Easy Alternatives to Chnking

Ukulele players love to blow chnks all over the place. It’s a useful technique to have in your arsenal. But it takes some practice to get down.

So here are a few alternatives you can use while you’re practicing them. And a few alternative strumming ideas for everyone else.

The Strum

The strum I’m recreating here is down, up, chnk, up, down, up, chnk, up. In shorthand:

d u x u d u x u

Which sounds like this using a chnk:

For more info on chnks and strumming patterns have a look at my ebook How to Play Ukulele Strums.

Body Slap

How do you do it? Slap the palm of your strumming hand down on the strings around the noise-hole area.

Advantages: Easy to do. Very percussive sound.

Disadvantages: There’s no strumming sound to it.

Muted Strum

How do you do it? A muted strum doesn’t require you to do anything different with your strumming hand at all. All you do is stop the strings from ringing by laying fingers on your fretting hand across the strings to stop them ringing. One finger will usually do the job but two fingers is safer.

In this example I’m playing a C chord. So I release the A-string then lay my index and middle fingers across the strings.

Advantages: You can do muted strums on down and up strums (not possible with chnks), they don’t break up the rhythm of your strumming hand, and they’re easy to do.

Disadvantages: They’re a bit wimpy compared to chnks.

Four Finger Muted Strum

How do you do it? Do a muted strum but strum with all four fingers. Try to line them up so they all hit the strings at about the same time.

Advantages: Louder and more in-your-face than a muted strum.

Disadvantages: Doesn’t have the same slap as a chnk.

Body Strum

How do you do it? Just like the four finger muted strum but you follow through and hit the body of the uke with your nails.

Advantages: They sound as close to a chnk as it’s possible to get without chnking. You can vary the sound you get my changing the amount of force you hit the uke with.

Disadvantages: Is a bit more tricky. It might damage your uke. Or your fingers.

Percy Sledge – When a Man Loves a Woman (Chords)

Percy Sledge – When a Man Loves a Woman (Chords)

It’s been a sad few weeks with three music legends dying: BB King, Ben E King and Percy Sledge.

In tribute to Percy Sledge I had to write up one of the greatest cheating songs: When A Man Loves a Woman. Bang a capo on the first fret and it works perfectly on ukulele.

Suggested Strumming

Two ponderous downstrums per chord will get you through the verses.

In the verse it’s four downstrums per chord. But at the end of the first and second lines there’s a little walk down on the A-string. There do three long downstrums on the C. Then one quick downstrum each on C – Cmaj7 – C7. If you prefer you can just play 3 – 2 – 1 on the A-string.

Twiddley Bits

From the second verse on there’s a great guitar part. Here’s my adaptation of it for ukulele:


Again, this is played with a capo at the first fret.


Buy it on iTunes
More soul tabs and chords

Lucy Wise, Corey Fujimoto: UkeTube

Full Playlist

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Friday Links


Ukulele in the Dark on building fluidity.
Ukulele Go! on learning faster.

New Releases

Brendan Maclean’s Thought I’d Cry for You EP (pay what you like) including a track with Neil Gaiman.
Gracie Terzian’s Saints and Poets.


Kala’s new range of US made ukes: Petaluma.
Cheezy ukuleles.
Brian May’s Sheltone banjolele.


Gym memes for ukulelists.
Scary clown.
Nick Offerman builds a ukulele.


– The Mother Ukers are raising money for Margaret Green Animal Rescue.

France Gall – Poupée de cire, Poupée de son (Tab)

France Gall – Poupée de cire, Poupée de son (Tab)

Following on from ABBA, my other favourite Eurovision song is Luxembourg’s 1965 winner: France Gall’s Poupée de cire, Poupée de son (written by Serge Gainsbourg).

The only tricky part in this arrangement is the intro. Here I’m picking the A-string with my middle finger and everything else with my thumb.

From there on it’s all pretty simple. Everything is plucked with the thumb apart from a few bits of strumming (indicated by the arrows on the tab).


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Uke Hunt is Eight: My Thoughts

I can’t believe I’m still getting away with this!

I started the site on 12th May 2007 without particularly high expectations. I certainly didn’t expect to still be here eight years later with the site close to 100 million page views. That’s a mind-blowing amount to me. I count myself incredibly lucky and privileged to still be able to do work I love.

