Best Ukulele Books

Best ukulele books
by CJ McDaniel // July 25  

If you are new to the ukulele, or you are a seasoned ukulele player who wants to take your playing to the next level, you may be wondering what the best ukulele books are to help you grow. While there are many great online resources to help you learn the ukulele, some people prefer to learn by reading books. If you are one of these learners, the good news is that there are many great books for you to choose from.

Below, we cover some of our favorite books for learning to play the ukulele, including options for both beginners and advanced players alike.

First 50 Songs You Should Play on Ukulele

An amazing collection of 50 accessible, must-know favorites for the beginner who’s learned enough to feel ready to step into songbooks! This book features melody, lyrics, and chord diagrams.

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Iz, The Ukulele Songbook

The current worldwide appreciation of ukulele music can easily be traced to one man, Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole. Israel’s music conveys joy and hope and is loved the world over. When writing the book From the Corner of His Eye, author Dean Koontz found inspiration in Iz’s music, stating, “I hope that the reader finds pleasure in my story equal to the joy and consolation that I found in the voice, the spirit, and the heart of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.” Tragically, Iz passed away at the age of 38 in 1997. The state flag of Hawaii was flown at half mast as he lay in state at the Hawaiian capitol building. He was the third person in Hawaiian history to be bestowed this honor. Ten thousand people attended his funeral and thousands gathered to witness as his ashes were scattered at Makua Beach.

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Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Masters

This collection features 15 classic songs arranged by ukulele master, James Hill. In these remarkable arrangements, two distinct ukulele parts chord accompaniment and melody can be played in counterpoint at the same time by one player. The arrangements cater to both advanced beginner and experienced players and there is a warm-up section that introduces the player to the “Duets for One” concept. The book includes access to audio tracks online of all the arrangements performed by James Hill, for download or streaming, using the unique code inside the book.

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Ukulele Chord Melody Solos

Learn how to arrange great standards and pop songs in chord melody style, where the chords and melody of a song are played on a single instrument at the same time! The songs range from simple to advanced difficulty, so all uke players can use this book.

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Ukulele For Dummies

Picture it now: the sun sets over the shimmering sea, and, as the beach bar falls quiet, you begin strumming Queen Liliuokalani’s “Aloha ‘Oe” to a mesmerized crowd. … Okay, while this doesn’t happen every day for ukulele-players, you’ll still have a lot of fun learning your favorite tunes on your ukulele. Widely associated with Hawaiian music, the ukulele has exploded in popularity in recent years as kids and adults alike have started their music education with a uke or added it to their collection of instruments.

Learning to play this versatile instrument is made easier for the experience and inexperienced alike with this new edition of Ukulele For Dummies. Following its straightforward instructions, you’ll pick your way from the basics of purchasing your ukulele and accessories to confidently strumming through simple chord progressions and jamming through various styles and standards, including pop, folk, and those much-loved holiday favorites. Aloha, Santa Claus!

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Jake Shimabukuro Teaches Ukulele Lessons

Jake Shimabukuro Teaches Ukulele Lessons (Video/Book). Learn notes, chords, songs, and playing techniques from the master of modern ukulele! In this unique book with online audio and video, Jake Shimabukuro will get you started on playing the ukulele. The book includes full transcriptions of every example, the video features Jake teaching you everything you need to know, and the audio features recordings of all the examples. In addition, the video includes performances of Jake playing some of his most popular arrangements such as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Ukulele Five-Oh,” among others. The audio and video can be accessed online using the unique code inside each book and can be streamed or downloaded.

Buy on Amazon >>

Ukulele Primer Book for Beginners

The Ukulele Primer Book for Beginners with Online Video Access by Bert Casey is designed to help the beginner learn how to play the ukulele. This beginning ukulele book can be used with a Soprano, Concert, or Tenor ukulele. These lessons start off with the absolute basics like parts of the uke, tuning (G, C, E, A), left and right hand position, and how to strum.

After covering the essentials, you will learn how to play easy chords and different strum patterns in the context of fifteen popular songs. The fifty page music book contains written instruction, music notation, helpful tips, chord charts, and detailed photographs. You will also have online access to an 86 minute video providing instruction for all of the techniques and songs covered in the book. The video uses split screens so you will be able to clearly see both hands and the music at all times. This is the perfect course and songbook for teaching a beginner how to play the uke. Entertain your friends and family today by learning how to play this great instrument that is soaring in popularity.

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Which Ukulele Book Is Right For You?

If you are unsure of which ukulele book is right for you, consider your current skill level and your desired playing style. Consider also what ukulele music inspires you. For example, if you are inspired by the ukulele playing of Jake Shimabukuro, then perhaps his music book is the right one for you.

Regardless of which book you choose, the most important thing to remember is to stay consistent as you practice and learn.

Do you have a favorite ukulele book? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below!

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!