Christmas Gifts for Ukulele Players: Herb Ohta – Sophisticated Ukulele

Herb Ohta – Sophisticated Ukulele (Book and CD)

Herb Ohta (or Ohta-San if you prefer) has been playing the uke professionally for over 60 years and has released over 60 albums – he probably knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the uke.

Sophisticated Ukulele is another book in the Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Masters series but is presented in a very different way to the John King book. There is no tab in this book; just chord diagrams and the melody in standard notation.

The book features 26 songs mainly from the Great American Songbook but with 5 Ohta originals. The accompanying CD has Ohta playing solo ukulele versions of 15 of these. The full list of songs:

Dinah, Feeling Like It Lately, Fools Rush In, Georgia On My Mind, I’ll Be Seeing You, Imagine, I Won’t Dance, It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie, Ja-Da, Jeanie, The More I See You, My Blue Heaven, The Nearness Of You, Night & Day, Poipu-I Hawaii, September Song, Sophisticated Hula, Stardust, Sukiyaki, Sunny, Take The A Train, The Very Thought Of You, Waikiki Beach, Waikoloa, When I Fall In Love, Yesterday

Good stuff:
– There are some very nice arrangements here.
– I think anyone who works through this book will come away with some new chord ideas.
– Ja-Da.

Not so good stuff:
– No tab. That’s a big disadvantage to me. Just chords and melody line don’t give the entire story of what he’s actually playing. For those who want to strum and sing, this will not be an issue.
– Many songs aren’t on the CD.

Suitable for: Beginner to intermediate. Those who love to strum through and sing the old standards.

Overall: Well worth the price of admission. The fact you have to do some of the work yourself in putting together arrangements isn’t an entirely bad thing.

If you have this book, leave a comment letting us know your opinion.

View Comments

Got something to say?