukulele players out there!
Why do we need to tie gender to an instrument at all? I have never thought about calling the guitar or the piano a girly or a manly instrument. So we don’t have to do this with the ukulele either.
Of course, there will be people around you that might think the ukulele is girly. But that doesn’t mean it actually is.
The important thing is that you love playing the instrument, so what does it matter what people think.
Why Do People Think The Ukulele Is Girly?
There are a few reasons why people might think that the ukulele is a girly instrument.
Firstly, ukuleles usually come in a range of bright colors (especially plastic ones) and have a sleek, pearlescent finish, which can make it look quite feminine.
Secondly, it’s often seen as being quite small and compact, which is perhaps not as “manly” as some of the bigger instruments.
And finally, it’s often been seen as being quite popular with female musicians, which might contribute to the perception that it’s a “girly” instrument.
But ultimately, whether or not the ukulele is a girly instrument is up to the individual player. There are plenty of men and women who play the uke who prove that it’s a powerful and versatile instrument, regardless of gender.
Examples of Male Ukulele Players
When I get asked how does a typical ukulele player look I don’t necessarily think of a girl.
The one that first comes to mind is Israel Kamakawiwoʻole playing ”Over the Rainbow.” Or someone standing on a Hawaiian beach with a flower necklace around his neck.
Jake Shimabukuro is another great male ukulele player, who is famous for his fast and complex fingerwork.
The Guitarist of The Beatles, George Harrison also played serious ukulele and was influenced by Hawaiian music and the ukulele.
Is The Ukulele a Serious Instrument?
The ukulele is often seen as a light-hearted and fun instrument, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be taken seriously.
There are plenty of professional ukulele players who make a living from playing the instrument. Some of which are mentioned in the section above.
In fact, there are now even ukulele orchestras and competitions, so the ukulele is definitely being taken seriously by many musicians.
Whether or not the ukulele is a serious instrument really depends on the person playing it and what they want to achieve with it. For some, the ukulele will always be a light-hearted and fun instrument, while others will take it more seriously and use it as a tool for creative expression.
The ukulele, while sometimes seen as a “girly” instrument is actually not limited to female players.
There are a growing number of male ukulele players who are proving that the uke is a powerful and versatile instrument.
So don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t play the ukulele just because it’s seen as a “girly” instrument. Play it because you love it!