How to Play National Anthems

I admit it, I’m overexcited about the Olympics starting. I’m not much of a sports fan, but the Olympics gets me hooked every time. Which is why I took a little time out from writing the blues ebook (that I’ve promised loads of people is coming but is really big and involved) to have a bit of fun arranging various national anthems for the uke and putting them in an ebook.

I’ve written up eight anthems chosen by the countries that visit Uke Hunt the most: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK, the USA plus Russia (for the benefit of my many hundred Communist readers).

I’ve kept the arrangements as simple as I could to make sure they’re accessible. If you’re fairly new to fingerpicking, they’re a good place to start. To give you an idea of the difficulty level, here’s my arrangement of Scotland the Brave:

Scotland the Brave (Tab)
MP3

The ebook is going to be sold for $7. But for the early birds, you can get it for $5 until the end of the Olympics (on the 24th August).

You can find out more here: How to Play National Anthems.

What you get: A zip file containing a pdf file with all the tabs and notes for each anthem, individual pdfs of the tab for each tune, mp3s of all the anthems. Once you’ve completed your payment, you’ll be taken to the download page where you can get it all.

If none of that makes sense to you or you have any other questions check out our FAQ or get in touch with me.

UPDATE: The ebook has been mentioned in the New York Times. You can read the article here. (Look out bestseller list, here I come).

Here’s how the arrangements sound:

Advance Australia Fair (mp3)

O Canada (mp3)

La Marseillaise (mp3)

Deutschlandlied (mp3)

God Defend New Zealand (mp3)

Hymn of the Russian Federation (mp3)

God Save the Queen (mp3)

Star Spangled Banner (mp3)

Cover by fadedpictures

Rod Thomas – Same Old Lines


Rod Thomas – Same Old Lines (Chords)

I think this is the fastest turnaround from first listen to post up since FotC’s Mermaids. It’s a fantastic song (and top notch video). A fact that wasn’t lost on the people of class and good taste who read the blog and pummelled me with chord requests. Way ahead of you guys.

There wasn’t enough room to write Asus4add9 all over the place. So wherever you see A49 use 4200. There’s also the A(alt) chord (or Aa). It’s just a plain A chord but I’ve called it that to distinguish it from the more common A chord shape.

Other than that, you’re good to go.

Same Old Lines isn’t out until the end of September, but when it is you’ll be able to buy it on Self Raising Records (the single includes a remix by James Yuill who also remixed this modern ukulele classic).

Until then, you can sign up for his mailing list and get a free track.

Requested by Tom, Cardboardfrog and Ukulelezo.

Monday Exposure: UKEit Volume Uno

Anyone who saw the clips from the UKEit Festival will know that Italy has a very healthy ukulele scene going on right now and it’s in no small part due to, radio and TV stars, Cappa & Drago. With their UKEit site, they’ve set out to, “create an original Italian ukulele scene, starting with those who have already mastered the instrument, working in the live scene and making records, as well as welcoming other artists from all sorts of musical backgrounds to experiment on the four strings.” And if the festival wasn’t enough to convince you they’ve really got something going on, then the CD UKEit Volume Uno should do they trick.

The album is packed with excellent performances. You might already be familiar with Veronica Sbergia and Max de Bernardi‘s fantastic take on Se Stasera Sono Qui and, the Uncle Fester of the ukulele, Fabio Koryu Calabro. But there are also many acts on the CD that are completely new to me.

There’s a great variety of styles on the CD. Along with more traditional ukulele fare, there’s hip hop uke from Frankie Hi-NRG MC and Scampaforce sounding like Daft Punk’s long lost ukulele song. Other tandout tracks include Thomas Blackthorne’s cover of Tom Waits’s I Don’t Want To Grow Up (which, like all the tracks on the album, is sung in Italian), Cappo & Drago’s Paroxetina 20mg and
Enrico Farnedi’s Lena (which you can hear on his MySpace).

But highlight of the album is the incredible voice of Musica Nuda’s Petra Magoni covering Un Calpo Al Cuore (with Gaetano Cappa on uke duties) which, I should point out, isn’t anywhere near as far out as the performance in that video but just as wonderfully melodramatic.

I’m already looking forward to Volume Due.

Buy UKEit Volume Uno here.

Star Wars Theme (Dodge Brothers Version)


Dodge Brothers – Star Wars Theme (Tab and Chords)


Watch the video here.

For his review of the new Star Wars film, BBC film critic, Mark Kermode has forgone the raised eye brows and in-depth analysis in favour of playing the theme tune on the ukulele with his skiffle band The Dodge Brothers.

He inspired me to tab out a ukulele duet of their version. It looks like he’s in D tuning, but I’ve written it up in C. This version differs significantly from the original, so I’ll probably do a full uke version at some point in the future.

You can also watch Mark on his uke here.