This is the self-indulgent ramble post I sometimes allow myself on my blog-birthday – covering my general thoughts on the site and the ukulele world in general. If you want something more useful read the Review of the Year post.

Thank You!

I’m really blessed to be part of a world that is as encouraging and enthusiastic as the ukulele community. The success of the site is entirely down to all of you for your support over the years. I’m pathetically grateful to everyone for:

Reading: It’s such a thrill for me that people find the site useful. I know playing the ukulele helps me relax and – when I really practice a piece – accomplished. And I hope this site helps you feel the same way.

Feedback: commenting, emailing, tweeting and reviewing: I judge the success of a post almost entirely by how much of reaction it gets in comments, emails and on Twitter. That feedback is so important to me.

Ukulele for Dummies has about 500 reviews on Amazon (mostly on the UK store and US store). The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. They’re the most important thing for a book to be successful on Amazon so I’m exceptionally thankful to everyone who took the time to leave one.

Spreading the word: Telling people about the site is absolutely the best way to support it. I put the growth of the site entirely down to people recommending it to other ukers.

Buying: It’s my nightmare that one day I might have to get a proper job. So I can’t thank enough those people who spend hard earned money on my ebooks. I’m not one of those people energetic and productive enough to do a day job and run a side project. There’s no way the site could exist without your financial support.

Getting involved: There are so many clubs and groups and festivals I can hardly keep up. Add to that the number of people writing blogs, tabbing and doing YouTube tutorials. It’s staggering and it all makes playing the ukulele a better experience.

Playing: It’s a huge inspiration to watch people playing on YouTube and listening to the records. Just watching random YouTube videos gets my brain firing. If you do something cool I’m very likely to steal it.

Why I Do It

I’m very slow on the uptake. So it hasn’t been until the last year or two I’ve actually figured out why I care about this site.

Most people assume I’m a ukulele advocate and think everyone should play it. I can see where they might get that impression but it’s not the case. I’m not one of those, “If everyone played the ukulele there’d be no wars,” types. Ukuleles are great but the success of the ukulele isn’t something that gets me out of bed in the morning (metaphorically, I’m writing this in bed – I’m not an idiot).

What really gets me excited is helping people to feel accomplished and proud of themselves. Like this. (If you’re similarly excited to play Toxic the tab is here.) Or playing to entertain their friends. It’s such a buzz to be able to do that for people.

I do think the ukulele is a particularly good way of doing that. It’s a much more to people who just want to make music for their own enjoyment.

The Only Real Problem I’ve Ever Had

Most of the problems I have with the blog (the website going down for reasons that are way beyond my understanding, arseholes being arseholes, some stuff I work being a flop, YouTube messing around with stuff) are fixable or at least bearable. The only big problem comes when governments screw things up. There’s no getting around those.

In January EU laws on VAT on digital products changed (VAT = sales tax). Before I was under the UK system which has a threshold comfortably above anything I’ve earned. From the beginning of the year everyone selling digital products in EU has to account for sales in every country they sell even one copy in. There’s no longer minimum level. You’re lumped with the administrative burden of it no matter how small you are.

It’s set me back a great deal this year. I spent January without the ebooks on sale while I search around for a solution before Gumroad came up with their solution (then the time and cost switching to that system). And I’ve moved a big project I was working on to the back burner because I still haven’t got a good solution to it.

I will admit to some schadenfreude in seeing Vince Cable getting turfed out after his pathetic response to the situation.

EU VAT Action has been doing some great work towards convincing politicians to make the laws more workable. So there’s some hope.

Thanks Again!

Thanks again to everyone for their support over the last seven years. I look forward to the next eight years when I expect I’ll have renamed the blog Futulele Hunt.

Uke Hunt is Eight: Roundup of the Year

Uke Hunt is eight years old. Apparently eight year olds should be able to form, “complex sentences with few grammatical errors”. I wouldn’t hold your breath for that. Here’s a selection of the stuff I managed to cobble together from half-formed sentences full of grammatical errors in the last year:

May 2014

– I released new editions of Ukulele Strums, Slide Ukulele and National Anthems.

In tabs: The Blues Run the Game
In chords: Britpop with Damon Albarn and Pulp

June 2014

Blues Ukulele and Ukulele 2014 Spotify playlists.

