View Full Version : a couple of "how to play books'?

11-04-2016, 10:45 AM
I am been messing around with my uke using youtube videos, etc. I have done a decent job of picking up the basics (very simply strumming). For some reason (even though I am not old) I prefer a good paper book. I end up spending a lot of time writing down cord progressions, strum patterns, etc.

I guess I am looking for a good how to tutorial, basic patterns, cord progressions, exercises, and also a good book with some pop, folk type songs that sound good on the uke . I am not good at listening to music and coming up with strum patterns, cord progressions, etc. I played guitar a lot growing up, and could learn it if someone showed me how to play, but I often get frustrated trying to learn it myself, my brain just doesn't work that way.


thanks all!~

11-04-2016, 11:02 AM
For the absolute basics, check out some of the "old-fashioned" ukulele "methods" that have been scanned to PDF and are available freely on the internet ... you'll have to print them out yourself ;)

Alternatively I pick up a lot of second-hand sheet music and books from eBay.uk, admittedly nothing ukulele-specific, but I haven't looked very hard for that ;)

11-04-2016, 11:04 AM
For exercises, which for me turned out to be a better approach than the beginner books that start explaining the strings and how to hold the instrument, I like "Ukulele Exercises for Dummies" and "Ukulele Aerobics". Both of these teach you fundamentals. ´For modern songs, you'll probably have to loom for separate (song)books, like the ones for the Beatles and Metallica. "The Daily Ukulele" fakebook is also worth a look. For learning strum pattern for specific songs, YouTube videos and covers are probably the best way. There are tons and tons of those.

For a complete course, I like "The Ukulele Way" by James Hill a lot. You can get these as books or as an online course with videos (for four tunings even: high-GCEA, low-GCEA, high-ADF#B, and low-ADF#B). The online course is around $7 USD a month with the videos, note sheets/tabs, and exercises for each lesson. It gives a really good foundation. The UU+ university here on UU also comes highly recommended. I haven't tried it myself yet, but everything I have seen of it made me think it's a great choice as well.

11-04-2016, 11:17 AM
thanks - I guess I am someone who needs a lesson plan to learn the best - start at the beginning and build- sometimes I get frustrated and tend to move on to the next you tube video if I can't get it right away - basically think I have undiagnosed ADD!!:-) so something to follow from beginning to end works best for me vs jumping around, hence a good book/lesson series to build on.
With the pop(ish) songs - I generally hear a song and say - hey- that might sound good? but I am not a singer (have a horrible singing voice) so prefer a mix of plucking the melody vs the background strumming that doesn't often even sound like the song

11-04-2016, 11:31 AM
Yes, a structured approach that covers large ground has a lot of advantages. In retrospect, I wish I had just taken the "The Ukulele Way" course right away and saved a good amount of money that I spent on jumping from beginner book to beginner book. The advantage of jumping around is that you learn a lot of tidbits, and can learn whatever interests you at a given time, but for me, putting it all together and applying it became an obstacle.

11-04-2016, 11:44 AM
+1 for The Uke Way. It is a great way to learn. I am working through book 4 now.
It iw well worth the money.

I also am starting to do "Hanon For Uke" It is free and they seem to be great finger exercises.This is made for high g.
You can download here:

11-04-2016, 12:07 PM
ah man - I was hoping I could fine the ukulele way on amazon - I have a bunch of gift cards - doesn't look like the are on there

11-04-2016, 12:16 PM
For chord progressions a good beginner book is Uncle Rod's free Ukulele Boot Camp (http://ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com/). It has a series of five practice sheets, one for each of the five main keys (C, D, F, G, A). Rod describes how to practise and recommends taking a week or as long as necessary to learn each sheet. What I like about them is that they go beyond the usual I vi IV V7 I progression and include some very nice juicy diminished chords. Of course there is quite a lot of overlap from sheet to sheet so once you've learned the first one the rest are easier. I'm really enjoying it. There is a song book, too.

He also has a lot of Christmas songs in his Holiday Songbook: http://www.mediafire.com/?0p02c7ttpqe2g

Thanks, Uncle Rod!

11-04-2016, 12:20 PM
Ukulele For Dummies is great, so is How To Play Blues Ukulele - both by Al Wood. Probably 2 of my favourite ukulele books. You'll learn a lot from both.

Hope that helps!

11-04-2016, 01:04 PM
Justinguitar.com Ukulele Songbook by Justin Sandercoe is absolutely fabulous. I don't know why I have never mentioned it before but it is one of the most useful books I have bought for learning songs. He has something that most don't....strum patterns, sometimes two for each song. Sometimes he has intro licks or leads and or alternate patterns. He demomstrates some of these songs on his youtube channel.

Justin is one of the MOST popular instructors on the web with tons of free lessons and his uke stuff is as high quality. Below are some examples from the book


Chopped Liver
11-04-2016, 01:15 PM
Hi Scotty,

There is a TON of free stuff on the web if you just look for it (some are mentioned above). I have printed off tons of resources AND tons of songs. There are lots of free uke lessons, too. Just type what you want into google and you will have a lot of useful stuff!