View Full Version : Help! I need advice on getting the music my playing needs!

03-10-2012, 01:05 AM
Hi All

I've decided that my style is more a strummer than a picker, though not exclusively.

Trouble is, I really need some help 'getting to' the music that I want to play, that I can sort of hear in my head. I'm really bored with cheesy standards that use so few, simple chords right at the bottom of the fretboard.

So I need you guys to help me to find stuff that will challenge the chord player in me and get me using different inversions, up and down the board.

They might be complex songs that either use lots of chords (Bowie's Life on Mars is a cracker!) or key changes etc.

I'd also REALLY like to play lots of groovy Hawaiian stuff - the problem there is that it's obviously much harder to play songs that you don't know or haven't got a sound file for, especially if they're mostly chord-based. I'm good at reading tab for picking, but find reading tabbed chords really hard, especially rhythmically, even though I learned music and can read it.

This is probably a very disjointed plea, but hopefully you'll get the idea of what I'm trying to find or, as the ever-helpful UU community, will ask me questions that will clarify!

Ideally I'd like to buy books, as I much prefer learning and playing from 'real' paper, as it were - complex and interesting stuff written as chord diagrams is fine too.

So, there's your challenge, UU - please help this ambitious, but frustrated uke obsessive!!


03-10-2012, 01:35 AM
I like Hawaiian music and I hear you about not knowing the songs (I also play by ear although I am a pretty good sightreader.) However the good news is that the books usually have a CD so you can hear how the song sounds, or they are from a famous player such as IZ and then you can buy his CD's easily.

Here are some books that as a beginner I found I loved for Hawaiian music:

Let's Kanikapila (http://amzn.to/wjCQTG) How to play Hawaiian Style, considered one of the best books

Hawaiian Style Uke Vol 2 (http://amzn.to/zozn5Q) Better than vol 1, more instruction, how to strum, lots on the specific Hawaiian strums, chords, a CD --great book,

Hawaiian Style (http://amzn.to/AlQTL3) Beginner and onward, explains strumming and the Hawaiian vamp (I love playing those vamps)

IZ songbook (http://amzn.to/wPNjev) These are IZ's famous tunes, not as easy but if you love Hawaiian Music, he was the king and you can listen to MP3 or CD of him --his Over the Rainbow is one of the signature uke pieces along with his version of Wonderful World

03-10-2012, 02:45 AM
Thanks, Gwynedd, that's really kind. I'll check them all out!

Now come on the rest of you! I know that America's not quite out of bed yet, but even so forgive me if I do a bit of shameful self-bumping today to get this to the top of the thread list - I promise to try not to bump more than three times!


03-10-2012, 03:15 AM
Check out www.ukesterbrown.com. He has a lot of older tunes on his site, chord sheets and links to youtube videos so you can hear the song played. May not be what you are looking for but it is one of the first places I go when I want to try something new.

03-10-2012, 05:19 AM
Check out this thread: http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?54253-Hawaiian-Song-Index-amp-YouTube&highlight=he+mele+aloha

It has a link to the book He Mele Aloha (http://www.amazon.com/He-Mele-Aloha-Hawaiian-Songbook/dp/0974256420), and another link to a resource page (http://www.taropatch.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=9603&SearchTerms=he,mele)that links songs from the book to YouTube videos of those songs. He Mele Aloha is a pretty comprehensive book of Hawaiian songs, and the YouTube videos should give you an idea of what the songs should sound like.

Ukulele JJ
03-10-2012, 07:11 AM
Two words: Steely Dan.


03-10-2012, 08:52 AM
Thanks for all your ideas so far, guys


Just bumping this to the top to try to get as many responses and ideas as possible. Thanks to anyone who can reply to the OP!


03-10-2012, 10:14 AM
Two words: Steely Dan.


YES!! Where can we find some?? Do you know?? I've been thinking of taking on their oeuvre as a ukulele pet project.

03-10-2012, 10:22 AM
PS: here's a couple of sites you might find useful:



The second one is in French, so if you can't read that language it's tricky to navigate, but there's some cool stuff on there.