Acoustic Intros/Riffs (Tab)

This post started out as one of my Riffs for Ukulele posts but it ended up evolving into an intros post.

I did think that acoustic guitar would transfer better to the uke than the electric riffs. Nope! They tend to be much more complex. So I’ve taken a few liberties with these arrangements and some of them are still very tricky.

The same riff rules apply:

– These aren’t necessarily in the same key as the original.
– If you want the rest of the song you’re shit out of luck.

Mumford and Sons – Roll Away Your Stone



Nick Drake – Fly


This version is for smaller ukes. If your uke goes as high as the 13th fret you can play the descending notes all on the C-string. That does make it a bit easier and gives it a more consistent tone.

It’s played campanella style and picked with thumb and two fingers.


Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats



This is the one I had most trouble getting down and is the most changed from the original. Again it’s played thumb and two fingers picking style.

Tracy Chapman – Fast Car



Finally, a straight forward one. Here I’m doing strumming and picking the g-string with my thumb. And picking the A-string with my index finger.

Black Crowes – She Talks to Angels



The picking for this one is all over the place. I just use whichever finger comes to hand at any point.


More Riffs for ukulele
Nick Drake – Cello Song (Intro Tab)

View Comments


  1. cardboardfrog September 12th, 2013 7:03 pm

    This is a great set of riffs for some great songs, thanks very much woodshed, a couple of my favourite songs.

  2. Gwyn September 13th, 2013 8:17 am

    You definitely nailed that Heartbeats riff – immediately recognisable, love it!

    Always happy for more Nick Drake on uke. Transposing the “Pink Moon” album on uke would be an interesting challenge!

  3. Woodshed September 13th, 2013 10:52 am

    cbf: Thanks! Some of my favourites too.

    Gwyn: Thanks very much! I might do more Nick Drake in future.

  4. Clare September 13th, 2013 11:35 am

    Fabulous! Any plans to tab out “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys?

  5. Karthik September 13th, 2013 1:37 pm

    Wow, you really made the uke sing, especially on the last one.

    I have the Nick Drake intro down with a few minutes of practice, but the one I really want to learn is that last one!

    One question: How do you play and ?

  6. Karthik September 13th, 2013 1:41 pm

    Oops, I forgot this field was HTML enabled, despite using italics earlier in the comment!

    I meant to ask how you’re supposed to play <12&rt; and <7&rt;.

  7. Woodshed September 14th, 2013 8:38 am

    Karthik: Thanks! Those are harmonics:

  8. jerika September 16th, 2013 2:22 am

    Love this. Thanks!

  9. Woodshed September 16th, 2013 10:47 am

    jerika: You’re welcome!

  10. JazzmanIke September 19th, 2013 3:09 pm

    I reckon a super cool post’d be a bunch of jazz heads.

  11. Woodshed September 20th, 2013 8:05 am

    JazzmanIke: It would be but I’m not much of a jazzer.

  12. JazzmanIke September 24th, 2013 10:45 am

    I could almost cry…

  13. gunnee September 25th, 2013 4:58 am

    I really like this one she talks too angels

  14. Woodshed September 25th, 2013 7:40 am

    gunnee: Me too!

  15. gunnee September 25th, 2013 4:13 pm

    Woodshed! Some time I wish I could too.

  16. kate March 30th, 2016 11:41 am

    thanks so much for putting these riffs out there – I have a few keen ukulele players at my primary school who will have a blast with these and feel like rock stars! Thanks so much – I really appreciate your efforts.

  17. Woodshed March 30th, 2016 5:21 pm

    kate: That’s fantastic! Keep up the good work.

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