In tabs: Acoustic intros including Nick Drake, Elvis and Bon Iver
In chords: WIUO’s I Love You Raylene

July 2014

Intricate strums.

In tabs: Led Zep’s Rain Song and Lana Del Ray’s Shades of Cool.
In chords: Mungo Jerry’s appallingly lyriced In the Summertime and the Nun Song from Orange is the New Black

August 2014

Tabs and chords in a minor key.

In tabs: Pharrell’s Happy
In chords: Blind Melon’s No Rain and, to celebrate their IFC series, Garfunkel and Oates’s Fade Away.

September 2014

Kimo Hussey’s masterclasses.

In tabs: Swamp Whistler from Rayman Legends and the classical Canzone Danza.
In chords: The ukulele classic I’ll See You in My Dreams and The Smiths’ Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want

October 2014

No hassle chord changes.
UOGB and TUKUO battle it out in court.

In tabs: Medley of Arctic Monkeys riffs and punk pop riffs including Green Day, Blink 182 and Paramore.
In chords: Cole Porter’s You’d be so Nice to Come Home to

November 2014

– I released the second edition of Blues Ukulele.
– I released the third and final part of the Christmas tabs series.

In tabs: Claudia’s Theme from The Unforgiven
In chords: WIOU’s version of Lorde’s Team

December 2014

2014 ukulele quiz.

In tabs: Frasier theme and Serial theme
In chords: Monty Python’s Sit on My Face and Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know

January 2015


February 2015

2015 ukulele festivals

In tabs: Uptown Funk and Hanging Tree from The Hunger Games
In chords: It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie

March 2015

Songs with chords you know.
International Women’s Day UkeToob Special

In tabs: Strokes medley and Better Call Saul theme
In chords: James Bay’s Hold Back the River and Meghan Trainor’s Baby Doll

April 2015

Top five old school chord intros.
– Jonathan Lewis launched his excellent ebook of campanella arrangements of Irish tunes and wrote his introduction to campanella for Uke Hunt.

In tabs: Massive Attack’s Teardrop and Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel
In chords: Jonathan Coulton’s First of May and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt theme

ABBA – Waterloo (Chords)

ABBA – Waterloo (Chords)

It’s Eurovision next week, so I’m doing my two favourite Eurovision songs this week. I’ll level with you, there are only two Eurovision winners I’d say were great. And the first one is blindingly obvious: Sweden’s 1974 winner by ABBA.

Suggested Strumming

The main thing: swing your strumming (so the down strum lasts longer than the up strum) – the easiest way is just to get the groove of the song.

Main strum: d – d u d u d u

Intro: d u d u d u d u

Verse: I love the big emphasis on that first D chord. For that play this with the capitals being empahsised:

d – D U – u d u

On the short chords in the first two lines do d – d u for each. Using the main strum for everything else the first three lines sound like this:

Verse Strum

On the last line just do one down strum for all the short chords.

Chorus: The main strum on everything except the A at the end of line 2. This is a classic glam rock move. Play the D on the first down strum, then for the rest of the bar play A with udududu.

Bridge and Outro: use the main strum.

Twiddly Bits

I like to play the guitar riff in the chorus like this:


And here’s a version of the lick at the end:


Here’s how those two sound along with the strumming:



Buy it on iTunes
More ABBA tabs

Kimo Hussey, Leftover Cuties: UkeTube

Full Playlist

Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Links


– I’m loving Jonathan Lewis’s Irish Tunes for Campanella Ukulele. Here’s the campanella primer he wrote in case you missed it.
Garfunkel & Oates have released two books of sheet music for their songs.
Uke Nut’s tab for Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto Adagio.


SydneyUke is going great guns in the current series of Asia’s Got Talent with a very popular performance in the semi final.
Warren Buffett would like to buy the world a Coke. The world would like to buy Warren a tuner.
– The incredible Soeurs Gogochurebi panduri players from Tbilisi.


Custom painted ukuleles including some very fetching Van Gogh ukuleles.
– Retailers asked just how popular are ukuleles?
Dad keeps telling me it’s a toy.


Stepping Out: Washington 1922. (Thanks to Jim.)
World’s tiniest man takes up ukulele.
Helen Rook.

Election Section

I Predict A (Political) Riot

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