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The Ukulele Handbook - Gavin Pretor-Pinney

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The definitive guide to the uke, its legends and history (plus a fantastic songbook)

The ukulele has gone from strength to strength in recent years, undergoing a massive resurgence. You can hear the uke all over the place, from trendster indie rock to top ten pop songs, from unshakeable TV ads to YouTube megahits. And this obsession shows no sign of abating - all over the country people are picking up a ukulele and starting to strum, at home, in classes and down at the pub. Schools are even replacing the faithful recorder with a jazzy, inexpensive uke. Famous idlers Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Tom Hodginson have spent hours idling away on their ukuleles to produce the ultimate uke handbook: an illustrated guide to its history crossed with a how-to guide and songbook. This is the book that will bring the underground movement into the mainstream. The first half of the book delves into the rich history of this eccentric little instrument, from its birth in Hawaii to its popularity across the world, with a timeline from 1897 to today and a ukulele hall of fame that includes George Formby, Hawaiian legend Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and YouTube ukulele superstar Jake Shimabukuro.

Then on to the practicalities: the anatomy of the ukulele, which uke to buy, how to play it, how to strum, pick, read chord charts and tune the strings. Once you know all this, you can get playing the songbook, which includes a wide spread of songs from medieval lays and nursery rhymes to blues and rock 'n roll. Beautiful presentation and tab notation make reading the music easy, even for beginners.

About the Author

Tom Hodgkinson and Gavin Pretor-Pinney founded the Idler magazine in 1993. Tom edits the magazine and is the author of How to Be Idle; he now runs the Idler Academy bookshop, cafe and school. Gavin is the author of the bestselling book The Cloudspotter's Guide and founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. They were in a band together at school.


Great efficient and reliable service.


A great book for learning all there is to know about the ukulele. The history about the uke's origin make it all the more interesting. Coloured pictures and humour make it even more inviting.

Coffs harbour


More for Adults or Older kids


Bought this for a 7 and 8 year old as the book recommends, but way beyond there age. Sadly had to return. More for adults. Interesting book though.



Looks good so far


So far so good but haven't learnt to play the ukulele yet!



The Ukulele Handbook

4.3 3


You can certainly take it from me that the inspirational Ukulele Handbook is destined to become the official new ukulele Bible. Brilliantly compiled by two uke-playing fanatics, it incorporates how-to-play instructions for beginners, chord charts, handy fingering tips, a medley of easy-to-learn songs, and the absolutely gripping history of the small, adorable, four-string mini-guitar that was born in Hawaii in 1879 ... Lavishly illustrated -- Val Hennessy * Daily Mail * Get in on the uke-lear explosion ... With this entertaining history, how-to-play and song book * Saga * Just the thing for all wannabe ukies * Evening Standard * ***** * Bookseller *

ISBN: 9781408836293
ISBN-10: 1408836297
Audience: Children
For Ages: 6 - 12 years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 144
Published: 1st October 2013
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.4 x 17.0  x 1.2
Weight (kg): 0.35
Edition Number: 1