Best Books for Learning How to Play the Ukulele in 2018

Today, when everything is available on the internet, an average person can learn any skill with just a click. However, the traditional way of learning through the pages of books are still standing the test of time especially with people who do not want to be distracted by the temptation of getting stuck on social media.

This list provides eight ukulele books for anyone who wants to learn how to play the ukulele whether you are an absolute beginner with little to no musical background or an intermediate player who is looking to polish their skills and strengthen their technique.

1. The Ukulele Handbook by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Tom Hodgkinson
Both ukulele pros and amateurs have talked highly about The Ukulele Handbook which critics have lauded as the “ukulele Bible.” The Ukulele Handbook covers a quick and cohesive illustrated guide to the ukulele from the history of the instruments up to its popularity at present time. The book serves as a one-stop shop for all things ukulele as it not only provides song tabs and chords but also gives a beginner’s introduction to the anatomy of the ukulele, the kinds of ukuleles, and how to tune, pluck, and strum the instrument. The handbook, penned by writers and self-proclaimed idlers Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Tom Hodgkinson, is complete, easy, and colorful.

2. Get Plucky With The Ukulele: A Quick And Easy Guide To All Things Uke by Will Grove-White
Similar to The Ukulele Handbook, Get Plucky serves as a mini encyclopedia all about the ukulele. The book is written by ukulele musician Will Grove-White who is a member of the world-renowned Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. With 25 years of experience and counting, the author’s love and passion for the ukulele is translated into this book. More than just a teach-yourself-guide to the ukulele, this book has been known to be best enjoyed by just reading through it on a relaxing day on a comfortable couch with a cup of coffee.

3. Ukulele for Dummies by Alistair Wood
The “For Dummies” book franchise has a plethora of topics and concepts in book form, and the ukulele — of course — is no exception. In true “For Dummies” fashion, Ukulele for Dummies offers a crash course in the ukulele from picking the right kind of ukulele to learning how to play the instrument in a variety of styles including pop, folk, and Hawaiian music. The book comes with an audio CD that contains all the musical notation included in the book. To anyone who is looking for a fun and clever way to be taught how to play the ukulele, the book’s witty yet straightforward approach might just be perfect for you.

4. Ukulele Primer Book for Beginners by Bert Casey
The Ukulele Primer is both for beginners who already have an instrument but don’t know where to start and for those who want to get back to playing the instrument. The book is designed for soprano, tenor, and concert ukuleles and has 50 pages containing helpful tips, chord charts, musical notation, and picture guides. The book also comes with an 86-minute DVD that covers all the instructions in the book plus important techniques a beginner ukulele player must learn. Each lesson is played at different speeds so you can practice the lessons at your own pace until you can play at normal speed.

5. Essential Elements Ukulele Method Book 1 by Marty Gross
The Essential Elements Ukulele Method Book 1 is as beginner friendly as a ukulele book can get. You’re guaranteed to learn the basic ukulele chords in just a couple of hours even if you don’t know how to read music. Don’t be fooled by the 48 pages of the book as it already covers all you need to know about playing the ukulele including chord progressions, note reading, tab reading, and more. Go-to songs to play on the ukulele like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “The Rainbow Connection” are featured in the book. The book also comes with an audio CD that lets you check your chords and notes and keep you on track.

6. Absolute Beginners Ukulele by Hal Leonard Corp.
Absolute Beginners Ukulele is published by Hal Leonard Corporation, one of the world’s biggest publishing houses for music. With over 50 years of publishing under their belt, Hal Leonard Corporation has made its way to the doors of music schools, orchestras, and chorale groups around the world. Absolute Beginners Ukulele is a 40-page book that is both a visual (with its picture guides for playing chords and notes) and aural guide (as the book comes with an instructional audio CD of chords and songs to play along to) for beginners. The look-and-learn approach of the book fits anyone who wants to learn how to play the ukulele without the lengthy, textual explanations.

7. Ukulele Aerobics: For All Levels from Beginner to Advanced by Chad Johnson
To master any instrument, it is always smart to practice a couple of days every week, if not every day. Exercises on an instrument will help you play more comfortably and smoothly and will also train your ears with notes. Ukulele Aerobics contains various exercises for players who have a grasp of ukulele basics to advanced ukulele players who are looking to master flawless techniques on the instrument including strumming, fingerstyle, staccato, and tremolo. Another publication from Hal Leonard Corp., Ukulele Aerobics follows an effective 40-week format that can walk you through the lessons at an appropriate pace. The lessons start with basic strumming and get progressively difficult every week but are provided with detailed explanations so as not to shock you and your fingers. This book is perfect for people who would rather learn how to play the ukulele in a methodological way rather than learning the instrument one song at a time.

8. Fingerstyle Ukulele – A Method & Songbook for Fingerpicking Backup & Solos by Fred Sokolow
The last book on our list is also for ukulele players who want to hone their skills and take it to the next level. Fingerstyle Ukulele aims to teach you how to play solos and accompaniment on the ukulele for different styles of music like folk and blues. The book is written by Fred Sokolow who is a renowned multi-instrumentalist and recording artist and has penned instructional books on a variety of instruments. The book comes with an online access to the audio guide of the lessons that will help you check your progress and your performance with each lesson.

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