Uke for Xmas? Read This!

When I got my first ukulele, I was completely clueless. This was in those dark, long forgotten days before the internet had been discovered. I didn’t even realise that the strings weren’t supposed to go thickest to thinnest and restrung it.

But you can save yourself from the social disgrace I experienced. I’ve put together a free mini-ebook covering the basics that every first time uke owner needs to know. Here’s what it contains:

Five Things to Know
Five Chords to Learn
Five Patterns to Strum
Five Songs to Play
Five Websites to Visit
Five Things to Get Free
Five Things to Buy
Five Videos to Watch
Five YouTube Channels to Subscribe to

You can download it free by clicking here:


So You Just Got Your First Ukulele (PDF)


And get playing by following the beginner ukulele lessons.

If you’re not new to ukulele but know someone who is feel free to pass it along. It has a Creative Commons license so distribute it as you wish.

Merry Christmas! See you in 2018

Merry Christmas, Chanukah Sameach, Io Saturnalia and Happy Holidays! (If you’re into that kind of thing.)

If you’re after some Christmas music and you’re as Spotify user here’s my Christmas Ukulele playlist. Or, if you’re sick of Christmas music, my playlist of ukulele selections from 2017.

That’s it from me for this year (other than the ebook for new ukers). I’ll be back at the end of January 2018 (year of the impossible F chord for people with gigantic pinkies).

If you can’t stand to be without a steady stream of uke, I’ll be posting videos on UkeToob, seven second ukulele lessons on Instagram and bits and pieces on Twitter.

Christmas UkeTube 2017

Full Playlist

Tracklist
Kalei Gamiao- Silent Night/ White Christmas
Tripping Lily – Santa Will Find You
The Mad Tea Party – Oh Shit, It’s Christmastime!
Jimmy Fallon, Mariah Carey & The Roots – All I Want For Christmas Is You
The Jive Aces – Christmas Is Where You Are
Eliel Carvalho – Jingle Bells
Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel – Winter Wonderland
Gracie Terzian – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Leftover Cuties – Christmas Time Is Here
Rocky and Balls – The Christmas Song Song
Beth Porter & The Availables – Last Christmas

Friday Links

New Releases
– I’ve been collecting all the ukulele stuff I’ve come across on Spotify in the Ukulele 2017 Spotify playlist. If there’s something I’ve missed, do let me know.
WS64 is one of the original YouTube ukers having covered every Beatles song on ukulele. Now he’s one half of La Wolf and they’ve just put out their album On Our Own.
– Tiki garage rock from The Mangonuts.
– Opera-lele have a new one out A Life of Broadway.

Window Shopping

Ukulele jukebox cabinet.
D’Angelico archtop ukulele.
Kanile’a KPA Tenor Premium.
FibreCore ukulele strings (via @goukulele).
1920s Ditson Style 3.
Duke have an offer on their DUKE10 banjolele.

This is probably completely meaningless to anyone outside the UK (and largely meaningless to those in it). The Trivago woman is a ukulele player (and the skipping rope player it seems). Which means I have to switch allegiances away from the Trip Advisor owl who is too busy lounging in his robe to learn an instrument.

The Beatles – Across the Universe (Tab)

The Beatles – Across the Universe (Tab)

Since it’s Christmas, I’m breaking my no Beatles rule to do this one I’ve had a fair few requests for over the years.

I’ve kept the arrangement as simple as possible. After the fingerpicking in the first bar it’s all strumming and lots of familiar chord shapes. And the melody is recognisable you don’t have to worry about emphasising it all that much. I’m using a capo at the first fret which puts it in the same key as the original. But you can just play it open if you prefer.

The only thing that might trip you up are the extra beats that he throws in. There’s one extra beat in the middle of the verse and two extra at the end.

In case you’re not familiar with the Italian repeats in the tab. You play through as normal up to the “D.S. al coda” in bar 29. Then you go back to the squiggle in bar 13. Play through to the “Da Coda” in bar 23. Then skip ahead to the target symbol in bar 30.

Links

Buy it on iTunes

Ukulele Christmas Quiz 2017

Time for the annual Uke Hunt Christmas time-waster.

– Grab a pen and paper
– Display knowledge.
– There might be spoilers in the comments.
– Check the answers here (no peeking).
– Return in triumph or despair and share you score in the comments.

If you’re reading by email or feed reader you may need to click through to the post to see everything.

Name the Chord

What chord are these? (All the chords are either major, minor or 7. Nothing more complicated than that.)

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Name the Brand

Click for a bigger version.

6.

By Howard County Library System

7.

By Howard County Library System

8.

By FolsomNatural

9.

By Charles Mims

10.

By Charles Mims

Name the Cover

Who first released the songs these ukulele orchestras are covering?

11. West Cork Ukulele Orchestra

12. Dublin Ukulele Group

13. Ware Ukulele Group

14. Ukulele Orchestra jako Brno

15. Grand Old Uke of York

Name the Celeb

16.

a) Andrew Garfield
b) Chris Evans
c) Henry Cavill
d) Michael Fassbender

17.

a) Bing Crosby
b) Bob Hope
c) Fred Astaire
d) Groucho Marx

18.

a) Anna Faris
b) Anna Kendrick
c) Anna Chlumsky
d) Anna Nicole Smith

19.

a) Harry Styles
b) Louis Tomlinson
c) Zayn Malik
d) Niall Horan

20.

a) Paris Hilton
b) Paris Geller
c) Paris Jackson
d) Mica Paris

Name the Lyric

Which songs – oft covered on ukulele – are these lyrics from?

