ABBA – Take A Chance (Instrumental)(Tab)


ABBA – Take A Chance (Tab)

I need your opinions in the comments because I want to settle this. Instrumental versions of songs (as opposed to versions of tunes that are instrumentals already): a worthwhile pursuit or inevitable cheesiness and boredom? I’ve done a few songs made instrumental and I think it’s hard to make them work unless the song behind it is very strong. I wouldn’t have chosen to do this one myself, but I had to respond to a plea from a damsel in distress. ABBA were obviously top-notch songwriters so I think this one just about works.

Annoyingly, my Sceptre has developed a buzz on the open A-string. The action has always been a bit too low. Now watch me leave it months before I bother doing anything about it.

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42 Comments

  1. pepamahina February 3rd, 2011 6:48 pm

    Instrumental versions? Definitely a YES! If reassurance and praise are lacking for you than let me just jump right in there. I for one am deeply grateful for the instrumental tabs you have supplied and will cry great crocodile tears if you decide to stop. In fact, with the exception of just one or two published books, UkeHunt is really the only place to go to for this sort of thing. Without you, I’m stuck trying to transcribe from youtube videos which is difficult and time consuming, and sadly, I lack your talent in just whipping one out myself. I love this one, please don’t let it be the last!

  2. Woodshed February 3rd, 2011 7:01 pm

    pepamahina: Thanks for the kind words. Believe it or not, I wasn’t fishing for compliments (for once). I meant it more generally. I’ve no intention of stopping doing instrumentals. But I’m not sure if instrumental versions of songs (the ones with singing and lyrics) work often enough.

  3. Emily February 3rd, 2011 7:04 pm

    The instrumentals you post are great, Al. Keep ‘em coming!

  4. sanford(andsong) February 3rd, 2011 7:09 pm

    Instrumental versions have a long enough history to support legitimacy. Sure, muzak/elevator versions can be cheesy, but I always prefer jazz standards without the vocal. A good melody is a good melody…

  5. sailboats February 3rd, 2011 7:16 pm

    I think you have it right. Instrumentals can be quite enjoyable but it needs to be a solid song with a nice melody.

    Sometimes the words make a song and not necessarily the melody which can make finding the right song tough at times….and sometimes the song just isn’t that great all around.

  6. pepamahina February 3rd, 2011 7:21 pm

    I think I get your meaning…do they work or do they just sound like an arrangement made for a high school marching band? I think it depends heavily on the tune and how it’s presented, and the difference I think is a bit ephemeral. I just know it when I hear it. Either it sounds cool and tickles my groove, or it makes me roll my eyes. I haven’t done any eye rolling at this site so far, but I can promise to be honest if any future offerings stimulate a gag reflex!

  7. SImon February 3rd, 2011 7:56 pm

    I, for one, always thoroughly enjoy your instrumentals, but find they tend to be way over my ability to actually play (I’ve been playing uke about a year and been very much a strummer of basic chords up until now, but would like to improve and fingerpick more).

    In short: more of your fine renditions, but sling in the occasional easy instrumental for us mere mortals (if such a thing is possible)

  8. Shobs February 3rd, 2011 8:06 pm

    Hooray to instrumentals! I would emphasise what SILimon? says. I think once you can play a few chords and your mates have finished lauging at your progressing obsession, it’s nice to wow them with a ditty or two. Plus, from the playing side, it adds another dimension of interest and allows (well, me) to feel like i’m developing my skill and playing ability.

    Ta! and a great interpretation so Ta again!

  9. SImon February 3rd, 2011 8:21 pm

    Incidentally Mr Woodshed, should you write an e-book that fits the bill according to my earlier post (or indeed you’ve already written one and I’ve missed it) I’ll be first in line to buy it.

  10. Carrie February 3rd, 2011 8:50 pm

    I think your instrumentals are lovely! Though obviously I am not necessarily the first person you want to defer to when trying to avoid cheesy things.

    Anyway, so long as very silly women aren’t continually getting you to do instrumentals of whatever song they happen to be listening to obsessively at the moment (it’s that Skee-Lo song “I Wish” right now if you want to give that a go (don’t, good god, please don’t)), you tend to have pretty discriminating taste when it comes to this. Why not trust your own already good judgement?

    I’ve never been called a damsel before! This is very exciting for me.

  11. Howlin' Hobbit February 3rd, 2011 9:21 pm

    I mostly prefer instrumentals that were written as instrumentals, but I also prefer sopranos over just about any other size.

    In other words, do what floats yer boat since nearly everything boils down to personal preference, and music even more than most.

