The Who: Chord Riffs

I’ve been terribly remiss in not featuring The Who in my Riffs for Ukulele series (although I did write up their ukulele song Blue, Red and Grey). So to make up for it here are four Who chord riffs.

Can’t Explain


Be careful with this riff. There’s a slight variation on it at the end of the first verse (after ‘down in my soul’). They play a B chord instead of an A chord on that one occasion.

The strumming pattern for this one is the old down, down, up, down, down, up, windmill, windmill, windmill.



The chord inversions are really important in this one. I moved the inversions higher up than the original so the relationship between them is similar.

Pinball Wizard

A lot of moving from sus4 to major chords. I changed my mind about the fingering for Asus4 and A. I wrote it up with the standard fingering, but decided that using ring and pinkie for Asus4 and middle and ring for A made for a much easier transition after the B.


The Seeker


View Comments


  1. Greenway July 7th, 2011 6:04 pm

    Most. Amazing. Band. Ever.

  2. Vincent July 7th, 2011 6:27 pm

    thank you. just, thank you.

  3. Cappers July 7th, 2011 6:37 pm

    Wow, you’ve made my day with this. The who are just about my favourite band – thanks mr woodshed!!!!

  4. PaulC July 7th, 2011 6:40 pm


  5. pepamahina July 8th, 2011 3:41 am

    That Pinball Wizard is one gnarly rhythm workout! Sweet!

  6. banter July 8th, 2011 5:35 am

    Thank you very much, especially for Can’t Explain. Anyway the riff is played all the time except the following part(its last occurrence), right?

    „Can’t explain
    I think it’s love
    Try to say it to you
    When I feel blue”

    Is anybody able to give me a hint? Thanks

  7. Dan July 8th, 2011 12:06 pm

    banter, I play it

    „Can’t explain
    I think it’s love
    Try to say it to you
    When I feel blue”

  8. Woodshed July 8th, 2011 1:37 pm

    Greenaway: Definitely one of them.

    Vincent: You’re welcome.

    Cappers: Very glad to help.

    PaulC: Like totally.

    pepamahina: Gnarly indeed!

    banter and Dan: Yep, that seems about right. Thanks.

  9. andy July 9th, 2011 2:29 pm

    Top job, Al, but I hope you don’t mind me skipping the windmills. With my hand-to-eye coordination I know there’d be splinters, strings, and pieces of my right hand everywhere.

  10. Woodshed July 11th, 2011 12:41 am

    andy: Very wise. I remember reading Pete Townshend impaled his hand on a whammy bar doing it at one point.

  11. Logan July 11th, 2011 5:05 pm

    Windmill. Windmill. Windmill. So good.

  12. Theo June 17th, 2012 11:54 am

    Haha, I could sit here and play the Pinball Wizard one all day. Love that song, and a great arrangement too. Thanks a bunch!

  13. Woodshed June 18th, 2012 11:02 am

    Theo: You’re welcome!

  14. Molly May 18th, 2016 9:50 pm

    I love the Who. I’m such a beginner, but I practiced hard and at last I can play all of these. I can’t put in words how ridiculous and plain fun it is playing Who tunes on my ukulele.

    /windmill windmill oops
    whew not broken yet; re-tune
    /windmill windmill windmill

  15. Woodshed May 20th, 2016 3:20 pm

    Molly: Hahaha! Glad you’re having fun with it!

  16. morecowbell October 13th, 2016 2:48 pm

    Pinball wizard is awesome! Belive or not our school band program was all the music from Tommy by the who.

  17. Woodshed October 13th, 2016 5:40 pm

    morecowbell: You did much cooler stuff in school than I did!

Sorry, Comments Are Broken Right Now