International Women’s Day UkeTube Special

Full Playlist

To celebrate International Women’s Day this Sunday today’s UkeTube is all women ukers.

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Friday Links: Ukuleles vs Recorders

On the Radio

CBC debates ukes vs recorders in school. James Hill argues for ukuleles.
Phil Jupitus celebrates The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain for BBC Radio 4 Extra.


New Fender electric ukuleles.
Lichty long neck tenor.
Rebel custom tenor.
Devine Muse tenor.
Ironman ukulele.
Antica Ukuleleria.
Siren Songs ukulele diorama.


– Two new books from Fred Sokolow: Jazzing Up the Ukulele and The Beatles for Fingerstyle Ukulele.

New Releases

annie bacon & her OSHEN – Stranded Songs. (Pay what you like.)
Matthew Richards – Thinking About You.
Cammy Enaharo – From the Garage.


Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel.


Olive Thomas shakes it off.
Abandoned Martin 5K.

Little Barrie – Better Call Saul Theme (Tab)

Better Call Saul (Tab)

I had assumed Junior Brown’s Better Call Saul would be the theme tune to the show. But they went with the more unexpected choice of, Nottingham indie rockers, Little Barrie.

But the theme is very in keeping with the feel of the Breaking Bad theme. It’s similarly sparse which makes it a bit tricky to keep time. As you can see in the video, I keep strumming without touching the strings to keep time. But you can do it by tapping your foot or nodding your head.

Better Call Saul on iTunes
Breaking Bad theme (Tab)
More Breaking Bad related tabs and chords

Tremolo Picking with Sam Muir

Today’s post is a guest tutorial by classical guitarist and ukulelist Samantha Muir. She recently won the UOGB’s Valentines contest with a fancy bit of tremolo picking and was kind enough to let me share her technique with you.

You can find out more about Sam and buy her classical ukulele tab ebooks at

What Is Tremolo?

Tremolo is a technique which uses rapidly repeated notes to give a shimmering or trembling effect. For string players, such as violinists, this involves the rapid moving back and forth of the bow. Classical guitarists also love tremolo. It’s a great way to woo your audience!

The most well known solo classical guitar piece is Tarrega’s haunting Recuerdos de la Alhambra, or Memories of the Alhambra, which uses tremolo. Throughout the gardens and courtyards of the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain, you can hear sounds of water coming from the many fountains. The tremolo technique captures this idea of flowing water beautifully.

About 5 years ago I was fortunate enough to visit the Alhambra and a friend made a video of me playing Recuerdos de la Alhambra in the palace grounds. You can see it here on YouTube…

How Do You Do That?

Tremolo can be achieved using a pick. This requires a rapid back and forth movement with the pick (and bucket loads of practise!). The other way is to use your right hand fingers and thumb. To grasp the basics it is best to identify the fingers in the following way:


P = thumb and comes from the Spanish word Pulgar
i = index and comes from the Spanish word Indices
m = middle and comes from the Spanish word Medio
a = ring finger and comes from the Spanish word Anular

Note: The p i m a system is used by classical guitarists and is a good way to abbreviate all RH finger style patterns. It would make sense for ukulele players to universally adopt this system as it is a quick and easy system to learn. The left hand fingers are identified numerically so using the p i m a system for RH identification makes it immediately quite clear which hand is being referred to on the score.

OK, down to the nitty gritties…

When playing a tremolo you are basically playing a repeated 4 note pattern with the right hand. The RH fingering is:

p a m i p a m i p a m i p a m i etc

The pattern is repeated over and over. The speed and fluidity of the pattern create the tremolo effect.

Try playing this pattern on one string to get the feel of it. The critical thing is the connection between the thumb and ring, or a, finger. All the notes have to be played as evenly as possible.

Tremolo becomes really interesting when you play the thumb note on a different string, thus creating a bass.

For example:


Now you have a tremolo with 2 parts. The high G on a ukulele creates some interesting possibilities. You can, for example, play the melody note with the thumb and use notes played by the fingers as the accompaniment.

Achieving a fast, smooth and even tremolo takes a lot of time and practise. I mean lots, So don’t despair if you are finding this difficult. It is difficult. Start slowly and gradually increase the tempo. One method to develop your tremolo is to try and accent a particular finger. For example: practise slowly with a heavy accent on the a finger. Then try bringing out the m. And finally the i. Rhythmically this is quite weird but don’t worry. It will help to improve your control and overall RH technique.

