Kiwi Ukulele: the New Zealand Ukulele Companion

Finally, a beginner’s ukulele book that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

I’ve been moaning about the quality of ukulele beginner books for a while now. They all seem very dated in the songs they select and nowhere near comprehensive enough to cover everything a beginner should know when they out. Luckily, Mike Dickison (he of Mike’s Ukulele Page) has written the book that the ukulele deserves. He covers the basics comprehensively, but what really makes it stand out is that he conveys where the ukulele scene is at right now. There are chords for ukulele classics (Five Foot Two, Ukulele Lady), uke/punk crossovers (Anarchy in the UK, Blitzkrieg Bop) and indie ukulele (Ukulele Me).

All the basic chording, strumming and picking are put across effectively and concisely with top notch illustrations (not surprisingly).

As well as the playing side, he also covers the other essential parts of the modern uke scene that none of the other books mention: ukulele clubs, recording yourself on your computer and ukuleles on the net.

The book does have a New Zealand focus (I’m ashamed to admit that I couldn’t have named the New Zealand national anthem in either language before reading the book), but set your New Zealand prejudices aside. It deserves to get picked up and adapted by an International publisher as it’s by far the best introduction to the ukulele I’ve ever read.

Mike will be putting up extracts from the book here and you can order it online here.

View Comments


  1. Nelson July 30th, 2008 8:53 pm

    Awww I wish I had moneeeez…

  2. Alex July 31st, 2008 5:09 am

    Mike gave a really interesting talk at my university about a year ago about scientific data presentation – I wish he’d given another about ukes…

  3. Cardboardfrog July 31st, 2008 12:04 pm

    what is it with ukuleles and newzealanders?
    i’m not complaining or anything but theres soemthing going on over there!

  4. Rob July 31st, 2008 2:32 pm

    It sounds to me that Zach is playing all quick down strokes.Kinda like (d d d ddd). (d d u u du )does seem to work for me.

  5. Woodshed July 31st, 2008 7:56 pm

    Nelson: Me too.

    Alex: Sounds interesting either way.

    Cardboardfrog: Must be an island thing.

    Rob: Was that meant for a different post? The Hallelujah one?

  6. Mike July 31st, 2008 11:16 pm

    Yes, it’s an island thing. NZ is just another Pacific island. But Britain’s shares an Atlantic island heritage with Madeira, birthplace of the ukulele, so shouldn’t feel left out.

    Thanks for all the kind words, Al. Folks should know that Woodshed has generously contributed plenty of tips and tabs for the book, so deserves a good chunk of the credit. And it’s sites like Ukulele Hunt that inspired me to start this project in the first place. So kudos to him.

  7. Rob August 1st, 2008 7:53 am

    Yes Al it was meant for Hallelujah. You gotta forgive me . I’m new to this blog post world.

  8. Woodshed August 3rd, 2008 4:28 pm

    No worries, Rob. I’ve put it on that thread.

  9. Yvonne September 19th, 2008 10:51 am

    Is there a ukulele club in Tauranga

  10. William February 13th, 2009 7:09 am

    Hey Mike.
    Thanks so much for the book! Just got it today and its awesome. I especially like all the New Zealand themed tunes, although can’t forgive the lone Australian one =P Ah well anyway. now im keen to start a Lower Hutt uke club ! Though unlikely to happen x[
    anyway thanks again!

  11. Woodshed February 13th, 2009 8:15 pm

    William: With a bit of luck, I’ll be doing a post about setting up a uke club including tips from Mike.

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