Essential Snippits: Amuse Your Friends

The idea behind these little snippets is that you memorize them and roll them out at an appropriate moment to make yourself look like you have a quick wit and a huge repertoire (or make yourself look like a smart-alec knob).

Cheesy Joke


If you had a drum you’d go ba-dun tsss. But you’ve got a uke so play this.

Phone Call


I wonder how Tarrega would feel about his Gran Vals being one of the most recognisable tunes on the planet but only known as the Nokia tune.

Here’s an easier version:

Someone’s on the Pull Tonight


You don’t have to be accurate with the frets here, just make sure you play it with irony.



Are You Trying to Seduce Me?


Yes, I do have to work this one up into a full arrangement.

Grand Entrance/Big Unveiling


Playing a grand fanfare on the ukulele is inherently hilarious and particularly appropriate when the thing being revealed isn’t particularly impressive. Anyone know where this tune comes from? The folks on Twitter were no use at all.

Sad Trombone


Thanks to SamD for suggesting this.

Tied to the Tracks


Suggested by Jodi and Scott.

Big Clock


This one uses harmonics but it works fine playing the same thing without them. It just won’t sound so chime-y.

Suggested by turgis.

Anyone have any suggestions for other tunes that could come in handy?

View Comments


  1. alec April 11th, 2010 2:59 pm

    Love them. Super.

    In other news, there’s a new show by the guys who made the Wire premiering on HBO tonight, should have a good theme for tabbing, not the least because it’s about New Orleans and music. Know you were looking for good TV show themes.

  2. Howlin' Hobbit April 11th, 2010 5:38 pm

    Great stuff, especially cheesy joke and spooky.

    Best part is while reading this my sweetie was (and is) downstairs watching a bunch of old Twilight Zone episodes she just picked up on VHS.

  3. SamD April 11th, 2010 6:05 pm

    4545, 3434, 2323, 1212 =

  4. mictoboy April 11th, 2010 8:44 pm

    hehe, great stuff
    although i don’t need much help to look like a smart-alec nob :)

  5. J-Hob April 11th, 2010 9:24 pm

    Haha, these are funny!

  6. Woodshed April 11th, 2010 9:52 pm

    alec: Looking forward to watching that.

    Hobbit: What a coincidence. Or is it? Do-de-do-do do-de-do-do

    SamD: Excellent suggested. I’ve added it to the post.

    mictoboy: Thanks.

    John: Glad you liked.

  7. zym April 11th, 2010 11:18 pm

    hahaha great:)

  8. Jeff April 12th, 2010 3:37 am


    Great stuff Al! Here is on of my favorites. When I’m playing my uke and my kids try to interrupt I will sometimes only respond in snippits. Thanks for the new ammo to throw at the little heathens.

  9. Jeff April 12th, 2010 3:40 am

    Well that changed a bit—should end with an A chord being the final “1” and the “2” on the g string. Your font got me!

  10. krabbers April 12th, 2010 8:28 am


  11. L.Bo Marie April 12th, 2010 3:27 pm

    I think I love you more each day.

  12. Jordan Eldredge April 12th, 2010 5:44 pm

    This is the best ever. And exactly how I think.

  13. Ben April 12th, 2010 7:11 pm

    The jeopardy theme song would be great for when waiting for someone.

  14. SamD April 12th, 2010 10:22 pm

    The Tarrega piece is really lovely. Reckon you could uke it up Al?

  15. JCMcGee April 12th, 2010 11:16 pm

    Ha….I will have used every one of these within the week!!!

  16. Jon Jon April 13th, 2010 12:06 am

    Have to write a comment to subscribe to comments, so cheers.

  17. turgis April 13th, 2010 12:44 am

    May I suggest the old BIg clock sound in natural harmonic only
    xx12x x12xx 7xxx x7xx | x7xx 7xxx x12xx xx12x |
    Hello from France

  18. turgis April 13th, 2010 12:46 am

    sorry, two last notes are:
    xx12x x12xx 7xxx x7xx | x7xx 7xxx xx12x x12xx

  19. Alec April 13th, 2010 9:21 am

    Jeopardy seconded!

