Jean Sibelius – Karelia Suite (Tab)

Sibelius – Karelia Suite (Tab)

With the newly retired David Beckingham stepping up his tabbing, I’ve decided to make Mondays officially Beckingham Tab Day. And the inaugural post is his version of Sibelius’s Karelia Suite.

I must admit to being entirely ignorant of this piece before David’s video. But according to Wikipedia Sibelius intended it, “to capture the quality of “naive,” folk-based authenticity,” which I’d say makes it ripe for a ukeing.


David Beckingham on YouTube
More David Beckingham tabs

UkeTube: The Helmsmen, Walk Off the Earth

Full Playlist

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Friday Links: New Releases, Fancy Ukes

The Uke Hunt t-shirts have passed the minimum order so they’re going to get made. You can order them from the US or order them from the UK until 31st October.

New Releases

– Lil Rev has put together a delightful romp through various Americana styles on his latest album Sing Song Daddy.
– Head Corner Laugher, Karla Kane has released her debut album of songs inspired by England: King’s Daughters Home For Incurables.
Isaac Balson’s collection of B-sides and outtakes.
– Not a new releases but I’ve just got around to playing Burly Men at Sea and it has an excellent ukulele-packed soundtrack.

Window Shopping
– Two 1920s Ditson ukes Style 3 Dreadnought and a Style 2 soprano.
Martin Style 3K from 1937.
Rebel Double Cream and Double Cheese.
Hive Snakewood ukulele.

They Might Be Giants – Birdhouse in Your Soul (Tab)

TMBG – Birdhouse in Your Soul

There is a lot going on in this song. Slate claims it has 18 key changes in it. But you have to be very generous to get that high. For the most part I think of the song being in C but using both C major and C minor. That’s not too unusual in a rock song. But it is unusual just how much they do it and how far they stretch things before returning home.

The one real key change comes in the solo/middle section where the F#m and E set up a repeat of the intro but this time in the key of A rather than C.

I’m throwing a whole bunch of different techniques at this song. In the smooth sections (the intro and middle) I’m using fake strums. In the loud bits (like the start of the chorus and the bridge) I’m strumming. In the bouncy sections (like the end of the intro and the, “Not to put too fine a point…” bit of the chorus) I’m using thumb and two finger picking. And at the end of the chorus, in the verses and the solo I’m using one finger per string picking.


Buy it on iTunes

Bonus: TMBG – Older (Intro)

Older (Intro Uke 1)

Older (Intro Uke 2)

Buy it on iTunes

Uke Hunt T-Shirts


It’s Uke Hunt t-shirt season again! Every year around this time I do a run of t-shirts. This year you can buy them from either the US or the UK:

Pre-order now from US

Pre-order now from the UK

I’m using Teespring again this year. It is sort of a Kickstart for t-shirts. So you put in an order for your shirt, if there are enough orders by the end of the campaign the shirts are made and sent out. You’re not charged anything until the end of the campaign (and you’re not charged at all if the shirt doesn’t reach its goal). This way of doing it means all the shirts are printed at once and exactly the right shirts and sizes are made.

So if you want one of the shirts they’ll only be available until 31st October.

I’ve been using Teespring for a few years now and it’s always worked well. My shirt came here (the UK) quickly and without any hassle. It’s nice quality. The one I have is four years old and it’s still in good shape. You can see it on a devastatingly handsome model in my recent videos.

The Shirts


In the US there are two different styles: the standard fit American Apparel crew-neck (at the top of the post) and the v-neck Bella Missy slim fit (directly above). Both are $22 plus shipping from the US

The UK shirts are described as “Unisex Organic T-Shirt”. They’re both £22 from the UK including VAT (if you’re in a different EU country VAT should be charged at your local rate).

Pre-order from US

Pre-order from the UK

For more information on the shirts and the system take a look at Teespring’s FAQ.

Tom Petty – Free Fallin’ (Chords)

Tom Petty – Free Fallin’ (Chords)

As well as being the obvious choice for a Tom Petty tribute, Free Fallin’ works very well on the ukulele. So well you only have to bother changing your fretting on the g-string. The C, E and A strings all ring though the chord changes.

The only bit that doesn’t translate so well is the section with chugging power chords towards the end. But the underlying chord changes there are exactly the same as the rest of the song. So you can just playing through that section as you have been.

Suggested Strumming

Intro and verses: You can keep it very minimal and just do one down-strum per chord.

Chorus: Because the chords change in unusual places the strumming is a little tricky. Here’s how I play it:

Which sounds like this:


Chugging section: This part I play with all down-strums while resting the side of my strumming hand lightly on the strings (more on picking hand muting here). The pattern is: three on F, six on Bb, two on F, five on C.


As I said, you can just keep playing the chorus pattern through this section if you prefer. Or if you really like it you can play the chugging for the rest of the song.

Twiddly Bits

Just one little twiddle in the song: the guitar part in the break. Here’s how it sounds on the uke:



Buy it on iTunes
More rock tabs and chords

UkeTube: Ledward Kaapana, Tom Wilson

Full Playlist

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Friday Links

I’m delighted to report that the Survivor Girl Ukulele Band smashed through its goal just an hour after the blog post about them went up. And they’re still going strong having passed $10,000. A huge thanks to everyone who pledged. And if you still want to pledge you can do so until 2nd October.