Buy The Dodge Brothers

Poopy Lungstuffing, Rod Thomas, Hailey Wojcik: Uke Videos

I had a nightmare time deciding which video to feature on the front page this week. I couldn’t decide between Rod Thomas’s ukulele pop, the eagerly anticipated – by me at least – return of Hailey Wojcik and Poopy Lungstuffing’s cover of The Kink’s Oh Demon Alcohol (many times better than the pretty terrible original). Read the rest of this entry »

eBay Ukulele Window Shopping

Purple is obviously this season’s colour. Kanile’a are producing a range called ‘Exotic ukuleles’ and a purple heart wood tenor ukulele has cropped up on eBay. This purple SG-alike is described as a ‘four string guitar’, but with a scale length of 19.5″ it’s fair to call it baritone ukulele.

A couple of nice, vintage Hawaiian ukes: 1927 Kumalae and a Nunes Taropatch.

If this banjolele looks like it’s been through the wars, that’s because it has. According to the etching on the uke, it was at the Somme during WW1. As much as I love the uke, I think lugging that thing around the trenches would be a hassle I wouldn’t need. But obviously this is my lack of battle experience talking as this photo from WW2 features a very similar 8 string banjolele.

Prize for most kitsch item I have ever seen goes to this Marilyn Monroe ukulele strumming figurine.

Neil Armstrong, ukebucket and other Ukulinklinks

Herald Tribune interviews the guy who took the infamous picture of Neil Armstrong strumming his ukulele on return from the moon.

ukebucket have just released two albums: one of originals, Bad Ukulele, and one of covers, Covered. You can download the covers album for free here. And buy the originals album, and I can tell you it’s worth it, here (although if you’re stuck in the 1920s and want a rotating disc, you’ll have to wait a while).

The LA Times comes out in defence of ukuleles.

17 Dots (the blog of eMusic) has a series on the ukulele.

Todd the Ukulele Evangalist sings of life as a Ukaholic (MP3 link).

Tab for the X Files theme on Des Cordes er Dubois.

The Curtis Covers Project is a kind of karaoke request blog. People suggest a song for him to cover and he posts his version – often played on ukulele. My personal favourite is Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl.

Blogotheque’s Take Home Shows is an idea too good not to steal. The latest imitator, Shoot the Player, has some fine ukulele videos from Via Tania here and here. But my favourite is Laura Jean’s So Happy It Hurts.

Eddie Vedder discusses the uke’s size to melody ratio.

Fawlty Towers and Dream a Little Dream on Uker Tabs.

How much should you pay a menstruating ukulele player?

Martin Simpson – Rico

Martin Simpson – Rico (Tab)

Martin Simpson is one of the finest acoustic guitarists around. His collaborations with June Tabor are some of the best English folk records ever made. On his album Righteousness and Humidity, he finally picked up the uke. He has plenty of guitar tabs on his site, but nary a ukulele tab to be seen. So I’ll have a go at it.

You can listen to a short clip here. I couldn’t find a full length one, so I’ve had a quick go at an arrangement myself (without the added guitar of the original version).


Rico (MP3)

The tune is made up of four main sections. The intro is a very loose section based on the G major scale. I haven’t tabbed it out note for note, since I’m fairly sure he improvised most it, but just the main parts that you can riff on.

The first main section contains a fast hammer-on/pull off phrase. These are very common in solo folk guitar playing but not so common on the uke. You have to work quite hard to make sure that third finger arcs above the A string to make sure it rings out clearly.

The final section includes another feature of fingerstyle guitar playing: mixing high frets and open strings in a melody line. This works very well on the ukulele and something worth keeping in mind when you are arranging tunes yourself.

Kiwi Ukulele: the New Zealand Ukulele Companion

Finally, a beginner’s ukulele book that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

I’ve been moaning about the quality of ukulele beginner books for a while now. They all seem very dated in the songs they select and nowhere near comprehensive enough to cover everything a beginner should know when they out. Luckily, Mike Dickison (he of Mike’s Ukulele Page) has written the book that the ukulele deserves. He covers the basics comprehensively, but what really makes it stand out is that he conveys where the ukulele scene is at right now. There are chords for ukulele classics (Five Foot Two, Ukulele Lady), uke/punk crossovers (Anarchy in the UK, Blitzkrieg Bop) and indie ukulele (Ukulele Me).

All the basic chording, strumming and picking are put across effectively and concisely with top notch illustrations (not surprisingly).

As well as the playing side, he also covers the other essential parts of the modern uke scene that none of the other books mention: ukulele clubs, recording yourself on your computer and ukuleles on the net.

The book does have a New Zealand focus (I’m ashamed to admit that I couldn’t have named the New Zealand national anthem in either language before reading the book), but set your New Zealand prejudices aside. It deserves to get picked up and adapted by an International publisher as it’s by far the best introduction to the ukulele I’ve ever read.

Mike will be putting up extracts from the book here and you can order it online here.

Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma


Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma (Chords)

To answer Vampire Weekend’s question, Lynne Truss and no one else. But plenty, of people, give a, fuck about, Vampire Weekend,s Oxford Comma, so I decided, to give it, a write, up,

Dead simple chords for this one (G, C, D and Am). And the first part of the solo works really well as a ukulele strumming solo.

The easiest way to play this is to keep your first finger barred across at the 7th fret the whole way.

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