  20. Nate April 13th, 2010 4:38 pm

    I gave the “Spooky” one a shot last night, and my wife almost instantly shouted out from the other room, “That’s creepy, stop it!”

    Mission accomplished. Thanks Woodshed!

  21. Hello Jodi April 14th, 2010 4:18 am

    I can’t wait to bust all these out!!!! Currently, I pretty much just use the diminished chord to signal someone possibly getting tied to a railroad track.

  22. Woodshed April 14th, 2010 7:52 am

    zym: Ta!

    Jeff: Thanks for that. I get what you mean even with the spacing.

    krabbers: Cheers.

    L.Bo Marie: Aww, thanks.

    Jordan: Glad you like it.

    Ben and Alec: Jeopardy it is.

    SamD: There’ll be a fuller version in the How to Play Classical ebook once I get round to making it.

    Jimmy: Have fun.

    turgis: Nice one, I’ll try to get it added to the list.

    Nate: Well played!

    Jodi: How many times do people get tied to a railroad track round your way? ;)

  23. Scott April 14th, 2010 5:31 pm

    For the “railroad tracks” Try the diminished chord shape on the first fret (1212). Using a tremolo, slowly make half steps up the fret board to increase suspense.

    Also, on the sad trombone, for the last chord, I think a little vibrato on the A string gives it a little more “wah” sound and makes it funny. Or maybe that’s what the 1 with the two marks underneath it means. I don’t know.

    The nokia ringtone and the twilight zone are my favorites!

  24. Woodshed April 14th, 2010 10:02 pm

    Scott: Thanks. Excellent pointers.

  25. Jam April 16th, 2010 8:22 pm

    I’d just like to add you can make a pretty impressive Mario Coin noise with natural harmonics:

    Strummed in quick procession you’ll get nintendonerds loving you

    Loving the collection you have there Al

  26. Jordan Eldredge April 16th, 2010 9:26 pm

    Today my room mate was waiting for Photoshop to load on his older computer. I was wishing I had some elevator music to play. Any thoughts?

  27. Dick Jones April 16th, 2010 10:07 pm

    If your looking for elevator music it has to be “the spanish flea”. Its just generally the best waiting music ever :P

  28. Woodshed April 17th, 2010 4:17 pm

    Jam: Thanks. Good one.

    Jordan and Dick: I might have a go at Spanish Flea.

  29. Jordan Eldredge April 17th, 2010 4:49 pm

    Woodshed: Here is a really good version. Although, perhaps a bit difficult:

  30. Redmond April 17th, 2010 9:21 pm

    Awesome, I already play a few of these on my trumpet. Just expanding my repetoir I suppose…

    Tied to the Tracks is probably my favorite of the bunch.

    Keep it up!

  31. shameless April 19th, 2010 6:54 pm

    Haha I love this…

    We’re not opposed to playing the deliverance theme at inappropriate moments. Normally when the local common folk walk by.

  32. Woodshed April 19th, 2010 10:45 pm

    Jordan: Thanks very much for the link.

    Redmond: Thanks.

    shameless: I can’t believe I forgot the Deliverance theme. That has to be in there. Thanks.

  33. Emily April 29th, 2010 11:08 pm

    Oooohh.. this is all awesome, although Countdown is definately missing from this!!

  34. Cadnuim May 9th, 2010 9:20 pm

    Genuis. Theres a Kid (who plays guitar,might I add) who does all this. Well,now HA HA! My ukulele triumphs!!!! Thanks!

  35. Jeff May 20th, 2010 1:40 pm

    In the ukulele group that I participate in there are several stuffy old “Church Lady” types. At odd moments I like to play a few bars of “The Streets of Cairo,” which is more commonly known as “A Place in France.” Everyone seems to know that melody and thinks that it’s somehow vaguely naughty.

  36. Woodshed May 22nd, 2010 5:51 am

    Emily: Might do Countdown some time.

    Cadnuim: I think I saw that video.

    Jeff: Thanks for the suggestion. I might add that one.

