jake shimabukuro, ukelele

Amazing Ukelele Virtuoso: Jake Shimbabukuro

With 11.7 million YouTube views, you must see this performance by Jake Shimabukuro, a ukulele virtuoso known for his complex finger work. Be sure to watch the last minute where Jake plays a pretty incredible sequence.

My husband gave found Jake on YouTube and my kids loved watching him play, especially my son who plays the guitar. My son then had his guitar teacher, a graduate student from the New England Conservatory, watch the video. His teacher had not heard of Jake but he was also impressed. He told us that Jake used Flamenco guitar techniques on the ukelele so, of course, my son wanted to try it himself.

The second video is instructional. Jake breaks down his fingering techniques. Though he’s very clear on how to do it and makes it look easy, it looks pretty difficult to emulate. Still, my son was inspired by Jake’s accessibility as a performer and watching him play makes my son play his guitar more. If Jake ever comes to Boston — he’s on tour now — we’d make a great effort to catch him.

What do you think of Jake? Did you ever imagine the ukelele could sound like that?

jake shimabukuro, ukeleleimage from ML Films

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. He is pretty amazing!

    Has your son heard Hawaiian slack key guitar? I love that type of guitar music!
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