Books – History

History of the Ukulele Books

A listing of books I enjoy and often reference.  Each of these will become a blog post in the near future.

The Ukulele, A Visual History

Jim Beloff

The Ukulele Dude’s Blog Review fiveukerating

Awesome book! Lots of great illustrations and solid information. This one is top of the line and I recommend it highly to anyone with any interest in the history of this instrument.
The ‘Ukulele, A History

Jim Tranquada and John King

The Ukulele Dude’s Blog Review


Must have for those serious about the history. Limited illustrations, but lots of good facts and well supported by footnotes and references.
Ukulele Heroes

Ian Whitecomb

An ukulele hero in his own right, Ian Whitecomb has created a great selection of key individuals from the Golden Age and biographies about their contributions to the instrument.
The Martin Ukulele: The Little Instrument That Helped Create a Guitar Giant

John King and Tom Walsh

While it is focused on the Martin Company, there are many great snapshots of key individuals during the era that add to the knowledge of the instrument.
Get Plucky With the Ukulele

Will Grove-White

 Lots of historical information as well as a bit autobiographical.  Great illustrations and well printed.  Very complete chord chart included as well as some music to play.
 The Ukulele Handbook

Tom Hodgkinson and Gavin Pretor-Pinney

 Lots of illustrations and beginning history of the instrument.  About half the book is an eight week plan to learn to play.  Full of solid information on everything from choosing an instrument to daily practice.  Includes about a dozen songs to play as well.
Ukulele The World’s Friendliest Instrument

Daniel Dixon and Jayne McKay

Lots and lots of great illustrations and photographs. The tone of the book attempts to work with the sub-title and be friendly, but it was forced and comes off a bit lame. The choice of vocabulary is not friendly at all and could make it a heavy slog for the casual reader. It has a number of what appear to be factual errors as well, the most annoying in my mind was that the bio on Lyle Ritz doesn’t match Ritz’s own narrative. I also find the lack of an index annoying.