Ten Years of Uke Hunt

This week marks ten years since I decided the best use of my time was to start a ukulele blog and call it “Uke Hunt”.

Since then the blog has had over 2,000 posts, over 27 million visits and more than 115 million page views. That’s equivalent to everyone in Australia visiting the site and checking out a few pages. It’s insane. And as much of a shut-in, loner as I am there’s a huge number of people I’m pathetically grateful for helping me make it this long.

Thank You!

Firstly, I have to thank my mum, dad and brother. They were way more supportive of me when I told them I’d quit work and decided to be a ukulele blogger than I had any right to expect. My dad died in 2010. Not long before I landed the Ukulele for Dummies book. It’s a real shame he didn’t get to see me do an actual, legitimate thing.

Secondly, I have to thank my fiancée, Carrie. I met her through this blog and it was worth ten years of work just for that. Without her love and kindness keeping me on the right side of sanity the blog would be long dead by now.

I’m really blessed to be part of a world that is as encouraging and enthusiastic as the ukulele community. The success of the site is entirely down to all of you for your support over the years. I have a complete lack of stick-to-it-iveness (Uke Hunt is the longest job I’ve ever had by a factor of about 5) so I’m pathetically grateful to everyone for:

Reading: It’s such a thrill for me that people find the site useful.

Most people assume I’m a ukulele advocate and think everyone should play it. But I’m not one of those, “If everyone played the ukulele there’d be no wars,” types. Ukuleles are great but the success of the ukulele isn’t something that gets me out of bed in the morning (metaphorically, I’m writing this in bed – I’m not an idiot).

What really gets me excited is helping people to feel accomplished and proud of themselves. Like this. Or playing to entertain their friends. It’s such a buzz to be able to help people with that. Music if difficult. You should give yourself a pat on the back when you master a tune.

The amateur psychologist would say the real motivation is that if I make enough people feel accomplished and proud of themselves then eventually I’ll feel accomplished and proud of myself. Maybe in the next ten years.

Feedback: commenting, emailing, tweeting and reviewing: I judge the success of a post almost entirely by how much of reaction it gets in comments, emails and on YouTube. That feedback is so important to me.

There are a few people who have been commenting on the blog for most of its existence. I’m particularly grateful to those people for still popping round and saying hello.

Spreading the word: Telling people about the site is absolutely the best way to support it. I put the growth of the site entirely down to people recommending it to other ukers.

Buying: It’s my nightmare that one day I might have to get a proper job. So I can’t thank enough those people who spend hard earned money on my ebooks. I’m not one of those people energetic and productive enough to do a day job and run a side project. There’s no way the site could exist without your financial support.

Getting involved: There are so many clubs and groups and festivals I can hardly keep up. Add to that the number of people writing blogs, tabbing and doing YouTube tutorials. It’s staggering and it all makes playing the ukulele a better experience.

Playing: It’s a huge inspiration to watch people playing on YouTube and listening to the records. Just watching random YouTube videos gets my brain firing. If you do something cool I’m very likely to steal it.

The Archives of Uke Hunt

Year One

In my head I remembered the blog taking a while to settle into a rhythm. But looking back I’m surprised how quick it got going. By July 2007 Friday Links and Saturday UkeTube were already in place and by the end of 2007 I’d released my first three ebooks: Ragtime Ukulele, Ukulele Chord Progressions (both no longer available, I’m afraid) and the first Christmas Ukulele (still available in updated form).

The first year included the big two: Somewhere Over the Rainbow and a tutorial for While My Guitar Gently Weeps (with a doomed plea for people to work up their own versions).

Beirut were a big impetus for me starting the blog and I got cracking on those with Elephant Gun, Postcards from Italy and The Penalty.

Plus a couple of tabs I still like: Carl Ray Villaverde – Tears in Heaven and Brian Hefferan – Sailors Hornpipe

Year Two

The How to Play Blues Ukulele ebook was released. Which I updated a little while ago and I think is my best ebook.

Tutorials on:

The Blues Scale
The basics of strumming
10 Reason It’s Easier to Learn the Guitar than the Ukulele

Tabs and chords:

Tonight You Belong to Me (The Jerk Version)
The Office: An American Workplace Theme
Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945
Whose Line Is It Anyway? – Hoedown
Star Wars – Cantina Band
Davy Graham – Angi

Year Three

The How to Play Ukulele Strums ebook came out in July.

This year brought the very sad death of John King. He was a massive influence on me. Easy the biggest influence when it came to how I arranged tunes for the ukulele. I wrote up a post about all the things I learned from him in tribute.

