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


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.

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.

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 premium content:

How to Support the Site

I provide the vast majority of my content for free, 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.

This is a huge blessing, but also a bit of a slippery slope when trying to earn an income since most views don’t result in any kind of significant earnings. (Ads pick up the slack, but I’d love to get rid of them someday.)

I refuse to create a Patreon like many of my peers. It seems like a good idea, but I’m opposed to adding yet another obligation to my plate when I already create tons of content. Putting a portion of these items behind a paywall rubs me the wrong way.

Instead, for my paid content I create above-and-beyond resources in the form of ebooks and now my course. Purchasing any or all of these products are the best way to directly support my efforts at teaching the world responsible ukulele playing.

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

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.

roman tufted geese and hawaiian pig

This is my pet wild pig, Nemo, and his geese buddies.

I’m appalled at humanity’s impact on planet Earth. 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. Last year I sold my iMac and built a PC in protest of Apple’s throw-away business model and opposition of Right to Repair. I’m currently playing Age of Empires 4 when I have some free time.

Technical Stuff:

Where are the ʻokinas!?!?!?!

People who know me know that I’m a big supporter of indigenous rights and the host culture here in Hawaiʻi. I’ve spent a lot of hours in Hawaiian language classes and rub shoulders with a lot of folks in local circles whose approval I value. As such, “ʻukulele” in my world is spelled with an ʻokina.

However, in an effort to pay the bills through this website I’ve come to realize that this spelling might be holding back the potential visibility of what I do. Thus, in an effort to sell my soul to Google in exchange for traffic, I’ve changed to the ʻokina-less version of ukulele for the large majority of content here.

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 Reverb 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.