There’s tons of awesome content online, so why consider picking up a few ukulele books? As it turns out, there are quite a few reasons. Books are available all the time, even when the power goes out or your phone service is down.
At a Glance: Best Ukulele Books to Buy
Master the Ukulele 1 Book by Terry Carter
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The Daily Ukulele
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First 50 Songs You Should Play on Ukulele
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Camping or traveling without internet access? Just looking for a great way to unplug for a while? Good old-fashioned books have you covered! In this quick post, we’ll take a look at some of the best ukulele books of all time, including songbooks, lesson books, and more.
#1 Master the Ukulele 1 Book by Terry Carter
If you’re a beginner or an intermediate player looking for a solid foundation built on chords, strumming, and songs, you’ll love Master the Ukulele 1. This book includes songs in the style of many popular artists plus it provides an introduction to blues rhythm. Scales, basic and advanced strum patterns, and step-by-step lessons help you become a better player.
#2 The Daily Ukulele: 365 Song for Better Living by Jim Beloff & Liz Beloff
This big, friendly songbook contains one song for every day of the year. All 365 songs in The Daily Ukulele are easy to play, with uke chord grids, melodies, and lyrics neatly arranged. Whether you’re playing alone at home or looking for a fun way to practice with a group, this book has you covered.
In case you like it and want more, the authors have a second book called The Daily Ukulele Leap Year Edition. It contains another 366 well-known songs to keep you strumming every day, even when there’s a February 29 on the calendar.
#3 First 50 Songs You Should Play on Ukulele by Hal Leonard Corp.
New to ukulele? Looking for something easy to play? First 50 Songs You Should Play on Ukulele has lots of favorites complete with melodies, lyrics, and all the chord diagrams you need to play easy songs on your uke.
#4 21 Easy Ukulele Songs for Christmas by Rebecca Bogart & Jenny Peters
Next time you’re at a holiday gathering, grab your ukulele and accompany everyone. This book of ukulele Christmas carols includes 21 favorites arranged by the number of chords you need to be able to play. Designed with beginners in mind, it includes a helpful chord glossary as well as some notes on reading tablature and strumming.
#5 The Ultimate Ukulele Fake Book: Over 400 Songs to Strum & Sing by Hal Leonard Corp.
If you’ve been playing music for a while now, you might be familiar with fake books. Basically, the premise is to “fake it ‘til you make it!” All the difficult, technical stuff is removed and you’re left with a bare bones songs in comfortable keys for easy singing and strumming. Once you’re familiar with the song, you can add more style! This book is huge, with a spiral-bound cover that makes it easy to open up to a favorite and start playing. Since The Ultimate Ukulele Fake Book is suitable for any concert pitch instrument, you can use it for piano, guitar, and more. The songs span the entire 20th century as well as the 21st century so you can choose popular favorites or old-fashioned standards.
#6 IZ, The Ukulele Songbook by Israel “Iz” Kmakawiwo’Ole
Before Israel “Iz” Kmakawiwo’Ole passed away, he graced the world with some of the most beautiful ukulele music ever heard. IZ, The Ukulele Songbook contains chord diagrams above every chord, so it’s easier for you to play each song. Fingerpicking instructions are included, along with some notes on using alternate chords in some arrangements. Selections are arranged for beginners, intermediate players, and advanced players with the majority being for intermediate/advanced skill levels. Favorites including Over the Rainbow, Na Ka Pueo, Kuhio Bay, and of course, What a Wonderful World are found in this amazing book.
#7 The Beatles for Fingerstyle Ukulele by The Beatles and Fred Sokolow
Love the Beatles? You’re in good company: most people enjoy these timeless, lilting tunes! In The Beatles for Fingerstyle Ukulele, you’ll find 25 of the most popular Beatles songs of all time. This book is great because there are two versions of each song: One with a solo fingerstyle arrangement, and another one with lyric and chord lead sheets. The book also contains some fun facts about the Beatles. It is arranged with songs listed by difficulty, so you can find tunes that match your abilities.
#8 Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Masters: James Hill: Duets for One by Jim Beloff and James Hill
Wait….you mean it’s possible to play ukulele duets on a single uke? Yes! And some of the songs in Duets for One are designed for beginners. Whatever your skill level, you’re going to have a ton of fun with this book, which contains 15 familiar tunes plus links to online audio tracks that you can strum along with. If you’re looking for something different, this is one of the best ukulele books available.
#9 John King – The Classical Ukulele by John King
In The Classical Ukulele, author and artist John King presents a fantastic collection that includes 19 ukulele arrangements based on traditional and classical works by Bach, Mozart, Scott Joplin, and others. This book is best for advanced intermediate to expert players, but don’t let that keep you from looking into it if you’re intrigued. Each arrangement is written in tablature, so you can learn one chord at a time. The book includes a CD of the author performing all of the songs, so you can listen, learn, and play along when the time comes.
#10 Beginning Music Reading Book for Ukulele by Terry Carter
Everyone has to start somewhere and if you’re looking for an easy way to learn to read music for the ukulele, this is certain to skyrocket you to the next level. In Beginning Music Reading, you’ll learn how to play chords, strum, and read melodic lines. Whether you’re brand new to the ukulele or if you’ve dabbled but have yet to learn how to read music, this book has your name all over it.
#11 From Lute to Uke: Early Music for Ukulele by Tony Mizen
Proof that the ukulele can do anything is found in From Lute to Uke! This amazing songbook offers 24 pieces of early lute music, all arranged by classical guitarist and ukuleleist Tony Mizen. Tablature and music notation is included for each piece, and you get a CD of the author performing all the songs in the book as well. While this book does offer a challenging, technical approach, it isn’t terribly difficult to master the music – even advanced beginners find themselves playing beautiful tunes that make the most of first position chords.
With great ukulele books, you can build your repertoire, enjoy learning at a pace that’s comfortable for you, and really master your instrument as time passes. We hope you find a few titles that appeal to you, whatever your skill level and taste!