A guide to strumming notation and 10 things I wish I’d known about ukuleles (before I bought one).

Tabs and chords:

David Beckingham’s take on In the Mood: David is a fantastic arranger and I’m really proud that he generously lets me share his tabs here. Find all his tabs here.

Robert Johnson – They’re Red Hot (Chords)
John King – Larry O’Gaff (Tab)
Harry Potter – Hedwig’s Theme (Tab)
Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla (Tab)
Iron & Wine – Naked As We Came (Tab)
Keston Cobblers’ Club – You-Go (Chords)
Elliott Brood – The Valley Town (Tab): Such an under-appreciated band. Their debut EP Tin Type – with songs like Oh Alberta and Only at Home – sounds like the blueprint to every Mumford and Lumineers song.
Upstairs, Downstairs Theme (Tab) which ended up being played on Radio 4.

Year Four

This year’s ebook was How to Play Classical Ukulele and I tabbed up the entirely uke-inappropriate O Fortuna to go along with it.

Discussions on why you should give a crap about copyright terms and 10 things you hear about ukuleles that might be bollocks.

Tabs and chords:

Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Tamacun
Duelling Banjos
Bjork – It’s Oh So Quiet
Top Cat and Fraggle Rock
Mumford and Sons – The Cave
Ellie Goulding’s Starry Eyed
Willie Nelson’s Crazy and Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy
John King’s Swallowtail

Year Five

No ebook this year because I was busy burning myself out writing Ukulele for Dummies an actual, proper, dead-tree book.

The 13 most useful strumming patterns.

It emerged that Obama’s birth certificate was signed by one U.K.L. Lee.

Tabs and chords:

Moon River
King of the Hill theme
The Burning Hell – I Love the Things That People Make (Chords)
Amanda Palmer – Ukulele Anthem (Chords)
Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt – What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? (Chords)
Sherlock’s Theme (Tab)
Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (Chords)
Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Tab)

Year Six

I released my second book of Christmas tabs which I almost called Christmas Ukulele 2: Yuletide Boogaloo. Not doing so was probably the worst business decision I’ve ever made.

Three weird-ass scales

Tabs and chords:

Bob’s Burgers theme tab which briefly appeared in an ad for the show.
Taylor Swift (ft. The Civil Wars) – Safe and Sound (Tab)
The Muppet Show Theme (Tab)
Pi for Ukulele (Tab)
Elvis Costello – Shipbuilding (Tab)
Mike Love – No Regrets (Chords)

Year Seven

Great books by ukulele playing authors.
Three more weird-ass scales.

Tabs and chords:
The xx – Intro
WIUO – Afternoon Delight
I Am The Doctor
Gustavo Santaolla – The Last of Us Theme
A bunch of Pete Seeger songs
La Vie en Rose (Chords)
Daft Punk – Get Lucky (Chords)
Lorde – Royals (Chords)
Mr Moustafa from Grand Budapest Hotel (Tab)

Year Eight

Finishing off the Christmas tab ebook trilogy with Christmas Ukulele 3: Return of the Maji. Along with new editions of Ukulele Strums, Slide Ukulele, National Anthems and second edition of Blues Ukulele.

Tutorials for no hassle chord changes and lots of hassle strumming patterns.

Jonathan Lewis launched his excellent ebook of campanella arrangements of Irish tunes and wrote his introduction to campanella for Uke Hunt.

Tab and chords:

Pharrell’s Happy
Uptown Funk
Led Zep’s Rain Song
Medley of Arctic Monkeys AM album
the Nun Song from Orange is the New Black
Joe Brown’s classic version of I’ll See You in My Dreams
Frasier theme
Serial theme
Massive Attack’s Teardrop
Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel

Year Nine

Tutorials:

Prince’s favourite chord trick
The easiest ways to improve your playing.
For Halloween some spooky ukulele sounds and a roundup of spine-chilling songs.
The most iconic strumming patterns

Tabs and chords:
Dave Brubeck’s Take Five: One of my favourite tabs which is lucky because it took me years to get to that stage.
Various songs from Steven Universe and all my Steven Universe tabs here.
ABBA’s Waterloo
Happy Birthday to You finally got released from the fraudulent clutches of Warner/Chappell and I celebrated with chords and two tabs of the tune.
David Beckinham’s superior version of Tiptoe Through the Tulips
A group arrangement of the Ghostbusters theme
Medley of songs from the Back to the Future trilogy
Damien Rice’s 9 Crimes

Year Ten

Release of my most recent ebook with tabs of traditional American tunes: Songs of the States.

