What were your most helpful instructional materials for learning ukulele?

llwalsh

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I’m curious how many of you learned to play using self guided materials. For me I was gifted a xerox chord chart and sent on my way. A few years later I discovered Jumpin’ Jim books like Tips and Tunes, Ukulele Gems, and 60’s Uke-In, all were valuable for staying on task with familiar songs.

There are seemingly a zillion different basic books but which are the better ones?

Which are best for advanced players wanting to build more skills?

Who do you go to for online learning, YouTube channels, etc.

I think sound samples in printed materials are priceless assests for learning, as well as videos (when available). I tend to avoid materials that don’t include one or the other (this does include “song books”, this is only meant for instructional materials).

Anyway.. as an instructor I’m a firm believer in “it’s never too late to learn” and “you never stop learning” (I teach art at a small college). I’m hoping this thread will be a good short cut for those wanting to cut to the chase for recommendations (including myself), especially for more advanced playing.
 

Oldscruggsfan

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Jumpin' Jim's "Ukulele Fret Board Road Maps" (co-written with prolific stringed instrument instructional author Fred Sokolow & published by Hal Leonard) is an excellent, well-organized resource, with or without the accompanying disc. UU member @ripock was kind enough to pass along his lightly-used copy to me, with the disc included.
 
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ukudancer

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Not necessarily uke specific, but I use a lot of YouTube music educator content:

Charles Cornell (piano / music theory)
Andrew Huang (music theory / music production / multi-instrumentalist)
Marty Music (guitar instruction)
EllenPlaysBass (bass / music instruction)
Rick Beato (music theory / guitar instruction / multi-instrumentalist)
Xenia Bertoni (classical tutorials for the uke / multi-instrumentalist)
Tyler Larson aka MusicIsWin (guitar instruction)
The Art of Guitar

I basically take little tidbits from each and sort of connect the dots. I honestly rarely look at ukulele instruction, because let's face it. Music is music and theory is theory.
 

KohanMike

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This might not be an exact answer, but I played guitar for almost 50 years before taking up the uke in mid 2013, which made it very easy to make the transition.

Michael Kohan in Los Angeles, Beverly Grove near the Beverly Center
4 tenor thinline cutaway ukes, 3 thinline acoustic bass ukes, 5 solid body bass ukes
•Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children in hospital music therapy programs. www.theukc.org
•Member Cali Rose & The CC Strummers: www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/video, www.facebook.com/TheCCStrummers
 

Kimosabe

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Glen Rose’s jazz ukulele books and videos.
Mark Kailana Nelson’s picking books
The Lute and Uke book
 

clear

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I like this for the complete beginner:

- eMedia Ukulele Method (computer-based instruction) This started at the absolute beginning and is a song-based method, which means you learn progressively harder songs vs doing exercises. It covers finger picking and strumming. Being computer-based, you can change the tempo of the songs you're learning.

I like this for the 3-6month experienced beginner:

- Ralph Shaw's Complete Ukulele Course (DVD video instruction) This is a good strumming course and teaches things like turn-a-arounds which are useful for performances. Ralph is a funny guy, easy to watch (not boring).

I've also tried many other ukulele DVD courses I borrowed from the library, but they are really bad (IMHO) compared to the above 2. I've also tried some instructional books from the library, but I found them too boring and can't get thru even 2 chapters. Maybe I'm just too picky, but I really like the above 2.
 

Arcy

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For online learning I'm a big fan of James Hill's Uketropolis offerings. He covers areas I'm interested in (chord melody, jazz) very very well.

I don't follow many uke specialists on YouTube, but like ukudancer follow several more general music theorists. Charles Cornell in only one from his list I follow (so far ;) ). Charles is brilliant and super-infectiously-enthusiastic - he's just a joy to listen to. Others I watch regularly (off the top of my head - I'm probably missing somebody)
  • Adam Neely
  • 12-Tone
  • Aimee Nolte
  • Nahre Sol
  • Gracie Terzian (token uker; she taught at Port Townsend Uke Fest this year and is great in person).
They all seem to run in the same circles and team up, so if you follow one you'll get introduced to the others and can judge for yourself who's style works for you.

Book-wise, I've pulled out everything my local library has and then picked a few things from each. Once I've gone back to a few times include:
  • The Complete Ukulele Method (Greg Horne / Daniel Ho)
  • Intros, Endings & Turnarounds for Ukulele (Lil Rev)
  • Jazzing up the Ukulele (Fred Sokolow)
  • Jazz Ukulele: comping, soloing, chord melodies (Abe Lagrimas).
I just picked up Ukulele Aerobics but haven't looked to see if the exercises are interesting. I liked Bass Aerobics from the same line.

--Rob
 

Arcy

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I just picked up Ukulele Aerobics but haven't looked to see if the exercises are interesting. I liked Bass Aerobics from the same line.
Skimmed UA, and it looks like it's a good daily warm-up etude. Monday is chord vocabulary day, starting with C, F, G, Am, and Dm, then Tuesday: Strumming, Wednesday: Fingerstyle, Thursday: Scales, Friday: Legato, Saturday: Licks & Riffs, and Sunday: Miscellaneous, then repeat (presumably) 52 times. This is the same model as the Guitar version (which I liked), not the.Bass version (which I didn't like so much). I had them reversed in my mind.

The other big learning resource for me is the Seasons of the Ukulele. It's not directly a teaching venue, but it encourages me to drill into a new song more or less each week. Unfortunately, it generally takes me more than a week to work up a song so I don't get them posted nearly as frequently as I'd like. It also doesn't help that I'm scattered and actively working on four instruments, though I find that there's a lot of complementary resonances between them. Looking at things from a bass POV sometimes makes them click from the uke POV, and vice versa.
 

ukudancer

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For online learning I'm a big fan of James Hill's Uketropolis offerings. He covers areas I'm interested in (chord melody, jazz) very very well.

I don't follow many uke specialists on YouTube, but like ukudancer follow several more general music theorists. Charles Cornell in only one from his list I follow (so far ;) ). Charles is brilliant and super-infectiously-enthusiastic - he's just a joy to listen to.
I think you'll really like Rick Beato. His ear and industry knowledge is fantastic.
 

Arcy

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I think you'll really like Rick Beato. His ear and industry knowledge is fantastic.
He’s the other one on your list that I have listened to occasionally, but he’s too negative for me and his attitude turns me off pretty quickly.