Uke Hunt is Twelve

Uke Hunt turned 12 this month. According to WebMD a 12 year old’s, “brain is able to handle more complex thinking now. This goes hand in hand with his expanding vocabulary. He’s better at putting what he’s feeling into words.” It’s about damn time.

Here’s a round-up of the goings-on of the last year.

May 2018

– I usually find writing tribute posts cathartic. It feels write to honour artists by playing their music and helping others do likewise. But the suicide of Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit hit me in a way that’s still sore today. Nevertheless, I put together a a ukulele version of The Woodpile. Which is a song I relate to so much it could have been written for me.
– One of the joys of the past year has been Einer Bankz’s ukulele collaborations with a vast array of hip hop artists. Back in May Mass Appeal did a short documentary on him.
– Andy Eastwood premieres his composition for ukulele and string quartet.

In tabs: John Williams’ Imperial March and David Beckingham’s take on We’ll Meet Again.
In chords: Father John Misty’s darkly comic Mr Tillman.

June 2018

– The fourth Big Chord Quiz.

In tabs: Charli XCX’s Boys and Amy Winehouse’s Rehab.
In chords: Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run and, inspired by the Last of Us 2 trailer Doc Watson’s Little Sadie

July 2018

Paul Mansell on playing classical ukulele.
– The ukulele that travelled to the North Pole and was signed by Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh, and Calvin Coolidge among many others.

In tabs: Leonard Cohen’s Winter Lady and guest tabs from Choan Galvez and Joao Tostes.
In chords: Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.

August 2018

– I’ve been trying to improve my jazz playing over the last year. I’ve still got a long way to go. But I’m particularly pleased with how my arrangement of Summertime turned out.
– Paying tribute to the legendary Aretha Franklin with A Natural Woman and I Say A Little Prayer.

In tabs: Aline Kelly’s excellent version of Leo Brouwer’s deliciously discordant Etude V and riffs from Yorkshire bands.
In chords: The welcome return of twenty one pilots with my favourites song of theirs to date Nico and the Niners

September 2018

What’s the deal with augmented chords?

In tabs: A rare ukulele-group tab from me: Abba’s Mamma Mia and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
In chords: Frank and Nancy’s Somethin’ Stupid.

October 2018

Halloween season with The Doors’ People are Strange and Midnight and the Stars and You from The Shining.

In tabs: The MASH theme Suicide is Painless.
In chords: Phoenix’s Lisztomania

November 2018

– Jake Shimabukuro exposed where he gets his amazing uke skills from.
– I officially ended my oft-broken no Beatles rule with Hey Jude, Honey Pie and five intros and solos from The White Album

In tabs: Lana Del Rey’s Venice Bitch on baritone and St Vincent’s New York.

December 2018

In tabs: Mariah’s All I Want for Christmas is You, Sousa’s Liberty Bell and What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
In chords: Elton John’s Your Song and The Buzzcocks’ Ever Fallen in Love.

January 2019

In tabs: Imagine Dragons’ Thunder and all the riffs from Weezer’s covers album.
In chords: Escapism from Steven Universe

February 2019

– The Billie Eilish takeover of the internet started with Bury a Friend and When I Was Older.

In tabs: Joanna Newsom’s On a Good Day, Tom Waits’s Johnsburg, Illinois and Choan Galvez’s Drama-in-a-box
In chords: ,David Glen Eisley/SpongeBob – Sweet Victory and The Monkees – I’m a Believer.

March 2019

In tabs: The trend of lowercase only titles continues with Billie Eilish – when the party’s over and Ariana Grande – thank u, next.
In chords: Bob Dylan/The Pogues – When the Ship Comes In and Scott Walker – 30th Century Man.

April 2019

In tabs: Thomas the Tank Engine theme, Dream a Little Dream of Me and Herman Vandecauter’s take on Georg Philipp Telemann’s Siciliana and Allegro.
In chords: The Billie Eilish juggernaut rolls on with 8 and Bad Guy.

Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me (Chords and Tab)

Lesley Gore – You Don’t Own Me (Chords)

More than fifty years after its release and Lesley Gore’s impassioned demand for female self-ownership is still depressingly relevant.

You Don’t Own Me is a masterclass is using music to convey the meaning of the song. The depressed verses are played in a minor key while the forthright choruses switch to major. The song also shifts up half a step three times. Each time making her sound more strident and forceful.

As effective as the key changers are, they do make this song tricky to play. A chunk of the tune is in G#. A key that is uke unfriendly and odd in terms of musical theory. For reasons I might go into at a later date, the Fm chord in the middle should really be referred to as an E#m. I went with Fm though to avoid confusion.

In researching this post, I found out a recent cover of this by Grace managed to stack up a quarter of a billion views without me knowing it existed.

Suggested Strumming

I like to count this tune in 6/8 time as 1, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3.

For the main strum use this three beat long pattern:

d – d u d –

Intro: You can do just six down-strums per bar for four bars. Alternatively, you can pull of from the A-string, 1st fret to the open A-string and follow that with a bar of six down-strums and a bar of four. Which sounds like this:


Intro strum

Verse and Solo: Main strum twice each for the first three chords (G – Cm – D7 in the key of G). Then once each for the next two before returning to the start of the progression. For the final chord, do the main strum four times. Which goes like this:


Verse strum

Chorus, Middle and Outro: Main strum four times for each chord.

Twiddly Bits

The solo mostly restates the melody. The trickiest part is the run at the end which requires a big jump up the fretboard.

Links

Buy it on Amazon
More 60s tabs and chords

UkeTube: Sonder Bombs, Robin Evans, Charming Disaster

Watch on YouTube

Tracklist
The Sonder Bombs – I don't have one anymore
Robin Evans – Come On In My Kitchen
Charming Disaster – Blacksnake
George Elmes – Roadrunner
Jósean Log – Canción Sin Nombre
Julián Rodríguez – Lorenzo
EatMyUke – Abbey Road
The Burney Sisters – I Wanna Be Real
Zoë Bestel – Moment of Madness
Honoka – Don't Stop Me Now

Friday Links: Pronunciation, Dumbo and Train-Track Uke

Brad at Live ‘Ukulele has an incredibly thorough discussion of how to pronounce ‘ukulele taking in Hawaiian history, overpopulation and punctuation.

The live action remake of Dumbo has some uke action on the soundtrack.

3D printed wooden ukulele.

On Video
Sol Hoopii in Down To Their Last Yacht (1934).
Building a solid body baritone ukulele.


Window Shopping
Tangi and Kawika collaborate on a violin-style ukulele.
Petros Tunnel 13 ukulele apparently using redwood timbers salvage from the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Siskiyou Summit Tunnel #13.
Vintage Knutsen harp ukulele.
Pono 8-string tenor.

Cliff “Ukulele Ike” Edwards – Ja-Da (Tab)

Cliff Edwards – Ja-Da (Tab)

I first came across the song Ja-Da in Herb Ohta’s Sophisticated Ukulele tab book and had a lot of fun playing his version. I recently had my interest in the tune reawakened when Aline Kelly poster her tab of it.

My version is heavily based on Aline’s version. It’s in the same key and I use the same chords (although often in a different inversion). The melody is largely the same but I do shift the notes around. For example, rather than picking the E-string, 3rd fret in bar 3 I play the open g-string.

From bar 21, I start throwing in a few little runs. I’m just using notes from the F major scale for that. So I highly recommend trying a few things out for yourself and seeing what you can come up with.

Links

Buy it on Amazon
More jazz tabs and chords

K-Pop Riffs and Intros

As much as I’m a fan of dreary and depressing music, I like pop music to be at least a little joyful. And K-pop has been injecting some much needed fun into pop music recently. And I’m a fan of the way they tend to cram as many styles of music into a single song as possible. So you get little sections like the rock riff in Seventeen’s Clap, Blackpink’s blarring trumpets in Kill This Love, and the jazzy 20’s lick in Momoland’s I’m So Hot that are prime for a ukeing.

