If you ask any classical guitarist who their favourite classical composer is, a vast amount will say 'Francisco Tarrega'. Tarrega was the composer of such incredible pieces as 'Receurdos de la Alhmabra' and 'Lagrima'. If you're not a classical guitarist you may think you are not aware of his work - but I can guarantee you are ! He wrote the Nokia tune (yes the annoying one that we heard all through the 1990's every time a mobile phone rang). Nokia stole it from his piece 'Gran Vals' - athough they changed the last note for some odd reason.
So Tarrega's importance as a guitarist and composer cannot really be understated. Most of his pieces are still in classical guitarists repertoire today. He also wrote many studies and Jeffrey Weinberger has now arranged these for ukulele. Jeffrey is a well respected guitar and ukulele tutor from Belfast who studied at the Berklee College of music. He has released one previous book 'Fingerstyle ukulele Etudes'.
Jeffrey's new book focuses on Tarrega's right hand studies to improve technique. It has 16 short studies (actually it is 20 as 4 of them repeat with different picking patterns). They are well laid out, in a clear and precise manor. The whole point of these studies is to achieve fluidity in playing and to get to a stage where you can effortlessly play them whilst switching between chords. So many pieces from the Romantic period are based on one picking pattern, with different chords being arpeggio'd throughout - that is why it is such an important method to study. Jeffrey has arranged them so that they often focus on numerous open strings, but the patterns can then be utilised by using different chord patterns. There are no actual 'pieces' in this book, it is all short studies that should be repeated over and over.
The book clearly shows that Jeffrey knows what he is talking about and it is evident that he has a classical background. I found the studies to be useful an
d fun. If you are looking to improve your playing, these will really help. Jeffrey has priced the book sensibly at only £4.95 for the download - which I think is a great price. It's a short book and it wont add to your repertoire - but that's not the point. The point is that with careful consideration and playing of these short studies, it will help to improve your playing. There is so much great work being done on classical ukulele recently and it's nice to see a new addition - something a little different. Here is a link to the book :