If you want to hear some ukulele tremolo in action have a look at this video on YouTube. This was the video I enter for The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain’s Valentines Day Competition. The challenge was to do a 30 second version of Let Me Call You Sweetheart. Mine was considered “cheesiest”!

Here’s a little Tremolo Study to help you on your way.


Sam has released a number of classical ukulele tab ebooks including The Little Book of Carulli and The Little Book of Sor for Ukulele on Gumroad.

Meghan Trainor – Baby Doll (Chords)

Meghan Trainor – Baby Doll (Chords)

I’m not saying I single handedly launched Meghan Trainor’s career, but she did start to get huge after I gave this song the old Uke Hunt bump. It didn’t make the album but it’s easily my favourite song of hers. It has some classic ukulele chord moves like C – A7 – Dm – G7.

First thing to do: put a capo on the fourth fret.

There are a few chord names you might not be familiar with in this one. But don’t be intimidated, they’re very easy to play. The most difficult chord is Fm played in a different way to the usual 1013. But you can use the 1013 version and it’ll sound just fine.

Suggested Strumming

You can use this as the main strum all the way through:

d – d u d u d u

Verses: Do that once for each chord.

Bridge: Main strum twice for each chord.

Intro and Chorus: Here you have to split the strum into two parts (d – d u and d u d u). You do:

– d – d u on the C then d u d u on the Cmaj7.
– One play through the full main strum for each for C7 – Fadd9 – Fm.
– Half each for C – A7 – Dm – G7. A main strum on C.
– Then d – d u on G7, d u on G7sus4 and d u on G7.

Here’s how that sounds (slow then up to speed):

Intro/chorus strum (MP3)


Meghan Trainor on iTunes

Seryn, Queen Porter Stomp: UkeTube

Full Playlist

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New Ukulele Blogs: Friday Links

My ebooks are available in the EU again thanks to Gumroad getting on top of the VAT situation. Sorry about the delay on that.


– Two great new ukulele blogs: Jonathan Lewis has a site for tabs of his spectacular campanella arrangements of traditional tunes, and Ukulele Go! covering everything uke related including reviews, lessons, links and general uke miscellany.
Aaron and Nicole Keim’s A Ukulele Handbook: a beautiful, illustrated beginner’s guide.

New Releases

– I’ve kicked off the Ukulele 2015 playlist on Spotify with Victoria Vox, Kimo Hussey, Seryn, The Vespers and the ubiquitous Meghan Trainor.
– Speaking of Kimo Hussey, he has a new album Low G.
– Not often I come across some ukulele on my trips to DatPiff but my last visit turned up two: a fantastic uke riff on Vee Tha Rula and Kid Ink’s fantastic Out In Pari on the VRSES EP and a much more brief the IZ-sample on Jermone N Da House by Trinidad James.


KoAloha have been busy. They’re relaunching their entry level KoAlana ukes and introducing a the new Opio range of mid-priced ukuleles.
The Brian May Uke.


Animals EP by EdwardAlice.


Ukulele controlled quadcopter
Why make uke videos?
Musical preview of Portlandia.

New ruling for air travel: U.S. Department of Transportation now say musicians who board planes must be allowed to carry on their instruments provided they fit in the overhead bin.

Hanging Tree (Hunger Games) (Instrumental Tab)

James Newton Howard ft. Jennifer Lawrence – Hanging Tree (Tab)

After last week’s two nightmare difficulty posts something much more straight forward this week.

Like the original, I start my version off with just the melody. It’s a great traditionally inspired melody (written by the guys off of The Lumineers) and is plenty strong enough to hold your attention alone. I’m just picking this with my thumb but you can use fingers if you’re comfortable with that.

Then from bar 17 I introduce a few chords but still keep it very minimal. Again, I’m just using my thumb to play these. Strumming down the strings whenever there’s more than one note.


Buy it on iTunes
More movie theme tabs

Ukulele Festivals 2015

Here’s the preliminary list of 2015 ukulele festivals. If you know a festival that needs adding send me a message or leave a comment on this post with the details.

