This year’s Uke Hunt t-shirt sale has already hit the minimum order level. So they’ll now definitely be printed once the pre-order period has finished on 18th October. You can buy from the US or from the UK.
– Ukulele Friend’s Luthier Insights series
Eric DeVine, Aaron Oya and Gareth Yahiku from Ana’ole.
– Krabbers learns you how to write a blues song.
– Danielle Ate the Sandwich has scored a new HBO documentary Packed in a Trunk.
– See you next Tuesday, Uke Hunt.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Take Five (written by the group’s saxophonist Paul Desmond) is an absolute instrumental classic. That’s why I started working on it in the early days of Uke Hunt (the 27th February 2008 according to the date on the file). Since then it’s been occasionally dragged out of the pile of half finished tabs but I haven’t had a version I was happy with until now. I hope it was worth the wait!
The song takes its name from its 5/4 time signature (i.e. there are five beats in a bar rather than the more common 3 or 4). You probably haven’t played in 5/4 time before but it’s not that hard to get the hang of. I find counting out the bars 1, 2, 3, 1, 2 gives you a good feel for the groove of the piece and you can drop the counting once you’re in the swing of it.
It’s Uke Hunt t-shirt season again! I’ve had a few requests for another run of the shirts. Excellent news this year: Teespring dispatches from the UK now as well as the US. So shipping is way lower for people in the UK and the rest of the EU now. (Just make sure you order from the right one!). You can buy them here:
I’m using Teespring again this year. It is sort of a Kickstart for t-shirts. So you put in an order for your shirt, if there are enough orders by the end of the campaign the shirts are made and sent out. You’re not charged until the end of the campaign (and you’re not charged at all if the shirt doesn’t reach its goal). This way of doing it means all the shirts are printed at once and exactly the right shirts and sizes are made.
So if you want one of the shirts they’ll only be available until Sunday 18th October. After that you’re all out of luck.
The system has worked well for the last couple of years so I’m sticking with it. My shirt came here (the UK) quickly and without any hassle. It’s nice quality. The one I have is two years old and it’s still in good shape. You can see it on a devastatingly handsome model in my recent videos.
In the US there are two different styles: the standard fit American Apparel crew-neck (at the top of the post) and the v-neck Bella Missy slim fit (directly above).Both are $22 plus shipping from the US
The UK ones are only described as “Premium Unisex” and “Standard Women’s V Neck”. I couldn’t find out any more than that. They’re both £16.50 from the UK (incl. VAT).
You can combine the different shirts into one order by clicking ‘Buy/Reserve it now’ then ‘Add another style’.
Teespring is based in the US so shipping outside of that is more expensive and will take longer.
United States: $3.99 flat rate, plus $2.00 per each additional item. Your shirt will arrive within 7-14 days from the end of the campaign.
Canada: $11.49 CAD flat rate, plus $5.00 CAD per each additional item. Your shirt will arrive within 14-21 days from the end of the campaign.
International (from the US) £7.99 (€11.49) flat rate, plus £3.50 (€5.00) per each additional item. Your shirt will arrive within 14-21 days from the end of the campaign.
UK (from the UK): £2.75 for the first apparel item and £0.50 for each additional item. You can expect your package to arrive around 5 business days after the campaign finishes printing.
Europe (from the UK): £3.35 for the first apparel item and £1.00 for each additional item.
For more information on the shirts and the system take a look at Teespring’s FAQ.
Copyright of Happy Birthday has been freed from the clutches of Warner/Chappell (who were incorrectly claiming ownership of the lyrics and making an estimated $2 million a year from people singing the words “Happy Birthday to you” a few times). There are a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous so it’s not technically public domain but no one is claiming ownership of it anymore so it is for practical purposes.
One illustrative detail: the original documents are so old no one involved in the case had copies. They had to go hunting in the British museum amongst the statues of Ramesses and Olmec masks to find them. When copyright lasts so long the paperwork is a museum it’s time to think about shortening them.
Now that the piece is free I’ve written up four versions: two sets of chords (one in C up top and one in F below) and two sets of tabs here. And I’ve kept them as simple as possible so everyone can play them.
