– Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra’s new album.
– Keston Cobblers’ Club new EP A Pocket Guide to Escaping.
Another excellent contribution from David Beckingham. This time an arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust. This one isn’t as tricky to play as most of his arrangements. So there’s plenty of room there for expressive playing.
It’s looking like another golden year for ukulele music. Worryingly, more than half the year has already gone. So time for retrospective of the best ukulele videos of the year so far. Based on ratings on UkeToob, reaction on the blog and my personal tingles.
I’ll warn you now, it is 21 videos long. So if you find that woefully short there’s more ukulele music in the Ukulele 2014 Spotify playlist.
If there’s a video I’ve cruelly overlooked let me know in the comments.
It’s been a long wait but at last Garfunkel and Oates finally have a TV show. And it’s fantastic.
You can watch an episode on YouTube if you’re in the US (or can convince the internet you are) (you used to be able to). I couldn’t find a legit way to watch it in the UK but IFC shows usually show up on iTunes and Netflix eventually.
You can get the chords for all the songs from their two albums on their iOS app. But The Fade Away – the closing song on the first show in the series – isn’t on it. So here goes.
The chords are very simple (just remember to put a capo on the first fret) so there’s plenty of cognitive space to memorise the thousands of words in the song.
A fair chunk of the song is just one down strum per chord. This should see you through everything else:
d – d u – u d –
Here’s the simple little bit at the start:
– 1920’s Gibson ukulele owned by Bob Dylan.
– There are a heap of Lanikai’s with factory defects on eBay. Most with modest discounts that mean they’re still more expensive than Amazon. But there are some with more damage and a larger discount on them.
– A string of handsome banjoleles from Jake Wildwood’s shop: c.1925 Stromberg-Voisinet/Kay-made 8″ Rim Resonator Banjo Uke, c.1930 Slingerland-made/sold 7″ Banjo Ukulele, c.1920 Harmony-made Olympian “California Style” Banjo Ukulele.
– Eko suitcase ukulele amp
I love Lana Del Rey’s first couple of singles. But after Paradise and the baby seal beatings I’d given up on her. But I absolutely love her new album, Ultraviolence,. With some help from Dan ‘Black Keys’ Auerbach she’s gone full on Bond. So I felt compelled to do a version of the Bondiest track on the album.
And that’s where slash notation comes in. Slash notation looks a lot like standard musical notation. But it’s a lot simpler. It dispenses with all the notes because you only need it pick up the rhythm.
So this post is a combination slash notation primer and advanced strumming patterns post. Including the famous Mumford strum and the greatest strumming pattern in the world ever.
This post follows on from the ideas in the How to Play Ukulele Strums ebook which covers the basics of strumming and understanding how the fit into a song.
Basic Strums in Slash Notation
This example is just a simple ‘d u d u d u d u’ strum. Each strum has a vertical line. And each ‘d u’ pair are connected by a single line above them.
BTW the chords in the mp3s are all A – D – A – D unless it says otherwise.
Here’s how it looks when you play a down strum by itself (i.e. you miss out the accompanying up-strum):
That down strum just has the vertical line and isn’t connected to anything. So this one is a ‘d – d u d u d u’ strum.
When you miss out a down strum you use a tie. Which looks like a bracket that’s fallen over:
Here the up strum is tied to the next strum. Showing that you just let the chord ring. That gives you the good old ‘d – d u – u d u’ strum.
One thing slash notation has that basic strumming notation doesn’t is a way of representing rests. A rest is when you don’t make any sound at all. And if they chord is playing you stop either (by resting one or both of your hands on the strings).
This example – a diagonal line with a ball at the top – uses a rest that lasts the length of either a down- or up-strum. Here each down strum is replaced by a rest. So you play an up-strum. Stop the strings for the length of time you’d usually play a down-strum. Then play another up-strum.
The different length rests look different. You can look at the other rest lengths here.
Also, because the up-strum hasn’t got its down brother, the bar that would go across just goes flaccid.
Chord Changes in Weird Places
Slash notation is also great for indicating chord changes that occur in unusual places. You can indicate exactly where the chord changes by referencing the chord above the strum it changes on.
This example starts with a C chord. Changes to E7 on that second up-strum. Then you get a tie so you don’t play the next down-strum. Then you switch to F on the last up-strum of the bar. And that is tied over too. Finally, you have the same deal with the change to G7.
This example is strummed just like the first example (d u d u d u…) but it’s strummed at twice the speed. So whereas the first example had a ‘d u’ in the space of one click of the metronome, this example has ‘d u d u’ for each metronome click.
Because you’re doubling up the speed you also double up the lines going across the top.
Mumford and Strums
You’ve got the tie (meaning a missed down strum) combined with a batch of fast strums.
The chords here are Dm and F.
Lust for Life Strum
This is my all-time favourite strum. I throw it in every chance I get. It’s in How to Play Ukulele Strums, How to Play Blues Ukulele and Ukulele for Dummies. And now it’s here.
You’ll recognise the fast strumming. And the rests should look sort of familiar too. But these have two balls rather than the more Hitlerian one ball we saw before. That indicates they’re twice as fast. So they take up the space of one of the fast down- or up-strums. In this case, it’s down-strums both times.
One new thing: there’s a dot after one of the notes. That’s telling you to increase the length of the note by half. So originally it’s half a beat long. Add on half again. Now it’s three quarters of a beat long. With that fast up-strum filling up the rest of the beat.
There is one more thing: the little equation at the top left. That’s indicating swing time. But that’s a post for another day.
Here’s how the strum sounds at a slow tempo on a B chord:
And here’s how I used it in the blues ebook for an uptempo jump blues:
If you want to learn more about strumming check out my ebook How to Play Ukulele Strums
This work by Ukulele Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
I can relate to this song’s take on summer. Not so much the drinking, driving and leching. More the writing half a line of a song, running out of brain power and just lapsing into dee-dee-dees. But the main reason I’m tabbing it is Tom Richter‘s excellent ukulele version.
The only downside with the version is that he’s using the very high E- tuning (b-E-G#-C#). But it’s very easy to replecate that tuning by slapping a capo on the fourth fret.
If you don’t have a capo, here are the chords in non-capo form:
Here’s a simple strum you can use all the way through:
d u x u – u d u
Here’s a tab of that fantastic intro.
For the solo the basic chords are the same as the verse. But he’s throwing in all sorts of variations: 6, 7, sus2, sus4. Knock yourself out.