Guitar Riffs for Ukulele: Rolling Stones – Satisfaction


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A little respite after the difficulty of the last two. You can beef it up a little by adding the G string at the same fret for each note to make them power chords.

The Darkness – I Believe In A Thing Called Love


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The most difficult riff in this series, but well worth it if you ask me. It’s mainly power chords but they do jump around the neck and it’s tricky switching to the picking for the last two notes. You could make it a little easier by just using the C and G strings for the chords.

Saturday UkeTube: Ugly, Hairy Man Edition

Back in the day I felt the need to argue that the ukulele wasn’t just for uggos like Tiny and Formby but sexy people played it too. How the times change. Now I feel the need to say, “Ugly men play the ukulele too.” So this edition of UkeTube features plenty of facial hair and stretched t-shirts; and smells of sweat and Lynx.

Of course, none of them are ugly. I’d snog each and every one.
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Ukulele Window Shopping: Gibson and Martin

After last week’s Tiny Tim heart attack ukulele, this week sees a bunch of ukuleles with rather more modest claims to fame. But they’re very nice ukes. And plenty of very nice, none famous, ukuleles too. I should get a job as a banker so I can be incompetent and walk away with millions because I need all of these:

Martin Tenor ukulele signed by Chris Martin. No, not that Chris Martin. Chris Martin as in C.F. Martin IV.
Gibson Tenor once owned by Harry Von Zell: Yes, THE Harry Von Zell.
Martin once owned by Al Hendrickson: Off of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw.
– 1920s Gibson Style 3: Love the colour of it.
– 1920s Koa Taropatch: Restored by Jake Wildwood.
– 1930s Dobro
Tangi Violin Ukulele: Why did they stop making something that cool?
– Balalaika adapted to play like a ukulele.
– Photo of a guy playing the uke whilst hanging off a horse.

Friday Links: The KoAloha Story, Earth Day Ukuleles

KoAloha Ukulele Story is an animated short film about the history of KoAloha and has even picked up awards. I don’t know when we’ll be able to get to see it, but you can get a taster of it with this charming interview with Alvin about the Sceptre (want one).

C is the official chord of Earth Hour. Third Sunday, the other Wellington Ukulele Orchestra, is encouraging us to reduce our carbon skidmark and upload our “I’m just one ukulele player, what can I do? videos. As the WIUO have done. Subscribe to Earth Hour 09 Ukuleles

The American Astronaut is one of my favourite films. So I was very excited to see the trailer for the follow up Stingray Sam. I was even more excited when a ukulele cropped up in it. Cory McAbee (director, star and music guy) was credited with the ukulele at the end of American Astronaut – but I can’t hear one on there.

Chords for Lemon Tree on Uker Tabs.

Ukulele hitter: (of a batter) tending to hit mostly singles.

One for all the facial hair loving ukulele gals.

Speaking of which. Now the ‘cute ukulele girl’ thing is getting boring boring – it’s morphed into a new trend: cute girl desert ukulele jumping. Example 1. Example 2. Get on the bandwagon while it’s still hot.

Aerosmith – Walk This Way


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I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to include Walk This Way. It’s one of the classics.

It is one of the trickier ones to play in this batch. You have to give the E string a fair old pluck to keep it ringing through the hammer-ons.

New in the Rag Bag

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, the Rag Bag is the page where I stuck all the half finished stuff and bits and bobs that aren’t ready (or, more likely, never will be ready) for the blog. Most of these are requests. Recent editions are:

Devendra Banhart – The Ribbon (Intro) Simplified for the uke but in the same key. MIDI

Bob Marley – Waiting in Vain (Intro) (from Chris Ramos Wong’s version)

Scott Joplin – Bethena (First Theme) (MIDI)

Neal Paisley – Throw Me in the River (Tab) – Very early draft of first few bars. Note the altered tuning: fcfa.

Three Amigos/Randy Newman – Blue Shadows (Intro) in this uke-friendly key.

George Strait – River of Love (Intro) Chords: D and G.

James Blunt – River of Love (Intro)

Beatles – I’ve Just Seen A Face (Intro)

Sublime – Santaria (Intro) MIDI. Loosely based on this version.

Libertines – Don’t Look Back Into the Sun (Intro) MIDI

Black Crowes – She Talks to Angels (Intro)(PDF) MP3

David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust (Intro) (PDF) MIDI

The Cure – Just Like Heaven (Riff)(PDF) MIDI

Jacques Brel – Madeleine Intro (PDF) MIDI The chords are on Chordie. Capo at the first fret to play along with the original.

The Hush Sound – The Artist (Intro) (PDF) MIDI

Thin Lizzy – Boys are Back in Town


Thin Lizzy – Boys Are Back In Town (Tab)


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Guitar Riffs + St Patrick’s Day = Inevitable Lizzy

… and a bit of harmony action. This has to be the best bit of harmony guitar work ever (run close by the Hotel California solo). So I’ve kept that and written up two ukulele parts (moved up four frets to fit).