If you like these short tabs, you can find lots more on my Instagram.

BTS – Boy with Luv

Blackpink – DDU-DU DDU-DU

Blackpink – Kill This Love

Seventeen – Clap

Momoland – I’m So Hot

Queen – Somebody to Love (Chords and Tab)

Queen – Somebody to Love (Chords)

It’s been very gratifying to see the revival of interest in Queen the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic has produced. Their songs so often have interesting twists and turns, memorable guitar solos and amazing harmonies. Plus Brian May started out on ukulele and picked it up again for Good Company.

Suggested Strumming

Main strum: d – d u d –

Intro: Just one strum per chord to start with. Then you can down-strum on each beat for the build on Bb – C.

Verse and solo: When there are three chords to a line, main strum once each for the first two chords then two on the last chord. Two each on the G7-C. And one each on the last line. Which sounds like this:


Strum

The verses do switch up a little. Verse two starts two main strums on the F and one on each of the last line.

Chorus and Outro: One down-strum per beat on the F in the first line. Then switching back to the main strum once per chord until two big down-strums on the F6. Then back to the main strum twice per chord.

Bridge: Here you down-strum on the first four beats of each bar. And switch to down-strumming every beat as the tension builds. For the last line I strum down on the Csus4s and up on the Cs.

Twiddly Bits

Here’s a take on the piano part in the intro also played with a capo at the third fret. It’s a fingerpicked version of the chords with a few bits of filigree.

I love Brian May’s solos. They’re always melodic and interesting. This one uses the Ab major pentatonic most of the way through. It switches to the Ab major scale in bar 8. Then switching the D flat of the major scale for a D natural to move to the Ab lydian mode.

The end of the original solo turns into a bit of a widdle-fest that doesn’t translate well to uke. So for my version I’ve borrowed from the, “someday I’m going be free, lord,” vocal part.

I’m playing this without a capo. But there’s nothing below the third fret so it won’t cause any problems if you’re playing the chords as well.

Links

Buy it on Amazon
More Queen tabs and chords

UkeTube: Cavetown, Lisa Loeb, TENSPD

Watch on YouTube

Tracklist
Jake Shimabukuro and Taimane – Bodysurfing
TENSPD – Calling You Back
Cavetown – Hug All Ur Friends
Jan Laurenz – Scarborough Fair
Natasha Ghosh – Again
Bill and the Belles – Taking Back My Yesterday
Lisa Loeb and Walk Off the Earth – Stay (I Missed You)
Jonathan Lewis – Devils Dream
Einer Bankz and Houdini – Myself
Bobby Alu – Finally

Dream a Little Dream of Me (Tab)

Dream a Little Dream of Me (Tab)

I wrote up the chords for this song more than a decade ago, so it’s high time I gave it the tabbing treatment.

Dream a Little Dream of Me was written in the 30s by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt and covered by all the greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. But it hit biggest in the 60s when the Mamas and the Papas released their cover. And it’s that version that I’ve mostly based my arrangement on. But I took a few cues from Doris Day version in the intro.

My favourite thing about this song is how it creates that feeling of slowly drifting off to sleep. It does this with a series of gentle, chromatic downward shifts in the chords. So C shifts to B7, Ab shifts to G and F shifts to Fm.

Links
Buy it on Amazon
More jazz tabs and chords

Georg Philipp Telemann – Siciliana and Allegro (Tab)

Georg Philipp Telemann – Siciliana and Allegro (Tab)

Herman Vandecauter has been uploading a long stream of excellent arrangements of classical music from ukulele and, the ukulele’s papai, the machete to his Bandcamp. And he was kind enough to allow me to post the tab for this piece by,German Baroque composer, Georg Philipp Telemann.

If classical music is your jam, I wrote a collection of classical pieces tabbed for ukulele.

Links

Buy it on Herman’s Bandcamp
Subscribe to Herman on YouTube

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