Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear the Reaper

For the next couple of weeks or so, I’ll be putting up the next batch in the ever popular series of Guitar Riffs for Ukulele. For those not familiar with it, the idea of these isn’t to play the full song, but throw the riffs in to give yourself or your audience a bit of a giggle at an hearing something they never expected to hear coming from a ukulele. Most of them are not written in the original key but the key that suits the ukulele the best.

ukulele tab riffs


I probably should have featured this one a long time ago. Although now the song is as famous for cowbell as much as for the riff.

To play the riff, you need to shift down from the fourth fret to the second. Make sure you remember to do it between the third and fourth notes of the riff or you’ll be stranded.

More guitar riffs for ukulele.

View Comments


  1. zym September 11th, 2008 6:45 pm

    still needs more cowbell

  2. Woodshed September 11th, 2008 7:15 pm

    I was considering putting some cowbell on my mp3. Until I realised I don’t have a cowbell.

  3. zym September 11th, 2008 7:19 pm

    (well someone had to say it!)

  4. LonnaB September 11th, 2008 9:14 pm

    Zym, you beat me to it.

    Woodshed, someone needs to get you a cowbell for Christmas.

  5. Cashew September 11th, 2008 9:16 pm

    Woodshed, I love you. Awesome riff.

  6. Connor September 12th, 2008 7:48 am

    Whoa, I remember when I requested this a while back. Can’t remember if I ever thanked you, so I will now just in case.

    Thanks Woodshed, great tab :D

  7. Daniel September 13th, 2008 9:06 pm

    Wow sounds terrific even on my shitty little souvenir uke that i have! Thanks!

  8. Woodshed September 14th, 2008 10:37 am

    Lonna: I can’t wait.

    Cashew: I love you too.

    Connor: I must admit, I’d forgotten you requested it. But you’re welcome.

    Daniel: My pleasure.

  9. tim December 31st, 2008 3:46 pm

    hi. i got a ukelele for christmas and i’ve really enjoyed learning a nice familiar song like this, so thankyou.

    however i have a question! how come you’ve chosen to use fretted strings when an equivalent open string is available? for example, am i right in thinking the 4th fret of the C is an E? i found it a lot easier to play this with my slow dopey hands if i swapped in the open strings for their fretted equivalents.

    is there any disadvantage to doing it my way, or have i done something silly like read the notation wrong or mistune the uke?

  10. Woodshed January 2nd, 2009 5:16 pm

    tim: I chose the fretted note because I wanted the notes to ring into each other like they do on the original version.

    You could have the E string open and then play fourth fret on the G string for the second note.

  11. Alek June 18th, 2011 1:29 am

    Is this in the original key?

  12. Woodshed June 18th, 2011 8:25 am

    Alek: No.

  13. Greg October 31st, 2011 1:00 pm

    I find the following easier to play but it probably doesn’t sound quite as good:


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