Ukulele Tab: Bailey and Public Domain Ukulele Music

Music in Public Domain for the ukulele in the United States is not overly common.

As I wrote at an earlier date about my find of N.B. Bailey and Keoki E. Awai’s book of Ukulele Solos, I will not repeat myself here.  However, I can see the post of “Pick Waltz” both as a pdf and GuitarPro 5 version is a favorite of blog visitors.  Here is another fingerpicking exercise from Bailey and Awai’s book.

If you are into older ukulele books and hope to find a treasure in a bookstore,  it could be a while before you find anything.

I was surprised when I visited Powell’s giant bookstore in Portland last Spring how few older music books there really were. For some reason I thought  I might find the motherlode.  But I did find a book (where did I put it?) on the baritone ukulele and thought of Humble Uker’s Baritonics site.  So I bought the book and need to find it for him.

In the meantime, you may enjoy another digitized verison of a Bailey book to download.  Also, check out Ian Chadwick’s collection of book covers and chorded songs.

I have updated to GuitarPro 6 only to find it does not work with Tab Toolkit — unless they have recently updated Tab Toolkit.  So again, if there’s a volunteer to type the music into GP format, I’ll add it here for all ukulele aficianados to download.  Here is melody-in-F-Bailey.pdf

Update January, 2015:  I have a newer post about this book complete with a link to a way to obtain the entire book.  You can download free pdfs as a sample of what is in the book at my newer website.  “Melody in F” is still available as a free download.

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4 Responses to Ukulele Tab: Bailey and Public Domain Ukulele Music

  1. Jeff West says:

    Lovely find and tune.

    I have another book by the same authors, copyrighted in 1916. It is called “Ukulele Solos” A Collection of the Best in D Notation.

    I bought it at a favorite consignment store, paid $8.

    Nice little gem.



    • JLR says:

      I wonder if you have the same songs except for D notation. . My book is in C Notation. But I paid about $30 for mine, so you got a better deal! Although they said it was in “good condition” it is, well, old paper. Have to scan it with care. They are fun books though, aren’t they. I must find the baritone one I got at Powell’s and see if you have it.


  2. Humble Uker says:

    I would love to see the bari book. I just saw two Herk Favilla Bari books on eBay for $50 and $80. Tempted to buy and then resell. Send me your table of contents for your C book and I’ll let you know if the songs are the same. I just posted a Workbench Mag from 1961 (on HB) and the cover says How To Build a Baritone Ukulele. Of course instructions are inside.



  3. Jay Lee says:


    Lovely find! Thanks for putting the pick waltz up. Thanks also for the other link to the PDF of Bailey 1914.

    I myself have an interest in early uke methods.

    Over the last two years I’ve been slowly memorising all the pieces in the late John King’s collection of early uke pieces in his 2004 publication ‘Famous Solos & Duets for the Ukulele’. It’s been slow going. To date I’ve memorised 15 of the 22 pieces in the book.

    Anyway, early this year, I got myself a PDF copy of Ernest Ka’ai’s 1906 tutor (the earliest known uke tutor) from the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society Library in Honolulu. I’ve reset the three plucked solos there into modern dual staff. Thought you might be interested.

    I’ve love to chat more about early uke sheet music if you want to email me.




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