21. Remember to let her into your heart / Then you can start to make it better

22. The club isn’t the best place to find a lover / So the bar is where I go

23. ‘Cause since I’ve come on home / Well my body’s been a mess / And I’ve missed your ginger hair / And the way you like to dress

24. Some bright morning when this life is over

25. Heading down south to the land of the pines / I’m thumbing my way into North Caroline

Check the answers here

Past Quizzes
Ukulele Quiz 2016
Ukulele Quiz 2015
Ukulele Quiz 2014
Ukulele Quiz 2013
Ukulele Quiz 2012
Ukulele Quiz 2011
Ukulele Quiz 2010
Ukulele Quiz 2009

SNL/Julian Casablancas – I Wish it Was Christmas Today (Chords)

Julian Casablancas – I Wish it Was Christmas Today (Chords)

Christmas songs are often so stupid they’re beyond parody. A point that was proved when Julian Casablancas turned SNL’s I Wish It Was Christmas Today into one of the best Christmas songs in the last decade.

I’ve arranged this with a capo on the third fret to move it to the key of C. But if you want to play without a capo you can replace C, F and G with Eb, Ab and Bb respectively.

Suggested Strumming

I use this strum twice for each chord the whole way through.

d – d – d u d u


Strum

Twiddly Bits

I’ve combined chords and the riff because they fall very nicely. If you prefer to play single notes just play the highest note (the note on the A-string until right at the end where it switches to the E-string).

There are a couple of variations in the riff from the SNL version. The tastiest is the A-string, 2nd fret (a flattened fifth against the F chord). It sounds very Strokes-esque.


Outro riff

Links

JulianCasablancas.com
Stokes Medley tab

SNL Cast – I Wish It Was Christmas Today (Chords)

I’ve written up the 2011 SNL version (since that’s when Tracy’s dancing peaked). But all the versions I’ve seen have the same chords with minor changes to the arrangement (usually thanks to fuckups). The only exception is when Fallon, Sanz and The Roots played it with Casablancas in his key on Late Night.

Suggested Strumming

Same as for the Casablancas version, this twice for each chord:

d – d – d u d u

Twiddly Bits

A rare easy transposition from guitar to ukulele. Everything is played on the high-E string of the guitar. So you can play it exactly the same way on the E-string of the ukulele.

Links

Saturday Night Live
More Christmas tabs and chords

UkeTube: Nick Offerman, Raelyn Nelson

Full Playlist

Tracklist
Sara Veras – A Rita Via @ukeist
Trio Mandili – Dililme On panduri. Thanks to Liz.
Raelyn Nelson Band – Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)
Iris Wagner – Isolation
Reformed Whores – Keep it in Your Pants
Nick Offerman – The Ukulele Song
Wild Child – The One
Ukeba Squad Unplugged – Cintanya Palsu
Daniel Estrem – Double (to Bourree) from Partita 1Gerald Ross – Undecided

Friday Links

New Releases

– Herman Vandecauter has released a selection of pieces played on the rajão (the Madeiran precursor to the ukulele). They’re fantastically played. Highly recommended.
– Jolly new Christmas song from Phredd: Bob the Snowman.
– A jazzy Christmas record from the Ladybugs.
Macy Warner’s Apologies to Myself.

Window Shopping
Lichty’s U127 Fretless Tenor. I’m sure I’d could make that uke sound absolutely awful.
1929 Martin 5K
Custom Martin Tree of Life.
Santa Cruz UK-3.
Lyon & Healy Bell soprano.
1930s Regal Concert Banjo Ukulele.

Contests
I don’t usually cover contests but there are two at the moment that have good aims:
Rachel Manke is giving away a customised Ohaha and all you have to do to enter is give to the ukulele charity of your choice.
– The Levy Sheet Music Collection is running the Save our Songs Contest. To enter you record a version of any of the songs in their collection. There are hundreds of with ukulele chords to choose from.

A heartbreaking story of ukulele theft. An Oakland man had the uke his late-wife playing during chemo stolen. It was a Kala Ukadelic Tropical Day if you’re in the area and see one in suspicious circumstances.

A while back I wrote a post on No Hassle Chord Changes. Now Mark of Ukulele Bedford has added a few to the list.

Ever wondered what it would sound like if you recorded one note on your uke in every town in Massachusetts? Wonder no more.

Camila Cabello – Havana (Tab)

Camila Cabello – Havana (Tab)

It’s been a pretty good year for pop music. There were great songs from Charli XCX, Selina Gomez and Lorde. Even the Cash Me Ousside girl released a banger. But Camila Cabello’s Havana immediately struck me as prime for a ukeing.

There’s nothing massively challenging in this arrangement but there are a few leaps up and down the fretboard. You can make things a easier with a bit of planning though. In bars 10 and 12 moving your hand up so you play the 3rd fret with your index finger makes it a much easier transition into the next bar.

Links

Buy it on iTunes
More pop tabs and chords

Natasha has done a fantastic version of this arrangement with some nice little tweeks:

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