Friday Links: Kate Miccuci on Scrubs

Kate Micucci is playing her ukulele on Scrubs – which is my new favourite ukulele news ever. She discusses her role as Ted’s ukulele sweetheart, Stephanie, here. Until you get a chance to watch it, you’ll have to content yourself Kate and Ted duetting on Screw You a PG version of Fuck You.

Tiki King has a some photos from NAMM including some new Fluke designs, some Les Paul-y type electric ukes from Stagg (with a strange choice of knob placement) and Ohana getting into the ‘oddly placed soundhole’ game.

The new Beirut double EP March of the Zapotech doesn’t have a great deal of ukulele on it (Quiet Color have an MP3 of the uke-heaviest track The Akala). Perhaps because Zach’s had his ukulele stolen.

New York Ukulele Festival is back on again under new management.

The Hull Ukulele Group starts up on 9th February. If you live in the area, sign up for their Facebook group.

More King Blues chords from sam_not_static on Uker Tabs.

Milk Milk Lemonade has an MP3 from The Half Sisters.

Is it ‘ukulele’? Is it ‘ukelele’? There’s only one way to sort this out. FIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!

Do you think playing the ukulele is gay? If anyone asks, tell them your ukulele belongs to your secret girlfriend.

Florence & the Machine – Kiss With A Fist (Chords)

Florence and the Machine – Kiss With A Fist (Chords)

A very strange year for me was 2008. It was the first time in history my Crush of the Year wasn’t a musician or Janeane Garofalo (24?) but Countdown champion, writer and bus-atheist Ariane Sherine.

But she hasn’t written any shouty, punk-pop songs so today’s post is about Florence & the Machine who distinguished herself by using ukes, covering Beirut and kicking ass.

Kiss With A Fist is a simple three chord slash-a-long. If you wanted to avoid the E chord, you could move everything up a fret so the chords are Bb, Eb and F.

Buy Florence & the Machine

Ukulele Video of the Year 2008: Your Vote

The nominations for Ukulele Video of the Year are in and I’ve come up with a list of 11 videos as contenders.

I think it provides a pretty good overview of the ukulele scene at the moment: orchestras and solo acts; originals and covers; songs and instrumentals; pros and ams. Some surprises though. No Bosko and Honey. And I thought JuNu would make it this year.

Here are the links to the videos in reverse alphabetical order. You get one vote, so use it wisely. If you’re reading this via the feed or email click here to come over to the blog and vote. Voting closes at midnight Hawaii time next Tuesday (3rd February).

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra – It’s a Heartache
Ukulelezo – Optional Accessory
Ukebucket – The Fourth Thursday of November
Rod Thomas – Same Old Lines
Sweetafton23 – I Believe She’s Lying
Seeso – Hotel California
Neal Paisley – Gossip
GUGUG – Surfin’ Bird
The Gentle Surprise – Gimme That Wine
The Barnkickers – Night Song
Jason Arimoto – Little Wing


Bon Iver – Skinny Love (Tab and Chords)

Bon Iver – Skinny Love (Chords)

UPDATE – Sophie’s Version: I’ve added the video for Sophie Madeleine’s version based on this tab. But her version is one step up (g#C#FG#). So you’ll have to tune up or put a capo on the first fret to play along.

Living in the UK makes it easier to pick an album of the year this year as Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago didn’t come out over here until 2008. And if you’re not familiar with its charms, get over to his website and download the album’s standout track Skinny Love.

I had a bit of trouble working out how to get this tune onto the uke. It’s obvious he’s using an usnusal tuning and a bit of research turned up that he was using CGEGCC. There are only three notes there (G, C and E) and, happily, they are open uke strings as well. So I tuned the A string down two frets so it’s exactly the same as the G string. From there, this arrangement is very similar to what he’s actually playing.

For the outro (and the intro) I play this:


Monday Exposure: Craig Robertson – DeChirico Street

Craig Robertson – Frontporch (MP3)
Craig Robertson – The Dark Derby (MP3)
Craig Robertson – Bleeding Love (MP3) via

Craig Robertson towers over the ukulele scene. His Ukulele Noir and the Ukulele Caravan events have given a platform to some of the most exciting ukulele acts around including Hailey Wojcik, Michael Wagner and Megg Farrell. But, of course, there’s his own music and he has just released his latest CD DeChirico Street which he was kind enough to send me.

If you’ve been following Craig’s music, and you really should have been, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect: darkly humorous songs of love, drunkenness and death delivered with jazz chord progressions and a lived-in voice. Has a real knack for writing evocative and atmospheric songs and character focussed songs like Mamie Thurman and The Ballad of Blanche Barrow. He makes it all sound so easy and you start to wonder why all songs aren’t this good (until you try to write one and find out it’s impossible).

The standout tracks on the CD:

The Leopard: An instantly memorable tune about his penis/libido*.

Goodbye Paul Tibbets: If you’re going to write songs about death and murder, then Paul Tibbets is a very interesting candidate for a song. By taking it down to the personal level, it avoids the traps that most protest songs fall into. There are some excellent lines in this song that I don’t want to spoil by writing them down.

The Gate: A song inspired by Giorgio de Chirico’s Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (recreated on the back of a ukulele by Moogly Moo for the cover). The painting also inspired Robyn Hitchcock’s DeChirico Street and Craig finds equally dark and strange goings on with murder and a satanic getaway set to a Motown bass riff and a country-tinged chorus.

