Uke for Xmas? Read This!

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

You can download it free by clicking here:

So You Just Got Your First Ukulele (PDF)

And get playing by following the beginner ukulele lessons.

If you’re not new to ukulele but know someone who is feel free to pass it along. It has a Creative Commons license so distribute it as you wish.

Merry Christmas. See You in 2019

Merry Christmas, Chanukah Sameach, Io Saturnalia and Happy Holidays! (If you’re into that kind of thing.)

If you’re after some Christmas music and you’re as Spotify user here’s my Christmas Ukulele playlist. Or, if you’re sick of Christmas music, my playlist of ukulele selections from 2018.

That’s it from me for this year (other than the ebook for new ukers). I’ll be back at the end of January 2019 (the last year before these start making sense as ukulele chords again).

If you can’t stand to be without a steady stream of uke, I’ll be posting seven second ukulele lessons on Instagram and bits and pieces on Twitter.

Christmas UkeTube 2018

Watch on YouTube

It’s here. With cheer. It’s the same every year. It’s the Christmas UkeTube.

Tripping Lily – Santa Will Find You
The Mad Tea Party – Oh Shit, It’s Christmastime!
Mariah Carey, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots – All I Want For Christmas Is You
Eliel Carvalho – Jingle Bells
Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel – Winter Wonderland
Vinícius Vivas – White Christmas
Anne Janelle & James Hill – Angels We Have Heard on High
Gracie Terzian – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Leftover Cuties – Christmas Time Is Here
Rocky and Balls – The Christmas Song Song
Beth Porter & The Availables – Last Christmas

Friday Links

On Video
– A couple of years ago I mentioned that Southampton Ukulele Jam were Kickstarting a documentary about the group. You can now watch it for free on Vimeo.
Martin Ukulele Crooner 1929.

Window Shopping
Pelem Cocolele.
1950s Harmony baritone. And while you’re on Jake’s site check out this 1912 Knutsen harp guitar.
– Insanely pricey and insanely fancy Petros Florentine Deluxe.
Rick Turner Compass Rose.
1920s Washburn soprano.

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve (Tab)

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve (Tab)

This Frank Loesser song was originally recorded by The Orioles but has become a bit of a ukulele classic since being covered by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt in 2011. I wrote up the chords back then and now time for a tab.


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More Christmas/New Year tabs and chords

Uke Hunt’s 2018 Ukulele Favourites

It’s award season and time to hand out the most coveted of them all The UkeHunties.

Ukulele Record of 2018: Zoë Bestel – Transience

In this post a year ago I mentioned the three albums I was most anticipating this year were from Arctic Monkeys, Kanye West and Zoe Bestel. As it happens, only one of those was able to both release and fabulous album and refrain from claiming slavery was a choice.

Transience is an absolute joy. Every element is beautifully put together and the production is top notch. You have to give it a listen.

Runners Up
João Tostes – naturæ
Bud Sugar – Vampire
Marlowe – Moments
Choan Gálvez – 10 minutos
Phredd – Ukulele One Man Band

Ukulele Song of 2018: I’m With Her – See You Around

Their name may have been hijacked but the singer-songwriter supergroup of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan released a fantastic collection of tunes this year. With the ukulele-heavy title track See You Around providing the highlight.

This year also saw the release of the best Twenty One Pilots record and the rise of hip hop ukulele that isn’t a cringefest. Most notably Einer Bankz’s collabs with every hot rapper, Tobe Nwigwe’s Wavy and Marlowe’s collboration with Jay Hollywood.

Runners Up
The Helmsmen – Alright
Twenty One Pilots – Nico and the Niners
Dustbowl Revival – Call My Name
Zoë Bestel – Eye For An Eye
Jay Hollywood x MARLOWE – Connected
Mt. Joy – Dirty Love
La Familia de Ukeleles – Hurry Up

Instrumental Performance of 2018: Paul Hemmings – Caravan

This category is always the hardest for me to pick a winner in. There are so many talented and inspiring players out there and I learn new stuff and crib ideas from them all the time. I have to give a shoutout to the amazing Brazilian players Aline Kelly, João Tostes and (last year’s winner in this category) Vinícius Vivas who have been putting out consistently great music all year.

But the winner is a late entry from Paul Hemmings who has just started putting up his collection of arrangements of Duke Ellington tunes from an upcoming tab book.

Runners Up
Marlowe – Battle Royale
Joao Tostes – Danca Devenir
Professor Ogma – Thunderer
Aline Kelly – Estudo V
FengE – Silence in the Storm
Jake Shimabukuro and Jerry Douglas – If 6 Was 9
João Tostes & Vinícius Vivas – Brasileirinho
Jonathan Lewis – The Princess Royal
Natasha Ghosh – Fake Love / I Need U

Ukulele Cover 2018: Max De Bernardi & Veronica Sbergia – Foggy River

I’ve loved this Italian revivalist duo since I first heard them on the UKEit compilations CD in 2008 and they keep blasting them out.

Runners Up
Jim Boggia – Born in the USA
The Ladybugs – Save The Bones For Henry Jones
Guido Heistek – I Can't Give You Anything But Love
EmiSunshine – Wide River to Cross

Most Lusted After Ukulele of 2018: Kanile’a 2018 Platinum

The most nebulous category. I don’t try out enough ukes to know which is actually the best so I go with the one I lust after most and can’t afford. And with a $4k price tag I’m never going to get a Kanile’a 2018 Platinum but it looks and sounds incredible.

