Strange Instrument #2: The Ukelin

Diving in the wonderful world of musical instruments is the best remedy against boredom. Indeed, beside the mainstream musical instruments that everybody knows, there is a whole wild, incredible and unlikely jungle of weird instruments. Sometimes, the weirdest items are the result of an unexpected hybridization…

That’s the case of the Ukelin (or Ukulin) manufactured in the US during the ’20s and the ’30s… Back in those years, Hawaiian music was spreading through America, bringing new sounds and techniques that crossed-over with local culture i.e. Country music and Blues particularly. The Ukelin is an avatar of this era that allowed the creation of this new musical instrument from the hybridization of a Ukulele and a Violin.

The shape is rather basic, designed to be played laid down on the lap, and it has 2 sets of strings.

  • The first set of strings is inherited from the Ukulele and is played rhythmically with the right hand.
  • The second set of strings is designed for melodies played with the left hand and a violin bow.

Here is a video of Barry Byrne showing the Ukelin to a bunch of fascinated kids…


If you are looking to extend your collection of strange musical instruments, well you can find some ukelins from the ’20s on ebay… And they are rather cheap. As for me, I’m gonna do some diggin’ to find some music featuring the Ukelin.

Spotted on Aces And Eights.

About Sem

I am the founder of Muzicosphere (that also exists in a French version). In 2011, I also created Guitar Fail, the Guitar LOL place to be. And before that I created GAS a GoGo, a gear giveaways blog in French.

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