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The 15 Best Ukulele Book Reviews

Best Ukulele Book
Photo by Franciele da Silva

Many will agree that it’s really hard not to be happy when a ukulele is around. As virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro once said, “There’s something about the ukulele that just makes you smile.

It makes you let your guard down. It brings out the child in all of us.” With these, it’s not surprising why many want to learn how to play the ukulele.

If you’re already embarking on this process, one way to enrich your knowledge is through the best ukulele books.

Reading about this instrument will take you a long way, so I rounded up a number of great titles that can get you started on creating your own reading list.

Contents

Best Picks of Ukulele Book

#1: The Daily Ukulele: 365 Songs for Better Living

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Lots of people picked up a ukulele for how fun it makes songs sound like. It’s not the fanciest instrument out there but it can definitely breathe new life to old songs.

This is exactly what The Daily Ukulele: 365 Songs for Better Living offer. This is one of the most exciting ukulele chord books available in the market as it features a long list of classic pop songs that many of us love and enjoy.

Its selection is wide, from Bob Dylan to Christmas songs and Broadway tunes, so it can certainly tickle the fancy of any music lover out there.

#2: First 50 Songs You Should Play on Ukulele

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If you’re looking for ukulele books for beginners, you should definitely check out the First 50 Songs You Should Play on Ukulele. Like the previous title, this book is also packed with some of the most famous pop songs there is, from You are My Sunshine to Hey, Soul Sister.

Just one important thing to note, however. This book doesn’t have ukulele tabs but has musical notation with ukulele chords and diagrams instead. This makes it a bit complicated but can definitely train beginner players to sight-read notes.

So not only will you be learning how to play a new instrument with this book but it can also help you train reading sheet music so you can also easily transition to other instruments later on.

#3: Disney Hits for Ukulele

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Who wouldn’t want to sing Disney songs with a ukulele? That’s totally the definition of a pleasant time! This is why I’ve also chosen the Disney Hits for Ukulele on this list as one of the best ukulele song books there is.

While singing Disney tunes which whatever kind of accompaniment you may have will already ensure a great time, singing them with a ukulele tends to add to the fun. It’s chill, nostalgic, and all sorts of whimsical if you ask me.

Featuring 23 songs from classics like the Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Frozen, 101 Dalmatians, Dumbo, Toy Story, and Finding Nemo, this book can help you build your repertoire of ‘songs to sing when people are sad.’

#4: The Daily Ukulele – Leap Year Edition

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Want to know about my pick for the best ukulele book for the money? Check out The Daily Ukulele – Leap Year Edition. This song book has an extra song, so compared to the other Daily Ukulele versions, you’ll get one more tune from it. What a steal, right?

Like the other Daily Ukulele title mentioned above, this book is packed with some of the most beloved songs from various artists and genres from the 60s to the 90s.

Many are also very easy to learn with their simple chord patterns so you’ll be able to sing while strumming along some of your favorite songs in no time.

#5: Play Ukulele Today

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Hailed by many as one of the best books to learn ukulele, Play Ukulele Today can be a great pick to those who are interested in learning how to play the instrument on their own.

It’s touted as the ultimate self-teaching book as it contains not just the tabs of various songs but it also has 61 full-demo tracks as well as tips and instructions about playing the ukulele.

The audio tracks can be accessed online and there are playback tools that you can use to take full advantage of it and use it according to your pace. It’s a good choice for students and instructors alike.

#6: 21 Songs in 6 Days: Learn Ukulele

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The 21 Songs in 6 Days: Learn Ukulele is another popular pick when it comes to the best ukulele books for beginners. This book is meant to help you learn how to play the instrument progressively over a short span of time through 3 various mediums: audio, video, and text.

It might seem a bit overwhelming at first but its technique is rather effective. By having the option to choose which method to use in learning the ropes, you can definitely find an effective way to retain the techniques and methods in the book.

This title also includes 21 songs. Most of them are folk songs and nursery rhymes but they’re great beginner pieces with their simplicity.

#7: Ukulele Primer Book for Beginners

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Want something with the best ukulele book reviews? Check out the Ukulele Primer Book for Beginners. This title is especially designed to teach someone with no prior knowledge about the instrument to learn all kinds of ukuleles.

Unlike the other items listed above, this book includes the very basic steps in playing: hand positioning, strumming methods, basic parts of the uke, and tuning.

Once you’re done with that, the book will walk you through different songs, tips, and music notations. There’s also an 86-minute video that you can access to get further instructions.

#8: Hal Leonard Ukulele Method Book 1

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Another top ukulele book is the Hal Leonard Ukulele Method Book 1. If you’re looking for something that an actual famous expert whipped up, this can be a great match for you.

Comprehensive and easy to use, this book is made by top performer and uke master Lil’ Rev. Known for his passion for music and education, it’s not too surprising that he came up with a very effective guide in teaching others how to play and enjoy the uke.