  12. sanford(andsong) February 3rd, 2011 10:47 pm

    I feel compelled to add an addendum to my previous statement…
    I ALMOST always prefer a jazz standard without the vocal. Unless it’s the Howlin’ Hobbit. THEN i’m down with it!

  13. Ron Hale February 3rd, 2011 11:14 pm

    Not a big fan of uke instrumental covers of songs with vocals. Most could serve as shopping mall music quite easily. Which is not to say that they aren’t technically adept and the result of talent and much nose-to-the-grindstone practice. Can’t do them myself, but I’m sure they’re highly satisfying to those who can.

    But you know, Al, as I’ve told Jeff may times, ABBA is not just about the music. Next time, when you cover something like, say, Waterloo, perhaps you could try dressing the part. After all, the Sceptre has a definite ABBA vibe going for it. Make it a group effort by adding a couple of females and another male. You’re already A, Armelle is A, finding a couple of Bs shouldn’t be too difficult. Or try a couple of different names/letters for you own A–A group.
    Lots of ukers would love collaberating with you on videos. And you could arrange for the group.
    And don’t forget those dance moves.

    Before asking for a definitive opinion on your instrumental covers, how about letting us hear
    one of your singing covers?

  14. sanford(andsong) February 4th, 2011 1:08 am

    I wish to add an addendum to my previous comment. I always prefer jazz standards without the vocal UNLESS the Howlin’ Hobbit is singing it!

  15. drywell February 4th, 2011 2:36 am

    Honestly? The instrumentals are a tough sell for me, listening-wise. Even the best arrangements from the most adept musicians stretch my patience if I hear more than 2 or 3 in a row.

    But I love to try to play them. For those like me who are usually too mentally lazy to try and look at time signatures and count out rhythms, it’s great to fingerpick a familiar melody while I sing along in my head and not have to guess if I’m on the right track. Keep ‘em coming.

  16. sabrina February 4th, 2011 4:04 am

    Thank you so much! I love this! and please don’t ever stop making arrangements like these.

    I’ve got most of this song down now, but I’m having trouble with the X’s or chunks I suppose. I”m not sure how to play them in the song.

    Anyhow, I really am enjoying this. I love ABBA and this is going to be one of the few pieces i actually memorize and play when people ask me to play something.

  17. ritchie February 4th, 2011 8:54 am

    “while my guitar gently weeps” ….. can’t see anyone complaining about that one :-)

  18. Ambient Doughnut February 4th, 2011 12:09 pm

    Great stuff, really nice mixture of finger pick and strumming.
    I had a bit of a look into sceptres – it’s a beautiful thing alright but how much?!?

  19. karl February 4th, 2011 1:26 pm

    You’re not threatening us that you’ll sing, are you? Seriously, this kind of instrumentals is very good and engaging. It’s how you ‘instrumentalise’ songs that makes them muzak or absolute bliss. Never heard Django sing either. Although he got close at the end of Minor Swing by shouting ‘Oh Yeah!’

  20. Rob NY February 4th, 2011 1:32 pm

    If you think a particular song sounds good as an instumental just go for it.Try not to think too much. If it sounds good to you do it.

  21. Mike February 4th, 2011 4:26 pm

    If the melody is strong and the arrangement is mindful of the instrument it’s being played on, the instrumental version can work great. Some really good songs are boring as hell as instrumentals because they’re all guts and not much melody. And some songs that I wouldn’t listen to twice on the radio can really punch it out as instrumental arrangements. Just gotta try it and see what comes out.

  22. zym February 4th, 2011 4:38 pm

    got to admit that i find them boredom & cheese :(

    well, actually thats not strictly true – i normally watch the video, think ‘fucking show-off’ and then punch my PC.

  23. Snojimbo February 4th, 2011 9:38 pm

    Keep up the fantastic work. I’ve tried singing. I mean, I’ve really, really tried. Got thrown out the school choir when I was at primary school for not having that cute kiddie singing voice. I enjoy singing, but people just don’t enjoy me singing (although SingStar thinks I’m fab for some reason). So I need to play music without the words instead. And besides, playing uke AND singing is just impossible – how do people do it? If I concentrate on the words my playing goes to shite and vice versa. So I enjoy playing, and people hate me singing, so a big THANK YOU for all the chords and tabs!

  24. Woodshed February 5th, 2011 3:02 pm

    Emily: Thanks!

    Sanford: Yeah, most jazz songs are harmonically interesting enough to be instrumentalized.

    sailboats and pepamahina: I agree you have to be careful with the choice. There are lots that don’t work at all.

