View Full Version : Books that specialise in Rock n Roll Ukulele

06-14-2015, 11:48 AM
Hi all,

I am after a book/DVD/Website that specialises in oldie rock n roll tunes (Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Elvis etc etc)

I am brand new to Ukulele and looking for some inspiration.

I have mastered C F G now, so if anyone can think of suitable songs I can get stuck into, please let me know.


Liverpool, UK

06-14-2015, 12:28 PM
I have mastered C F G now, so if anyone can think of suitable songs I can get stuck into, please let me know. Add the Am chord to your arsenal and you've got the basic C-Am-F-G turnaround. Throw in Dm, Em, Bb, and a couple of 7th, and you can do turnarounds like C-Em-F-G(7), F-Dm-Bb-C(7), and F-Am-Bb-C. Those, and 3-chord progressions like C-F-G and G-C-D, cover about 95% of rock-type music.

I can't recommend any specific books. Maybe look for generic fake books with lyrics and chord names. I learned to play guitar by reading songbooks that had chord diagrams positioned above the lyrics. If the keys were wrong, I transposed the chords to keys that worked for me. The top four strings of such diagrams are the same forms you'd use on uke. It ain't rocket science. Have fun!

EDIT: My most-used uke right now is a 6-string with two courses doubled in octaves, tuned g-cC-E-Aa, so the lowest note is on top! I'm working out a fingerpicking arrangement of Del Shannon's RUNAWAY that exploits the double courses. If I was just strumming, it would all be easy. The chords are just Dm-C-Bb-A. Play energetically!

06-14-2015, 12:59 PM
While not specifically just rock & roll oldies (though there are plenty), you might look into the Daily Uke books. They provide a lot of material to work with and are convenient to have. Many uke groups use them as a "go to" reference so everyone can have hundreds of songs at their fingertips.

For free online tabs, scorpex offers a good variety.


06-14-2015, 01:12 PM
Google is your best friend.......really and truely. Just type in a search for "3 chord rock songs ukulele". Take your pick, print them out, put them in a three ring binder.

I have three different rock and roll ukulele song books but spend 90% of my time in my binder playing the favorites that I printed off.

06-14-2015, 03:41 PM
The big easy ukulele tab book has a big genre spread including some stones, Beatles and Garcia but not the three you mention. It's full of jazz, Christmas and newer rock songs as well if those interest you. I use it regularly. 62 songs for $24 beats a lot of others I've come across.

There are some Elvis uke books out there but I haven't used one.

06-18-2015, 05:57 AM
I started off the same. I got a few chords down and then wanted to play all my favorite rock songs of the 60s and 70s. However some of them are really not that easy to play. Once I got the Daily uke book and The Leap year book I discovered that the songs just previous to the heavy rock era are fairly easy and fun to play and easy to sing with. I found myself really digging some of the songs from my parents time and up to and including the 50s. So open your mind to that possibility. You won't regret it imo. You'll find plenty of songs to play to keep it interesting and the rock songs will be a lot easier down the road. Of course there are plenty of simplified versions of rock songs but often they sound weak to my ear.

Phluffy the Destroyer
06-18-2015, 07:31 PM
Have you checked your local library? If you live in a decent size town, your local library should have a music section.

At the Kansas City Public Library, for instance, there are a couple of thousand music books available. In that section they have what are lovingly referred to as "fakebooks". A fakebook is essentially non-sanctioned versions of well known songs that may or may not be entirely accurate. Sometimes they alter the music slightly to skirt copyright laws... These books come by year, band, genre, etc.. So, you may find a book for Rock and Roll in the Year 1982, or one for The Best of The Who.

The way these are notated, there is music for piano and guitar chords, and it looks pretty much like the notation in Ukulele Daily. A C on a guitar is pretty much the same as a C on a ukulele as far as the sound goes. Ukes are higher octaves, of course, but in general. a song that calls for a C on a guitar is usually played as a C on a ukulele too.

Also, since you clearly have access to a computer, you might look for music over at Ultimate Guitar. They have an ever expanding music library AND they have notation for ukulele. Many of the music chords contain a link to show you the fingering, and alternative fingering...

One word of caution with fakebooks and online music. As I already mentioned... it isn't always exactly correct. I highly recommend using sheet music sanctioned by the original artists whenever you have the option. Unfortunately, that is much more difficult to find...

Lots of luck