The ukulele's appeal in non-Hawaiian music is limited by its unimposing size and a small range of notes, and guitar is just a cooler word. Regardless, Jake Shimabukuro has dedicated his skills to the miniature instrument. A YouTube upload of his take on the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" has racked up nearly 7 million views.
The Hawaiian-born Shimabukuro has played the instrument since he was 4, and it shows. His fingers flit across the four strings with manic precision, evoking flamenco, jazz, and other styles. Despite his ability, he eschews the ostentatious, focusing on the uke's peaceful, soft sounds. On his latest record, Peace, Love, Ukulele, "Bohemian Rhapsody" turns into something that's practically serene.