Martin Simpson – Rico

Martin Simpson – Rico (Tab)

Martin Simpson is one of the finest acoustic guitarists around. His collaborations with June Tabor are some of the best English folk records ever made. On his album Righteousness and Humidity, he finally picked up the uke. He has plenty of guitar tabs on his site, but nary a ukulele tab to be seen. So I’ll have a go at it.

You can listen to a short clip here. I couldn’t find a full length one, so I’ve had a quick go at an arrangement myself (without the added guitar of the original version).

Rico (MP3)

The tune is made up of four main sections. The intro is a very loose section based on the G major scale. I haven’t tabbed it out note for note, since I’m fairly sure he improvised most it, but just the main parts that you can riff on.

The first main section contains a fast hammer-on/pull off phrase. These are very common in solo folk guitar playing but not so common on the uke. You have to work quite hard to make sure that third finger arcs above the A string to make sure it rings out clearly.

The final section includes another feature of fingerstyle guitar playing: mixing high frets and open strings in a melody line. This works very well on the ukulele and something worth keeping in mind when you are arranging tunes yourself.

View Comments


  1. chris February 26th, 2011 12:24 am

    How do you do that bit at 11 secons into the clip?

  2. Woodshed February 26th, 2011 5:24 pm

    chris: It’s a series of hammer-ons and pull-offs.

  3. Dave Mcasey June 27th, 2013 4:32 am

    I began playing the tab for Rico by martin simpson and all of a sudden the tab numbers of the strings changed to dollar signs? Very bizarre. Now when I try to access the tab I only get one line of tab and the rest in dollars signs. Try to access this tab and see what happens. I love this tune. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me


  4. Woodshed June 27th, 2013 6:28 am

    Dave: Hmm, seems to be working fine for me. Have you tried redownloading it?

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