OK Go – This Too Shall Pass (Tabs and Chords)

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass (Chords)

I used to think this the was the best ukulele blog, but now I’m pretty sure it’s Ralph Shaw’s The Ukulele Entertainer. He’s full of great advice. And he’s one of the few people who agree with me that kids should be discouraged from making music. Two recent articles are essential reading for all ukers: Silence in Music and Make your Ukulele into a Pianoforte.

It’s must-read stuff for everyone, but particularly relevant for ukulele groups. It’s dispiriting to watch a group of ukers all playing the same chords in the same inversions with the same strum at the same volume for the whole song. If you’re just playing for shits and giggles, no problem. But if you’re playing in front of people, you need to put some thought into the arrangement.

And that doesn’t mean you need a band full of flash players. James Hill’s ukulele big band arrangements consist of each person playing one note at a time. And Will from UOGB only plays one note through most of Miserlou.

This Too Shall Pass would be an excellent tune for a ukulele group to play. The chords are dead simple, it’s one big singalong, there are some twiddly bits for the show offs, plenty of dynamic changes in the arrangement and plenty of room for ideas.

Suggested Strumming

When you are strumming you can use

d – d – d u d u

But the most important part of the strumming pattern is when you stop strumming. Make sure you’re not playing during the plinky bits and the, “Let it go…”

Twiddly Bits

The most obvious dip in the dynamics is this little bit that comes in the verse.

I like to play it further up the neck for extra plinkiness (let me know in the comments if you need these technical terms explained).

These notes are also used in the middle section but each two note pair lasts for twice as many beats.

And here’s the little xylophone bit that crops up in the verse:

It’s a little tricky to fit all those G notes in – even using two strings – so you can drop a few notes to make it easier.

There are tons of ideas for extra bits of filigree for you to add as the arrangement builds towards the end in the vastly superior but unembeddable marching band version. You can use any notes you feel like in the C major scale or, simpler still, pick notes from the chord that’s playing at the time.

A great way to keep strumming and add some colour is to use octaves like this:

All these notes come directly from the chord.

And so do these:

View Comments


  1. Alec March 23rd, 2010 6:19 pm

    You are one generous and humble mofo. I don’t spend time on ukulele blogs or any other specific blogs like this. Ukehunt has a great attitude. I’m going to go to the Ukulele Entertainer now as advised.

    Let me be the only human to declare he was underwhelmed by that Rube Goldberg OK Go video.

  2. Dill March 23rd, 2010 7:20 pm

    The tabs are great, but where are the chords for the main tune? I can’t find the link for them anywhere on this page.

  3. Phredd March 23rd, 2010 9:36 pm

    Al, thanks for turning me on to Ralph’s blog. How did I miss that before? Good find!

  4. Mike March 23rd, 2010 10:37 pm

    @Dill: The chords are in the same place they usually are–click the title of the song (up there, the link that says “OK Go – This Too Shall Pass (Chords)”)

    Great job with this. Thanks for the link to Ukulele Entertainer, the article about kids was hilarious!

  5. mictoboy March 24th, 2010 9:49 am

    nice work Mr Shed. Plenty of detail in there.

  6. Jim D'Ville March 24th, 2010 4:40 pm

    Not only is Ralph Shaw a gentleman and a scholar he is a good writer! His blog is insightful while at the same time witty and entertaining. Good on him!

  7. rico March 24th, 2010 9:36 pm

    Thanks for this Al.
    I really enjoy the way you encourage creative thinking and different approaches.
    Thanks also for the link to the Ukulele Entertainer, ‘Silence is Music’ is inspiring. Right now my uke is resting, leaning against the wall, between notes.

  8. Woodshed March 26th, 2010 9:21 am

    Alec: I think the RG version is overrated. It’s nowhere near as good as the marching band video.

    Dill: Sorry, they’re up now. Thanks for letting me know.

    Phredd: I’m not surprised you missed it. Took me a long time to stumble across it as well.

    mictoboy: Thanks.

    Jim: I could say the same of yours.

    rico: You’re welcome.

  9. Nick June 10th, 2010 1:51 pm

    Wow thanks for this you guys have the best selection by far. I’m just starting out on uke and these will really help get me going!

  10. Woodshed June 14th, 2010 4:38 pm

    Nick: Thanks. Good to hear.

  11. Bob the Dinosaur October 10th, 2011 10:11 pm

    I can’t get the hang of my uke, i can never hit the F chird right, the 3rd string always seems to hit my finger :/

  12. Nicole October 5th, 2014 2:24 am

    So far, my favorite ukulele song since starting to learn a year or so ago. Love ok go actually.

  13. Woodshed October 5th, 2014 8:06 pm

    Nicole: Glad to hear it!

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