Peggy Sue Interview

If you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Peggy Sue (formerly Peggy Sue and the Pirates). Their song Lover Gone is currently my favourite ukulele song of the year and it’ll take some beating. So I was very excited when Katy Klaw agreed to answer a few questions.

You’ve only started using ukuleles in your music recently. How did you get into them and what appeals to you about them?

My dad bought me a ukulele as a present and we started playing it in the same way we play guitar which is not really knowing how but with great enthusiasm.

When’s your album coming out and what can we expect from it?

Either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Its got quite a lot of ukulele on it actually. We’ve somehow managed to make the ukulele sound quite sad which I think is no mean feat. You can expect 12 new songs – we’re playing a couple of them live but most of them are brand new – lots of interesting drum beats, vocal harmonies, some acoustic guitars, some electric guitars, a bit of mandoln, a little brass and strings here and there. Its not finished yet but we’re pretty excited about the way its coming along. I think its going to be a goodun.

Are you still using Charlot Webster’s ukulele? Have you got your eye on a replacement? Do you have a name ready for it?

We are indeed still using Charlot’s ukulele which she was kind enough to loan to us for our tour and we took it to New York with us for recording so thats whats going to be on the album which is nice. We haven’t had a chance to buy ourselves one yet – it’s quite a commitment – and no we never name instruments until we’ve met them.

Which three songs does everyone need to hear?

Got me a woman – Levon Helme
While you were sleeping – Elvis Perkins
Single Ladies – Beyonce

What happened to the Pirates?

They said the ukulele was not really instruments so we threw them out

Visit Peggy Sue’s website and buy their Lover Gone EP on Yep Roc Records

Kate Micucci – Let Us Be Happy Together (Chords)

Kate Micucci – Let Us Be Happy Together (Chords)

Another adorable ukulele ditty from Kate Micucci’s appearance in Scrubs. The chords for this one are dead easy. The only trouble is that she’s playing in D-tuning. So you’ll have to tune up or face the dreaded E chord.

Suggested Strumming

Also dead easy, go with Strum #1 from the book: all down strums

Buy Kate Micucci stuff on CD Baby.

Saturday UkeTube

As I’m currently bopping my ass at the London Ukulele Festival, it’s bit shorter than usual this week. But it does include Katian and Kevin Witchger (whose Five Second Dance Party and Five Second Fight Party you should also check out), Ken Middleton and, huzzah someone singing in French. French is easilly the coolest language to sing in and it’s a shame all the French ukers don’t do it more often.

Read the rest of this entry »

Kala UBass, Pono ‘Ohai: Window Shopping

MGM has the new Kala UBass. It’s a collaboration between Kala and Road Toad to make a more affordable version of the RoadToad Bass ukulele.

I’m always a little suspicious when I see a ukulele made from wood with a very Hawaiian sounding name – it always seems like a marketing gimmick. Not being an expert on Hawaiian flora, I’ve been a little puzzled by Pono‘s ‘ohai ukulele. I thought they meant ‘ohia wood, Google thought I meant ‘ohia wood. But, no, Ko’olau say ‘ohai wood is completely different. So that’s my new thing learnt for the day. On another note, those ukuleles are very cheap for a Pono.

One wood I do know exists is maple. And it sure makes for a funky looking back of a ukulele.

I’m also familiar with the existence of coconuts. But I’m not sure I’d want a ukulele made out of one.

Ukulele photo of the week: Three Chicago men.

Friday Links

It’s your last chance to sponsor my part in the ukulele world record attempt before the big day. And if you’re going to be at the London Uke Festival come up and say hi – I’ll be the only person in a Ukulele Hunt t-shirt (like this one).

It’s obviously uke festival season as the Vicenza Ukulele Festival is next weekend and includes Veronica Sbergia, Aaron Keim, Uke Box and many more.

New classical ukulele tab site from Jamie Holding (who you may know as Blake12000).

Bosko and Honey are going to be doing an Oz Ukulele Safari. And they’ll be joined by Seeso and another mystery guest.

New album from Minor Constellations which you can download for free. Geoffrey Richardson, of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, has put a beautiful uke tune up on his MySpace (thanks to Paul).

New ukulele print from Amy Crehore.

Kathy Clugston has been uking it up on the radio again. This time with Roland Taylor (who is producing the Ukulele Orhcestra of Great Britain’s Proms performance). You can listen to it here – starting around 8:30.

How to solve sexual frustration – play the ukulele (Not a site you want your boss to see you on).

Moral of the story #1: Don’t lend anyone your ukulele. Moral of the story #2: Kids are reading too much Twilight.

Does anyone ever put peanut butter in their ukulele?

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain – Ode to Joy (Tab)

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain are taking part in this year’s Proms and they’re having a play along for everyone attending. To that end, they’ve put up tabs and tutorials of the parts. But there’s no tab for the counter-melody – only standard notation. Nightmare! So I did my ‘Every good boy deserves football’ and here’s what I reckon.

Ode to Joy Counter-Melody (Tab)

I can’t be sure it’s spot on. I can’t hear them playing it at any point to check.

