ABBA – Dancing Queen

ABBA – Dancing Queen (Chords)

I can’t think of any fictional character less likely to take up the ukulele than James Bond. He takes himself far too seriously. Former Bond, Pierce Brosnan though is a ukulele player. I think it might be part of his long standing attempt to get away from being Bond. His latest stab at it is appearing in the ABBA based musical Mamma Mia (even though his singing leaves a little to be desired). I’m pretty sure there’s no uke content in the film, but it seems as good an excuse as any for a bit of ABBA ukulele.

Dancing Queen has a really great chord progression – although a bit of a nightmare on the uke (thanks to plenty of E majors). The best part has to be the, “See that girl…” section where there’s a move between Ab and A on the G-string for each of the chords.

Rag Bag Additions

The Rag Bag page is where I keep all the stuff that’s half finished, bit parts and stuff I don’t plan on ever putting on the blog itself. The most recent additions to it are:

Laura Marling – New Romantic Intro (pdf)

Dropkick Murphys – I’m Shipping Up to Boston (pdf)

Concerning Hobbits/The Shire (pdf) from Lord of the Rings

Radiohead – Big Boots (GIF) in D tuning. MIDI

Slayer – Raining Blood (PDF)

Flobots – Handlebars (Tab) (intended for low-G ukulele and two frets higher than the original).

On a related note, I’m probably going to be switching my request policy to friends of the blog only (commenters, emailers etc.). If I don’t recognise your name, there’s a good chance I’ll just delete your email. Partly it’s because I get too many requests, but mostly it’s because of how few people bother to email me back after I’ve done their request. All six of those were requests and I only heard thanks from one of them (Raining Blood which was requested by friends of the blog). It sounds a bit churlish, I know, and it is a shame because I do get some really good requests. But tabbing isn’t easy, it takes work, and it’s really annoying when people can’t even be bothered with a quick email in response. The lesson is clear: if you want politeness and good manners, hang out with Slayer fans.

Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next to Me

Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next to You (Chords)

As I was saying on ezFolk before I was so rudely expunged, my once a year gambling habit has raised its head with this year’s Mercury Music Prize. It’s a tricky choice this year. Loyalty demands that I root for Laura Marling, being the only nominee I’ve seen playing the uke (in Noah and the Whale’s Five Years Time). And there are some great songs on the album. Rachel Unthank’s album is also damn fine but has no chance of winning.

I think Last Shadow Puppets probably deserve to win just for the hilarity of shouting, “the age of the understantment,” backed by a full orchestra and military drums whilst riding a tank across a Russian minefield. The video for Standing Next to Me is not so epic, but it was directed by Richard Ayoade. He must have a thing for one take videos as he also directed Vampire Weekend’s Oxford Comma.

The chord progression for Standing Next to You is simple enough without anything that’ll trip you up too much.

If you want to get a little fancy, you can play the first section like this:

ukulele chords last shadow puppets

Monday Exposure: Emily Ritz/Honeybody Moonbee

Honeybody Moonbee – Cough Syrup (MP3)
Honeybody Moonbee – Suction Cups (MP3) via MySpace

I’ve spent far too long trying to work out whether Emily ‘Honeybody Moonbee’ Ritz is the same Emily Ritz as the Emily Ritz who is the uke playing daughter of Lyle Ritz. I’m pretty sure she’s not, but if you’ve got better information I’m all ears. Whoever she is, she certainly knows how to write a captivating song.

Certainly, if there’s any Lyle Ritz influence on this music, it’s buried pretty deep. Honeybody Moonbee’s music is packed with low-fi ukulele riffs and freak folk vocals. Those vocals might make her a love her or hate her act. Personally, I love her.

Download more songs on her MySpace and listen to a pile more songs here.

Star Wars – Cantina Band

Cantina Band (Star Wars) (Tab)


I’m not sure if Andy was joking when he requested this one. Tabs are far too serious an issue to joke about. The first part of Cantina Band works quite well on the uke. Bars 7 and 8 are particularly uke-y.

As for the picking, for the most part I use my thumb on the G and C strings and index finger (picking upwards) on the E and A strings. Bars 9 to 14 are all strummed. I’m blocking the G string with the thumb of my picking hand in this part. It isn’t strictly necessary as the G works in there as well. What is necessary is blocking the E string for the last two notes of bar 10 (and bar 14). I do it by resting the tip of my index finger on the string.

Perhaps next Sunday will be a theme tune that wasn’t written by John Williams.