Recently a huge batch of old 78s have been expertly digitised and put up on As you might expect there’s a healthy selection of ukulele records amongst them (and “ukelele” records). A favourite of mine is Charles Kama and his Moanan Hawaiians.

Ukulele ASMR. Weird even by ASMR standards.

Window Shopping

8-string roto-uku | The Concept Guitar Project (via Ukulelia)
2010 Phil Collins Koa Concert Ukulele. Not that Phil Collins.
2013 Collings UC2 Custom Walnut Concert Ukulele.
Ohana New Products 2017 round up.
– A couple of unusual electric ukes: the Astro ukulele and a HiGuitarsUK soprano.

David Beckingham – La Pas Ma La/Watermark (Tab)

Ernest Hogan – La Pas Ma La (Tab)

Great news for those of us who are big fans of David Beckingham’s tabs: he’s recently retired and is hoping to make even more of them. Congratulations to Dave and I hope he has a blast in his retirement.

He’s sent me two new tabs. The first is the ragtime tune La Pas Ma La by Ernest Hogan. Hogan was the first African-American entertainer to produce and star in a Broadway show (The Oyster Man in 1907).

Enya – Watermark (Tab)

The second tab is a bit of a departure from David’s usual stuff. It’s the title track of Enya’s 1988 album Watermark. It’s a beautiful piece and works surprisingly well on the ukulele in my opinion.


Buy Enya’s Watermark on iTunes
David Beckingham on YouTube
More David Beckingham tabs

Survivor Girl Ukulele Band

There’s a lot of talk about the ukulele making the world a better place. But one person who is really walking the walk is Laurie Kallevig. She set up and runs the Survivor Girl Ukulele Band which works with survivors of human trafficking in India.

They’re currently Kickstarting a CD. The Kickstarter ends on the 2nd October and at the time of writing they’ve raised $6,400 of the $8,500 they need. If they don’t hit the goal they don’t get any of the money. So please do back them here if you can.

I caught up with Laurie to find out more about the project.

UPDATE: I just got this message from Laurie: “Just in, an anonymous donor will match all new and increased pledges on survivor girl ukulele band — the cd kickstarter up to $1000!!!” So if you get in quick any amount you pledge is going to be doubled.

What inspired you to start the Survivor Girl Ukulele Band Project?

Years ago I was traveling in Nepal and learned that each year thousands of rural village girls are tricked into leaving home with promises of a good job in India only to whisked across the border, sold into a brothel, and forced into prostitution.

This really bothered me, but I didn’t have any way to get involved. Years passed but often I thought of those girls. Then in the middle of the night I woke up with the words “rescue and restore” in my head, and I knew I had to get involved.

I went to India and volunteered in the communications department of a number of organizations. And then one day I brought a guitar out to the field. What a blast! We sang a few songs and then the girls rushed up to hold the guitar, to strum it, and to ask how it works.

I knew I couldn’t teach those small girls how to play a big guitar. So I decided to get a ukulele, learn how to play it, and then bring a bunch of ukuleles back to India and start a survivor girl ukulele band. And that’s what I did!!

My main goal is to show these girls love. And ukulele is a great vehicle for that love.

Can you tell us a little about the problem of human trafficking in the area and what the girls have been through?

The average age of a trafficked girl is thirteen. And the numbers are staggering in India, where an estimated 500,000 underage girls have been forced into the commercial sex trade. There are many ways girls are tricked and forced into prostitution. Often they sold by family member or friend.

The most vulnerable come from poverty and have very little education. Some girls have been abandoned or orphaned. Some girls are HIV positive. Some girls are aggressive. But they all need love and opportunity.

One student said to me, “In my life, nothing good has ever happened to me. And then you came. Why didn’t you come sooner?”

What impact does learning ukulele have on the girls?

There are so many positives in learning ukulele. They learn how to keep a beat, how to play with a partner, and to play in a group. All the while, they are learning how to learn.

And these girls, who are often seen as the bottom of their society — when they learn something new, and practice and practice, and then get to perform it for an audience, wow! it’s so uplifting and empowering. After a big performance, one of the girls said, “I’m not alone anymore. I’m part of a band!”

Where can we learn more about your project?

There are some great stories and photos at my blog,, and there’s a lovely article written by Audrey Colemen in the Winter 2016 issue Ukulele Magazine.

What are your plans and wishes for the future of SGUB?

I’d love to have ukulele people from around the world learn about Survivor Girl Ukuele Band Project — and join the baaand!

Right now I’m focusing on “Survivor Girl Ukulele Band — the CD”, and have brought about fifteen of my students in to the recording studio in Kolkata to record ukulele and vocals for four original songs. Sounds simple enough, but it was really really a challenge on so many levels. And so if we can get that funded and completed — it will serve as a huge accomplishment for the girls who have participated and also as a major inspiration for new students.

In addition, this last spring, I hired a former student to expand Survivor Girl Ukulele Band Project to two small shelter homes in Kolkata. This is her first real job, and she’s my first employee! And next year I hope to expand the project to another large shelter home in Kolkata and maybe hire another former student.

I’d love to keep expanding the project through former students who then become teachers. My plans and wishes include launching girls who have almost no education into dignified and creative and fun careers — bringing restoration and hope to other survivor girls through the healing power of music and love. Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

You can find out more about the Survivor Girl Ukulele Band at and, even more importantly, help them out and back their Kickstarter here.

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