Review: Classical Uke by Paul Mansell


Most newcomers to the ukulele jam scene that’s popping up all over the world use their instruments to accompany themselves singing songs they already know. These strummers may eventually cross to the other side where the instrument becomes the focus of attention. Welcome to the the world of pluckers, also known as fingerstyle playing. As a first step, they may start by reading tablature, where each number indicates the fret to press on the corresponding string.

Classical guitarist and ukulele expert Paul Mansell’s “Classical Uke” contains twenty short pieces transcribed for the beginning ukulele plucker. Easy to sight read and follow, these pieces whet the appetite of any ukulele enthusiast.

3612612_cover_copyI have jammed with seasoned ukulele players who have never learned to read notes or tablature. They are proficient at starting and ending a song on time, singing in harmony, and using the appropriate strum patterns. They switch between chords with ease. They learn new songs by reading song sheets that contain only letters and chord diagrams.

If they can sing and accompany themselves by strumming, they have no need to learn the names of the notes, identify the pitches they represent, or pick out melodies

However, there are those who prefer not to sing and those that want to replicate the familiar and well-known pieces of classical guitar and piano.

There are wonders what a little four-stringed instrument can do. UK-based Paul Mansell’s “Classical Uke” contains such a compilation along with a CD. The twenty short pieces are arranged mainly for high-G (re-entrant) tuning. I was amazed how easy it was to follow the tablature and play at sight. I am eager to introduce this book to my weekly pluck workshop.

Where to get this book? Visit the publisher’s site.

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Author: BLOGmaiden

As one of the earliest bloggers (since 1999), I enjoy meeting people who embrace "out-of-the-box" thinking and fear not the unknown. I believe in collaboration for sustainability because it increases stakeholder value.