Here it is along with the main melody and the chords:

Ode to Joy (Tab and Chords)

And I’ve put together a solo version based on this arrangement for those of us who are far too white trash to visit the proms.

Ode to Joy Solo (Tab)


Uke Hunt Retrospective

I do sometimes have it brought home to me that not everyone hangs on every single word I say. Hard to believe, I know. So here are a few things that are popular, good or over-looked that might have slipped by you.

The Most Popular Tabs and Chords

Well, it’s all fairly obvious stuff. Exactly what you’d expect.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Wait! What? Yes, Daft Punk is the fourth most visited tab/chord post on the blog. No, I don’t know why.

My Favourite Tabs and Chords

James Bond Theme – I think it’s the best arrangement I’ve done. Other people tend to think it’s…
Baby Elephant Walk – I like this one but it needs some work.
Sophie Madeleine – Take Your Love With Me – Just a brilliant chord progression.
Davy Graham – Angi
Naked As We Came – yeah, it was only yesterday. But I like it.

I Should Have Just Stayed in Bed

I toiled for hours. Deep into the night I sat playing. Sweat dripping from my brow. Blood dripping from my fingers.

Bollocks to you James Earl Jones. Sometimes you build it and no-one comes.

Carl Ray Villaverde’s version of Tears in Heaven
Chopin’s Funeral March
Mara Carlyle’s Baby Bloodheart

The How to Play Ukulele eBooks

I’m reliably informed by proper internet marketing people that I should sell my ukulele ebooks a lot harder than I do. Because most people visiting Uke Hunt would have no idea they existed – I’m sure quite a few regulars might not know – and those that do know they exist might not know that I’m the one who wrote them.

I don’t want to go all hard sell on them, but I will make them a bit more obvious. Because I think they’re really good and I’m proud of them.

The Interviews

Most viewed:

Rod Thomas – this one has been viewed over 10,000 times. I couldn’t be happier to give him any exposure I can – he’s the nicest guy in the world. And I have a man-crush on him.
Kate Micucci – is also very sweet. But I don’t fancy her as much as I do Rod.

My faves:

Gus from GUGUG
Dean ‘Minor Constellations’ Engle and Madeline Ava – Both insanely talented young lyricists. Dean has released a new album which you can download free on Rack & Ruin Records (click the album cover). Madeline’s stuff has disappeared from the interwebs along with CLLCT (*sobs*). After reading about her on here, Dean asked Madeline to marry him. I’m still hoping it’s going to happen – it’d make me the happiest blog-pimp in the world.

Useful Stuff

Slash chords – People are always asking, “how do you play B/C on a ukulele?” or some such. I think part of the problem is that people don’t know what to Google when they have that problem. So if you don’t know what a slash chord is, read the post now.
Blues scale and Pentatonic scale – essential if you ever want to do any improvising and solo shenanigans.
10 Reasons You Need to Buy a New Ukuele – psychologists say that people buy based on emotion then search for logical reasons to justify it. That’s certainly true of a lot of uke purchases.

Some Things Just Don’t Catch On

Me (in August 2007): Hey, here’s an idea. Why don’t I do a post with photos of me making stupid faces? And I’ll have a little test-what-you’ve-learnt bit at the end. Wow, everyone’s going to be really engaged with this post. I should do this all the time.

The Internet: Zero comments.

Iron & Wine – Naked As We Came (Tab)

Iron & Wine – Naked As We Came (Tab)

Man alive this one is a toughy. I’ve had a few failed attempts at getting this to work on the ukulele. But I persisted because it’s a beautiful song. And I’ve finally got a version I’m pleased with.

The difficulty with playing this on the ukulele is that the bass part is so important. To get that and the ringing notes I’ve had to transpose them into the same octave. Which adds another layer of difficulty because you have to give these notes an extra little umph to emphasize them.

Here’s my attempt at playing it.


Anyone who can play this and sing at the same time has my unending respect.

Requested by MC Safety.

UPDATE: For anyone looking for an easier version to play while singing, check out Seeso’s version.

Shigeto Takahashi – Monday Exposure

Shigeto Takahashi – Peanut Vendor (MP3)
Shigeto Takahashi – Goofus (MP3) via his website

I’m a big fan of Shigeto’s playing. He was the first person I ever interviewed for the blog. He’s just released his debut CD Roots Trip which contains spirited uke versions of traditional Hawaiian songs, classical music and traditional tunes. You can check out more of his older demos here.

The Fall – Theme From Sparta FC (Tab)

It’s one of the greatest songs of all time Theme from Sparta FC is most famous for its use as the backing music for the BBC’s Final Score. Which lead to Mark E Smith reading out the football results. “Tottenham Hostpur postponed. West Ham United one h.”

The original riff is played on the E and B strings of the guitar. So I’ve had to tune the C string down one fret to B to fit it on the uke. But other than that it works pretty well. Here’s the intro followed by the riff.

fall ukulele tab

Here’s me playing it on the uke:


UPDATE: A massive thanks to Dylan for alerting me to the existence of this recording of The Fall doing Who Makes the Nazis? for a Peel Session. ON A FREAKIN’ UKULELE! A very out of tune ukulele.

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