Why a Ukulele is Better than a Gun


I was sitting down tonight with my spouse Karen watching YouTube videos in our Frederic living room.  After watching our usual batch of eclectic YouTube videos, we generally finish off by watching some news reports and then finally some music videos.  My wife is an avid dulcimer player and has been playing it for more than fifteen years now.  About five years ago, she decided to start playing a ukulele.  She has taken lessons for both the uke and dulcimer and plays with a dulcimer group in Tucson and a ukulele group in Centuria, Wisconsin.


The two music groups that Karen plays in have a lot in common.  They are primarily older women players but there are some men in each group.  They practice weekly and occasionally do performances for various venues such as nursing homes, churches, county fairs and festivals.  They do not usually get paid for their performances, but the people who attend at these venues are very happy and grateful to hear the music and songs they play.  The music they perform in both the dulcimer and ukulele groups include a lot of wonderful old gospel tunes, Irish tunes, and country songs.  I have attended many of these performances with Karen.  I do not play but I help with carrying her instruments, amplifiers, and music stands.  Some of the other members call me her “roadie.”

Jake-Shimabukuro-Press-Photo-2185-1570-DPI-4267x6400-1-1080x720The ukulele is a four-stringed instrument that has its origins in Portugal but was adapted by Hawaiians in the 19th Century.  Its size can vary, with the larger instruments producing deeper tones.  Elvis Presley played a ukulele and so did Tiny Tim.  The ukulele became most popular in Hawaii but more recently with a player named Jake Shimabukuro its popularity has skyrocketed.  Karen and I have been to two of Jake’s concerts and it is beyond amazing what he can play and do on his ukulele.  He has done for the ukulele what the movie “O Brother, Where Are Thou” did for old time music.  He has created a renaissance for the ukulele with millions of people all over the world now taking up the instrument.


Tonight, we watched some of the videos for a ukulele group that we have watched many times before.  They are called the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.  They have nearly two dozen music videos on YouTube.  There are eight members in the group.  Two women and six men.

soprano-concert-tenor-baritone-ukulele-sizes They play a variety of ukes from soprano to tenor to concert to bass ukuleles.  In addition to playing, they also sing.  They are quite innovative and creative in their adaptations of the various pieces of music that they play.  They often invite ticket holders to bring their ukuleles to the concert and play along with them.  You can find out more about this group at their site Ukulele Orchestra.  Their website includes information on where they are playing next.  They tour all over the world and will be in various parts of Europe and America over the next two years.  By the way, National Ukulele Day takes place on February 2 each year when ukulele players from around the country will strum their favorite tunes to celebrate.  But I started this blog with the admonition that ukuleles were better than guns.  Following are my ten reasons why a ukulele is better than a gun.

  1. You do not need a Concealed Carry Permit to carry a ukulele in public. 

Most people will not feel at all uncomfortable if you pass them by in a Walmart with a ukulele.  Not so true with a gun.  Few places ban ukulele players from entering.

  1. There have been very few people killed with a ukulele.

Either intentionally or unintentionally, statistics show that ukuleles are relatively safe.  They are very light weight and even if you cracked a person over the head with one, it would probably hurt your ukulele more than the other person.

  1. Ukuleles do not have to be reloaded.

Ukulele strings do not break very often, and they are pretty inexpensive to purchase compared to most bullets.  In addition, stores seldom run out of ukulele strings whereas bullets seem to fly off the shelf every time a Democrat is elected.

  1. The sound of a ukulele playing will not generally make people dash for cover and cower behind closed doors.

Ukuleles are fun to play and fun to listen to.  The music written for ukes as well as much of the music played by ukulele players is heartwarming and upbeat.

  1. Ukuleles are relatively inexpensive.

A good gun (if there is such a thing) will set you back several hundred dollars.  You can buy an excellent carbon fiber ukulele for $100 dollars.  Many people prefer a wood ukulele but carbon fiber ukes are waterproof and humidity resistant.  In addition, they have an excellent tone.  More and more acoustic instruments are being made out of carbon fiber.

  1. You do not have to lock your ukulele up to protect your children.

As a matter of fact, many parents like to encourage their children to play an instrument by leaving it around for them to pick up and experiment with.  (WARNING) You do not want to leave your gun around for your kids to play or experiment with.

  1. Ukuleles do not malfunction and blow up in your face.

Where there might be some “bad” ukes, there are no reports of any ukes blowing up or exploding and killing anyone.  Ukuleles are thus much safer to play than guns.

  1. Ukuleles are bipartisan.

You can be a Republican or a Democrat and still play a ukulele.  There are no official designations limiting who can play a ukulele.  Unlike Covid masks, playing a ukulele will not denote your political affiliation.

  1. Ukuleles can be carried on a plane and stored in the overhead bins.

The small size and light weight of most ukes make them ideal for traveling.  They will easily pass through most metal detectors and unlike guns will not sound alarms and have people scurrying for cover if you forget to mention that you have one in your luggage.

  1. They are more inclusive than guns.

When anyone draws a gun and starts firing it, most people will run away as quickly as possible from the shooter.  The exact opposite is usually true with a ukulele player.  Take out your ukulele and start playing it and people will soon come around and if you are a half-way decent player, you will have a crowd of people listening to you.  If you are really good, open your uke case and you can pick up a few bucks in tips by being a busker.  When was the last time, you saw any gun owners making money by shooting their guns in public?

So there you have it.  10 good reasons to buy a ukulele today and learn to play it.  There are oodles of free lessons on line, and it seems just about every town now has a uke club.  My wife plays weekly with a friend in Canada and her group in Centuria.  Members of uke groups are friendly and hospitable.  To date, none of the mass killers in America have been uke players.

“What the world needs are more ukuleles and fewer guns.”  — Socrates, 457 BCE

“Sir, I have had new thoughts on the Second Amendment.  I believe we should change it as follows:  ‘A well-disciplined ukulele band, being necessary to the peace and harmony of a free State, the right of the people to keep and play ukuleles, shall not be infringed.’”  Thomas Jefferson, 1789 CE

A good uke site if you are interested in getting started:

My Favorite Ukulele Sites (2022 Edition)








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