Published by:
Homespun Video
DVD with Booklet
70 Minutes

Song List:
  • I Don't Want to Say "Aloha"
  • He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
  • When The Saints Go Marching In
  • She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain
  • Bicycle built For Two
  • Give My Reguards To Broadway
  • Aloha Oe

The Joy of Uke Volume 1

Review by:

"Jumpin'" Jim Beloff covers the basics on this DVD. He begins with a rendition of "I Don't Want To Say Aloha" (which is not taught but the music is included in the booklet).

Uke sizes, tuning and holding is covered right off the bat prior to actual playing. The method used throughout the DVD is covering the chords and strum to be used, playing the song once through with basic chords and then again with additional "parenthetical chords." Then there is a short wrapup explaining any "tricks" and on a few songs he will play them again at a faster tempo.

After the lesson portions there are three guests artists that perform, Travis Harrelson, Ian Whitcomb, and Poncie Ponce. Travis Harrelson gives some tips on advanced strumming that made my brain hurt. Following the performances Jim shows off some of his ukulele collection and covers some good history about the ukulele.

Aloha Oe closes out the program - it doesn't have a teaching segment but it is a simple version that uses what was taught earlier.

The booklet included is very nice. It unfolds once so it is a useable size. It contains a lot of basic information and diagrams on holding/strumming/finger placement. All of the songs presented have all music, lyrics and chord diagrams throughout. Also it has a two page chord chart at the end.

I've got to say this is one of my favorite Uke DVD so far. Jim takes a very relaxed pace and emphasizes throughout that you should take your time, stop the video and practice, warns when things are difficult, and gives alternatives to try in the meantime if you haven't gotten up to speed yet. The parenthetical chords are nice to add in some difficulty to existing songs. The strum used is covered and played prior to the songs. I wish there was another song or two to help bridge the difficulty level a little better, but by stopping the DVD and practicing a bit you can make the progression between songs a little easier.

I really didn't learn anything from the guest stars but it is nice to see some masters make the uke sing. The historical aspect is good to know for anyone who wants to play the uke.

The booklet is very nice but I would recommend picking up the Tips 'n' Tunes book as a companion piece. It has the same versions of the songs presented but in a bigger format (and a couple of songs in the included booklet require page flips mid-song).


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