Buy DeChirico Street here and follow Craig’s blog here.

*Or it could just be a simple song of animal husbandry and I’ve just revealed far too much about my own penis/libido.

Davy Graham – Angi (Tab)

Davy Graham – Angi (Tab)


Davy Graham has never really got the attention he deserves. He developed the style of guitar playing picked up by the likes of Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, John Renbourn and even Jimmy Page’s acoustic outings. But a lot of his stuff was a little too out-there for the early sixties with heavy Indian influence and deep jazz experiments that wouldn’t take off until the latter half of the 60s. Added to that, his decades spent in Syd Barret like solitude meant he never had much commercial success.

But his tune Angi was immediately accessible and became the must-play piece for the aspiring guitarists of the 60s folk revival. It’s been covered by pretty much everyone, almost always with a different spelling, Bert Jansch recorded it as Angie and later by Simon and Garfunkel as Anji. I’ve tried arranging it for ukulele in the past and could never get it right. But with him passing away in December I reapplied myself to the task and got an arrangement that I’m happy with.

My arrangement is heavily based on Bert Jansch’s and is quick tricky to play. In the fingerpicking sections I’m usually coving the A string with my middle finger, E string with my index finger and G and C strings. There are a few places where I switch to one finger per string (such as bar 6).

I was busking it rather than strictly following the tab for the MP3 so it does differ slightly from the arrangement in the tab. But you get the idea.

Saturday UkeTube: MMMBops

Two versions of MMMBop this week (thanks to the Ukulele Underground thread). But they’ve both found a creative and new way to play it. Also this week is Ian Emmerson of the Re-Entrants‘ epic version of Bat Out of Hell.

Usually I wouldn’t include a video where the uke is painfully out of tune, but I’ve made an exception for Madeline Ava. Partly because I really like the song and partly because of, “It’s OK, Madeline. Your soul’s not out of tune.”

And don’t forget to get in your nominations for Ukulele Video of the Year Read the rest of this entry »

Ukulele Window Shopping

Note this down as the week ukulele makers started going completely insane. WaverlyStreet have made an aluminum ukulele (there’s a video of it here). Here’s a ukulele with a whammy bar which sounds nasty (thanks to vialde for finding that). Kealani have gone safariing and have come back with leopard skin and zebra wood ukuleles.

But the real ‘I don’t care how ridiculous it is, I want it’ ukulele is the doube neck ukulele from D&D.

It looks like BugsGear have been raiding the Kala design cupboard for their new pineapple and f-hole Eleukes. The big selling point seems to be that you can plug your ipod into them and play along with it. Just the sort of gimmick that would hook me in. Even if those f-holes are very unsexy and blob-like.

Friday Links: NAMM, Edinburgh Ukuleles

Reports and videos of new ukuleles are filtering in from the big NAMM. Cali Rose has a report here. Fretboard Journal talks about the Collings Guitars’ new uke and you can see it played here. Here’s a picture of a $7,000 ukulele. And here Derick Sebastian checks out the Fender ukulele.

If you’re anywhere near Edinburgh, there’s a new ukulele gathering: Monday Ukearist where you can hang out with friend of the blog, J-Hob and Mr Kazookeylele.

Ben Lerman enters the running for the American Idol songwriting contest.

On Uker Tabs: Flaming Lips’ Fight Test, Arteuke’s Lucciole and Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah

Recent Le Soir Ukulele Sessions include Jolie Holland (make sure you click the first time it says ‘Pierre-Yves…’ to hear Darlin’ Ukulele), Joan As Police Woman and Phosphorescent.

How to attain ukulele authenticity.

Radio 1’s Nihal interviews ‘ukulele virtuoso Julia Nunes’.

Souled On discusses Has-Lo’s sampling of Herb Ohta and offers up MP3s of both.

Mike ‘The Streets’ Skinner picks up the ukulele (scroll to the bottom).

Book yourself on a ukulele cruise. (Thanks Donnie)


I need to swear a whole lot more.

Cocoon – Chupee (Chords)

Cocoon – Chupee (Chords)

In case you were mislead by my ineptitude yesterday, nominations for Ukulele Video of the Year close on the 27th January (not the day before they opened as I previously stated).

This year’s winner of the always fiercely fought Hat Wearer of the Year Award is chipswow for her fine work on her cover of Cocoon’s Chupee (technically uploaded this year). She also narrowly missed out on Best Hair to Misanthrope Jackalope.

Over a Christmas break full of drizzle, sport-talk and ugly people, I’ve been asking myself one question: Why the hell am I living in England when France is this far away? *indicates small distance with fingers* Things France is famous for: food, wine, good-looking people, surrendering, existentialism and cute ukulele songs. Things I love: food; wine; pretty but slightly depressed girls; cute ukulele songs. Plus, I’m jaw-droppingly handsome and a spineless coward. It’s a perfect match.

But until I’m sat outside a cafe chatting with Coralie Clément about ‘pissing by the bonk’, I’ll make do with strumming this song.

As you can see on their Le Soir Ukulele Session, he plays all the chords in the verse with his finger barred across the second fret. But I prefer playing the G and Em chords in the more usual way.

For a basic strum pattern you can use: down, up, up, down, up

Older Entries
Newer Entries