Ukulele for Dummies Reviews

The book I wrote, Ukulele for Dummies is out now in the US and in Canada. You can find full details of what’s in the book here but if you’ve got any questions, ask away in the comments or by email.

It’s been out in the UK for just over a month and has been bouncing around the top three of the Musical Education chart (occasionally hitting the top spot). So a bunch of people have checked it out already. Here’s what some of them have had to say.

Update: For people who have bought a digital version you can find information on how to download the audio and video here.

Amazon Reviews

As I’m writing this, Ukulele for Dummies is averaging 5 stars on Amazon UK (8 5-star reviews and 2 4-star). A big thanks to everyone who has taken the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it.

Here are all the reviews:

Damian

I’ve been learning ukulele for 3-4 months now from Youtube ,Ukulele Hunt ,GotaUkulele, Ukulele tabs etc and have been progressing along quite nicely but i felt i was unintentionally missing out on important things i should be learning.
I got this book a few days ago and due to the terrible rainy weather this weekend i have got my teeth stuck into it and although i have knowledge of many chords im starting from page 1 and working my way through everything.

Its very well written and thought out and i have already learnt new things about types of strums , moveable chord shapes , and which chords go well together . Im only still a short way into the book but am really enjoying it and feel like im making real progress in my knowledge of this amazing instrument . I copied all the musical examples from the included CD rom onto my Android Phone and its really useful to be able to hear the examples rather than to just imagine what they sound like .
I can only see me loving this book more and more as i get further into it and its going to be a very useful reference for as long as i own it . An easy 5 stars from me .

Mr G Dean

Let me make it clear right from the start that I am a big fan of Mr Wood and his excellent ukulelehunt website. I have used his downloadable resources in the past, which have been both informative and helpful. Truth is though that you can’t beat a book. When I heard that Al Wood was putting out a ‘dummies’ book I pre-ordered it straight away. It arrived today and I am not disappointed! This is 338 pages choc full of useful information AND includes a CD to demonstrate all of the key points. It is not just a ‘how to play’ book. It is also a good introduction to other aspects of the ukulele community, such as what to look for when you buy a ukulele, ukulele players of note, how to get more involved, zen and the art of ukulele maintenance etc all delivered in an easy to digest and often humorous way. I have been playing for 3 years but there will be much to keep me coming back to this book for years to come. Highly recommended!

Mr Pooter

I am also a regular visitor to the ukulelehunt web-site where I first saw this excellent book advertised. It covers just about everything you would need to know about getting started with a uke, and takes you well up into at least intermediate stage. I have been playing for about 18 months, having had no musical training and this book has helped to fill in a few gaps, explain things more fully and give me some good tips. I especially appreciated the advice on strumming styles and on “finger-picking” technique. The style is very readable, and can be dipped into just about anywhere and you will find something useful. Highly reccommended for young and old, beginner or those further on. I have bought several starter books before, but this is the best…. I should have waited ! And did I mention there is a cd to take you through as well ?

kokomo arnold “thetwelves”

I have been a fan of the Author’s blog for some time and was looking forward to this book coming out. I am not disappointed. There is a huge amount of material here, all delivered in an accessible way. Nicely written, with a good sense of humour, but not in the “hey, ukes are wacky!” style that annoys. This book is as it should be, fun and musicianly.

ulmis

I am not a big fan of for Dummies series but I do like this one. Covering a wide area of ukulele subjects it’s certainly valuable for beginners.
Timo

Furrycat

Absolute must for a complete beginner! Would have liked a chord poster to go with the CD as I am constantly trying to find the chords by flicking through the chapters. But overall an excellent book that is easy to understand and to progress. The songs on the CD are varied and the difficulty levels are gently encouraging. I was up and playing within 2 days with some decent tunes!

Claudio

Like most people who pre-ordered this, I knew of the authors work on his website.

Style
Easy going and fun

Content:
Massive! There are a lot of songs and techniques in here with nearly 100 audio files to back it up.

