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Play Ukulele Today!: A Complete Guide to the Basics Level 1 Paperback – June 1, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 325 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard; Pap/Com edition (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0634078615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634078613
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. A. Verica on November 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have looked at several beginner books for the ukulele and this is the most concise and comprehensive. It begins with the most simple of lessons on each string and quickly has you playing chords and scales while learning fun tunes. The companion CD is perfectly matched and provides extra information. You can't beat the price and the material. A+.
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which is exactly what I was looking for. This book starts with the very beginning and covers the basics of music theory and ukulele playing. I think the book is pretty comprehensive and well-written, if very basic. I like the fact that it teaches you how to "tune the instrument to itself" (relative tuning)in the beginning. After preliminaries about the ukulele itself, the reader learns all the basic stuff that everyone has to learn who took band in school or had music lessons--musical notation, rhythm, and so on. This music theory basis is added upon as the student progresses. For example, you will learn what makes up a scale--both major and minor--and what music "keys" are.

The strong point of this lesson book lies in it's teaching of the individual notes on the strings. To me, this is very important. You will learn not only how to play chords and strum and sing along, but you will be able to pick out melodies on the strings and read from regular sheet music. New chords are also introduced as the student progresses through learning the notes on the strings. For example, you will not only learn the "F chord", but how to find and play the individual note "F" on second string. I think this type of thorough-going note reading instruction will form a good foundation for finger-picking. After learning the two-to-four notes in the "first position" (ie, first four frets), there is a series of practice melodies. These exercises are can get monotonous, since they aren't actually tunes, just a bunch of notes. Listening to the enclosed CD (which consists of someone reading the book, and then playing the exercises) should help you know if what you play "sounds right".
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I am a new Uke player and have only been using this instructional materiel for a short period of time. So far, so good. It explained the basics well and I have made decent progress so far. I recommend this instructional guide to other beginners.
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So I got a ukulele. Saw the movie "The Might Uke" and couldn't stop smiling, and that is what the ukulele can be all about really. Impressive performances by some of the virtuosi on the instrument notwithstanding, it is a heck of a lot of just plain fun for lots of folks. I know I need lessons though, so I combed the webs for a good book. This one is one of the books I purchased, and my hands down favorite. It starts with a rundown of the instrument, how to hold it etc., and a bit of musical generalities that any musician needs to know. I have previous musical training on a few instruments and some passing acquaintance with the guitar, so I am not a rank beginner musically speaking, but certainly am on the ukulele. The best part of this method is that it DOES start with chords and little melodies while you learn to plink the chords. Yet there is a good foundation. My one problem with this book and with the others I have is that I think they should group the chords by the key in which they are found most commonly, which although they do, they don't make this clear by naming the key. I am going to have to do some transposing and I think that key identification is really pivotal. If I were a rank beginner at music I wouldn't have a clue about key. My Hal Leonard method lesson book starts with notes. You play notes. Now that is fine, but most people want to strum chords. Now, the best part of all - the CD. I find it easy to follow along, and the tuning track is great - I do that one each evening when I start practice. I love that you can suck the CD into your iTunes and play each track over and over as you need it. I think this was a super good deal as to price and a tremendous value and so much better than than the Hal Leonard book for starting out for me. I actually use both books.Read more ›
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This book starts off well covering tuning, simple chords and strumming techniques. Unfortunately it has too few good practice pieces. After you learn a few chord transitions you need something recognizable to use them on and in the entire book there are only a couple, and with the lone exception of 'home on the range' these are church songs. The later two thirds of the book focuses on reading music playing notes and reading music, so if you want to play chords for songs you know, this is of no use. Also, the pace suddenly picks up tremendously and the last few pages have more then the entire first half of the book.
The CD is useful, though I did find I was using it as a crutch instead of making myself work on the timing from the sheet music.
Overall, I'd give it a rating of OK. It definitely leaves room in the market for a similar beginner book that have more chord work and less note work, and more practice pieces.
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