The ukulele is a cute little guitar that is both portable and simple. Some of my fellow GeekMoms and GeekDads play and I decided it might be fun to join their ranks. At first, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Enter Populele, a ukulele with a digital fretboard that makes it easy for anyone to learn.
What is the Populele?
Populele is a regular ukulele with a digital fretboard (the long neck portion) that syncs to your phone and shows you where to put your fingers. The free app comes games, tools, and even an extensive song library for you to learn from.
First Impressions Of The Populele
After getting over a near heart attack because FedEx hid my package from me…I enjoyed the lightness and simplicity of the box and the inside packaging.
There wasn’t an obscene amount of waste and the instrument was nicely protected. They didn’t throw in a bunch of advertisement paper which was nice (I’ve never understood that with other companies).
The only things in the box were the Populele, charging cable, accessories box with strings and a pick, and a hipster style bag to carry it in.
The Populele charges with a standard micro USB cable so I charged it up for a few hours and then got straight down to work learning how to play.
What Problem Did It Solve For Me?
I first picked up a Kala brand ukulele last year and I found it hard to watch my phone or computer screen for the note while also looking at the strings.
I could learn the notes this way but it was frustrating to divide my eyes up between two tools. I couldn’t tell if my fingers were in the right place without looking at my phone. And I couldn’t tell if my fingers were in the right place without looking at my fingers. Frustrating!
My hope was that the Populele would make it easier for me to learn and finally start to enjoy playing.
How Well Does the Populele Play?
One of the questions I received at a ukulele meet up at my local library was, “Is it a regular ukulele? How does it play?”
The Populele plays like any other ukulele except that you get the added niceness of the fretboard guidance. With a quick tune-up, you will be playing the sweet melody of the ukulele in no time.
The quality was comparable to the Kala ukulele I own (but haven’t touched in months because, hello, I couldn’t look at both phone and ukulele at the same time).
Despite its light up tech, the Populele plays just fine whether you are using the light up fretboard or not. Just because it doesn’t have a charge doesn’t mean you can’t play. It just means your fingers better know what they are doing.
What Do I Like About The Populele?
- The charge lasts 3 hours.
- It’s easy to sync to your phone with the app.
- The Populele app has a ton of songs including pop favorites
- The app has a special feature that lets you program your own songs for the Populele app to show you how to play it.
Is There Anything I Dislike?
Nothing! There is seriously nothing on this that I would change. It’s rare for a review item, but it does happen and it happened with Populele.
Who Is the Populele Right For?
Anyone old enough to pick up the ukulele can pick up the Populele and learn how to play. It’s that simple. Anyone from a child to adult can pick up the Populele and learn a couple of notes in a day.
I took mine to a ukulele meet up and several people commented on how they liked the fretboard lighting up and that the app was free. One woman was looking to upgrade her own ukulele and wrote down some notes to look the Populele up for herself.
Overall, the Populele has been tremendous in helping me learn the ukulele. I’ve taken it to work, the library for meetups, and moved around to various practicing spaces in my house. It’s a great instrument for any age and with the added tech of the Populele’s fretboard, it’s even easier to learn than the traditional methods.
I’ve only just started to learn so stay tuned for my next Populele feature where I’ll be going over my first few weeks learning and see how far I’ve come. I’ll also be highlighting some of the history and celebrity fans of the ukulele.
Disclaimer: GeekMom was given a review sample.