Best ukulele absolute beginners book assuming no music knowledge and is for morons?

Orton Pearson

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Which is the best ukulele absolute beginners book assuming no music knowledge and is for morons? Furthermore, it should be entirely a tuition book, not the sort that has a quarter of its content covering the history of the ukulele and the stories of famous players.

I could use such a book.
 
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Joyful Uke

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I'm not sure if you have a particular type of music you're interested in, but this might be one book to look at:
Jake Shimabukuro Teaches Ukukele Lessons. IIRC, it also comes with access to videos of Jake teaching the material.

Glad to see that you're no longer ukeless, even though you don't have your name changed yet.
 

Orton Pearson

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I am into
'modern folk' i.e written in the last 50 years such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF7JWfx0rjE
some ballads such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-ZDKirjQgM
light rock such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-8K8Hj8bxE
Neil Diamond, especially https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2jqesfWbKc
anything done by Don McLean before he began spending half his on-stage time grumbling about being badly treated by record companies
this lot are awesome, they could fart in harmony https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBweqmLk6dU
 

derbyhat

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Honestly - youtube and then a subscription to the lessons offered here at UU.

You’re gonna be able to find tons of useful books around. But the thing that’s going to help you get over the initial jump of learning basic chord changes will be strumming along with people.
 

70sSanO

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Are you planning to play the uke and sing? This may sound odd, but for someone starting out with no musical background, learn to play a C chord. It is the second easiest chord to play because you only need to press one note on one string (1st string 3rd fret). Move your right hand and play all 4 strings. If that chord is one you can easily sing to, there are about a half a dozen chords in the key of C that are easy to learn (F, G, Em, Am & Dm). If you learn C, F and G chords you can play thousands of 3 chord folk, blues, rock songs.

I only suggest this because playing a ukulele is fun and for some people trying to work through a book isn't. I always show people a C chord and most are amazed that it is easy to play something musical.

As others have suggested youtube is great for basics because you can see how to form a chord or strum and not just have pictures or diagrams. Once you learn a little you can decide where to go from there.

John
 
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Graham Greenbag

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I have several books, and they’re by well respected people, but I don’t recall any of them being the one that made a vast difference - what did is noted later. At the moment I can’t put my hand on them to see what I used ‘cause some are lent out and others are submerged under the clutter of life. As I recall the Sproat books were some support to me, he’s a professional U.K. based player and teacher.

Try out your local library and ask the librarian to search his/her catalogue for you, IIRC there are alternate ways to spell Ukuelele/Ukelele so valid results don’t always come up. I got a couple of books from my local library, neither were brilliant and I could play a little already but they did provide some useful information.

Find and visit Uke clubs near to you, typically they help beginners. <— best recommendation.

Look and see if there are night classes on learning the Uke that aren’t too far from you, they have been a great help to me but my instructor is both a very good player and good at teaching too. Before taking classes I had some books and a dusty Uke - things weren’t going well - but after a term with him (to get the basics in place) I went off to a Uke Club and grew there.

As you have some Ukes now don’t forget the importance of setting them up - there are lots of threads on that topic and how to do so already.

Good luck.
 
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Croaky Keith

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Ukulele for Dummies

Looking for one book for someone who has no prior musical knowledge, I'd suggest this is the one to get. :)
 

Jerryc41

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I have at least a dozen instructional books, but playing with a group and watching online instruction are what taught me how to play. For someone just starting out, I think any basic instructional book will be as good as any other. As for the extras - history, players, types of ukes - if you don't want that, don't read it.

This one is good.
https://smile.amazon.com/Ukulele-Ae...d=1541500961&sr=1-1&keywords=ukulele+aerobics
 

Lacole

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If you have access to the internet I’d suggest sampling books from amazon or iTunes or google. This would give you an idea of the books content. I know that there are some older, in the public domain, method books that might be helpful.

‘A practical method’ by Bailey using gCEA tuning,
Kamiki Ukulele method using ADF#B tuning.

Both these books are available here.
http://www.freemusiced.org/free-instrument-books.html
 
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Jerryc41

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Try your local library, too. If they have a book you like, order it online from Amazon or someplace else. Our library has a couple of dozen instructional and music books for the uke.
 

bird's eye view of my ukelele

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Ukulele for Dummies

Looking for one book for someone who has no prior musical knowledge, I'd suggest this is the one to get. :)

i totally second this. i had taught myself a little bit of guitar - some chords and some picking patterns - from a book, about a million years ago when i was a kid. but "ukulele for dummies" is the book i got myself when i started on uke. the beginning of the book gently gets you going with some basic chords, the approach and tone is fun and quite humourous, but very very informative - once i had a few uke chords under my belt i closed the book and started plinking, but i went back to it often for reference if i had any questions. i know you can find pretty much every uke-related thing online somewhere, but it's nice to have a book, i think, everything is in one place, and you don't need to switch your computer on!
 

Graham Greenbag

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i totally second this. i had taught myself a little bit of guitar - some chords and some picking patterns - from a book, about a million years ago when i was a kid. but "ukulele for dummies" is the book i got myself when i started on uke. the beginning of the book gently gets you going with some basic chords, the approach and tone is fun and quite humourous, but very very informative - once i had a few uke chords under my belt i closed the book and started plinking, but i went back to it often for reference if i had any questions. i know you can find pretty much every uke-related thing online somewhere, but it's nice to have a book, i think, everything is in one place, and you don't need to switch your computer on!

