Eddie Vedder Ukulele Songs Songbook Review

I’m not entirely sure it’s worth reviewing something that’s officially out of print. The ukulele songbook for Eddie Vedder’s Ukulele Songs album was available as a limited edition and was sold out before it was released (apart from a few copies sold on Flea Market Music).

It is still sort of gettable. If you’re willing to spend £300 on eBay. And there is a 48 page songbook with the vinyl version which, I believe, contains the uke charts. There has also been a PDF that was for sale (containing the pertinent uke stuff but not the photos) but I’m not clear on where or if this is still available.

What You Get

A 100 page hardback book.

A two page introduction to playing the ukulele.

Chord charts (no tab) for ukulele above standard notation of the melody for all the songs on the album. The book lists Jim Beloff as the, “songbook consultant and editor.” If you’ve seen any of his chord books before, you’ll be familiar with the layout. The only exception to the ‘no tab’ is Waving Palms – the short instrumental – which has tab for a single ukulele.

Lots of very nice pictures of Eddie and his ukuleles.

A copy of the album.

The Good Stuff

It’s gorgeous: It is by far the most lovely songbook I’ve ever had. Even if you didn’t play uke, this would make for a very nice coffee-table book.

It’s a dedicated ukulele book: And there aren’t many around for contemporary stuff. I had a lot of fun playing along with the album. It’s a big relief not to have to work stuff out myself or try to find something accurate on the internet.

It’s accurate: It all sounded pretty good to me. Only two things didn’t sit right with me. In Longing to Belong it shows F rather than Fadd9 – I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure there’s a G in there. The other is the tab for Waving Palms which I had trouble matching up with the song.

The chart for Hey Fahkah

The Not-So-Good Stuff

There’s a lot missing: It is – apart from Waving Palms – just chords. That means a bunch of stuff gets missed out. There’s missing fingerpicking patterns in Broken Heart and Satellite. Missing filigree such as the solo in Longing to Belong.

There are some weird-ass chord names – which is mostly forgivable because Eddie uses some weird-ass chords. The strangest choice is the use of slash chords. Not really applicable at the best of times, but baffling to refer to 0010 as Fadd9/C (when C is in Fadd9 anyway) and 0220 as D/G (when G isn’t the lowest note).

It’s too nice to use: Being a hardback book, it doesn’t stay nicely flopped open on the selected page. If you want to get it to stay open, you’ll need to do some hefty palm-flattening. I couldn’t bring myself to do it and just used the PDF whenever I wanted to play stuff.

Overall

The book makes for a fantastic souvenir. I’m very glad I pre-ordered it. Not sure I would have been so willing to pay crazy eBay prices. But as a tool for learning it falls short.

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23 Comments

  1. paulmoody August 24th, 2011 6:31 pm

    Any chance you could share the PDF with us?!

  2. Woodshed August 24th, 2011 6:54 pm

    paul: No!

  3. paulmoody August 24th, 2011 7:06 pm

    Haha, I was expecting that! I’ve just ordered the LP version off eBay anyway, can’t wait for it to come!

  4. mark August 24th, 2011 8:16 pm

    it was eddie vedder who inspired me to take up the ukulele (and my girlfriend for buying me one as a birthday present)

    and i pre ordered this book…still waiting for it to arrive but have been thumbing my way through the pdf version for a while now!

    i find it crazy its on ebay for £300!!! i wont be selling mine tho! just wish it would arrive now!

  5. pepamahina August 25th, 2011 5:08 am

    I owe thanks to you yet again for giving us the heads up about the presale so that I could manage to get a copy too. Love the faux-vintage green fabric cover. It definitely has style, although I agree that it is impractical for playing from, and I use the PDFs for that as well.

  6. Woodshed August 25th, 2011 7:20 am

    mark: If you haven’t received it yet, I’d check with 10 Club. I think you should have it by now.

    pepamahina: Glad you like it!