The best chord progressions of all time.
Chuck Berry’s Major and Minor Pentatonic Trick.

Tabs and chords:

Tallest Man on Earth – King of Spain (Tab)
Prince’s Purple Rain
– Commemorating Leonard Cohen with Hallelujah and Suzanne.
Pure Imagination in tribute to Gene Wilder.
Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Tab)
Radiohead’s Paranoid Android
– After playing Life is Strange the inevitable Max and Chloe Theme (Tab) and Foals – Spanish Sahara (Chords).
The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (Chords)

View Comments

45 Comments

  1. Oologtea May 10th, 2017 7:11 pm

    Hi Al. Thanks to you too for this blog. I haven’t been around for very long, just about 2 years but your articles and your books have already been a great help to get myself started on the uke. Always looking forward for new stuff on Uketoob, too. So there, thanks again :)

  2. Connie May 10th, 2017 7:45 pm

    Congratulations on your first 10 years, Al! I appreciate your blog/site very much. It’s my go-to for all things ukulele. And, I faithfully purchase your e-books (and Ukulele for Dummies is on my shelf!) to help support your endeavors. Thanks for being such a great resource!!

  3. Woodshed May 10th, 2017 7:54 pm

    Oologtea: Thanks very much! Two years is a long time!

    Connie: Thanks so much!

  4. Brad Bordessa May 10th, 2017 8:01 pm

    Well done. That’s a big deal. Mahalo for keeping up such a steady flow of quality material all these years. I’ve always envied your editorial calendar. Peace.

  5. Woodshed May 10th, 2017 8:19 pm

    Thanks, Brad. Appreciate it.

  6. Dave May 10th, 2017 10:01 pm

    Congratulations Al, 10 years is a fantastic achievement. You’ve built what I consider to be the best resource out there for anyone looking to learn to play.

  7. Lee May 10th, 2017 10:10 pm

    Al, I simply would have not started uke’ing and continuing to improve without you and ukulelehunt.com and your books, Thank you for all that you do for us uke’sters.

  8. Phredd May 10th, 2017 10:20 pm

    Hi Al,

    Congratulations on 10 years of great content and internet friendship!

    I searched my email and found my original subscription confirmation – October 9, 2007.

    I love what you do. I visit almost every day and I wear my shirt faithfully. When a new friend picks up the uke I steer them your way.

    Thanks for all you do and have done. I appreciate it. You should feel proud and accomplished because this site has meant so much to so many. I know it has meant an awful lot to me. Thanks!

  9. Joe May 11th, 2017 12:31 am

    Congratulations Al and Happy Anniversary! I’ve been playing a couple of years and I found you early on. I have several tabs, a couple of your ebooks, and both Dummies books. Your stuff is first in line when my mind wanders and I’m looking for a new distraction.

    Here’s to another ten years and more!

  10. Urbanmeister May 11th, 2017 7:57 am

    What everyone else is saying and then some. First, congratulations are well deserved for your ten years. Second, writing blogs, sharing the information and just being around are incredibly time consuming. You are incredibly generous in this regard and I’m not alone in saying this is seriously appreciated. Third, I’ve bought your book(s) because they’re great value and easy to follow. They also reinforce the reason why I love, in my case, the Emerald harp-uke that you allowed me to write about some time ago – again, this reinforces generosity mentioned earlier.

    As we say in my world, ‘you’re a good hand.’

    All the best and as Joe says, ‘Here’s to another ten years and more!’

  11. David Beckingham May 11th, 2017 7:57 am

    Hi Al. You’ve been a huge influence on my ukulele journey. Always inspiring, encouraging, and you just don’t miss much in the uke world. Thanks! Apart from my part in raising our three sons, my arrangements have been my most valued achievements. I’d planned to get stuck in more seriously since I retired, but it’s looking like I might be changing instruments to the mandolin – always my favourite sound, but blindingly difficult. If it doesn’t work out I’ll be back. I’ll keep an eye on things and might finish the several arrangements I have almost ready. Anyway, thanks for all the fish…

  12. Jonathan Lewis May 11th, 2017 10:07 am

    Happy Birthday! I know from experience how hard it is to keep a blog/website going, you’ve done a wonderful job – great arrangements, humour, new artists to discover etc.
    Keep up the good work, and congratulations on your engagement!

  13. Mark May 11th, 2017 10:43 am

    There ought to be a less cheesy way of saying “thanks for keeping it real”, but thanks for keeping it real. Your site is useful, fun (even when ukes aren’t about soppy grinning and peace), thought-provoking and always original. I don’t get every song you work with – most gaming references are beyond me, for example – but I do appreciate the fact that you bring so much great new stuff to my attention, and I like the rougher edges of personality that sometimes show through. It’s good work. Thank you.

