Of course I’ve neglected to mention one of the big factors in my interest in the ukulele: my contrarian tendency. I am often biased against the popular and in favor of the out-of-favor.
I’ve never watched Titanic or “American Idol”. I’ve ignored contemporary popular music to a great extent all my life, especially the past couple decades, and the artists I do like tend to be ones not found in the top ten or, in many cases, the top thousand. I use Windows as little as possible, sticking with Mac OS and Linux. I watch almost no television. I prefer bass clarinet to soprano.
With ukes my contrarianism may be in for trouble, though. I tried putting “ukulele, banjo, fiddle, dulcimer, mandolin” into Google Trends. Guess which four have trended downward over the past five years? And guess which one has gone up a factor of two?
If I put “guitar” in place of one of these instruments (you can only compare up to five) it blows the rest away in terms of volume, but it too trends flat-to-downward.
Another thing: notice the spikes every December. Zoom in on individual months and you find they’re always on precisely December 25. Looks like people give and get ukes, banjos, and mandolins for Christmas, but not fiddles and dulcimers? Odd. Granted, ukes are cheap, but banjos and mandolins? Not so much.