  7. plusequal August 25th, 2011 10:11 am

    Luckily I have one copy ^____^

  8. ukulollo August 25th, 2011 10:22 am

    excuse me if I won’t talk about the songbook but I wish to talk about the album…
    I bought it 3 days ago. I wasn’t sure I like it in the beginning. But now! Every time I listen to it I love it more. It’s so ispiring! I think in a couple of days it made me change the way I write. I realized there is no need to be always mellow just because you’re playing the ukulele. And I want to try to be a little more agressive with my vocals. That’s all, sorry again for the almost off topic! And that songbook must be really great!

  9. Josh August 25th, 2011 1:53 pm

    I want that songbook. Give it to me. Now.

  10. Woodshed August 26th, 2011 6:44 am

    plusequal: Congratulations!

    ukulollo: That’s great to hear! I think it’s an excellent album.

    Josh: Sure. That’ll be £300.

  11. Josh August 26th, 2011 2:09 pm

    Actually, I was thinking of charging you for the privilege of being able to give something so precious to me.

    I’ll trade you Chris Walla’s pick for it, I got one at the Death Cab concert last night.

    I don’t have any euros, this is America. Speak American.

    Pretty please?

  12. Woodshed August 26th, 2011 11:44 pm

    Josh: Euros? I think you might be hung for treason if you ever come here for that.

  13. Carol aka Uke Gal August 27th, 2011 5:30 am

    I got it on the preorder also and love it. Went to the concert here in the States (Oakland) and it was amazing. Eddie played lots of guitar as well and tells amazing, name-dropping stories but he pulls it off well. My husband, who is not a fan and went for my birthday, was quite pleasantly surprised. Then I wore the T-shirt to my local uke club and they all said they didn’t like the album. Oh brother. Glad you all do.

  14. Josh August 27th, 2011 5:53 am

    I meant pounds. Or whatever the hell it is you neanderthals attempt your primitive transactions with.

  15. Woodshed August 27th, 2011 3:45 pm

    Carol: Don’t listen to your uke group. It’s an excellent album.

  16. mark August 30th, 2011 2:43 pm

    Woodshed: I did when it was taking a long time but they said living in the uk it could take 6-8 weeks…. it finally came today and i love it ive got the pdf and im using that too scared to open the book properly :D

  17. Woodshed August 30th, 2011 11:18 pm

    mark: Glad you got it. I’m in the UK too and I’ve had mine a while.

  18. JimUke September 1st, 2011 3:15 pm

    True, it is not easy to play from it. Bought it via Fleamarket music and was very excited for it to arrive. Unfortunately there was no PDF included for that, so I have to keep it open by putting stuff on one of the pages while it is open.

    Quality is really nice though and finally I can learn to play “Without you”, I like that one best from this album.

  19. Naomi September 15th, 2011 5:46 pm

    Just wanted to say that I’m absolutely loving this site. I just picked up my first uke about a month ago, and I’m in love. Like another post mentioned, Eddie Vedder inspired me to play. Pearl Jam has been my favourite band since I was about 12 (looking forward to their concert in 10 days!!!) We also saw Eddie play live in July and it was amazing. I wish I had ordered a copy of this book…

  20. Woodshed September 16th, 2011 7:41 pm

    Naomi: Thanks very much! Very glad you’re finding it useful.

  21. Julian November 10th, 2011 3:34 pm

    i just got the book pdf, i don’t know when the book will arrive. is there a guide on how to read the chords? its like piano sheets

  22. Zebedeecymru February 19th, 2012 8:49 am

    Yeh La,!!!! £300?? i just won one on ebay for $45
    LP version still in shrinkwrap. Missed the pre sale from 10club so im really happy

  23. Burt June 21st, 2012 3:23 pm

    I spent $50 for mine on ebay, but the guy was really cool and sent me a bunch of Eddie Vedder bootlegs. My favorite song is without you and I recently found this lesson on youtube that’s pretty good:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=had9OpRiZ_E

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