  14. Woodshed May 11th, 2017 12:32 pm

    Dave: Thanks very much for all the support!

    Lee: Thanks! Glad it’s helpful.

    Phredd: I think you win! I haven’t been subscribed that long! Thanks for all the comments over the years.

    Joe: Thanks very much! Hopefully I can retire after the second decade!

    Urbanmeister: Cheers very much! Really appreciate all your contributions to the site.

    David: That’s great! Hope you have a blast with the mandolin.

    Jonathan: Thanks very much!

    Mark: Thanks very much! Cheesy is fine with me!

  15. Kevin finn May 11th, 2017 12:40 pm

    Thank you ,for your help ,the Christmas e books,thank you ,love playing the. Songs for my family Happy 10th Anniversary
    Kevin N.J

  16. Shirley Morrison May 11th, 2017 3:32 pm

    Congratulations, Al, on your masterful navigation of Uke Hunt’s first ten years. May there be many more!

    Your site is the ultimate comprehensive ukulele treasure trove, made more enjoyable by your clever wit and style.

    Like Phredd, I’m an early subscriber, but I couldn’t pinpoint a date. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to sponge up a lot of knowledge from Uke Hunt.

    Thank you for what you do for the ukulele community, and keep on keeping on!

  17. Kara Square May 11th, 2017 3:55 pm

    10 flippin’ years?!!???! WOW, Al! That’s freakin’ awesome! Thank you for sticking with it and keeping us in the know of all things uke. Your site continues to be the ultimate uke site… news, videos, lessons, ebooks, inspiration… everything new and experienced ukers could want. So hey, thank YOU.

    And I also thank you personally for all of your support over the years. It’s so nice to know that there is a friendly ukulele blogger out there who cares about all uke projects (however small they may be). I am truly grateful for your mentions and kind words. Thank you!

  18. Armelle May 11th, 2017 4:12 pm

    Congratulations on your 10 years of Uke Hunt, Al!

    Kudos to you for making the bold decision to follow your own path and sticking to it to make it a success.
    That is an achievement to be really proud of !
    Not to mention the impressive list of the things done over the years…

    Keep up the excellent work !

    All the best wishes to you.

  19. Woodshed May 11th, 2017 10:27 pm

    Kevin: Thanks! That’s fantastic.

    Shirley: Thanks very much! Thanks for sticking with me so long.

    Kara: Thanks so much! Really glad I could help.

    Armelle: Thanks very much! All the best to you too! Thanks for all the support.

  20. Jeanette May 11th, 2017 11:08 pm

    It’s been ten years! Many congratulations, Al. Yours was one of the very first sites I found when starting to learn the uke & I always recommend it to new members of PLUC!

    Like many others posting here, I have the Dummies books & some of the e-books. I always eagerly await the emails, packed with interesting tips, techniques, songs, other performers, quizzes & loads more. Many thanks for so much interesting & useful content & a great reference site.

    Here’s to the next ten years!

  21. Sandy May 12th, 2017 12:12 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    You are an inspiration, the hugest help, a great source of information, and so wonderful to listen and watch play.
    Thank you so much for helping me learn to play an instrument at 55 years old, I didn’t know I could do this…
    Cheers!

  22. Julie May 12th, 2017 2:25 am

    Congratulations on your first 10 years! I discovered your blog about 5 years ago and it’s really helped my uke playing skills. Love the eclectic tabs and chords you post, always keeps things varied and interesting. Here’s to another 10!

  23. Glenn May 12th, 2017 4:47 am

    Hey Al, 10 years! That’s awesome! I’ve only been playing 2 years, so I had no idea it’s been around so long. I’ve been following your blog, but hadn’t got into the archives. Thanks for summing up the years – I’ll definitely check things out and probably buy a few books.
    I have to agree about ukulele advocacy. I like its popularity for purely selfish reasons – more online content and more ukuleles to drool over. I’ll still encourage people who show an interest, but you either get the uke-bug or you don’t.

  24. Don Stang May 12th, 2017 1:48 pm

    This is a Great Ukulele site!! I hope you have ten more years. Thank you!!!

  25. Richard May 12th, 2017 2:33 pm

    Congratulations on your ten years and thank you for such a great resource!!

  26. sanfordandsong May 12th, 2017 5:05 pm

    Fantastic to see this milestone reached. Thanks for continuing to do what you do so well.