    SImon and Shobs: OK, I’ll try to do some easier ones in future.

    Carrie: Yes, silly women are a big problem.

    Hobbit and Rob: Pleasing myself is mostly what I do. But since I’m putting them up for other people to learn it’s good to get some input.

    Ron: I grew a beard for this one. Can’t you be happy with that? The videos are more for educational purposes than entertainment.

    drywell: Thanks for that.

    sabrina: Glad you’re enjoying learning it.

    ritchie: I think some people complain.

    Ambient: Expensive. Particularly the tenor. Mine was £800.

    karl: Rest assured. You will not hear me sing.

    Mike: The melody is definitely very important. But I think variety through the song is also important.

    zym: ROFL.

    Snojimbo: I have no idea how people sing and play at the same time either. Glad I’m not alone.

  25. Josh Ward February 5th, 2011 11:33 pm

    Instrumental versions of songs are great. This, and starry eyed, have both been two of my favorite songs you’ve done. They’ve both been not too hard to grasp and both show the Ukulele’s unique attraction.

  26. Brodes February 13th, 2011 9:09 am

    I do like instrumental versions, mainly because I am a pretty woeful singer.

    Brilliant stuff again

  27. Ron February 18th, 2011 3:31 pm

    Another vote for occasionally offering us lessor lights a simplier song. Thanks!

  28. Melissa March 16th, 2011 4:05 am

    Insrumentals, instrumentals, instrumentals.

    Chords are easy enough to pull up online, but actually teasing out the verse and working it all together is tough, and we uke weaklings need the help!

  29. Ian May 30th, 2011 12:05 am

    I’ve been playing the uke for about a year now and you and your site are so freakin’ awesome. I’ve learned about everything I know from you and Aldrine and am so appreciative that you spend your time helping all the other ukers out there! Also, your instrumental tabs/covers freaking rock. I just learned “Falling Slowly” and it’s now my favorite thing to play on the ukulele. I’m just now getting brazen enough to try the “tricky” section, but often get frustrated and go back to moderate. Thanks again man!

  30. Woodshed June 2nd, 2011 11:31 am

    Oh my! I missed some comments here.

    Josh: Thanks!

    Brodes: That’s exactly why I go for instrumentals. Can’t sing at all.

    Ron: I am definitely working towards doing more of those.

    Melissa: Thanks, I will keep it up.

    Ian: Thanks so much! I’m really glad you’re finding it useful.

  31. Greg February 21st, 2012 3:50 pm

    Always fun being the first comment in 8 months! This kind of song is EXACTLY why I wanted to play the uke. It’s a tune that everyone knows, with a combination of strumming and picking that makes it very catchy and simply fun. It’s way Way WAY beyond my abilities right now, but it’s something to strive for.

  32. Woodshed February 24th, 2012 4:11 pm

    Greg: Thanks very much! Glad you like it.

  33. Jen April 13th, 2012 10:48 pm

    Love the instrumental versions. Keep them coming!!!

  34. Woodshed April 16th, 2012 10:09 am

    Jen: Thanks. I will do.

  35. Diego April 22nd, 2012 1:14 am

    instrumental versions? YES! great to sing along, and everybody knows it happens unavoidablily when an ABBA’s song plays.

  36. Woodshed April 22nd, 2012 11:20 pm

    Diego: Thanks, I’ll keep them coming.

  37. Ana June 29th, 2012 9:33 pm

    instrumental song? AWESOME! keep them coming ;D

  38. Woodshed July 2nd, 2012 4:24 pm

    Ana: I will do!

  39. Nico July 17th, 2012 10:26 pm

    Love your work! Just one question – I find that the open C string tone tends to overwhelm the notes played on the E string, particularly in bars 2 & 3 etc. Not sure if this is my uke or my technique. Any pointers for making those higher notes stand up against the open notes?

  40. Woodshed July 17th, 2012 11:41 pm

    Nico: Hmm, I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m doing anything special to make them stand out. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

  41. Jimmy McGee December 1st, 2014 9:40 am

    I love you Al!

    We play this charity cover party every christmas…mostly noisy punk bands doing sweet covers.
    We ummmd & aaahhd about this year and decided on an abba song which we all love.

    Imagine my delight at finding this!

    It’s like christmas come early.

    Regarding the 1st Qu….when you lay as well as you do, you can play whatever you want and I’ll gladly listen!

  42. Woodshed December 2nd, 2014 1:14 pm

    Jimmy: I love you too! Very glad I could be of use.

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