PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - When Port Chester musician and photographer Dean Tomasula visited Hawaii as an 11-year-old, he knew there was something special about the miniature string instrument the islands are so closely associated with.
"It's when I first found about it," Tomasula reminisced. "It was always in the back of my mind and I always wanted to play it."
It wasn't until a few years ago until Tomasula finally acted on his childhood curiosity and picked up a Ukulele. He's been hooked ever since.
"It's fun, it's the kind of instrument you can pick up and learn to play fairly easily," Tomasula. "You can pick it up, learn a couple chords. It's easy to learn, fun, easy to carry around. It's been said it's the happiest little instrument in the world and it makes you feel good."
It was when Tomasula first picked up the instrument that he discovered a serious lack of literature on the subject. According to Tomasula, there are only two publications dedicated solely to the Ukulele, one in Australia and one in Japan. Tomasula, who has a background in journalism and photography, figured that if he couldn't find what he was looking for, he'd create it .
Tomasula feels that the instrument is currently experiencing an upswing in popularity and there is real potential for people to learn about the instrument. Tomasula is also optimistic about the instrument's increase in exposure over the past decade or so.
"They sell them at guitar center now," Tomasula said. "Before, you had to go to Hawaii to get one."
According to Tomasula, Ukulele's run from $50 to $500 depending on quality and materials. There are four main sizes: the soprano, the concert size, the tenor size, and the baritone. The soprano Ukulele is the most traditional and well known, with the concert being the next size up. The baritone and the tenor are even larger bodied and produce a deeper sound.
While it is still in the early planning stages , Tomasula anticipates the magazine from the perspective of a "gear head". Currently, Tomasula has a project up on Kickstart.com and Indiegogo.com, and is anxious to secure funding through these and alternative sources.
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