  27. Woodshed May 13th, 2017 12:31 pm

    Jeanette: Thanks so much for spreading the word!

    Sandy: You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome! That’s great!

    Julie: Thanks very much!

    Glenn: Thanks! Totally agree.

    Don: Thanks very much!

    Richard: Cheers!

    sanford: Thanks for all the inspiration!

  28. Craig Robertson May 15th, 2017 7:39 pm

    Yikes! Ten years already. I’m one of your biggest supporters, though. I’m always sending people to your site or your book.
    I love how your site always stays on target for the music. It helps that you have excellent tastes.

  29. Woodshed May 16th, 2017 6:28 am

    Craig: Thanks so much! Ukulelia was a huge part of me getting started.

  30. Steve Griffin May 18th, 2017 1:41 am

    Thank YOU, man.

    I’ve only been playing Uke since September, but I’ve learned a huge amount from your work. Particularly from pushing myself to learn some of your arrangements that definitely feel way out of my league!

    There are loads of great sites out there for getting chord sheets, but when I come here I really feel like I’m learning the ‘real work’ on the uke.

  31. Woodshed May 19th, 2017 3:13 pm

    Steve: Thanks very much! That’s great!

  32. Alistair May 20th, 2017 8:26 pm

    Playing catch-up a bit. Just wanted to say well done mate. There are too many distractions in my life at the moment for me to make much progress on the uke front which is why I so enjoy your blog. It is like a beam of light in the darkness. Here’s to the next ten!

  33. Raff May 21st, 2017 1:51 pm

    Forever grateful for your work and this site Al. In fact I think almost every song that I love to play has come from this site (Rainbow Connection, They’re Red Hot, the David Beckingham songs that I can get my head around! and of course the Cantina Band Song).

    Cantina Band is still scratchy to say the least but that’s why this site has been so important. Keeps me pushing for more and still playing. Cheers mate!

  34. Woodshed May 21st, 2017 7:21 pm

    Alistair: Thanks very much!

    Raff: Great! Thanks so much!

  35. Chris R June 1st, 2017 11:50 am

    Hi,
    Cheers from NZ for your awesome website. Picked the ukulele in October last year on a whim. Love your site as it has songs I know, and even better, doesn’t take itself too seriously. Keep up the good work!
    On a school trip the “Uke Hunt” label on the songs took a wee bit of explaining to the students once one them said it out loud…
    Rizzie

  36. Wormold June 2nd, 2017 8:31 am

    My favourite website. You’ve helped me develop my playing enormously, so thank you for that.

    Keep going, while that stats are impressive just thinking about the joy this site has had on the many that have used the resources here is pretty special indeed.

  37. Woodshed June 2nd, 2017 4:44 pm

    Chris R: Hahaha! Sorry about that!

    Wormold: Thanks so much!

  38. Austin June 8th, 2017 6:11 pm

    I completely missed this post!

    Just wanted to say a huge thanks for these resources, learning to play Take Five was a personal highlight of my ukulele playing and I’ve been coming here for 6 or 7 years now to lurk and never comment.

    For what it’s worth, I run a small ukulele club at the school I work at and there are around 20 kids who started to develop their skills and become more accomplished players because all the work you have done. Just want to let you know your work helped me teach a whole range of songs and styles to various budding ukulele enthusiasts (after I was very careful about how I spoke about the site’s name..)

    Cheers again!

  39. Woodshed June 9th, 2017 10:51 am

    Austin: That’s fantastic! Thanks so much!

  40. Sunny Jim July 8th, 2017 1:29 pm

    I’d like to add my thanks and congratulations. Ukehunt was the first useful learning resource I found when I took up the uke and the only one I keep coming back to all these years later.

  41. Woodshed July 10th, 2017 10:48 am

    Sunny Jim: Thanks very much! Appreciate your contributions!

  42. JCMcGee July 18th, 2017 8:54 am

    Congratulations on 10 years!

    My favorite uke site by a long way…everything I learned about ukulele I learned from Duke Marmapants and his Hot Potato Synchopators…although I may have picked up a tab or two from here along the way.

  43. Woodshed July 18th, 2017 10:38 am

    Jimmy: Thanks very much! I may have picked up some inspiration here or there from the Bobby McGee’s.

  44. Readie July 28th, 2017 12:55 pm

    Congrats on on your decade-a-versary, Woodshed! Huge achievement. Gratitude as always for an excellent site, and for the advice you very kindly shared when I decided to take the freelance plunge.

  45. Woodshed July 30th, 2017 8:59 pm

    Readie: Thanks very much! I’m really glad I could help.

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