Level:
I think a complete beginner would find it very helpful. I’ve been playing for nearly a year and it is very helpful for me too. There are several techniques and songs I want to master. Romanza is an example of something that is simple but very effective. So I think I’ll be breaking the book down into many small projects and randomly trying stuff out. The book explains things very simply for all levels.

Accuracy:
Only 1 small but obvious typing mistake. Page 108 Figure 6-29 label says Bdim but the chord is clearly Cdim.

Missing:
Perhaps I’m being too picky but I would have liked to have seen a clear concise section on basic chord theory, how they’re made up, chords in a key, circle of fifths. I had to work this out myself with hours of research when I started. Most uke players don’t want to read a book on music theory but like the basics.

What I like:
Overviews of different styles and strums.
Some of the songs you can work on with help from the audio files
It is well suited to a wide range of levels

Verdict:
Awesome. It is a must have for any uke player. I can’t think of anyone else more suited to write the book and Alistair Wood certainly delivered.

k.amess

This book is what i expected after visiting ukulele hunt many times before, superb.
If it’s worth knowing it’s in this book.
Keith

B. K. Wernham “brian_w99″

I have bought several of Al’s ukulele e-books in the past, and when I heard that he was authoring a ‘Dummies’ book for the ukulele I immediately pre-ordered.

I am not disappointed. He covers the basics carefully and deliberately, and moves on into beginners’ strums and then into picking in a very clear and entertaining style. If you move through the book step by step you will move from ground zero to become an intermediate player of blues, rock, reggae other styles and a bit of classical to boot.

There is more packed in than in an average ‘Dummies’ format book, so it is remarkable value for money. I only have a few small gripes, such as the advice on fretting hand position is very much that of a guitarist. There are two schools of thought on this, and I think Al should have expanded on the alternative ‘thumb behind neck/lute players’ style which I find more precise and uke-ish. Also advice on avoiding friction tuners is misguided in my opinion. I would also have preferred some more current popular music in the examples, but I suppose copyright issues cause problems…

But I shall stop carping now – this is a great book. The best beginners uke book I have ever seen. If you are anywhere from 0 months to 5 years experience this is highly recommended, and even advanced players will learn much from the sections on other styles that they are less practiced in.

BrianW (and Libby the Ukuele Hound)

Macroman

This must be the best book, written by a British author, for the beginning or intermediate ukulele player. Exceptionally clear illustrations, good layout with a gentle introduction to basic playing. It is certainly not for ‘dummies’ though, and the lessons are progressive and challenging if you wish to go that far. The accompanying CD has short extracts of strums etc, but not much by way of actual sung songs. Useful for timing and rhythm though. All round a great addition to tutorials books on the uke. Only negative point I can think of is that it is difficult to lie the book flat, on a table or music stand to play and read at the same time. Ring binders would be wonderful!

Alnapp

I have a bad Ukulele book habit. I’ve bought many and have several hard drives worth of tuition videos. If only Al Wood had written this book earlier my kids might not be shoeless.

The book is great, covering just about everything from scratch but not in an interminably detailed or boring manner. Chords – strumming patterns – finger picking and stylistic combinations of the above are all covered so that even a fat-fingered plucker like myself can make their Uke sound good.

Al (Mr Wood?)’s style is engaging and clear, but you may well be familiar with it from the UkeHunt website if you aren’t then you probably don’t have a Ukulele. Get one – get this book – get playing.

Buffalo1652

This book is the answer to any would-be ukulele player’s prayers. I got my first uke in August, 2010, but have never found a book that really met my needs. Not until this one came out, anyway. To anyone who is thinking about buying this book, don’t hesitate, just get it and be thankful. You will not regret it!

missbabounette on Amazon.fr

I have bought a few ukulele books, but up until now, have only found books with a teeny explaination on technique, a few chords and then you’re on your on to figure it out. This is very frustrating I find, especially when learning by oneself.

This book is different; it covers basic technics thoroughly explaining them and progressively goes on to more complicated techniques. Thus you can learn basic strumming patterns to advanced picking. The book also covers music theory and different music genres.

The writing style is simple and acessible with humour – very enjoyable.

