Advanced Ukulele Lessons

Once you’ve got to grips with the tabs in the intermediate section, it’s time to move up to playing some full tunes.

Step 1: New Tabs and Techniques

Strum blocking
Fingering and repeats
Advanced strums and rhythms
Hammer-ons and pull-offs
Slides
Advanced repeats, accents and trills
Vibrato, grace notes and bends
String bending tips

Extra Credit: Harmonics on a ukulele

Step 2: Full Tune Tabs

Theme tunes to films, games and TV shows provide a great test for your tab playing abilities and give your something instantly recognisable to play for friends and family.

Indiana Jones
Super Mario Theme
Godfather Theme
Good the Bad and the Ugly
The Office

Extra Credit: Get more tab arrangements for more popular instrumentals in the ebooks How to Play National Anthems and How to Play Ukuleles for Peace.

Step 3: Make your own arrangements

Once you’ve got the hang of other people’s arrangements of tunes, have a go at making your own.

- Here’s my tutorial for While My Guitar Gently Weeps in the hopes that you’ll work up your own rather than apeing Jake’s.
- Combining melody and chords.

Extra Credit: Learn how to read sheet music to expand your repetoire.

Step 4: Finger Twisters

Tricky tabs:

Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla
Sailors’ Hornpipe
In the Mood
Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Music for a Found Harmonium
James Bond Theme (difficult version)

More tricky ukulele tabs

Nightmare tabs:

Iron and Wine – Naked As We Came
Nick Drake – Cello Song
Radiohead – Street Spirit

More Nightmare tabs

Extra Credit: Check out John King’s Classical Ukulele, Mark Nelson’s Fingerstyle Solos for ‘Ukulele and my ebook http://howtoplayukulele.com/how-to-play-classical-ukulele/ for some fingerpicking challenges.

View Comments

13 Comments

  1. Jeff / HumbleUker February 25th, 2010 3:30 pm

    Hey Al — Will you have a label somewhere for “ukulele lessons” that will help new people to your site find these lessons? I guess you’ll be putting it in the Uke Hunt Places? I appreciate the way you’ve graduated your levels here. Is it in-line with the traditional UK grading system? Jeff

  2. Jeff / HumbleUker February 25th, 2010 3:31 pm

    RE: Ukulele Sizes

    1) Is the sopranino official yet?
    2) What about the bass ukulele?

  3. Woodshed February 25th, 2010 6:39 pm

    Jeff: There’ll be a link at the top of the page once the redesign is in effect. I just made up the grading system.

    I’d say the sopranino and bass are fairly well established but I wouldn’t list them alongside the main ones.

  4. Jimmy July 19th, 2010 2:39 am

    will i be murdered in my sleep if i don’t use a quality ukulele for this part?

  5. Woodshed July 19th, 2010 7:01 pm

    Jimmy: Any murdering that occurs will be purely coincidental. But if you’re dedicated enough to be able to play this stuff you deserve a good uke.

  6. Jimmy July 26th, 2010 6:20 am

    I have no money and only a crappy uke, I’m saving up for a decent tenor in the $100-120 range

  7. Jimmy September 2nd, 2010 1:19 am

    I know this sounds like one of those stupid comments on a “get good at guitar in a month” websites, but thanks to you I”m playing the ukulele really good

  8. jimmy October 1st, 2010 3:35 am

    Hey woodshed, I’ve finished all of the songs in the advanced lessons (except for some in the more nightmare tabs section) and I still only have crappy uke :(

  9. Woodshed October 2nd, 2010 11:00 pm

    Jimmy: Sorry to hear that. Hope you manage to get your hands on something to match your standards before too long.

  10. Jimmy November 4th, 2010 5:32 am

    Haven’t really been playing uke the past month :( So i still haven’t finished carol of the bells, but other than that I finished. I still play 10-20 min a day to keep my speed up, but no improvements. Now I”m off to learn the banjo! (I plan on buying one, from I kid you not, Banjo Bob’s, run by Bob East and Bob West.)

  11. Jimmy November 4th, 2010 5:36 am

    just decided: first hour home from school is official ukulele time. No youtube or homework, just uke :)

  12. Kristina October 26th, 2011 10:55 pm

    so many jimmys….

    and thanks broooo, i’m finally prepared to play in the uke jam sessions at school<3

  13. pat moher October 16th, 2013 1:44 pm

    dear woodshed.been looking all over for eaqles hotel California (solo pick/chord).nothing available?thanks

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