A hands-on guide to playing ukulele by a very friendly, happy, and deceptively effective instructor.
Jim Beloff teaches you how to tune and hold your uke, develop rhythmic strums, and play the basic chord positions. He starts with the simplest of tunes, but quickly progresses to songs with more complex chords and progressions. In short order, you'll be playing and singing "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands," "When The Saints Go Marching In," "She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain," "A Bicycle Built For Two," "Give My Regards To Broadway" and "Aloha Oe." Once you've mastered these classic songs, it won't be hard to pick up a songbook and go on to strumming any tune you like.
To add to the enjoyment of this lesson, Jim introduces you to 3 very special guests: Travis Harrelson, a well known Southern California-based uke player and collector, demonstrates his masterful strumming techniques; Poncie Ponce, best known for his role as Kim the taxi driver in the TV show "Hawaiian Eye," performs his famous uke solo of Stars And Stripes Forever; and Ian Whitcomb, a popular recording artist and radio personality, uses the uke as the perfect accompaniment to his English music-hall style of singing. Finally, Jim takes you into his home for a tour of his vast ukulele collection. While showing off some of his favorite vintage ukes, Jim relates the colorful history of this most "joyful" of musical instruments.
Here's Happy Traum's review:
The Uke is Back!
Like many other guitarists, the first stringed instrument I played as a child was the ukulele. When I was twelve and about to go off to summer camp, my father presented me with the little instrument with "gut" strings and a felt pick, and taught me a few chords. I remember sitting on my bunk with a chord book in my lap, trying to figure out how to play campfire songs. It would still be a few years before I was inspired to get my first guitar, but the lessons I learned on that uke gave me a feel for the way the chords fell into place, and for rhythmic strumming, that made the transition to the six strings much easier than it would have been otherwise. Of course, as Jim Beloff emphasizes in his wonderful new lesson, the ukulele, though small, is a wonderful instrument on its own, with a long and fascinating history and strong musical pedigree. And there's no one better than Jim to teach the "joy of uke." An avid ukulele player, collector and historian, Jim has become the leading spokesperson for its revival, writing books, making CDs, teaching lessons and encouraging renewed interest in the great players. His introductory lesson covers most of these things, and it is certain to inspire many newcomers as well as longtime enthusiasts of the uke. 70 min.
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