It’s refreshing to see one of the big stars picking up a ukulele and not doing a bit of gentle strumming but really ripping the shit out of it. And it’s even more satisfying when it’s someone as talented as Kaki King.
The last time we heard this tune it was a loose, instrumental jam. Since then it’s been tightened up, given lyrics and had the space-trumpet sorted out. Now it’s really rocking and is the lead single from Kaki King’s new one.
The good news: the fretting-hand part is dead easy. For half the song you’re just using it to prop up the neck. The bad news: everything else is a pain in the arse.
It’s in a very strange tuning:
E F# C# F#
Yes, that’s the tuning for a ukulele. Here are the notes.
All those are tuned down. The C-string is very low – making it sound rubbery and very hard to keep in tune. Kaki has troubles with this herself so don’t feel bad if you do.
The Time Signature
I’m not entirely sure, but the main riff makes most sense to me in 7/8 time (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6… 7, 8). I find the easiest way to count it is: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3.
Here’s the main riff played slow:
And up to speed:
The song switches into 2/4 time (I think) at bars 10, 24 and 45.
This is the toughest part of the tune. The pattern is a little tricky but the challenge is keeping it up. The picking is relentless and I feel sore by the time I get to the strumming section (which comes as a huge relief).
The main riff is picked (with old string names):
Thumb = g-string
Index = C-string
Middle = E-string
Ring = A-string
And in the 2/4 sections:
Thumb = C-string
Index = E-string
Middle = A-string