How to Play Ukulele: A Complete Guide for Beginners

How to Play Ukulele: A Complete Guide for Beginners

by Dan Scanlan


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Learn to play the ukulele with this beginner’s guide that features information about basic techniques, tools, and music knowledge.

What do George Clooney, Zooey Deschanel, Ryan Gosling and James Franco all have in common? Answer: they all play the ukulele and now, with this easy step-by-step guide, you can too! With just this book and your ukulele in hand, you’ll learn basic music skills, how to care for your instrument, and how to play some simple tunes. Whether you’re looking to impress your friends with spontaneous singalongs, or just want to strum solo, How to Play Ukulele is the perfect entryway to the wonderful world of ukulele.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781507207499
Publisher: Adams Media
Publication date: 06/05/2018
Series: How to Play Series
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 205,316
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Dan Scanlan has been many things—an English teacher, news reporter, songwriter, software programmer, layout artist, community radio personality—but the ukulele has been with him for more than sixty years. His Strum Bums ukulele orchestra was featured in the Mighty Uke documentary, and he coordinated the return of the ukulele to its ancestral home in Madeira Island, Portugal in 1998, culminating in a performance at the Lisbon World’s Fair. He also authored the interactive ebook Cool Hand Uke’s Way To Love Uke! Dan has taught the ukulele for thirty years and has several thousand online ukulele students in seventy-two countries. Visit him at

Table of Contents

Introduction 13

Chapter 1 Getting to Know Your Ukulele 17

Who Invented the Ukulele? 19

Ukulele Parts 20

Tuning Your Ukulele 26

Chapter 2 Rhythm 29

The One-Finger Chord 31

Start with a Strum 34

The Ukulele Player's Toolbox 37

A Final Word on Strumming 43

Chapter 3 Harmony 45

Understanding Chords 47

Major versus Minor 49

One, Four, Five 51

Buffalo Gals 56

Oh! Susanna 57

Home on the Range 58

Chapter 4 Melody 61

Learning Melodies 63

Scales 64

The Melodic Minor Scale 69

Intervals 73

Chords and Scales 74

Inside Picking 75

Implying the Melody 76

Chapter 5 Doo-Dads 79

The Muffle 81

Hammer-Ons, Pull-Offs, and Slides 83

Snap, Warble, and Ring 85

The Glissando and Two-Finger Trill 88

Percussion 89

The Tritone Scramble 90

Chapter 6 Let's Play 91

Learning Songs 93

Enough Already. Let's Play 95

It Ain't Gonna' Rain No More 96

Leavin' in the Morning 97

Fog Dog Blues 98

Home on the Range 99

Greensleeves 100

Annie Laurie 101

Don't Do Any Better 102

Supplicant Sally 103

Liquid Times 104

Beautiful Dreamer 105

Why Not Pretend It's True? 106

Hymn Song 107

Good to Have You Here 108

10,000 Ukuleles 109

Chapter 7 Keeping On 111

Play with Others 113

Form a Group 114

Don't Be a Jukebox, Use It! 115

Sound of Silence 116

Record Yourself 117

Get Into Ukulele Lore 117

Teach Someone 118

Just Play 118

Chapter 8 Chords 119

The Chord Collection 121

Ab Chords 122

A Chords 123

Bb Chords 124

B Chords 125

C Chords 126

C# Chords 127

D Chords 128

Eb Chords 129

E Chords 130

F Chords 131

F# Chords 132

G Chords 133

Changing Keys 134

Common Chord Patterns 134

The Circle of Fifths 140

Appendix A Glossary 147

Appendix B Resources 155

Cyber Connections: Players and Teachers 157

Ukulele Publications and Media 159

Ukulele Festivals 159

Ukulele Clubs 160

Ukulele Manufacturers 161

Index 163

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How to Play Ukulele: A Complete Guide for Beginners 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dan Scanlan's book is phenomenal! It's an approachable and attractive compilation of technique, history, personal anecdotes, glossary, and pages and pages of music to play and sing. His explanation of theory is a dream come true.