A few weeks back I bought a copy of Eric Custhall’s Ukulele Chord Melody Solos and it’s high time that I wrote down my review…
When I bought this book, I maybe didn’t do my homework. I just wanted a chord melody book and this one seemed to fit the bill. What I actually got was a book with 17 chord melody arrangements in it that also explains how to create your own. This was a huge bonus to me, I’m very interested in creating my own chord melody arrangements. If I’d actually even looked at the cover I might have realised this – the sub-title ‘Tips and Tricks for Arranging Songs on the Ukulele’ does tend to give it away! I should point out that following a few disappointing digital ukulele books I went for the printed version this time which cost me around £11 ($15).
Who Is Ukulele Chord Melody Solos For?
The arrangements in the book start very simply and get progressively more difficult without ever being overly challenging. I put this book in a bracket that is well suited to those that are no longer beginners and are looking to push their playing that little bit further. Chance are if you’re already a fairly accomplished player then you’ll breeze through the arrangements. That said, you may well still want to learn them.
Alongside the printed book comes a CD which I’ll have to admit, I haven’t listened to (I actually don’t own anything that will play a CD). That said, I’m pleased it’s there – I’ve mentioned a few times in the past that the audio on a lot of the digital books that I own doesn’t play on Kindle for Android.
The arrangements included are…
- All I Have To Do Is Dream
- Aloha Oe
- Tennessee Waltz
- Stand By Me
- Ring Of Fire
- I Can’t Help It
- Satin Doll
- Blue Skies
- Eight Days a Week
- Georgia on My Mind
- Love Me Tender
- Nights in White Satin
- Ode to Joy (two versions)
- Surfer Girl
- Tiny Bubbles
- Unchained Melody
Whilst the arrangements are relatively simple, they do sound very nice. In particular I really liked the arrangement of Stand By Me and there’s a great version of Unchained Melody too.
The chord melody arrangements in this book are grouped into sections and for each section Eric explains the thinking behind the arrangement with some tips and tricks to help you work on your own. It isn’t hugely in depth but it’s useful stuff. There isn’t a massive amount of content out there if you are looking to get started arranging your own tunes so this was something that I welcomed.
Included at the back of the book is a note chart to help you convert a lead sheet into a ukulele melody which I find myself using pretty frequently.
Overall I was really happy with my purchase of Ukulele Chord Melody Solos. The arrangements are put together well and easy enough to get to grips yet still offer a few challenges, the tips for helping create your own arrangements are useful and I enjoyed it a lot. Highly recommended!