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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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!
Like most people who pre-ordered this, I knew of the authors work on his website.
Easy going and fun
Massive! There are a lot of songs and techniques in here with nearly 100 audio files to back it up.
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.
Only 1 small but obvious typing mistake. Page 108 Figure 6-29 label says Bdim but the chord is clearly Cdim.
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
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.
This book is what i expected after visiting ukulele hunt many times before, superb.
If it’s worth knowing it’s in this book.
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
A proper brillaint book.
And very funny.
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 !
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.
My copy of Ukulele for Dummies arrived in the post this morning! It’s fantastic, so basic to understand! Thanks!
My copy turned up today and now my table wobbles no more!
On the Web
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.
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!
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).