Frightened Rabbit – The Woodpile (Tab)

Frightened Rabbit – The Woodpile (Tab)

I first tried to do a uke arrangement of The Woodpile back when it came out in 2013. But it quickly joined the massive pile of tabs I’ve started but wasn’t satisfied with. But with the death of Scott Hutchison I had to dig it out and get it finished. Particularly since Midnight Organ Fight is up there with Pet Sounds as one of the great albums that have a tiny bit of ukulele on (in the later part of Good Arms vs Bad Arms).

There are a couple of things that make this tune tricky. First is the artificial harmonics played in the riff (the ones with A.H. above them). There’s a guide to playing artificial harmonics here. But if you don’t want to tackle them you can just play the tab as written without them and it’ll sound perfectly fine.

Secondly, the shifting time signature. The riff and verses alternate between bars of 5/4 and 4/4. The change isn’t jarring but it messed me up a few times when I was learning it. So it’s worth counting the bars in your head while you’re getting it under your fingers.


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Five Blues Licks from the Masters

Here are five licks adapted from blues gods to inspire your own solos. Play them as they are, change the rhythm, move them around, use the same shapes. There’s no end to the ways to make them your own.

All the licks are in the key of C. So you can move them around to fit whichever key you’re in.

There’s lots more blues stuff in my How to Play Blues Ukulele ebook if these are your jam.

Skip James Lick

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Skip James might be my favourite blues musician. His music uses simple ideas but he plays them so expressively. This example is based on Devil Got My Woman.

BB King

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BB King was a master of weaving together major and minor elements. This lick based on the intro to Lucille begins with a sweet phrase using the major pentatonic. Then it switches to minor pentatonic for the rest of the lick.

It also has masses of space between the notes to maximise the impact of each note.

Albert King Lick

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This lick based on Born Under a Bad Sign is very versatile. The original includes a few bends. But since bends don’t work so well on nylon strings I’ve replaced them with slides.

John Lee Hooker Lick

John Lee Hooker Lick: 7 second ukulele lesson

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Blues licks often repeat short phrases over and over in a lick. This one based on John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom repeats just two notes. Building up the tension until it’s released at the end of the lick.

“The Lick”

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More jazzy than blues this one. But it has been played by pretty much everyone
(sometimes for five hours straight).

Father John Misty – Mr Tillman (Chords)

Father John Misty – Mr Tillman (Chords)

The new Father John Misty record is out next week. And the lead single, Mr Tillman, suggests it’s going to be a good one. He does that skeezy lounge singer schtick with much more wit and tunefulness than the Arctic Monkeys managed on their latest album.

Firstly, the arrangement uses a capo on the third fret. If you want to play without a capo here’s a version of the chords without the capo.

The song’s chord progression has an off-kilter feel to match the lyrics. That’s created by switching between major and minor sounds. The most obvious is the use of both G and G minor. The other is the D major chord that starts the progression being mismatched with the F that follows it (a D major chord includes an F# note while D minor includes an F).

Suggested Strumming

Dead easy for the strumming. You can just do this for each chord the whole way through:

d – d u

Which sounds like this:


Twiddly Bits

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Here’s a little arrangement of the whistling solo and the “Ah”s in the intro.


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UkeTube: Frightened Rabbit, Rabbit Muse

Full Playlist

Frightened Rabbit & Rainn Wilson – Swim Until You Can’t See Land
Veronica & the Red Wine Serenaders- Cryin’ Time
Lewis “Rabbit” Muse – Darkness On The Delta
Vinícius Vivas com Karina Neves – Pachelbel’s Canon
FADO LELÉ – Não sei porque te foste embora
Herman Vandecauter – Siciliano / Quinta de Santa Luzia on rajao.
The Ladybugs – I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter
Bryan Tolentino and Halehaku Seabury – Wai O Ke Aniani
Michael Watts – Ukulele Nocturne
Iris Wagner – Lullabies no.75-82

Friday Links

Tobias Elof breaks down James Hill’s strumming technique in Song for Cheri.

NBC takes to the streets with The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain.

Two new rajão tracks from Herman Vandecauter: La Do Monte Ricardo Porfyrio da Fonseca and La Julia.

Mermaid boy and his sad sea song.

Columbus, Georgia, Social Club circa 1950.

John Williams – The Imperial March (Tab)

John Williams – The Imperial March (Tab)

This year’s Star Wars Day inspired me to work up a version of John Williams’s ultimate bad-guy theme tune The Imperial March. If you’re interested in the theory behind how this tune conjures up the dark, powerful, militaristic images I highly recommend watching 12tone’s video on the tune.

The Vader Strum

The trickiest part of the arrangement is the legendary rhythm at the beginning. It involves three quick triplets. It’s one to practice very slowly and gradually speed it up.

I’m using a slight variation on the traditional Hawaiian triplet strum:

– Down with index finger.
– Down with thumb (indicated by dt in the tab).
– Up with index.

More on that in the Ukulele Strums ebook.

The variation is that I’m strumming down with my index and middle fingers together to give it more power and make sure the force is strong in this one. Here’s how the strum looks slowed down:

I also had problems with this because of the rhythmic mismatch between the triplets in the rhythm part and the dotted eighth notes in the melody (mentioned in the 12tone video). I had a hard time switching between the melody in bar 14 to the strumming in bar 15.


