Friday Links: Jake’s Secret, Dog Love, Expensive Ukes

Jake Shimabukuro has revealed the secret to his virtuosity.

A piece by David Farrier (the documentarian behind Dark Tourist and Tickled) on a guy who went viral after being snapped playing ukulele for his humping dogs turns completely insane.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra are worried that ukuleles are so popular that no one will play other instruments.

New Releases
– Professor Ogma has an excellent instrumental debut EP on his website or on Spotify. (If you’ve been paying very close attention you might know him as Matthew Brian Kirkland.)
– New Craig Robertson album: CROOKED.
New rajao tracks from Herman Vandecauter.

Window Shopping
Aaron Keim master grade myrtle tenor.
Ka’alla soprano KU 25S.
40s Martin 3M.
Emerald harp ukulele.

The Beatles – Hey Jude (Tab)

The Beatles – Hey Jude (Tab)

Technically, I shouldn’t be posting this on White Album week. But it was recorded during the White Album sessions and it is one of the best (possibly the best) Beatles song. If you’re dying for a White Album song have a go at the Blackbird tab.

I’ve kept the arrangement as simple as possible. It has such a strong (and well known) melody it doesn’t need much to back it up. I’m not following any strict pattern for the fingerpicking. For the most part the thumb plays the lowest string in the bar then letting the fingers fall on a string each from there.

In the repeat of the chorus I play a slight variation on the, “And don’t you knowwwwww…” in bars 15 and 16.

After all that I switch to strumming and the occasional finger flick for the boisterous sh-outro. I bash out a couple of adornments in this section. You don’t need to do anything complicated with these so long as you use the appropriate amount of gusto. Both mine are just based on the C7 chord.


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The Beatles’ White Album: Five Intros and Solos

Continuing this week’s selection of tracks from The Beatles White Album with five of the best musical moments from the album.

Back in the USSR: Solo

A great solo using the A minor pentatonic scale over a blues shuffle between the major and 6 chords (both of which I cover in depth in the Blues Ukulele ebook). I’ve also included the chorus riff at the end of the solo.

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While My Guitar Gently Weeps: Intro

Way back in the early days of the blog I wrote up the bare bones of this tune to encourage people to come up with their own take on the tune rather than aping Jake’s version. That was a dismal failure.

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Piggies: Harpsichord Solo

A rapid-fire harpsichord solo presumably used to represent the hifalutin piggies. I was expecting this to be impossible to do on uke but add a capo at the third fret and it’s tricky but doable.

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Birthday: Riff

A simple 12 bar blues riff played on a low-G ukulele.

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Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey: Solo

Everybody’s Got… (Tab)

I’m using two ukes here. One playing the chord stabs (top line) and one taking the lead part (bottom line).

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The Beatles – Honey Pie (Chords and Tab)

The Beatles – Honey Pie (Chords)

It’s the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ White Album this month. So I thought I’d completely trash my no-Beatles rule with a week of songs from that era. Starting with the 1920s pastiche of Honey Pie that was made to played on uke.

The intro is a typical piece of genius. I’ve tried to capture the spirit of it without over-complicating it in the chord chart. But there’s a tab version below with all the twiddly bits.

Suggested Strumming

You can use this as a main strum:

d – d – d u d u

Intro: One down-strum per chord.

Chorus and Outro: Two of the main strum on the G. Then one for every chord after that until the Eb7 – D7 at the end. There split the strum into two so you’re playing d-d- on the Eb and dudu on the D7.

Verse and Solo: Same as the chorus including splitting the final bar between F# and F. Speaking of which, if you’re struggling with the quick switch to F# you can just slide the G chord down a fret and mute the g-string with your thumb.

Bridge: Main strum on everything until the D7 at the end. The do du-u to match the “tee tee tee”s.

Twiddly Bits

No 20s pastiche would be complete without a solo, meandering, minor section at the beginning.

Apparently this little solo was played by John. Which explains why it’s not as clean an precise as most of George’s solos. But it does pack in some nice ideas.


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UkeTube: Vincent Cortese, Sweet Hollywiians, Amine

Watch on YouTube

Vincent Cortese – Charleston
Vinícius Vivas – Tico-tico no Fubá
Amine x Einer Bankz – Reel it In
Ukulelezaza & his Sweet Hollywaiians – Love Songs Of The Nile
Faith Ako – E Nihi Ka Hele
Feng E – Smooth Criminal
Hein Overbeek & Anne van der Wal – Swing Gitane
Corrie Shelley – The Pattern Thanks to Humble Bartionics
Motion Ocean – Octopath Traveler – Battle Theme II
Manitoba Hal – Blessed By Love

Friday Links: Tab Books, Making Gut Strings, Willie K’s Anthem

New Releases
– Choan Gálvez’s new album of laid-back instruments Lullabies for Astronauts is out now. The album includes uke tab for all tracks and you can get a taster from his guest post here and on Ukulele Go!.
– If you’ve been enjoying João Tostes’s free album naturæ you be glad to here a tab book of the album is now available on Amazon. And you can read it free if you have Kindle Unlimited (at least in the UK).
– Brisbane ukers The Pockets have released their swoonful debut album. The record does feature familiar faces of the brains behind Tyrone & Lesley with Samuel Vincent on UBass and David Megarrity providing songwriting. You can read David’s thoughts on the album here.