Ukulele for Dummies also comes with a CD so as to listen to the songs and strums covered in the book.

Contrary to other self teaching ukulele books, in Ukulele for Dummies, you are explained and shown through pictures how to hold your ukulele and position your fingers to make the chords. The strums come with an explaination as to why you would play that way instead of another way. The book also gives tips on how, where and which ukulele to buy; how to take care of the ukulele, importance of the strings…

The only draw back I can find, is the the book should come with a DVD instead on a CD. Some techniques are hard to describe (like the chunk) and I found it easier to learn that technique through videos.

I enjoy this book very much and in my opinion, it should be on every ukulele player’s shelf – whether a beginner or confirmed player.

Reviews on Uke Hunt

From the comments on this post.

Keith

To anyone who isn’t sure: Buy it!.
I am a guitar player, who thought i would give the ukulele a try, not sure if i would take to it or not.
I bought a cheap uke , put on some aquila strings, and gave it a shot. While i enjoyed learning something new, i needed something to “show me the way” if you like.
While searching the net for info i found this site, and of course the link to the book.Well i have to say not only is it very informative and structured, it’s very enjoyable.
Great work.

fyg

A proper brillaint book.
And very funny.

Peter Evans

Had the book about a week from Amazon, What a fantastic book! I’ve spent far more on beginners books that don’t even come close to the content and quality ! ( have i said enough for a free signed copy yet?) :-) but honestly, beginner or not, don’t delay buy today !

Dave W

I got “Ukulele for Dummies” yesterday. I have skimmed it and am now reading cover to cover. As a 65 year old new Uker can I say it is superb and will be my main tutor on my fun journey with my Uke.

paulmoody

My copy of Ukulele for Dummies arrived in the post this morning! It’s fantastic, so basic to understand! Thanks!

J-Hob

My copy turned up today and now my table wobbles no more!

On the Web

Ukulelia

Once you get past the silly title (Ukulele for Dummies), you realize that Al Wood (who runs www.ukulelehunt.com) has actually put together a marvelous compendium of ukulele knowledge that takes you from novice to expert. I’m not always a fan of ‘teach yourself an instrument’ books, but this one of Al’s is, really, a ukulele bible. A great reference, with an included audio dvd, and some very witty writing that makes it fun to read.

Ukulele en UT

It’s the “ukulele bible”. Indeed, the book starts with the basics on how to hold the ukulele, but not just one little paragraph. No, you have real indications with pictures to go with the explanations. You also have pictures showing you how to hold the chords!

The book is progressive and well structured. You’ll learn how to tune the ukulele, chords, minor and major scales, tips on buying your ukulele and how to care for it, about soloing, picking, and much more! It comes with a CD with Alistair Wood playing strumming patterns or the songs taught in the book.

The language is simple and you get Alistair Wood’s good sens of humour in the reading!

I highly recommend this be the first book you buy when starting out with the ukulele. It will answer all your questions and will save you time and frustration when trying to figure out things on your own.
I also recommend this book for intermediate and advanced ukulele players, just because it is fun, and it is always good to go back to the basics from time to time!

Read the full review here.

On Twitter

@ByronMcGill

Just changed the strings on my ohana with a tie-on bridge for the first time and Ukulele for Dummies saved my life

@mhairiwild
I’m up to ‘Amazing Grace’ in the book…..my Grandad loved that song. Great book, Alistair. Thanks for writing it. :o)

@mrchockabloke

I can play a song on the ukulele *hangs out special bunting*

Wayfaring Stranger from Ukulele for Dummies.

About the Kindle Version

I haven’t been involved in the digital side – I haven’t even seen full versions of them. The Kindle version is just the book without the audio tracks. I wouldn’t advise you buy any version that doesn’t have the audio – it’s really important.

UPDATE: The Kindle description includes the line, “The enhanced ebook contains 30 in-line instructional videos,” but these aren’t included in the Kindle version either (thanks to Catherine for alerting me).

