Jonathan Coulton – Still Alive (Portal End Credits)

Jonathan Coulton has already put up the chords for the tune he wrote for the game Portal. But the J-Dog don’t roll with tabs. So I thought I’d have a stab the fingerpicking bit in the first part of the song.

The song is played on a low-G ukulele and the picking pattern is T, I, M, I (thumb, index, middle, index). This pattern makes up the majority of the first section of the song:

portal ukulele tab jonathan coulton

Then moves on to this pattern for the turnaround:

Far be it from me to tell Jonathan Coulton how he plays his own songs, but I’m fairly sure there’s a 7th note in that A chord. He has it as a plain A chord on his write up of the chords, so I may be completely wrong.

The second time around, the series finishes off with a sweep of a Bbmaj7 chord.

If you don’t have a low-G uke, you can play it the sweetafton way. She uses the same chords but the picking pattern is slightly different.

Buy all of Jonathan Coulton’s song here.

View Comments


  1. Jimmy April 13th, 2008 4:34 pm

    Ah, Portal. We love ye so. I advise each and every one of you to get it. It’s part of the Orange Box, and you can buy it on its own on STEAM if you’re not down with buying all the Orange Box. It’s brilliant, really. The finest FPPSAG (First Person Puzzle Strategy Adventure Game or “Fipsag”) on the market. But be warned; The Cake is a Lie.

    I play it Still Alive a little differently. I have a high-G, so I start with a G chord, and then work from there. I’ll maybe post it up on uker tabs if anyone’s interested.

  2. Nelson April 13th, 2008 6:10 pm

    Yes, portal is phenomenal!
    I was so surprised to hear JoCo when I finished the game.
    The orange box is one of the most amazing deals to happen to the gaming world.

  3. amber April 14th, 2008 7:27 am

    The cake isn’t a lie. I made the cake for my boyfriend when he completed the game. It was so delicious and moist.

  4. Jimmy April 14th, 2008 4:50 pm

    I hope you made THE cake. You know, with garnishes such as fish shaped crackers, fish shaped candies and sediment shaped sediment?

  5. amber April 15th, 2008 7:19 am

    I made a version of this cake:

    and this is how it turned out:

    A little different, but close enough!

  6. Joe April 15th, 2008 5:11 pm

    Cool / Damn

    Hey Al.

    Long time no speak, site looks good.

    Personally I love the song, but I was going to tab this up as my first song, on my site which is still under construction :(

    Doesn’t matter though, might as well leave it to the professional! I tabbed it out exactly the same as you, mind.


    You beat me to it. Lol!

    I’m not holding a grudge don’t worry.

  7. Woodshed April 15th, 2008 5:50 pm

    I’ve never played the game, so I’m a bit out of the loop on this. Cake, on the other hand, is a specialty of mine.

    Joe: Sorry to steal your thunder. I know how it is. You have to pounce before someone else gets there first. Look forward to seeing your blog.

  8. Joe April 16th, 2008 8:16 pm

    No worries, Al.

    You gotta play the game. It is a slice of genius!

    Go on the steam site and get the Orange Box.


  9. Woodshed April 16th, 2008 10:51 pm

    Oh, man. I spend too much time on games as it is. At the moment I’m addicted to Trials 2.

  10. John September 22nd, 2008 7:48 pm

    I play G and Em, starting from the second string. I think it’s easier.

  11. Noname April 3rd, 2009 5:15 pm

    Teh cake is a lie!!!!!!!1!!!!1!!!1!oneone!!!eleven1!

  12. Gaby May 7th, 2009 5:25 am

    I’ve found that only holding+strumming the 3 last strings on the Bm makes it easier to transition between D and Bm (on the G-tuned soprano).
    Strum the first 3 for D, strum+hold the last 3 for Bm (no annoying outlier finger to move!), and it sounds just fine.

  13. brett August 13th, 2010 4:21 am


  14. Loni October 19th, 2011 6:18 pm


  15. Woodshed October 20th, 2011 7:41 am

    Loni: Me too!

  16. kat March 3rd, 2012 7:44 am

    i’ve never played the game of portal, but i was listening to a podcast and the woman who does the voice of GLaDOS was singing it and i loved it so here i am trying to learn it on ukulele

  17. Woodshed March 3rd, 2012 7:55 am

    kat: I just had to look her up on YouTube. She’s great!

    Here’s a link for anyone interested.

  18. Rusty June 13th, 2012 4:42 pm

    about a year ago Joco released a vide of another version with Sara Quin singing. in this version Jonathan Coulton plays the ukulele farther up the neck and it sounds pretty good to me. I could only figure out the D-Bm part though.

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