View Full Version : Roy Smeck Ukulele Method - differences in editions

03-27-2016, 04:32 AM
Hi! I was curious about this book, but looking on Amazon I saw two editions:

"new original ukulele method" (by Music Sales America, 7 euros) and "Ukulele method" (by Mel Bay, 10 euros)

From reviews about both, I only understood that they are written for D tuning, but if there are differences is not said anywhere.

Are they any different?

03-28-2016, 10:19 PM
Both are in D tuning, the Mel Bay one being a bit more basic (how to tune, notes on the fretboard, first position chords, five simple songs, some strokes/strums, moveable chord shapes for all major and minor chords, basic major scales, and some cool beginnings and endings) and the 'New Original' one having a few more chord melody pieces. They both aim at the beginner, have 48 pages and there is quite some overlap. The Mel Bay one claims to be a guide to chord melody playing in its subtitle, but that's a bit far-fetched - although the chord inversions do set you off on the road.

Smeck never published an advanced method book to my knowledge, but he did have some fine songbooks and books with instrumentals which are more instructive to advanced players. Although they are not published anymore, they can be found on ebay or even easier as downloadable pdfs. Also all in D tuning.

The difference in tuning isn't that mind bending. If you just 'play the dots', you'll do fine in C6 tuning. It's only when playing along with someone else that you'll either have to transpose or tune up to D6. Both books are crammed with information, but they're introductions: if you've been playing for a few years, most of the contents will already be familiar to you.

03-29-2016, 04:55 AM
Yes, sadly, they don't teach you how to play like Smeck.

03-29-2016, 07:41 AM
Thanks guys!
Guess I'll look at other books. Right now I'm using Ukulele Aerobics" by Chad Johnson, and its pretty good for a player knowing music theory (it doesn't explain much of it), and its good for technique developing, but it stops at a few bars exercises.

Are there some good books for some melody chording and more avanced stuff?

03-29-2016, 11:03 PM
Yes, of course there are - lots of suggestions elsewhere on this forum.

I divide them into two categories: some are more 'textbooks' in explaining how chords and scales interact (Van Renesses Understanding Ukulele Chords, Jim Beloffs Fretboard Roadmap, Rigk Sauer's Ukulele Solo Recipe come to mind), some are more of the advanced 'songbooks' with tabs instead of just chords (I picked up a lot from the advanced arrangements in the two books by Ukulelezaza, but here the diversity is large: from baroque over classic jazz standards by Lyle Ritz to gipsy swing arrangements by Kobayashi).

First step is to find a melody line - either by using a scale based on the key of the song (the more natural way, as if you'd hum an improvised line), or by following the notes in each seperate chord (the more adventurous way). You can embellish that with octave jumps, playing two identical lines a few notes apart ('double stops', as if you're your own backup/duet singer), chromatic runs (moving through every single fret to get to the note you aim for)... but it's best to keep it simple and clear at first.

Then you find chords or chord inversions that fit under those melody notes, preferably the ones you'd normally play as an accompanist, or else from the adjoining chords on your circle of fifths, or a dim6 (fits almost anywhere) or at worst just leave the chord and play the single note.