brad bordessa black and white holding ukulele

Aloha! My name is Brad Bordessa. I’m an honors graduate from the Institute of Hawaiian Music at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College and I call Honokaʻa, Hawaiʻi my home.

I’ve been playing ukulele since 2005 and have studied and performed with a large handful of Hawaiʻi’s best uke players and slack key guitarists.

My goal with Live Ukulele, since it’s creation in 2007, has been to share my expertise freely, as others in the Hawaiian music scene have shared theirs with me.


🍏 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 in my community 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.

brad bordessa playing with hapa at mauna lani

Playing “Olinda Road” with Hapa at the Mauna Lani

I gig regularly with Keoki Kahumoku and Larry Miller as Sweet Kani Lehua and in my rock/funk/hip-hop band, Kingside.

The very first time I jammed with Uncle Led!

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

📧 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 Wang helped start the site, but has since moved on to doing smart, academic things I mostly don’t understand. He’s currently teaching at UH Mānoa. Listen to my podcast with Isaac (S2E14)

Ways to Support

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).

1: 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.

Support by buying an ebook/course

2: I don’t do Patreon, but you can support directly by leaving a tip:

Tip via credit card on Ko-Fi

Tip via Paypal

Tip via Gumroad and get a cool download

3: Use my Sweetwater affiliate link to buy gear. I personally use Sweetwater for most of my gear shopping. Great service, easy to navigate website, lots of good stuff (including ukulele!).

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

Here’s some random stuff you didn’t know about me:

I’m an introvert.
I live/work in a little off-grid cabin with a composting toilet (never had to call a plumber!)
I like to plant and eat kalo, along with other Hawaiian starch foods

When I was in college, my music trio for a one-off gig dressed up in pink aloha shirts.

I pack most of my trash into used plastic bottles to reduce landfill space
In 2020 I sold my iMac and built a PC in protest of Apple’s throw-away business model and opposition of Right to Repair

The year before I went to IHM, I spent a whole summer crafting a chain mail vest while listening to Green Day.

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 affiliate program. 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.