  37. BRONSKI86 May 26th, 2010 12:46 pm

    Just imagine a cowboy riding slowly on a donkey.

  38. BRONSKI86 May 26th, 2010 12:48 pm

    in this order 0 353 0 353. sorry about the font mess up

  39. BRONSKI86 May 26th, 2010 12:54 pm

    For a horse speeding along you could play that bit from the william tell overture :)

  40. Woodshed May 27th, 2010 8:59 am

    BRONSKI86: Nice one. Thanks very much.

  41. kai July 7th, 2010 9:08 pm

    thats also nice:


  42. Woodshed July 8th, 2010 9:40 pm

    kai: Thanks. What tune is that?

  43. Gary July 17th, 2010 3:40 pm


    My favourite to play when being accused of being an untidy fella by the Missus…

  44. Woodshed July 17th, 2010 5:31 pm

    Gary: Thanks. What is the tune? I don’t recognise it.

  45. Gary July 17th, 2010 5:39 pm

    Oh hell, hope I got it right – opening bit for Dueling Banjos from Deliverance :) Wish I could figure out the rest – it would be hilarious to play

  46. Woodshed July 18th, 2010 4:52 pm

    Gary: Cool! Yeah, it’s right. I was just having trouble placing it without the rhythm.

  47. shameless August 12th, 2010 12:51 pm


    E 0 1 3 0 1 0
    C 2 0 2

    E 0 0 0
    C 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 2 0

    E 0 1 3 1 0
    C 0 0 0 2

    A 0 1 3 1 0
    E 1 1 1 3

    Then strum G G G C G

  48. shameless August 12th, 2010 12:57 pm

    Sorry to all those people having emails about the last pointless comment got to remember those —


    E 0 1 3 0 1 0
    C——— 2 0 2

    E —–0 0———-0
    C 0 0 2 0 2 —0 0 2 0

    E ——–0 1 3 1 0
    C 0 0 0 2

    A ——–0 1 3 1 0
    E 1 1 1 3

    Then strum G G G C G

  49. Woodshed August 15th, 2010 7:13 pm

    shameless: Thanks. I might tab up my own version at some point.

  50. Gary August 15th, 2010 7:47 pm

    Ha! That’s great Shameless thanks!

    This makes me wish I had a porch to practice on ;)

  51. johnjacobjinglheimerschmidt January 4th, 2011 7:10 pm

    Could you make a sort of “fail” tab? like when, i don’t know but maybe someone is walking along talking to you and runs into a pole or something. I know i probably wouldn’t have my uke with me, but it would still be kind of cool

  52. Howlin' Hobbit January 5th, 2011 8:06 pm

    @johnjacobjinglheimerschmidt: I’m thinking sad trombone should work for that.

  53. kai January 6th, 2011 4:03 pm

    like this:


  54. JAFfa April 12th, 2011 8:49 pm

    How about some kind of sob story “boo hoo” music? Possibly Moonlight Sonata?

  55. Woodshed April 13th, 2011 7:39 am

    Jaffa: Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll have a think.

  56. Gabriel May 8th, 2011 6:32 am

    I have one for a mess-up FAIL.

    Start at the A-string 5th fret(pick) then 4th fret(pick) then 3rd fret(pick) and slide back and forth from the 3rd to 4th

    I guess it looks like this:


    Hope it makes sense.

  57. Gabriel May 8th, 2011 6:34 am

    Ok this should help out my last comment a little.

  58. Gabriel May 8th, 2011 6:40 am

    Ok scratch those last comments hahaa you already found a better one. Sad Trombone. Hahaa now im going to play it for myself.

  59. Athena May 20th, 2011 11:55 am

    I think for the simplified nokia tune, instead of going

    I think you should change it to

  60. Tom October 17th, 2012 2:52 pm

    My go to for recognizable is:

    A 3 8 7
    E 1
    C 0
    G 0 0 0

    Love your site

  61. Tom October 17th, 2012 2:55 pm


  62. Woodshed October 18th, 2012 10:21 am

    Tom: Sweet Child of Mine?

  63. Tom October 18th, 2012 11:54 am


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