Just downstrums will work perfectly well. You can keep it ultra-simple and just do one strum per chord.
Or you can play three downstrums per chord on the first three lines. Then on the final line do two downstrums on the C (or F in the second version) and one each on the next two chords.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Since Happy Birthday is now free of dubious copyright claims, it’s time to do a few new arrangements of the tunes. In this post I’ve written up two beginner-level tabs. They’re a great place to start if you’re new to single note playing. All you need to know is how to read tab and you’re good to go.
For such a familiar and straightforward song, there’s some unexpected oddness going on. Vi Hart has an excellent video covering the weirdness of the now invalid copyright of the lyrics and the strangenesses of the tune that have developed over time.
But, in the spirit of keeping things straightforward, I’ve ignored her and shaved out some of the oddities (but I do at least feel guilty about it).
The tab for the solo version is all played with just the thumb on the picking hand. It’s very minimal and focuses heavily on the melody. It does incorporate some chords as well. For the most part you strum down across the strings and let your thumb come to rest on the A-string (so you don’t play it). You only strum across all strings at the start of bars 5 and 7.
The busiest bar is bar 7 where each beat has a new chord. You can simplify this if you like and drop the Dm chord and just play the E-string, first fret.
The lead line of the duet tab is very similar to the solo version but has all the chord bits removed. So you’re just playing one note at a time. It’s worth learning this version first so you have the melody down before moving on to the solo version.
The backing part plays the chords with just three downstrums per bar. No need for anything fancier than that.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Lots of people have been rating their ukuleles in the review section of the site over the last couple of weeks. You can see the ten highest rated ukuleles here. The early leader is KoAloha closely followed by Kamaka and Kala (people really love ukes that begin with K it seems).
Jake at Antebellum Instruments has been posting a bunch of interesting vintage ukes recently including:
– Incredible 1920s Oscar Schmidt presentation flamed koa.
– 1970s Jennifer Swiftwater-painted uke.
– 1952 Regal “Tara Guitar” baritone ukulele.
– 1950s Mauna Loa.
– 1920s Oscar Schmidt-made Wm. J. Smith soprano.
– 1970s Kamaka HF-1 koa soprano
– Man Man does a not altogether helpful tutorial for his Deep Water (Thanks to Liz).
I haven’t played any of the Witcher games myself (not my sort of thing) but I checked out the soundtrack after getting a tab and it’s very much my sort of thing. I immediately picked up on Gwent Flute Song as being a good candidate for a ukuleling. It’s a fun pastiche of traditional Irish music which always sounds great played campanella style.
Unlike traditional tunes, which usually have two or three distinct sections that you switch between, Gwent Flute Song has a number of variations around a central theme. That means you’re using the same shapes throughout the tune but with subtle variations. That was a killer for me to memorize. If you want to cut down on the variation for your own version then go for it. I did that a bit myself. In my version bars 36 and 37 are the same as bars 40 and 41. Which isn’t the case in the original.
For most of picking in the piece I use thumb and two finger picking. But using my index on the C-string when it’s played next to the g-string e.g. bars 31 and 33.
Time to test your chord knowledge and musical ear. It’s pretty low tech:
– Grab a pen and paper.
– Answer the questions (using a ukulele to help you is entirely allowed and encouraged).
– 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(some of these questions are pretty tricky, so not too much despair). And I’d be interested to know which rounds you found easy and which were hard.
If you’re reading by email or feed reader you may need to click through to the post to see everything.
Name the chord from the chord diagram (they’re major, minor, or 7).
Chord Flavour: Diagrams
All these are A chords but are they A, Am, A7, Am7, or Aadd9?
Chord Flavour: Listening
All these are C chords but are they C, Cm, C7, C6, or Cadd9?
Each of these triads of notes makes up a major chord (e.g. the notes of a G chord are G, B and D). Which one? (They’re listed in alphabetical order starting at C to make it harder.)
16. C, E and G.
17. C, F and A
18. C#, E and A.
19. D# F# and B.
20. Eb, G and Bb.
Match the MP3 to the chord sequence:
a) C – G7 – C – F
b) C – F – G7 – C
c) C – Em – F – C
d) C – Am – Em – F
e) C – A7 – D7 – G7