Runners Up
Rebel No. 6
Murray Kuun Ghia
Pelem mango exotic
RIGuitars Lemmy Bass

Favourite Song Chorded: Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer

It really does seem like I’ve had to do far more tribute posts the last few years than I did in the early days of the blog. This year saw the deaths of Mark E Smith, Dolores O’Riordan, Pete Shelley, Hugh Masakela and (the one I took hardest) Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit. But the biggest loss was Aretha Franklin who has to be the greatest singer of my lifetime. Even in the field of soul music where a vocalist’s ability to convey emotion is so highly (and correctly) valued she stood above everyone.

Runners Up

The Pogues – Waxies’ Dargle
Luis Fonsi – Despacito
Billy Bragg – Between the Wars
Father John Misty – Mr Tillman
Lou Reed – Perfect Day

Favourite Song Tabbed: George Gershwin – Summertime

I still regard myself as too dumb to play jazz properly. But I’m working on it. And I really enjoyed using this tune as a springboard for some soloing. The tune is so strong and airy that it’s very open to (and forgiving of) fretboard meandering.

Runners Up
Rodgers and Hammerstein – You’ll Never Walk Alone
St Vincent – New York
Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You
The Beatles – Hey Jude
Charli XCX – Boys
Edith Piaf – La Vie en Rose
Bob Dylan/Adele – To Make You Feel My Love

Best Non-Ukulele Record of 2018: Tierra Whack – Whack World

Having an album of songs all exactly a minute long seems like a cheap gimmick. But Whack World is put together with such a sense of fun and creativity it’s immediately charming. And paired with the 16 minute video of the entire album was my favourite musical experience of 2018.

I know from the comments I get that rap isn’t to the taste of all Uke Hunt readers. For those people I recommend checking out the John Fahey-influenced fingerpicking of Gwenifer Raymond and virtuoso funk of Vulfpeck offshoot Fearless Flyers.

Runners Up
Gwenifer Raymond – You Never Were Much of a Dancer
Fearless Flyers – Fearless Flyers
L’Orange & Solemn Brigham – Marlowe
Father John Misty – God’s Favourite Customer

Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love (Chords and Tab)

Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)? (Chords)

In tribute to Pete Shelley I had to write up this punk classic.

As much of a punk classic as it is, it doesn’t follow the I-IV-V three-chord belter of most punk songs. It even has a key change in the outro. Some other punk songs also use key changes such as I Wanna Be Sedated and Bad Reputation but they tend to use a I-IV-V progression.

With the song being in the uke-unfriendly key of F#, this arrangement uses a capo at the fourth fret. And making the chords simpler lets you concentrate on tackling the tricky strumming.

Suggested Strumming

Intro and verse: For all the Am – G changes you can play this pattern on the Am followed by one up-down on the G.

d – d – d u d u
d u d u –

Then this twice on the C:

d u – u d – – u
– u – u d – d u

Chorus: For everything until the last line you can use this once per chord:

d – d – d u d u

The last line has some rapid changes:

Bridge: Just down-up over and over.

Outro: The outro is similar to the chorus so you do the rapid G-C strum with the F-Bb change and the chorus strum for Eb-G.

Twiddly Bits


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More punk tabs and chords

John Philip Sousa – The Liberty Bell (Tab)

David Beckingham – Liberty Bell (Tab)

A new tab from David Beckingham. This time he’s covering John Philip Sousa’s The Liberty Bell which, despite being used in the majority of US presidential inaugurations, is still best known as the Monty Python theme tune.

I did my own version of this tune a while back (tab in the Songs of the States ebook) and it’s interesting to compare the two versions. My version is in F while Dave’s is in C. That means he has more space to play with high notes later in the tune but requires a bit of octave switching earlier on (in bar 9).


David Beckingham on YouTube
More David Beckingham tabs

UkeTube: Bridge City Sinners, Ukeba Squad, Wild Child

Watch on YouTube

Bridge City Sinners – Dungeon Song via @ukeist
Ukeba Squad – Tetap Semangat
Wild Child – Hold On, Hold You
Bilgen Korzay & Erkin Soylu – Fark Etmeden via @ukeist
Holden Rivera – Without Breath
Svavar Knútur – Morgunn
Ukulele Overnite – Dirty Love
Garfunkel and Oates – What's Gonna Happen to Chris?

Friday Links: Nerds, Brian May and Terrifying Soundholes

New Releases

– Festival Of The Spoken Nerd have a new show out You Can’t Polish A Nerd. Containing the usual spoddy fun and ukulele songs from Helen Arney including an updated version of Tom Lehrer’s Elements. Plus it’s available on floppy disk.
12 Days of Christmas campanella tab ebook.
– New EP from Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer Paper Plates.
– MARLOWE’s collection of uke instrumentals Moments

Window Shopping
– The soundholes on this R&L ukulele look fantastic but structurally terrifying.
– London uke shop, Duke of Uke have launched their own line of ukuleles.
No.6 Rebel ukulele.
– RIGuitars ukulele version of Brian May’s Red Special

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