On Video
– Aquila’s Mimmo Peruffo demonstrates the 16th century way of making gut strings.
Willie K completely reimagines the Star Spangled Banner for a University of Hawaii game.

Window Shopping
Murray Kuun ukulele.
1920s Lange-made Avalon Resonator Banjo Ukulele.
Kanile’a Cannarea Diamond Super Tenor.
Canopus UK-CS.

Midnight, the Stars and You (from The Shining) (Tab)

Al Bowlly and Ray Noble – Midnight, the Stars and You

For Halloween, a song from the greatest horror film ever made. It’s so densely packed with detail, unforgettable images and jarring juxtapositions. Which has spawned an entire industry of fan theories from the undeniable to the entirely ridiculous to the disturbing and plausible (and if that theory is true it recontextualizes this song in an entirely alarming way).

Midnight, the Stars and You was originally perfromed by Al Bowlly and Ray Noble and released in 1934. Making it out of time for the 1921 photo. The song also cropped up in Snowpiercer and was recently unexpectedly covered by Deerhoof.

The tune gives plenty of room for some jazzy noodling. For the first half of the arrangement I use those gaps to play around with the chords. In bars 7-8 and 11-12 I add in chromatic descending notes. And in bars 19-20 I throw in diminished and augmented chords.

In the second half of the verse I throw in a couple of licks in bars 23 and 27-28. In those licks I’m using the F Mixolydian scale. Which sounds fancy but is just an F major scale with a flatted 7th (i.e. an Eb instead of an E). I picked that up from the Eb used so effectively in the descending run at the end of the original version.


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Halloween Tabs and Chords

Now you’ve got your raunchy jello pudding pop costume together, here are some tunes you may wish to bone up on before the big night.

Addams Family Theme Tune
Chopin – Funeral March
Jonathan Coulton – Re: Your Brains
Dance Macabre
The Doors – People Are Strange
The Fall – Mansion
The Gothic Archies – Freakshow
Halloween Theme
Harry Potter – Hedwig’s Theme
The Last of Us II –
Through the Valley

London Bridge Is Falling Down (From Halloween)
The Misfits – Dig Up Her Bones
The Misfits – Halloween
My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (from The Exorcist)
Ray Parker Jr – Ghostbusters
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil
Gustavo Santaolalla – Last of Us Theme
Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
This is Halloween (From Nightmare Before Christmas)
Tom Waits – Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard
Twilight Zone Theme
The Walking Dead Theme
Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
The White Stripes – Little Ghost

Five Halloween riffs/intros: Thriller, Devil Went Down to Georgia, Sweet Dreams, Don’t Fear the Reaper and Jump in the Line

And a tutorial on spooking up your playing:

Spooky Ukulele Sounds

The Doors – People Are Strange (Chords and Tab)

The Doors – People Are Strange (Chords)

Time for some loosely Halloween-based music. And there’s no more Halloweeny instrument than the bone-clattering sound of a harpsichord.

Tiny Tim performed a ukulele version of People Are Strange. And it’s one of his more successful covers. But I’ve stuck with The Doors’ version for this write-up.

There are only four chords in the song so it’s a pretty easy strum-through. Particularly if you use the no hassle 4320 version of the B7 making for an easy change to Em. The only time it’s worth switching to the 2322 version is right at the close of the song so you can slowly strum over the chord and end on that B note.

Suggested Strumming

This piece is in swing time. Which means the down-strums last slightly longer than the up-strums (the downs are two thirds of a beat and the ups one third). This gives the song its shambling feel.

Verse and Harpsichord Solo: For the verse strum you can use this pattern:

d – d u

Play that twice for the first Em on the first and third lines. And once for everything else.

Chorus: Here’s a main strum:

d – d – d u d u

You can play that once per chord name until the last line where you play it four times. Or you can do a short down-strum on the “rain/name” then play a full-step bend on the E-string, 5th fret.

Guitar Solo: Use the chorus strum once per chord name.

Twiddly Bits

Here’s a very loosely interpreted version of the guitar picking at the start of the tune. Even if you’re strumming rather than picking I’d recommend starting with that descending line in the opening bar.

Guitar Solo (Tab)

The guitar solo is played on a low-G ukulele. Even with that, there’s an octave switch at the end to fit things on uke.

Finally, the harpsichord solo is largely a harmonised version of the melody. So if you want to simplify this part you can just play the highest note in each pair. Where the g-string is played that’s the highest note – I’d recommend switching that to the A-string (where the note will be two frets lower).


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Richard Saslow – Ragpickin’ (Tab)

Richard Saslow – Ragpickin’ (Tab)

A new tab from David Beckingham. This time a great ragtime-style piece by Richard Saslow originally for guitar.


Richard Saslow’s The New Art of Ragtime Guitar on Amazon
David Beckingham on YouTube
More David Beckingham tabs

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