Amazon Links

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
Amazon France
Amazon Germany

Not Amazon Links

The Niles in Australia
Fishpond in New Zealand

View Comments

36 Comments

  1. Nateekins August 10th, 2011 7:03 pm

    Haha! Well, I have been looking for something to shim up my wobbly table leg…

    Nah, just kidding, this book looks amazing. I might even buy it!

    Woodshed, would you consider this a truly beginners-only type of book? It seems like it would be great for intermediate types like I fancy myself to be too.

  2. Jim T. August 10th, 2011 8:27 pm

    Congratulations, Al. It must be immensely gratifying to see all your hard work pay off this way.

  3. ThomasGC August 10th, 2011 9:21 pm

    I read the Amazon UK reviews and ordered my copy two days ago. Looking forward to ramping up my ukulele learning. I have several uke tutorial books and they’re ok, but I need something a little more all-encompassing. The Dummies book looks like it fits the bill. Nice job, Al.

  4. Josh Gordon August 11th, 2011 1:35 am

    Just got my copy and spent the last hour skimming through it. It’s wonderful. I’m going to try it out on some less-experienced players and see how they take to it, but I think it might become required reading for my club up here in the California mountains.

  5. Dennis Dolan August 11th, 2011 1:41 am

    Got mine today! Preordered. Looks good. I can smell the fresh ink on the pages! ;-)

    Congrats to the author!

    Dennis
    CT USA

  6. Ken Middleton August 11th, 2011 5:50 am

    Many congratulations, Al. A very well-deserved success.

  7. Woodshed August 11th, 2011 11:33 am

    Nateekins: It’s a beginners book in that it doesn’t assume any pre-knowledge from the start.

    But I think of it as a reference book. A way for anyone to brush up on a certain area, or catch up on something that they’ve missed. A lot of people learn online – which is great but means people can miss certain things. So it’s useful to fill in those gaps.

    Jim: Thanks very much! It is. I hope to see your book out before too long.

    ThomasGC: Thanks very much! Hope you like it.

    Josh: Thanks so much for spreading the word. I really appreciate it.

    Dennis: Awesome! Hope you find it useful.

    Ken: Thanks!

  8. Pam August 11th, 2011 2:14 pm

    Just ordered your book. I have been learning the ukelele for about 5 months. Your site is one of the places I come daily. Can’t wait to get the book.

    Pam

  9. Narciso Lobo August 11th, 2011 2:51 pm

    Congratulations. I’ll be recommending the book at every opportunity.

  10. Lucille August 11th, 2011 4:02 pm

    I preordered this book from Amazon (US) and it finally arrived yesterday. Looks like I’ll be enjoying this book. Thanks for all the work you do for us wanna be uke players.

  11. melissa ogrady August 11th, 2011 7:38 pm

    Just got mine yesterday! It looks great, reads very clearly and cleverly (natch!), and will most likely teach me a few dozen new things.

    Congratulations on having a BOOK!!

    You’re the BEST ever!

  12. John Bianchi August 11th, 2011 9:56 pm

    Congrats on the great reception! A friend of mine just got his copy and is loving it, which means I’ll have to order it as well.

  13. RobNY August 12th, 2011 3:57 am

    Congratulations Al! I wish you much success in the US. I’ll be ordering one soon.

  14. Woodshed August 12th, 2011 7:18 am

    Pam: Thanks! Hope you like it.

    Narciso: Thanks so much! Really appreciate everyone who is spreading the word about it.

    Melissa: Thanks! Really glad you like it.

    John: Excellent! Hope you like yours as much as your friend does.

    Rob: I’ve sent you an email.

  15. Stefan August 16th, 2011 2:48 am

    Regarding the digital copies of your book and the audio track: I contacted Wiley (the publishers) about purchasing the audio CD separately. They actually sent me the CD for free as a replacement. I told them i had purchased a copy for my Nook, so this was on their part and no subterfuge on mine. Just an FYI for those who like digital books but would like the audio parts.

  16. Woodshed August 16th, 2011 8:12 am

    Stefan: Oh, excellent. I hope they do that for everybody.

  17. Tom August 22nd, 2011 1:02 pm

    Excellent, but then again, who would have any doubts…I pre-ordered this book back in May through Amazon.com. Well written, easy to comprehend, and even though Al says it’s a “beginners book”,there are many great ideas and needed reviews even for the advanced player. I have all of Al’s e-books, and now with Ukulele for Dummies, this makes a great collection of Ukulele learning for those of us who are self taught. I do have one question for you Al, is is really true you read music at about the same speed as a dog reads Latin? That’s tough to believe!

  18. Woodshed August 22nd, 2011 3:55 pm

    Tom: Thanks very much for the review. Really glad you like it.

  19. Woodshed August 23rd, 2011 10:49 pm

    Tom: I forgot to answer your question. It’s true, I am very slow at reading music. I’m going to work on it.

  20. Jeff Crawley August 26th, 2011 11:30 am

    It’s really very simple – if you want to get a ukulele you should buy this book first. Wish it had been around when I started 8 months ago. Flea – Kala – Kala – Kala brilliant!

  21. Woodshed August 26th, 2011 11:39 pm

    Jeff: Thanks very much!

  22. Sofie August 28th, 2011 12:59 pm

    When does this book coming out in Belgium? We really need some ukulele books over here. I couldn’t find any good one over here.

  23. Woodshed August 30th, 2011 11:54 am

    Sofie: It should be available there. It’s definitely out in France and Germany

  24. Sofie September 30th, 2011 10:36 am

    I finally did order your book by some online music store in Germany, because in Belgium it’s hard to find and on Bol.com I can’t use the Belgian pay options.
    So I hope to start very soon with it.

  25. Woodshed September 30th, 2011 10:47 pm

    Sofie: Glad you managed to get a copy. Hope you enjoy it.

  26. Marty Medak December 8th, 2011 10:22 pm

    There is only ONE review on the Barnes and Noble NOOK site. It is actually not a review, only a title, negative, anonymous, and only ONE star. I tried to put in a review, but bought mine through Amazon. My review was deleted, but I’ll try again. B&N site needs some jacking up…..

  27. Woodshed December 9th, 2011 9:11 am

    Marty: Thanks. I think the best course of action is to wait for Barnes & Noble to go out of business.

  28. bob April 28th, 2012 1:57 pm

    I am loving the book but I have 1 criticism. It is aimed at dummies but you make the assumption that your reader is not an idiot.

    As I am an idiot I find that quite offensive.

    Murphy’s 3rd law: If you make something an idiot can use only idiots will use it

  29. Dennis Lewis July 2nd, 2012 11:28 pm

    purchased from itunes to read on ipad text is fine you can make it as big as you like but the music is very small cant even read it with a magnifier should have got the book from Amerzon feel cheated

  30. Woodshed July 4th, 2012 11:47 am

    bob: I think you need this.

    Dennis Lewis: Sorry to hear about that. I’m going to add a section to this post warning people about the digital versions. I’m annoyed with it myself.

  31. Sara November 6th, 2012 8:07 am

    I bought the book this summer and I LOVE IT from the beginning! it really helped me know the ukulele and start playing it without too much effort! it’s really well written and organized, such a great guide! Congratulations and thank you so much!

  32. Woodshed November 6th, 2012 11:37 am

    Sara: Thanks so much! I’m really glad it’s helped.

  33. Vanessa December 17th, 2012 4:24 pm

    I bought the book shortly after I got my ukulele 6 months ago and I love it! Thanks to your book and your website learning is fun!

  34. Woodshed December 17th, 2012 10:38 pm

    Vanessa: Thanks so much! Glad you enjoy it.

  35. Susan February 22nd, 2014 5:38 am

    I just bought the NOOK version because we have very little space in our RV for books. I went ahead and did this because I was promised both in-line videos and a link to download the contents of the CD. Neither of which I can find. What gives?

  36. Woodshed February 22nd, 2014 8:32 am

    Susan: You can download the audio here:

    http://booksupport.wiley.com/

    Just search for ‘ukulele’ in the title.

    And here are links to all the videos:

    http://ukulelehunt.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/UkuleleFD_QR-Links-1.pdf

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