If you know about rock and grunge music, then you probably know about Eddie Vedder. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he is one of the guitarists for the group Pearl Jam. But what many people don’t know is that he also plays the ukulele and does solo shows with his ukulele songs. He has even created ukulele albums.
Early Life & Pearl Jam
Eddie Vedder was born in Illinois in 1964. When he got a guitar for his 12th birthday, he turned to music and surfing for comfort. He worked a variety of odd jobs after high school and recorded tapes of his music. One of his influences was The Who, and once he was part of the popular band Pearl Jam, he made album appearances with The Who, Neil Young, The Ramones, and many others. He then embarked on a solo career.
Eddie Vedder’s Love for Ukuleles
According to a 2011 article in The Seattle Times, Eddie Vedder described how much the ukulele meant to him. It became his constant companion after buying one during a surfing trip to Hawaii. Vedder released a solo album of ukulele originals and covers titled Ukulele Songs in 2011. They are mostly love songs he wrote for his wife and daughters. In an NPR interview in 2011, he said he considers the ukulele a lifelong friend. He described the ukulele as a very easy instrument to play and also very accessible for non-musicians. You can watch his incredible ukulele skills in this video of Can’t Keep from his album Ukulele Songs:
Vedder’s Ukulele Collection
During that trip to Hawaii, he bought a Kamaka Tenor ukulele and took it with him everywhere. He also has a custom-made Martin ukulele. He has been known to play a Mya-Moe striped myrtle tenor ukulele in addition to a Kamaka 6-string guitalele. His Kamaka HF-3 was donated to the Ferry County Rail Trail Partners (FCRTP) and after auctioning it off, they got over $17,000 for it! He included a handwritten note that explained he used that ukulele to record his album Ukulele Songs. Vedder continues donating signed ukuleles for charity. Just recently he posted on Instagram that he was donating a signed custom Pono ukulele to benefit the Maui wildfire relief efforts.
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Causes, Activism, and Influences
Eddie Vedder is a co-founder of the EB Research Partnership, a group that is working to help find a cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa. It is a severe skin disorder that causes internal and external wounds that may never heal. Vedder founded this group with his wife after close friends had sons with the disorder. Additionally, he has used his platform to speak out on political topics.
Read more: What Ukulele Does Taimane Play?
Eddie Vedder has no doubt inspired countless people to give the ukulele a chance and start playing it. His crossover from rock music to ukulele solo work shows how versatile the instrument is. Even Jake Shimabukuro is said to have been influenced by his songs.
While he plays a variety of ukuleles, you can find similar Kamaka or Martin ukuleles as his in the Terry Carter Music Store. If you have any questions about these ukuleles, the Terry Carter Music Store staff will surely have the answers. They can even do a whole custom setup for your ukulele.
Do you have any other ukulele musicians you want to talk about? You can strike up a conversation in the Uke Like the Pros Community Forum. It’s a fun and friendly community of ukulele players who discuss a range of topics and can offer tips, tricks, and advice. Uke Like the Pros offers a variety of membership packages that can suit your needs, too! Happy strumming!