Book Review: The Beatles for Fingerstyle Ukulele

By | April 1, 2015

beatles fingerstyle ukulele bookUntil now all my fingerstyle ukulele books have been classical and traditional tunes. These are easy to publish since the music is in the public domain and there are no license permission issues to contend with. What luck to find an entire book of ukulele fingerstyle arrangements of Beatles songs!

The Beatles need no introduction. Their music is the foundation of half a century of popular music. It is full of phrases and progressions that are as familiar as an old pair of shoes, but somehow stay fresh in their music.

Fred Sokolow is a prolific author of guitar, banjo and ukulele books. He’s co-author of the great Fretboard Roadmaps – Ukulele: The Essential Patterns That All the Pros Know and Use, which I’ll review soon, and has written many instructional ukulele books from beginner to advanced.

The Beatles arrangements in this book are for intermediate players. Advanced beginners who are willing to put some work in could also play several of these tunes without killing themselves. I find the arrangements sufficiently challenging to be interesting and sound good without being so tricky as to be discouraging. Experienced uke players will get rapid gratification with a relatively small effort.

My only criticism is that some of the arrangements tend towards more of a chord-melody style than true fingerstyle. I imagine this was done to keep the skill-level of the book approachable to a broader audience, as purist fingerstyle arrangements of these tunes could get quite tricky and would probably require a low G tuning. Fortunately, this doesn’t detract from how they sound and your audience will be none the wiser.

There are 25 songs included altogether:

  • And I Love Her
  • Penny Lane
  • If I Fell
  • Lucy In the Sky
  • Here Comes the Sun
  • Strawberry Fields
  • Hey Jude
  • Something
  • Yesterday
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Help From My Friends
  • When I’m 64
  • Can’t Buy Me Love
  • Across the Universe
  • You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
  • Eight Days a Week
  • We Can Work It Out
  • Michelle
  • Here There & Everywhere
  • Please Please Me
  • Hard Day’s Night
  • She Loves You
  • Norwegian Wood
  • Lucy In the Sky
  • I Feel Fine

Here’s Fred himself playing a medley of the arrangements included. This gives you a good feel for the skill level of the arrangements.

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