The ukulele has gone from strength to strength in recent years, undergoing a massive resurgence. You can hear the uke all over the place, from trendster indie rock to top ten pop songs, from unshakeable TV ads to YouTube megahits. And this obsession shows sign of abating - all over the country people are picking up a ukulele and starting to strum, at home, in classes and down at the pub. Schools are even replacing the faithful recorder with a jazzy, inexpensive uke. Famous idlers Gavin Pretor-Pinney and Tom Hodgkinson have spent hours idling away on their ukuleles to produce the ultimate uke handbook: an illustrated guide to its history crossed with a how-to guide and songbook. This is the book that will bring the underground movement into the mainstream. The first half of the book delves into the rich history of this eccentric little instrument, from its birth in Hawaii to its popularity across the world, with a timeline from 1879 to today and a ukulele hall of fame that includes George Formby, Hawaiian legend Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and YouTube ukulele superstar Jake Shimabukuro. Then on to the practicalities: the anatomy of the ukulele, which uke to buy, how to play it, how to strum, pick, read chord charts and tune the strings. Once you kw all this, you can get playing the songbook, which includes a wide spread of songs from medieval lays and nursery rhymes to blues and rock 'n roll. Beautiful presentation and tab tation make reading the music easy, even for beginners. With the highest production values, a light touch and an irresistible instrument at centre stage, this book is a must-have for all aspiring Formbys.
Tom Hodgkinson and Gavin Pretor-Pinney founded the Idler magazine in 1993. Tom edits the magazine and is the author of How to Be Idle; he now runs the Idler Academy bookshop, caf and school. Gavin is the author of the bestselling book The Cloudspotter's Guide and founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. They were in a band together at school.