How to Play National Anthems

I admit it, I’m overexcited about the Olympics starting. I’m not much of a sports fan, but the Olympics gets me hooked every time. Which is why I took a little time out from writing the blues ebook (that I’ve promised loads of people is coming but is really big and involved) to have a bit of fun arranging various national anthems for the uke and putting them in an ebook.

I’ve written up eight anthems chosen by the countries that visit Uke Hunt the most: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK, the USA plus Russia (for the benefit of my many hundred Communist readers).

I’ve kept the arrangements as simple as I could to make sure they’re accessible. If you’re fairly new to fingerpicking, they’re a good place to start. To give you an idea of the difficulty level, here’s my arrangement of Scotland the Brave:

Scotland the Brave (Tab)

The ebook is going to be sold for $7. But for the early birds, you can get it for $5 until the end of the Olympics (on the 24th August).

You can find out more here: How to Play National Anthems.

What you get: A zip file containing a pdf file with all the tabs and notes for each anthem, individual pdfs of the tab for each tune, mp3s of all the anthems. Once you’ve completed your payment, you’ll be taken to the download page where you can get it all.

If none of that makes sense to you or you have any other questions check out our FAQ or get in touch with me.

UPDATE: The ebook has been mentioned in the New York Times. You can read the article here. (Look out bestseller list, here I come).

Here’s how the arrangements sound:

Advance Australia Fair (mp3)

O Canada (mp3)

La Marseillaise (mp3)

Deutschlandlied (mp3)

God Defend New Zealand (mp3)

Hymn of the Russian Federation (mp3)

God Save the Queen (mp3)

Star Spangled Banner (mp3)

Cover by fadedpictures

View Comments


  1. Jeff August 6th, 2008 5:50 pm

    You missed the best one of all…

    … for the olympics…

    The Olympic Anthem!

  2. Art Crocker August 6th, 2008 5:59 pm

    Great collection tunes to learn, it will be very fun to rip thru an anthem or two when among global friends. It being Olympic time I hope the Chinese do not feel slighted.
    On my way to your download right now.

  3. Jeff August 6th, 2008 6:02 pm


    I gotta say that I have looked at the Curt Sheller books a couple of times. His books are quite lean in useful information and heavy on presentation, text, covers, etc. (I have one in my collection) I have found your e-books to be full of useful information, great detail, and extremely readable.

    I get the feeling CS is making great use of word processing equipment to make a beautiful cover and pages. But the content is sparse! It appears CS is working his e-commerse without supplying enough real beef! (Sorry CS but that what I feel.)

    I thank you for the daily feed and for the integrity and knowledge that you supply with every feed and your few, high-content, great e-books for purchase. I might add at very reasonable prices too.

    Thanks for letting me rant!

  4. Woodshed August 6th, 2008 6:54 pm

    Jeff: Thanks for buying. Yeah, I’m still working on the Olympic Anthem. I’ve yet to really hit on making it work on the uke. I’ll keep trying through.

    I haven’t read any of Curt’s stuff, so I can’t really comment.

    Art: Thanks for buying, hope you like it. I’ve had a grand total of one visitor from China in the last month. But I hope he doesn’t feel slighted.

  5. Jim D'Ville August 6th, 2008 8:31 pm

    Great arrangements and playing, Al. You’ve got the three T’s, touch, tone and timing.

  6. Woodshed August 6th, 2008 8:34 pm

    Thanks very much, Jim.

  7. GazWoodGza August 7th, 2008 12:54 am

    Bang###…..You ust blew my mind. you are a very clever guy AL.

  8. Andrey August 7th, 2008 1:52 am

    hahaha this is so great! a very nice idea. the patriots will be over the moon with joy i’m sure.

  9. Isaac August 7th, 2008 3:46 pm

    Everyone should play the Australian anthem every time we win gold. By the end of the swimming you’ll know it by heart.

  10. Howlin' Hobbit August 7th, 2008 4:09 pm

    I’ll no doubt add this to my collection.

    I see there’s mp3s for all of them. Are you going to revisit the rag book and replace the midis with mp3s? I have a much easier time learning the timing and such from actual playing. Midi files are often pretty wooden (err… please pardon the pun).

  11. Michelle August 8th, 2008 3:07 pm

    This is fantastic Woodshed!! I’ve just downloaded them and am looking forward to trying them. Thanks for including the Australian one!

  12. Woodshed August 8th, 2008 4:27 pm

    Gaz: Thanks!

    Andrey: I hope so.

    Isaac: And if you play God Save the Queen every time a Brit wins gold, you’ll get about three goes at it.

    Hobbit: I’ll give it a go some time.

    Michelle: Thanks. I hope you enjoy it.

  13. zym August 8th, 2008 7:07 pm


    did you know that youve also given us a free bonus national anthem?


  14. Woodshed August 9th, 2008 10:54 am

    I did not know that. You learn something new every day.

  15. Ellen August 12th, 2008 5:16 am

    I’m a little sad there wasn’t a Chinese anthem on the e-book. I’m Chinese-American so I mainly want to learn it to impress my parents lol. Oh well, maybe for Part II of National Anthem. ;D

    I love the little intro and history for each anthem. This whole time I thought Waltzing Matilda was Australia’s Anthem.

    Thank you for writing this e-book. I love your site!

  16. Woodshed August 12th, 2008 9:39 pm

    OK, Ellen, you’ve convinced me. I’ll give the Chinese Anthem a go.

  17. Ellen August 13th, 2008 6:12 am

    Wow thank you Al!

  18. OkieUke August 15th, 2008 11:36 pm

    Great Stuff! Really elegant but spare arrangements. Great fun as well, thanks

  19. Woodshed August 16th, 2008 7:09 pm

    Thanks, OkieUke.

  20. King David Ukulele Station August 19th, 2008 12:24 am

    Himenes nationaux…

    Nouvelle production de Al Wood dans sa série How To Play Ukulele, un e-book rassemblant Huit (neuf) Hymnes Nationaux, adaptés pour ukulélé solo, sans tambours ni trompettes et pourtant ça marche. Au sommaire : Advance Australia Fair……

  21. luwen huang August 23rd, 2008 4:22 pm


    I’m on my way to buy your book right now, so good job!

    I am, though, disappointed that there’s no Chinese anthem, since I am completely thoroughly Chinese….I know, that makes your count of 2 visitors thus far, but hey, the anthem does sound quite epic.

    Hope you’ll consider putting up it up free if you do decide to write it!


  22. Walts September 12th, 2008 11:06 pm

    Thank you for all your books! When one on the blues? Ukulele hunt, make me Robert Johnson of the ukulele! Pleaaaaaaaase!!

  23. Woodshed September 14th, 2008 11:14 am

    Walts: I’ve been working hard on the How to Play Blues Ukulele ebook. It’s going to be really in depth, so it’s taking a while. The plan is to get it written before the end of the month, so it should be out not too long after that (although it wouldn’t be the first time I’d underestimated how long something would take to write).

  24. Sphenox April 15th, 2009 8:06 pm

    germany’s is actually called ‘Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit’ (;

  25. PHSC May 15th, 2010 4:03 pm

    Hey for sure you guys missed one of the most beautiful anthems.

    The brazilian one, if had it.. I would buy :P

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