Seeing that post reminds me that I have a part worked through copy of Uke for Dummies - set aside a few years back. It is a great reference source and could well get you started too. Thinking about it now my use of that book didn’t work that well for me but the fault for that lies not with the book but with me. Use the book to get yourself started and then put it down rather than attempting to work from cover to cover. My recollection is of the pace of learning being too fast for me, but it might be just right for others. I think that that extensive book is a wide course of study (Beginner to Master) so suggest that, once you have learnt enough from it to play some chords, you treat it as a comprehensive guide instead and tailor your use of it (dip in and out) accordingly. There is now a Dummies book of Uke exercises too, I haven’t checked it out recently but believe that the two have some overlap.

Edit. Similar to Arcy below I find that my best progress is made when I play with a group of others. A good book gets you started and provides reference but it’s by repeatedly ‘doing’, and using the interaction with other players, that progress is made.
 
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Arcy

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I have a very good library system locally (they even have Ukulele workshops!) and checked out a couple dozen beginning Ukulele books and e-books. As much as I hate the title, I also really liked the Ukulele for Dummies and Ukulele Exercises for Dummies books -- the Dummies series are in general pretty well written.

I didn't go straight through it, but it got me started and the topics it covered gave me pointers for other things to look for. Some of the topics (e.g. chord shapes) were straightforward from the text. Others (e.g. strumming) were too kinetic for me to understand in words so I went to video (YouTube, Lynda/LinkedIn Learning, etc.) for those.

I've also been liking the Complete Ukulele Method (three books: Beginning, Intermediate, and Mastering) by Greg Horne.

Once I had a very few basics I made very rapid improvements by playing with others.
 

Captain America

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I'll step out here. The Dummies series stuff is pretty tepid.

I think you really should check out the book by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain's bass player, Will Grove-White, "Get Plucky with the Ukulele."

I've seen a few dozen uke books and this really is vastly superior to these.
 

Orton Pearson

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There are strong recommendations for "Ukulele For Dummies" and also Will Grove-White's web site gives an introduction to playing. I am a keen fan of the UOGB so
may get both "Get Plucky with the Ukulele" and "Ukulele For Dummies". Ah, "Get Plucky with the Ukulele" is now called "Ukulele for Beginners: How To Play Ukulele in Easy-to-Follow Steps". It is the same book.

ukulele1.jpg


Will Grove-White plays soprano, sopranissimo and occasionally a uke the size of the average human hand.

Jonty Bankes is the player of the electric bass on our far right of the picture. He joined the band as bass player in 1992.
Will Grove-White is next to him. He joined the band in 1991.

Unfortunately Kitty, next to Will Grove-White in the picture, died last year.
 
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RihanaFF

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The Ukulele Way book by James Hill is highly geared towards reading "real" music. They don't even contain tab, and even chords are shown how they appear on sheet music. There are some free parts to the website if you want to explore.
 

cayuga red

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I'll step out here. The Dummies series stuff is pretty tepid.

I think you really should check out the book by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain's bass player, Will Grove-White, "Get Plucky with the Ukulele."

I've seen a few dozen uke books and this really is vastly superior to these.

Well stated.
 

about2

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Sounds like you've received some good advice. I can only add the book you chose depends on where you want to go. I wanted to learn to finger pick. As a result, I chose Daniel Ward's Arpeggio Meditations. Don't regret it at all. It took me a year to work through it, practicing nearly everyday for at least an hour. With Daniel's book, I felt like I was learning musical songs not just chords. Its written with tabs so it was easy enough to pick up, even as a beginner. It also comes with available videos . . . I loved it. In the meantime, I went to a local group and learned some strumming. It's been three years since I started and I have zero regrets. Again - it all depends on where you want your uke playing to go......
 

Hanna2233

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My friend presented me with Ukulele Primer Book for Beginners with Video Access by Bert Casey. The book can be used with a Soprano, Concert, or Tenor ukulele. The lessons start off with the absolute basics like parts of the uke, tuning (G, C, E, A), left and right-hand position, and how to strum. Then come easy chords and different strum patterns. I'm currently busy working on the project with the guys from https://thewordpoint.com/services/translation-service/legal and don't have enough free time to study further, but I hope I will have it soon. Oh, and it has to be noted, there is also online access to an 86 minute video with instruction for all of the techniques and songs covered in the book. Of course, I'm a beginner, but I find the book to be simple and helpful.
 
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emba

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The book that got me started playing basically from scratch was 21 Songs in 6 days, by Jenny Peter’s and Rebecca Bogart. It has an online video component that was very helpful, and it breaks things into pretty small pieces. If you don’t want to do the video lessons, I don’t think just the book would help nearly as much. It teaches a limited number of chords (5, I think?) and is part of a six book series. After the first I had those chords and switching between them down, though, and a base to really start from with other videos and courses. It took me a lot longer than six days, though. I think on their website you can sign up for a free lesson or two, to see how you like it. The website is Ukulele.io . The book has a lot of reviews on Amazon that might give you an idea of its strengths and weaknesses.

I also own Ukulele for Dummies, and it is much more comprehensive resource. But I wouldn’t have gotten as much out of it when I was first strarting because it moves too fast, without enough reinforcement of new things. But I’m glad I have it now.