When I got my first ukulele, I was completely clueless. This was in those dark, long forgotten days before the internet had been discovered. I didn’t even realise that the strings weren’t supposed to go thickest to thinnest and restrung it.
But you can save yourself from the social disgrace I experienced. I’ve put together a free mini-ebook covering the basics that every first time uke owner needs to know. Here’s what it contains:
Five Things to Know
Five Chords to Learn
Five Patterns to Strum
Five Songs to Play
Five Websites to Visit
Five Things to Get Free
Five Things to Buy
Five Videos to Watch
Five YouTube Channels to Subscribe to
Bud Sugar’s “Cod Head Skank” mix of ska, beats, ukulele shenanigans and infectious pop melodies on their debut EP has managed to buck up my mood many times this year. Also essential is Stan’s (the band’s uker) own YouTube channel EatMyUke.
Ben’s an incredible player. So much so he’s now regularly appearing with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Somehow this video only has 14 views as I’m writing this. I blame myself for not finding it earlier.
Raiatea Helm must have the world’s purest voice. It’s like washing your hair in a mountain stream (or like washing your beard in a mountain stream in my case). Her previous albums have been a bit over-produced for my taste but her latest, He Leo Huali, retains the crystal clarity without losing any warmth.
This is the perfect game for me. I love puzzles. I love sneaking around undetected. I love hanging around in fancy locations. I love murdering people in bloody, convoluted ways.
Runners Up Firewatch: The best soundtrack for a game this year. Looks amazing and the storyline has stuck with me more than any other game. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture: I can understand people who hate this game (I wasn’t a fan of Dear Esther at all). But I love wandering around this valley and there were moments in the game that were so beautiful they blew me away.
A new tab from David Beckingham and a change from his usual jazzy tunes. This time it’s Johann Strauss II’s Blue Danube. Famous for being performed at Vienna’s New Year’s Eve concert. Which gives you about a week to master the tune, get to Austria and join the Vienna Philharmonic.
The trailer itself provides another musically treat in the form of Ellie covering Through the Valley by Shawn James. The song is so perfect I assumed it had been written for the trailer.
I cobbled my version together quickly. I started as soon as I saw the trailer and recorded the video the next day. So it is a bit all over the place. The plan was to put the melody firmly up front and put the picking in softly between melody notes. And it mostly works that way. The notes on the g- and C-strings are played with the thumb, the index finger handles the E-string and the middle finger the A. The only exception is when all the strings are plucked at once.
Backing Picking Pattern
Through the Valley (Backing Tab)
If you want to sing the song, here’s a simple version of the picking and strumming you can use as backing. To play along put a capo on the first fret. It sounds like this: