brad bordessa black and white holding ukulele

Aloha! My name is Brad Bordessa and I call Honokaʻa, Hawaiʻi my home.

I started Live Ukulele.com with my friend, Isaac Wang, back in 2007 when I was 14 and shortly after I began playing. The name reflects a musical journey: living with the instrument. No fanfare, no drama, no cutesy-ness that’s often associated with the ukulele.

My goal is to share my expertise freely, as others in the Hawaiian music scene have shared theirs with me.

📧 Contact me with questions, to point out site errors, or just to talk story.

Most photos you see on the site are taken by my beloved and hilarious brother, Evan Bordessa.
Isaac helped get things going, but has since moved on to doing smart, academic things I mostly don’t understand. He’s currently in the PhD English program at Purdue University. Listen to my podcast with Isaac (S2E14)


🎓 I graduated with honors from the Institute of Hawaiian Music at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College in 2013.

🍏 I’ve been a staff instructor at George Kahumoku Jr’s. Slack Key & Ukulele Workshop since 2016 and at the Hawaiʻi Island Ukulele Retreat from 2013-2018 and have taught alongside James Hill, Kevin Carroll, Gerold Ross, Fred Sokolau, Bryan Tolentino, and others.

jam with herb ohta jr brad bordessa george kahumoku

Jammin’ with Herb Ohta, Jr. & Uncle George Kahumoku, Jr. PC: Gail Ginder

I’ve taught countless private and group lessons at Kō Education Center (formerly NHERC), Waimea Middle School (K-Arts), Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy, Grand Naniloa Hotel, Hōʻā, Hāmākua Youth Center, and more.

🎶 I’ve been a featured performer at the Slack Key Show, Seattle’s Northwest Folklife Festival, and the Waikoloa Ukulele Festival. I’ve shared the stage with Herb Ohta Jr., Sonny Lim, HAPA, the late Martin Pahinui, Hawane Rios, Buckman Coe, and Ledward Kaapana – to name a few. I gig regularly with Keoki Kahumoku and Larry Miller as Sweet Kani Lehua and in my rock/funk/hip-hop band, Kingside.

Visit my personal website, BradBordessa.com, to find out more about my music and see where I’m playing next.

What Content I Create

Live ʻUkulele is home to a huge amount of free content:

And then there is the best-of-the-best premium content:

You can find a large index of the main subjects here:

Lesson/Resource Index

How to Support the Site

I provide the vast majority of my content for free with no ads, no strings attached (though sometimes I ask for your email in return for a PDF). Yet somehow I manage to run Live ʻUkulele.com as my full-time job.

The best way to directly support my efforts is by purchasing some of my paid content. These are above-and-beyond resources in the form of ebooks and courses. You get some unique, world-class uke lessons, I pay my bills. It’s a win-win!

Support by buying an ebook/course

If you’re intent on a one-way exchange, you can leave a tip:

Tip via credit card on Ko-Fi Tip via Paypal

If you need to purchase some gear, consider using my Sweetwater affiliate link. They provide amazing customer service and anything you buy will gain me a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Shop at Sweetwater and support Live Ukulele!

Word-of-mouth publicity is as valuable as money for a web business. If you run a uke website, link to your favorite page here on Live ʻUkulele. Share on your social medias. Tell your friends, family, and dog.

My Gear:

These days I primarily play a Moore Bettah custom tenor made by Chuck Moore and strung with Uke Logic or Worth CH strings (Savarez Alliance KF95 low-G). Read more about it here: My Moore Bettah Custom Tenor.

Second in line is a Blackbird Farallon for when I have to play outside or in questionable conditions and don’t want to abuse the Moore Bettah.

From 2007-2013 I played a Kamaka HF-3 full time. You’ll see it in all videos, pictures, and lessons from that era and I still use it from time to time for teaching because it sounds great and is easy for students to see where I’m at on the fretboard. Read more about it here: My Kamaka HF-3.

I also play a Pono BE-DC solidbody baritone when I need to get the low bari sound.

For more, check out the full break-down of what I’m using.

Me Outside of Music

I’m an introvert. Running a website is the perfect introvert job. I do so in a little off-grid cabin with a composting toilet.

I have a parcel of land that I’m working on turning into a low-key farm. Since teaching ʻukulele pays the bills, I don’t feel the need to grow cash crops and am mainly interested in Hawaiian starches like kalo and ʻuala.

I try to do my best to reduce my environmental impact as much as possible by eating local, buying responsibly made products, and packing my trash into used plastic bottles to reduce landfill space – or possibly help someone build a house someday.

On the other hand, I’m fascinated by tech and it’s good/evil impact on the future. In 2020 I sold my iMac and built a PC (Ryzen 5800x, 2070 Super) in protest of Apple’s throw-away business model and opposition of Right to Repair.

Technical Stuff:

Where are the ʻokinas!?!?!?!

The kānaka maoli and Hawaiian culture is most of what makes Hawaiʻi special. Without it, none of this has any meaning or purpose.

I continue to study the Hawaiian language at a 200-300 level with Kaliko Beamer-Trapp and have made honoring the language as best I can one of my top priorities in music. As such, “ʻukulele” in my world is always spelled with an ʻokina.

However, in order to be a full time internet ukulele instructor, I’ve come to realize that the traditional spelling ranks differently on search engines and holds back the potential visibility of what I do. I use the ʻokina whenever a web crawler isn’t going to read what I write (emails, premium content, ebooks, etc).

My apologies to the purists out there. I tried for a lot of years. I really did.

Privacy Policy:
I won’t sell your info to anybody. Promise. But if you want the legal-schmegal details you can read all about them here.

Affiliate Programs:
I am a participant in the Sweetwater Sound and Uketropolis affiliate programs. Clicking on these links earns me a small commission if you order something through their site. You don’t pay any more and it helps support all the free content provided here.