Wayne Federman, for those of you not in the know, is a stand-up comedian and comedy actor. He was in Curb Your Enthusiasm, 40 Year Old Virgin, the uke-featuring 50 First Dates and a whole pot load of other stuff you can find out about on his website. He’s also a multi-instrumentalist and back in the 80’s closed out his sets with a medley of rock songs played on the ukulele. Wayne sent me an email asking me to tab it out and I was very pleased to have a go at it.
The way Wayne uses the riffs is the way I intended the Guitar Riffs for Ukulele to be used – for a bit of fun and to throw in something the audience will recognise but not expect to hear coming from an electric ukulele.
The Federman medley (or Feder-ley, if you will) kicks off with Hendrix’s Purple Haze. The riff jumps up and down the neck quite a bit and includes bends – which you don’t often get on the uke. Mostly, the bends are just slightly sharp rather than heading for an exact note. Next up is Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida which is much more straight-forward and uke friendly. That’s followed by Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love. I’ve tabbed Whole Lotta Love myself, but Wayne’s version is quite different. Since he’s playing it for laughs, he makes the riff sound as wimpy as possible by playing it with just single notes on the A string. The medley ends up with a take off of the breakdown solo from Zep’s Heartbreaker. It’s the funniest part and also the hardest to transcribe. The timing towards the end is more comedic than musical. It’s a hilarious parody of the sort of pomposity Jimmy Page was guilty of regular occasions.
On the subject of parodies of pompous guitarists, StSanders has had his channel banned by YouTube after complaints from someone whose name may or may not rhyme with Yngwie Balmsteen. So enjoy the Feder-ley while you can.
All these riffs have got me in the mood to do another set of Guitar Riffs for the Ukulele. So expect that soon.