Since he is a professional educator to grade schoolers, it’s no wonder he can break down the basics of uke playing in the most competent way.

#9: 21 Easy Ukulele Songs For Christmas

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Want to celebrate the festive season with one of the merriest sounding instruments there is? Then you should grab a copy of the 21 Easy Ukulele Songs for Christmas. With this book, you don’t even have to be an expert to start strumming the most whimsical Christmas tunes.

This title contains beginner-friendly songs that can help you learn and hone your playing skills right in time for the whole family to gather around the fire.

The authors will not just give you a bunch of songs with their tabs and musical notations but they’ll also teach you how to play the songs through two mediums. You can learn straight from the book or access their online content for a more demonstrative instruction.

#10: My First Ukulele For Kids

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With their small size, ukes can really be great instruments for little ones to learn. For this purpose, you’ll need the best ukulele books for kids. You can find this in the form of My First Ukulele for Kids.

What sets this title apart is the fact that it wouldn’t teach you how to play the uke using a lot of intimidating sheet music illustrations. It uses simple diagrams and illustrations instead so young ones can grasp the idea of where their hands should go first before going into more complicated stuff.

#11: Ukulele for Kids – The Hal Leonard Ukulele Method

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You can also check out the Ukulele for Kids – the Hal Leonard Ukulele Method book if you want your little one to learn how to play the said instrument. With its step-by-step instruction, your little one should easily pick up the techniques and tricks in playing the uke in no time.

This book includes the essentials like how to hold and position your hands, how to strum, how to select a uke, as well as how to read and count music notation. Teachers and parents find this a useful tool in teaching young aspiring musicians to master the wonderful skill of making music with a ukulele.

#12: The Ukulele Handbook

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For one of the most comprehensive instructional titles in learning the ukulele, pick up the Ukulele Handbook. As its name suggests, it covers all the bases in learning how to play this instrument.

Touted as the ‘definitive illustrated guide’ to the ukulele, this book can tell you everything you need to know about it.

If you’re interested in not just playing the uke but also about its rich history, this is a must-read. It will tell you the theory and practice behind the ukulele, helping you gain more appreciation about this interesting musical instrument.

#13: How To Play Ukulele: A Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners

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If your idea of learning a new instrument involves some music theory, then the How to Play Ukulele: A Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners would be a great choice for you. While this book is written by a guitarist, it covers the basics of ukulele playing in a thorough and technical manner which some people tend to enjoy.

It might sound complex with all of the theoretical stuff but it’s really not. It uses easy to understand illustrations and instructions so you won’t have a hard time following.

It’s also meant to help you learn at your own pace while teaching you how to read music notes and symbols. So you can say that it pretty much has everything you need to master the uke.

#14: The Daily Ukulele Songbook

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Interested in learning more than just the Rainbow Connection on the ukulele? The Daily Ukulele Songbook got your back. This book contains 365 songs, giving you so many pieces to learn and play around with to better hone your uke-playing skills.

What lots of people love about this title is the fact that it comes with a very wide range of songs. It comes with uke arrangements of classic songs from the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and even Bob Dylan. It also has Christmas songs, nursery rhymes, and Broadway tunes so you’ll have a pretty wide range of songs to cover with just one purchase.

#15: The Beatles For Fingerstyle Ukulele

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Those who want to take things up a notch should check out The Beatles for Fingerstyle Ukulele. This title will teach you ukulele fingerstyle arrangements that can really be an exciting way to do more with your instruments.

I love that this book is quite versatile as well. It also has lyric-and-chord lead sheets for those who want to do some basic strumming and singing first. It can certainly be the next level title every budding uke player will enjoy.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Ukulele Books

With so many exciting options, it wouldn’t be surprising if you’re a bit overwhelmed with the titles listed above. So to help you make a choice, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your skill level should help you decide. If you’re an absolute beginner, avoid advanced ukulele books as they won’t be of any use to you.
  • When buying a song book, check the contents first and compare with your other song books if you already have some. This can help you avoid duplicates and allow you to make the most out of your purchase.
  • Read the reviews. They will tell you how the book worked for other users so take note of their feedback and apply it to your own needs.

FAQs

What is the best way to learn the ukulele?

It’s very important to learn the basics first. You should know how to tune a uke then learn the most basic chords.

Can you teach yourself to play the ukulele?

Absolutely. There are lots of people who are self-taught and aced playing the ukulele.

Is the ukulele easier to learn than the guitar?

Yes. The uke’s smaller size makes it easier to handle and the fact that it only has 4 strings makes mastering its chords simpler.

Final Verdict

With my exciting selection above, we won’t be surprised if you end up buying quite a few new ukulele books after reading this roundup. The beginner books are all great and informative but I wouldn’t miss out on the 21 Songs series as they seem to make the learning process fun.

With the uke being a fun instrument in itself, those two books definitely match the mood and complement the vibe.

No matter which one you choose, though, the most important part is that you have fun in the learning process. The uke is far too chill of a musical instrument for you to stress out about it.

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