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Thread: Jazz Ukulele Method/Song book

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Default Jazz Ukulele Method/Song book

    Iím looking to learn how to play Jazz on the uke. I want to develop a repertoire so I can play some standards with a singer friend of mine. Direct me to a good book, course or instructor. Thanks!

  2. #2


    I, too, have been considering learning some jazz standards. I keep getting recommended towards Glen Rose. I haven't bought anything yet, but you may want to check it out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Honolulu, HI


    I used a book called First Jazz Standards that's for the guitar and, honestly it's been working pretty well. You just use the TAB for the top 4 strings and it usually works out pretty well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015


    I tried reading Abe Lagrima Jrs book.

    If you have some uke experience and know some basic music theory, I think I would skip that book and just play.

    For solo playing I would look for good tabs. There was recently links to some good ressources in the tabs section of this forum.

    For accompanying a singer, I will recommend sitting down together and finding out which songs you want to play in which key. There are lots of jazz fake books out there with lead sheets, that you can use as basis. If you can transpose the songs yourself, you can pick the best key for both of you. Some keys are easier on uke, some will suit the singers register better.

    For many jazz standards you will need to learn a dozen strange chords, which is pretty cumbersome. But just playing those in 4/4 time with a jazz feel will get you far.

    Then you can try to learn some instrumental breaks later to spice it up. Like playing a bit of the song as chord melody.

    A little disclaimer:
    I am by no means an accomplished jazz uke player, I only just made a few attempts. But the most rewarding attempts I have had have been when I just went for it rather than look for method books.
    Last edited by UkingViking; 07-22-2019 at 12:27 AM.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Catskill Mountains, NY


    Fred Sokolow is very good. Jim Beloff and Lyle Ritz have a book. Hal Leonard books are good, too. I was going to include individual links, but this site doesn't seem to like links, so I'll post just one.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Folsom, CA (but not the prison)


    If you're just looking for chord charts, I highly recommend iReal Pro. Unfortunately, it's only available for Mac, IOS or Android devices ( It cost around $20 and gives you access to an incredible selection of not only jazz songs, but pop and rock songs as well. It also features great backing tracks too! Because chord progressions cannot be copyrighted, only melodies can, the material is readily available and fully editable (i.e., transposable).

    If you're looking for a great online course/teacher, I highly recommend Dani Joy. She has a Patreon page where you can download jazz tabs and chord charts. She also has instructional videos on her Patreon page as well as for free on Facebook and YouTube.

    Good luck!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    Most of the instrumentals of well known standards are on Lasse Collin's Youtube site. For woodwind the key of F is used most of the time. The clarinet does the melody line.

    The link is below, and there are more than 180 YTs.

    Suggest: Learn the major shapes 3211 3121 3331 3336, minor shapes 3111 3321 and 7th chord shapes 1211 1112 2313 1323 in the F scale, preferably up the neck as well. f g a Bb c d e f

    Start with the Blues numbers as they often use F Bb C ( 1 4 5 ) in their standards, and the pace is slow. If you down load the tune, you can play back in VLC and pause or repeat .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Copenhagen. Denmark and Houston; TX


    Quote Originally Posted by Astein2006 View Post
    I’m looking to learn how to play Jazz on the uke. I want to develop a repertoire so I can play some standards with a singer friend of mine. Direct me to a good book, course or instructor. Thanks!
    You might try contacting Brian Liu - he's a very nice and talented musician. You can see his YouTube Channel at BliuMusic .

  9. #9


    If you want to learn how to accompany standards, I suggest Glen Rose plus iRealPro. Glen gives you a basic understanding of jazz chord voicings, especially different options for 2-5-1's. He also gives good explanations of basic jazz rhythms. iRealPro appears to have every song you could possibly want (you need to download the songs packs), and allows you to choose tempo, rhythm, instrumentation and key. It doesn't have the melody line or lyrics, but those can be found elsewhere or learned by listening.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Oakland, CA


    I play and sing Jazz standards all the time. I never used a ukulele specific book, but I did explore some.
    The music is more complex than your standard folk music but once you understand the roadmap and the rhythm. it's fairly easy. Most of the songs follow some variation of 136251 chord progression, normally written with Roman numerals. Any jazz standard will almost always resolve with the II V I pattern. When I was blindly trying to learn this I downloaded some tutorials from Doctor Uke. He has a few songs with the above chord progression and he puts them in every single key. Starting with 5 foot 2. At first it was daunting. but eventually you realize the circle of fifths follow the same pattern so when you go to the next key you're only adding one more chord.
    Playing with other people who know the genre will also bring up your skill level. That's tricky because most people who play jazz standards are very good. You can't start out very good, and they don't appreciate newbies. It's been humbling but I love the genre so I persevere and it has paid off. Not to imply that I'm getting rich off of this :-) but I am enriched musically.
    Starting with Dr Uke gave me a great gateway.
    I agree with some of the suggestions below. Find songs that you want to play or accompany. You can almost always find them on the internet. I am probably in the minority regarding ireal pro. I find their arrangements to be unnecessarily complex. Also I don't want to learn 3000 jazz standards. Maybe 100 but starting with 5 is a good beginning goal. Then keep adding songs I want to sing. Start small. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
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