The Moonlighters, Hoagy Carmichael, Soko Ukulele Videos

This week’s pick of ukulele videos includes a performance by legendary songwriter Hoagy Carmichael (responsible for Heart and Soul, Stardust, Georgia on My Mind and many others). Other videos this week include The Moonlighters and a uke version of Smells Like Teen Spirit by Abe Lagrimas, Jr. that kicks the crap out of UOGB’s. Read the rest of this entry »

Ukulele T-Shirts – Ukulele Hero and More

Ukulele Hero

ukulele t-shirt

The Ukulele Hero t-shirt was very well received last time I mentioned it and from what I’ve seen they’re the biggest sellers. There are also plenty of other Hero style T-shirts including Banjo Hero, Cowbell Hero and Kazoo Hero.

UPDATE: These t-shirts are currently unavailable. They’ve gone away and come back before, so who knows. I might even have my own design run up.

Price: $19

Uke the Whales


I think we all know by now that I’m a fan on the bad uke pun. And this is a particularly fine/terrible example.


White T-Shirt


La Domino Uke Ad Dark T-Shirt

I’m sure I’m not the only one with a uke crush on the LeDomino. For now the closest I’m likely to come to owning one is wearing a t-shirt reminding me to buy one at the earliest possible opportunity.

I’m not sure why it’s referred to as “La Domino” on the shirt. Possibly a trademark thing.


No Longer Available

Black Beauty Ukuleles

Black Beauty Ukuleles White T-Shirt

Another ‘slap an ad on a shirt’ design. They appeal to me more than the sloganeering type shirts.

I’m completely unaware of any Black Beauty ukulele. The ad is a little ungrammatical: “This is a pretty, well-toned and big value.” But if someone has spent long enough staring at your left boob to notice that, you’ve probably already pulled.


No Longer Available.

Ukuleles are Cool

Ukuleles are Cool! Organic Cotton Tee

Saying something is cool is like so totally lame and stuff. Nevertheless, that picture is cool.


No Longer Available.

Tab-U-Learn, Humble Uker and other Uke Links

Buke has made a very welcome return to the net under the new guise of Tab-U-Learn. There are a bunch of exercises, tips and tabs, divided by difficulty, for baritone and low-G uke.

Jeff West, who regularly points me in the direction of uke stuff and contributed the Lars Larrson series to the blog, has set up his own uke blog Humble Uker Ramblings.

Max the Ukulele Punk Blogger.

The War Ponies were rather less successful than Dubby Kirk in their appearance on The Gong Show. Unfortunately, the video has been deleted, but I remember a phrase along the lines of, “I’d rather whack my cock with an ax.”

Jupiter/I Vow to Thee My Country on Uker Tabs.

The New York Ukulele Ensemble wants ukulele marchers for the Art Parade on 6th September.

Teddy Thompson, son of Richard and Linda, performs a uke version of In My Arms. (thanks to Mary).

Ottawa Citizen doesn’t want you to mock the uke.

Six Eyes has an mp3 of Tut Tut’s Pins on Your Purse.

Zippy the Pinhead turns his back on ukulele fame. (Thanks to Pam).

The Ditty Bops – (I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My) Sister Kate

(I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My) Sister Kate (Chords)

The version of Sister Kate by occasional ukulelists The Ditty Bops might be the most famous and Bob Brozman’s version the most musically adept, but the ukulele version by, Blue Stone Folk School alumni, Pholly is certainly my favourite.

However, I’ve gone with my own favourite way of playing the chords. It’s in the same key as all those versions but with a few changes the quick chord run. It’s actually closest to Bob Brozman’s guitar version. I also like to throw in a few variations on the D7 and G chords: sliding in from one fret lower at the change to each chord and throwing in the occasional E note to create D9 and G6 chords.

How to Play Ukulele: New Look

My ebook site, How to Play Ukulele site has been in desperate need of a makeover for a while now. And it’s finally got one.

As well as the new look, there’s now a shopping cart and you can leave comments, reviews or questions. If you’ve read any of my ebooks, I’d really appreciate you letting me and everyone else know what you think of it.

I’ve had a few people ask me for a tab of the Chinese national anthem. I’ve put one together and I’ll be giving it away to the people on my mailing list this Friday. So if you want it and you’re not on the list, sign up sharpish.

The Olympics has gone flying by. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself once it’s finished. Do some work perhaps. Once the Olympics end (Sunday) so does the $5 price tag for How to Play National Anthems ebook.

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