USA and Canada

Allegheny Ukulele Soiree

Location: Penn State Altoona, Altoona, PA 16601
Date: March 22, 2015
Performers: Victoria Vox, Stuart “Stukulele” Fuchs, Colin Coleman

Ashokan Uke Fest

Location: Conservation Hall, Ashokan Center
Date: May 22 to 25, 2015
Performers: Joel Eckhaus, Ben Hassenger, Paul Hemmings, Marcy Marxer, Heidi Swedberg, Gerald Ross and Ruthy Ungar

Denver Ukefest

Location: The Brew on Broadway, 3445 S. Broadway, Englewood, CO 80113
Date: May 14 to 16, 2015
Performers: Leftover Cuties, Victor & Penny, Victoria Vox, Lil’ Rev, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, and Stuart Fuchs

Dock Street Uke Camp

Location: Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada
Date: September 18 to 20, 2015
Performers: TBA

Funky Frets Uke Fest

Location: Trinity Church, 250 Sweinhardt Rd, Boyertown, PA 19512
Date: October 2 to 4, 2015
Performers: Victoria Vox, Lil’ Rev, Gerald Ross, The Aloha Boys, Ben Carr.

Great Minnesota Uke Gathering

Location: El Rancho Mañana near Richmond, Minnesota
Date: May 29 to 31, 2015
Performers: Open Microphone, Led Jams, Workshops

La Crosse Uke-A-Palooza

Location: Best Western-Midway Hotel, 1835 Rose Street, La Crosse, WI
Date: May 17, 2015
Performers: TBA

Lake Anne 6th Annual Ukulele Festival

Location: Lake Anne Plaza, Reston, VA
Date: July 11, 2015
Performers: TBA

Martha’s Vineyard Ukulele Festival

Location: Featherstone Center for the Arts, Oak Bluffs, Ma.
Date: September 19, 2015
Performers: Faith Ako, Jim & Liz Beloff, Ken Middleton, Steve McNie

May Day Play Day

Location: Modesto Church of the Brethren, 2301 Woodland Avenue, Modesto, CA 95358
Date: May 16, 2015
Performers: Strummin’ Wonders of Woodbridge Manteca, River City Ukulele Band of Roseville, Strum Bums of Grass Valley.

Menucha Ukulele Band Camp

Location: Corbett, Oregon
Date: March 23 to 27, 2015
Performers: TBA

Midwest Uke Fest

Location: Folkcraft Instruments, 22133 Main Street, Woodburn, IN 46797
Date: August 15 to 26, 2015
Performers: TBA

Mighty Uke Day 5

Location: Old Town Lansing, Michigan
Date: May 8 to 10, 2015
Performers: Victoria Vox, Stuart Fuchs, Gerald Ross, Susan Picking, Saldaje, Andy Wilson, Ukulele Dwight

The Oakridge Ukulele Festival

Location: TBA
Date: TBA
Performers: TBA

Palm Strings Ukulele Festival

Location: 400 E Tahquitz Canyon Way, Palm Springs, CA
Date: February 6 to 8, 2015
Performers: Victoria Vox, Michael Powers, Craig Brandau, Cali Rose and Jason Arimoto.

Port Townsend Ukulele Festival

Location: Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington
Date: October 7 to 11 or October 14 to 18, 2015
Performers: TBA

Reno Ukulele Festival

Location: Nugget Resort, Sparks, Nevada
Date: April 30 to May 3, 2015
Performers: TBA

Rocky Mountain UkeFest

Location: Durango Arts Center, Durango, Colorado, 81301
Date: July 10 to 11, 2015
Performers: Heidi Swedberg, Daniel Ward, John Bartlit

San Diego Ukulele Festival

Location: Cal State San Marcos, 333 S Twin Oaks Valley Rd, San Marcos, CA 92078
Date: June 6, 2015
Performers: Taimane Gardner, The Daniel Ho Ukulele Trio, UkuLenny, Brandon Cruz, Alison Marae

Santa Monica Ukulele Festival

Location: Santa Monica High School. 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405
Date: April 18, 2015
Performers: Abe Lagrimas, Jr., Jim and Liz Beloff, Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel and Cali Rose and Craig Brandau

Schuylkill Valley Boys Folk Festival

Location: Garrett Mill Park, Garrett Mill Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073
Date: September 13, 2015
Performers: Schuylkill Valley Boys, Mainline/Philadelphia Ukulele Club

