I went to see the Black Keys last week and they were incredible. They’re at the perfect place in their career. They’ve got an extensive enough back catalogue to provide a set with no flat moments but they haven’t got to the stage where they’re just plodding through the songs until it’s blue M&M time.
So in homage to them for the best gig I’ve been to this year (sorry UOGB) here are my five favourite Black Keys riffs arranged for uke – in order of decreasing uke-suitability.
10 A.M. Automatic
10 A.M. Automatic (Riff)
Being mostly chord-based, this one works pretty well on the uke. I beefed up the chorus a bit.
Act Nice and Gentle
Act Nice and Gentle (Riff)
Originally, a Kinks song but the Black Keys overhauled it, made a feature of the melody-line riff and made it their own.
Tighten Up (Riff)
A few variations in this riff through the song – some of which stray too far out of uke range – this one is based on the one that starts at 1:08 (1:32 in the hilarious video).
Your Touch (Tab)
The intro part of this one sounds a bit wimpy on the uke, but the chord part works well. The chorus riff is the same as the verse riff with a few additions.
Modern Times (Tab)
My favourite Black Keys riff but there are a few problems ukeing this one. The final A is too low. If you’re on a low-G, that’s not a problem. For the high-G, I’ve added in the C# because the extra harmony confuses the ear a little so it doesn’t stand out as being an octave too high in quite the same way. Also, if you’re using low-G you can knock the chorus riff down an octave.
Buy everything the Black Keys have ever released or consign yourself to a life half lived.