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Cantina Band (Tab)
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Uke Hunt is Eleven

It’s Uke Hunt’s eleventh birthday this week. According to WebMD 11 year olds, “will likely be eating and sleeping more. He may complain of muscle cramps and growing pains. Some boys also start to get oily skin, peach fuzz on their upper lip”. Devastatingly accurate once again.

Here’s a round-up of the goings-on of the last year.

May 2017

– I paid tribute to Chris Cornell with Black Hole Sun and a collection of his riffs.

In tabs: Nancy Sinatra’s Bang Bang.
In chords: REM’s Nightswimming.

June 2017

– Celebrating the rerelease of OK Computer with chords for Lift, tabs for No Surprises and a UkeTube recreation of the album.
– Josh Walderman told us what it takes to be a good ukulele group leader.

In tabs: Alt-J’s Fitzpleasure.
In chords: The OCMS/Bob Dylan ukulele favourite Wagon Wheel.

July 2017

– In a huge loss to the ukulele world, founding Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain member Kitty Lux died. You can read my tribute to her here.
– Jonathan Lewis released a new ebook Classic Folk Songs for Fingerstyle Ukulele and was kind enough to let me post a tab from it on the blog.
A tutorial on muted strums.

In tabs: My third version of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
In chords: Haim’s Want You Back and a Wainwright double bill with Loudon’s Swimming Song and Martha’s BMFA.

August 2017

Uke Hunt readers’ favourite ukuleles.

In tabs: The Beatles’ Blackbird.
In chords: Woody Guthrie’s All You Fascists Bound to Lose.

September 2017

– The Survivor Girl Ukulele Band successfully Kickstarted their record.
– Burning Man’s emergency ukulele had a familiar looking logo.
– Tallest Man on Earth demoed a ukulele song.

In tabs: Dam Buster March group tab, Charles Bradley’s Dusty Blue and La Pas Ma La/Watermark.
In chords:Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love.

October 2017

In tabs: They Might Be Giants’ Birdhouse in Your Soul, five Halloween snippets and Sibelius’s Karelia Suite
In chords: Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ and My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade

November 2017

What’s the deal with Sus4 and Sus2 chords?
Ukulele Go spends a month playing blues ukulele and nothing else.

In tabs: Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill, a selection of game tabs including Cuphead, Life is Strange and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Elton John’s Song for Guy.
In chords: Arctic Monkey’s Mardy Bum and Lyle Lovett’s God Will.

December 2017

Aloha Akademie guest posted a tribute to Malcolm Young’s unmistakeable groove.

In tabs: Camila Cabello’s smash hit Havana and The Beatles’ Across the Universe.
In chords: The SNL song reworked by Julian Casablancas I Wish It Was Christmas Today and Loudon Wainwright’s Suddenly It’s Christmas.

January 2018

– I collected my ukulele favourites of 2017.

In chords: Linger by The Cranberries.

February 2018

“Ukulele Mike” Lynch passed away.

In tabs: Six songs from The Simpsons, Portugal. The Man’s Feel It Still and Bob Dylan/Adele’s To Make You Feel My Love
In chords: The Cure’s Lovecats.

March 2018

– Jonathan Lewis released another ebook minstrel banjo tunes arranged for ukulele and graced us with a tab of Lonesome Fiddle Blues.
– I cleared up some tab reading FAQs and reviewed the G7th Ultralight capo.
– Manitoba Hal had some practicing tips and Clifton Hicks shared some stretching exercises.

In tabs: The Lumineers’ Ho Hey, Vangelis’s Chariots of Fire and Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz.
In chords: The Pogues take on Waxie’s Dargle and INXS’s Never Tear Us Apart.

April 2018

Ukulele Ray sadly died.
Why bother using a capo?
– 2018 officially became the year of ukulele-rapper with Einer Bankz hooking up with Chance the Rapper and Jay Hollywood and MARLOWE connecting.

In tabs: Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose and One by U2.
In chords: Luis Fonsi’s Despacito and Billy Bragg’s Between the Wars.

Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again (Tab)

David Beckingham – We’ll Meet Again (Tab)

A new tab from David Beckingham. This time Vera Lynn’s WWII tune We’ll Meet Again written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles and notably covered by Johnny Cash.

David’s arrangement is nice and simple. And I particularly enjoy the descending turnaround in bars 31 and 32 which I plan on stealing in the future.


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UkeTube: Chance the Rapper, Kuinka, Scott Matthew

Full Playlist

Chance The Rapper X Einer Bankz – Grown Ass Kid
Kuinka – Mistakenly Brave
Taimane – Fire
Scott Matthew – End of Days
Manitoba Hal – Way Down in the Hole
Zoë Bestel – Grey Skies
Camsuke – Campanella Waltz
Krista Muir – Morther of Crowys
Eliel Carvalho – Sampa

Friday Links: RIP Ukulele Ray

Very sad news this week that Ukulele Ray has died. He was a long-time champion of the ukulele, a fixture in the community and the pioneer of lunchbox ukuleles.

Two exceptionally good records out this week: Zoë Bestel’s Transience and Ukulele Sketch Book from Craig Robertson. Highly recommend giving them both a listen.

The eighth and final episode of my favourite travel documentary The Madagascar Journals is up at last with Matt Kresling and his ukulele completing their journey.

Ukulele Exercises for Dummies (which I worked on with Brett from Ukulele Tricks) is part of the Learn Music Books Humble Bundle.

Window Shopping
Aaron Keim maple and pistachio tenor banjo ukulele.
Lyon Healy 1920’s Shrine.
Antar Brand Kamaka 1940’s Cigar Box Replica.

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