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Fender Makes Splash into Ukulele Biz
Scottsdale, AZ -- Known for their rock & roll image in manufacturing electric guitars, basses and amps for over 60 years, Fender Musical Instruments recently splashed into the ukulele scene with their own line of ukes.
According to Fender Vice President of Product Marketing, Mike Lewis, "Seeing the growing trend of the ukulele's popularity around the world, we realized an opportunity. Because the uke, is tuned like the first four strings of a guitar, it's easy for guitar players to adapt to. Being guitar players ourselves, we gave it a try... and like everyone else, got hooked!"
And, hooked they became with the unveiling of three different tenor-size ukulele models at the NAMM 2009 Convention in Anaheim, CA this past January.
"The Fender Ukes were in development for quite a long time." Lewis said. "We experimented with a lot of different designs and wanted to develop an instrument that sounds great, looks great, is easy to play, all at an affordable price."
According to singer/songwriter and Fender artist, Ukulele Ray, "Fender has done an excellent job of building a quality uke at a great price-point."
Known for his world-class ukulele collection (with over 1,000 ukes, at onetime), and playing uke since the age of four, Ukulele Ray has an indepth knowledge of ukes and their rich history.
"I've played almost every type of ukulele ever made, over my many years of collecting and performing," Ray said. "I was impressed the first time I picked up one of the Fenders, and I was so inspired, I wrote a song about it."
Using the new Fender ukes in both studio recording and LIVE performance, Ray's song, I'm On A Fender Bender, was immediately posted on Fender's ukulele MySpace site, along with his testimonial, touting the line of ukuleles as "they not only make music, but inspire it!"
In addition, Ray's LIVE concert performance videos have become a prime source to experience the sound and look of the new Fender line. Ray even featured the ukuleles in a special birthday tribute concert to rock legend, George Harrison.
"George Harrison loved ukuleles, and no tribute would be complete without the inclusion of ukuleles, especially Fenders," Ray said. "George played Fender guitars, and there's no doubt he would dig playing a Fender uke."
"I'm extremely optimistic about Fender's future into ukuleles," Ray added. "Because of the Fender name, many will draw to the ukulele, thus making it a brighter day for everyone."
Fender ukuleles can be found on a number of Internet music sites, including Musician's Friend and Elderly Instruments.