If you were a kid in the early 1990s who wanted to play the ukulele, there weren't very many options available to you. There was no Lanikai, no Kala (or Makala); none of the plethora of affordable starter ukuleles that occupy their own designated "ukulele space" in every reputable music store today. So if you weren't able to borrow a vintage Martin or Kamaka from a family member or awesome friend, you pretty much had two options: pick up a Prelude or Hilo. Hilo still makes their famous ukulele strings and you may be able to still find a few of their ukuleles for sale online, but in the current tidal wave of ukulele manufacturing, Prelude ukuleles have almost completely disappeared into the abyss.

So when Aaron walked into the office today with a Prelude SU-15 (the same model that Aldrine learned to play the ukulele on), Aldrine's mind was awash with fond memories of learning, practicing, and being excited to master this awesome four-stringed wonder. Check out the video above for his thoughts on this blast from the past. More pictures below:

Prelude 1 Lg

Prelude 2 Lg

Prelude 3 Lg

Prelude 4 Lg

Prelude 5 Lg

What was your first ukulele? If you still have it around, try playing it again, it will definitely bring back all of your memories of starting out and help you to realize just how far along you've progressed in your playing. And if you're just starting out, remember to have fun and enjoy the process of learning, because the memories you make with your ukulele today will be the ones you'll look back upon fondly years down the road. Have a great week, & keep strummin'!

-UU Staff


  1. Found this baritone prelude ukulele in thrift shop. Can’t find much info on it. Looks near in unplayed condition. Sounds great. Think it was a good find. Any info would be appreciated! Thanks Mark.

  2. My first was a Prelude BU-18 baritone uke. It was gifted, or rather was allowed to be slowly tranferred, to me by my grandfather and his wife. Apparently it belonged to his wife’s father long ago.

    I still have it and play it regularly. It plays better than my Lanikai bari. Better sustain, warmer sound. It’s hard to find any information on the web about Prelude ukes!

  3. My first one was a Duke Kahanamoku. Plastic fretboard with screws. Lol still stays in tune, but sounds pretty funky! I’m sure Kamaka was around , but was out of my price range at the time. Just received a Kamaka soprano gold label as a gift. A very special gift. I believe it’s from the 50’s or 60’s. Pretty cool

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