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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, excellent DVD, 5 May 2014
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This review is from: The Complete Ukulele Method -- Beginning Ukulele (Book & DVD) (Paperback)
I've been playing uke on and off for several years now. Purely for my own pleasure. I've probably made up more stuff to play than learn songs etc. and have never bothered to learn formally. I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to structure my playing and learning to improve, to learn more songs and theory. I know basic theory but thought I'd buy all three books in the series anyhow. This volume - Beginning - is an excellent package. The book covers all the basics and much more. There are lots of exercises to play and these have been chosen with care. If you actually study them and play them as they are presented, you will improve (I have already).

All the tuition is for standard GCEA re-entrant tuning (high G) but the last chapter has a brief introduction to low G tuning.

Practice should never be easy, if it is you should move on. I have stuck to the material in this book and found that I knew more than I thought sometimes and less than I thought at other times.There is an excellent chapter on reading standard music notation (11 pages) which is exactly what I wanted. The chapter on Goerge Formby's triple strum is excellent. It builds it up in 3 easy stages and concludes with an entertaining chord progression which includes the technique in a Formby-line manner.

When explaining chord strums, a foot tapping symbol is placed under the chord sequence to illustrate how to strum whilst the foot taps up and down 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and etc. If you set a metronome to the foot tap symbols it becomes a very powerful method of learning.

Most of the book is comprised of chord notation and alternative chord fingerings are shown where appropriate. Where melody is presented, it is done so with TAB and notation. Everything is good but when used with the very high quality production of the accompanying DVD, it takes things to a different level. Daniel Ho is an excellent teacher and brilliant player. All the DVD examples show a minimum of two pictures so you can see left hand and right hand at the same time.

This is not a book if all you want is to learn a dozen easy sing-alongs. This is a book (and series) that is primarily a teaching method which covers pretty much everything you might think of. There are lots of chord progressions to have fun with. First, chords or strums are introduced in bite sized chunks, built up and finally included in a full chord progression which includes all the bite size chunks. There is nothing to stop the player from learning the chord propgression and then having fun with them by mixing them up any which way.

Although titled Beginner, this book covers a lot more. Someone brand new to the uke as a first time player of any instrument will probably take 6 months to work through this book diligently. As part of a regular practice regime of exercises and fun, this book should provide the 15 minutes of study (with sing-along practice providing the other 15 minutes) of regular 30 minute practice sessions. Another approach you could take is not to bother with the theory and just concentrate on the chord progressions. There are so many that even this approach will reap dividends and still makes the book excellent value.

I have bought the other two books in the series (Intermediate and Advanced) and have already learned one or two chord progressions from them. However, I will work diligently through Beginner before moving on to the other two. I am determined to maintain a more structured approach to learning the uke and take on board the necessary theory and this book (and the other two) are perfect.

Highly recommended!
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