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Thread: Best book for learning to read music on ukulele

  1. #1
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    Default Best book for learning to read music on ukulele

    Most beginner books I've seen are focused on chord shapes and tabs, with little attention paid to note reading. The best one I've found is the Essential Elements book by Marty Gross but that's still pretty limited. Can anyone recommend something else?

  2. #2
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    I don't have a specific book recommendation, but I can recommend a class of books.

    Once you have the basics down and know how to map a note from the staff to the fretboard it's all practice from there. If you play enough you'll learn them. What I've done is to go to my local library and checked out a stack of fake books to find the melodies of songs that I enjoy and then played them. One is specifically a "Ukulele Fake Book" (by Hal Leonard), but since standard notation is universal it doesn't need to be Ukulele specific.

    A linked skill is to learn your scales: tunes will generally fall within a scale, so if you know the scale patterns for the scale your song is in then you've drastically narrowed down the options. This is also really helpful for ear training since knowing the scale narrows down the likely options for a note that you're trying to figure out.

    --Rob

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfinboy View Post
    Most beginner books I've seen are focused on chord shapes and tabs, with little attention paid to note reading. The best one I've found is the Essential Elements book by Marty Gross but that's still pretty limited. Can anyone recommend something else?
    I’m not sure how available it is but consider looking out The Musical Ukulele by Colin Tribe - he knows a bit about Ukes and music. It is published by Lindsay Music; IIRC they are quite a small publisher but they do have a website and an agent in the USA.
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 12-12-2018 at 12:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Greenbag View Post
    I’m not sure how available it is but consider looking out The Musical Ukulele by Colin Tribe - he knows a bit about Ukes and music. It is published by Lindsay Music; IIRC they are quite a small publisher but they do have a website and an agent in the USA.
    It's available from amazon.uk

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/THE-MUSICAL.../dp/0859570681
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  5. #5
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    To learn to read music for free, go to u-tube. Learn all you can for free about scales, chords, and notes on the score and where located on the instrument.

  6. #6
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    The Ukulele Way books (or online subscription if you prefer) 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.

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  7. #7
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    Terry Carter from Uke Like the Pros has a book available on Amazon called Beginning Music Reading for Ukulele. Worth a look and itís on sale right now.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthroterra View Post
    The Ukulele Way books (or online subscription if you prefer) 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.
    +1 for the Ukulele Way and/or Ukulele in the Classroom books & videos, by James Hill. He makes learning to read music very easy.
    If music be the food of love, play on! -Bill Shakespeare

  9. #9
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    Absolutely the best and quickest is the Curt Sheller reading primer. Itís geared for high G but you can easily teach yourself the low G, A and B and the notes in between.

    Only took me a couple weeks following his exercises and it teaches you to read the timing of the notes. Itís cheap. $15 or so. Then just pick up anything with standard notation like the Daily Ukulele Book and start playing the songs you know. You get faster and faster with practice. It really helped me.

    To go further, to read chords, then take a basic music theory class like one on Udemy and you can start seeing how chords are built out of thirds. One you can recognize thirds you just look at the bottom note which you learned from Sheller and knowing the key, you know if itís major, minor or diminished or you see a seventh added to the basic triad.

    When you get to inversions itís a little more complicated as are more complicated chords. Start with Sheller. It really helped me quickly.

    P.S. If you or anyone else wants to become a better musician as well as a better ukulele player and youíre really serious, then itís time to start studying piano. Piano for All by Robin Hall is a great course focusing on chord accompaniment and rhythm and learning to read treble and bass clef. Also, donít be shy about taking a good ear training course or two. Enough said.

  10. #10
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    Just almost any song book with chords, "fake books wtf"?

    I suggest restricting to a one octave range from C4 to C5 and sometimes, but very seldom to D and E on the A string. A re-entrant uke range without upper positions.

    So a very limited range and more like being able to transpose notes lower and higher to that range. To know the note names in there too, but mainly to concentrate in the flow of reading.

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