Monday Exposure: The Barnkickers

The Barnkickers are a big favourite in the uke community; winning UkeWarehouse’s video contest and receiving nominations for Ukulele Video of the Year and UU’s Undies. The group is father and daughter duo Steve and Amanda – the Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus of the ukulele – and they have just released their first album Up Before Noon.

I got in touch with Barnkicker Steve to discuss familial music making, ukuleles and manatee lettuce.

There aren’t many father/daughter duos out there. What sort of dynamic is there between you?

I think we have a pretty typical father daughter relationship. We are very close, but of course there are times we don’t agree and that can extend to our musical endeavors at times. We do have a lot of interests in common and we share a similar dry sense of humor. Amanda and I don’t really get to spend as much time together as we’d like and we both have pretty busy lives these days. She has her act together to a much greater degree than I did when I was her age, that’s for sure!

Is one of you in charge?

Is any father really “in charge” of their seventeen year old daughter? Joking aside, it’s hard to stop being “Dad” and become just a collaborator, but luckily we have similar ideas and tastes when it comes to music. I’m more or less “in charge” during the recording process, but things like arranging songs and making videos are more of a joint effort. When recording Amanda’s songs, I try to get ideas from her and compliment her performance when I add the other instruments.

How is it different from playing with non-family members?

There is a comfort level between us that makes it very easy to work together. We can voice our opinions or doubts without worrying about what the other person thinks. We also take a great deal of pride in one another’s talent. There is something special about family members performing music together and I’m glad I have the opportunity to do so.

What differences are there between yours and Amanda’s songs?

My songs often sound like they were written a generation ago. I enjoy writing new songs that sound like old standards and I’m always looking for a catchy hook or a clever lyric. Amanda’s influences are more contemporary and there is often a touch of angst in her lyrics which are much more enigmatic than mine. You could say my influences start at The Beatles and work backward while her start at the same point and go forward.

Do you ever write songs together?

Not really, although we bounce ideas off of each other and offer suggestions. The four songs of Amanda’s that you hear on the CD are entirely her compositions. I basically just added the guitar and bass parts.

The combination of ukulele and double bass works incredibly well. Why do you think that is?

Since they are both plucked string instruments the sound blends together nicely, yet because of the different ranges they never get in each others way. It’s sort of like the left and right hands of a piano. There is actually a third ingredient in there too: all of our songs include acoustic guitar which sits right in between the uke and the bass. Those three instruments from the basis of our arrangements with snare drum and solo instruments added later.

‘Father Knows Best’. A trace of sarcasm there, no?

Yes, but good-natured sarcasm. That’s one the few songs I’ve written that is based on true experiences. When Amanda knows she’s right about something it can be hard to convince her otherwise and that song references some of the silly disagreements we’ve had over the years. The chorus is inspired by the time we went canoeing and she ate a piece of floating vegetation to prove to me that it was a type of lettuce that the manatees ate. She wound up drinking all of our water and eating all of the food we brought to soothe her burning throat, all to prove her father wrong.

What’s your pre-Barnkickers musical history?

I attended Berklee College of Music and I earned my living as a professional bassist for many years. I still gig regularly on both acoustic and electric bass and I suspect a few eyebrows were raised when I started showing up around town with a ukulele, but I’m hooked on them! Amanda started playing clarinet in middle school and more recently started playing guitar and ukulele. She has been singing all her life and The Barnkickers is really an extension of the musical home videos we used to make together when she was a little girl.

What’s in your ukulele collection?

On the Barnkickers CD I used my Ohana CK-50G which was my first nice ukulele and I recently acquired a vintage Martin 1-T tenor uke that’s in mint condition. I also have a vintage Kay soprano, a Hilo soprano, a concert Flea, an Ohana CK-70RB and a vintage Harmony baritone. Amanda has a Bushman Jenny Concert uke which she used to record her songs on the CD and she also has an Kala electric/acoustic tenor that we won in the Uke Warehouse video contest. In general Amanda and I prefer concert and tenor sized ukuleles and we keep them tuned GCEA with a high G. I’m pretty sure my next uke will be a banjolele.

What are your plans for the rest of this year?

Although we have a CD release party scheduled later this month, I’m afraid there won’t be too many live performances from The Barnkickers this year. Amanda will graduate from high school in May and she has been accepted into the music program at the college she was hoping to attend. She will also be joining the army reserve band and completing her basic training over the summer. We’re both still writing music and we will be contributing a new original song to a compilation CD I am currently producing as a fundraising project for a not-for-profit organization. It’s going to feature a great selection of uke-based artists and I think it will be a big hit in the ukulele community. I also have plans to promote The Barnkickers CD as well, so between these two projects you should be hearing more from The Barnkickers throughout the year.

Up Before Noon is out now. You can buy the downloads on DigStation and the CD on CD Baby

Judas Priest – Breaking the Law


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Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law, neyooow, breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law.

There are rumours flying around about me planting subliminal messages in mp3s telling people to set fire to guitars. These rumours are a half truth.

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