Silver Creek International Ukulele Carnival

Location: Two Harbors Minnesota, USA
Date: August 21 to 23, 2015
Performers: TBA

South Florida Ukulele Fest

Location: 1350 East Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL
Date: March 20 to 21, 2015
Performers: James Hill, Gerald Ross, Steve Boisen, Tommy Lee Stryder

Tunes In The Dunes V

Location: Lincoln Cultural City Center, Oregon
Date: September 18 to 20, 2015
Performers: TBA

Uke-nique Festival

Location: The Makeout Room, 3225 22nd St, San Francisco, California 94110
Date: March 15
Performers: Alzara & Brother Spellbinder, Sylvie Simmons, Amity Rose, Karla & Khoi (Corner Laughers)

Ukulele Festival of Northern California

Location: Chabot College Campus, 25555 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward, CA 94545
Date: April 26, 2015
Performers: TBA

Ukulele University

Location: Cascades Academy, Bend, Oregon, USA
Date: July 17 to 19, 2015
Performers: Craig Chee, Sarah Maisel, Aaron and Nicole Keim, and Rhan Wilson

Ukulele World Congress

Location: Needmore, Indiana
Date: June 5 to 6, 2015
Performers: TBA

Utah Uke Fest

Location: Historic City Hall, American Fork, UT
Date: July 18, 2015
Performers: TBA

Utah Ukulele Festival

Location: Willow Park, Logan, Utah
Date: August 1, 2015
Performers: TBA

Vancouver Ukulele Festival

Location: St James Hall, Vancouver, Canada
Date: March 6 to 8, 2015
Performers: Sarah Maisel, Craig Chee, Victoria Vox, Aaron & Nicole Keim, John Nash, Ralph Shaw and Daphne Roubini.

West Coast Ukulele Retreat

Location: Asilomar, Monterey Peninsula
Date: May 13 to 17, 2015
Performers: TBA


Great Waikoloa Ukulele Festival

Location: Kings’ Shops and Queens’ MarketPlace, Waikoloa Beach Resort
Date: March 7, 2015
Performers: TBA

Uke Ohana

Location: Pu’u O Hoku Ranch & Halawa Valley, Molokai, Hawaii
Date: May 22 to 26, 2015
Performers: TBA

Ukulele Festival

Location: Kapiolani Park, Waikiki, Oahu
Date: July 19, 2015
Performers: TBA

Ukulele Picnic in Hawaii 2015

Location: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii
Date: February 8, 2015
Performers: Mark Yamanaka, John Keawe Kohala, Kris Fuchigami and Brittni Paiva.

United Kingdom and Ireland

Cardiff Ukulele Festival

Location: St David’s Hall, Cardiff
Date: March 28, 2015
Performers: TBA

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival 2015

Location: Lawrence Batley Theatre
Date: May 22 to 24, 2015
Performers: Manitoba Hal, Sarah Maisel, The Quiet American, Craig Chee, Phil Doleman, Zoe Bestel, Chonkinfeckle, Mother Ukers, and U.K.E.

Grand Southern Ukulele Festival

Location: Albert Rd & The Kings Theatre, Portsmouth
Date: October 9 to 11, 2015
Performers: Victoria Vox, Phil Doleman, Ukulelezaza, Ben Rouse, Krabbers

Leamington Ukulele Festival

Location: Newbold Comyn Arms & Grounds, Leamington Spa. CV32 4EU.
Date: July 4, 2015
Performers: Lynda Styne & Red Hot Duo, Chonkinfeckle, Matt Richards

Lincoln Ukulele Band Birthday Bash

Location: Bishop Grosseteste University, Longdales Road, Lincoln LN1 3DY
Date: April 19, 2015
Performers: Phil Doleman, Lincoln Ukulele Band

Rye Ukulele Festival 2015

Location: The Cinque Ports, Cinque Ports St, Rye, East Sussex
Date: May 24, 2015
Performers: TBA

Summer Strum

Location: Hoylake Rugby Club, Hoylake, Wirral, UK
Date: July 4 to 5, 2015
Performers: Wirral Ukulele Orchestra, Mighty Flea, Splintered Ukes, Ukulele Club Liverpool

Ukes for UNICEF – Ukulele Festival

Location: Berkhamsted Civic Centre
Date: February 28, 2015
Performers: TBA

Ukulele Day

Location: Reeth Memorial Hall, Reeth, Swaledale, North Yorkshire. DL11 6QT
Date: March 28, 2015
Performers: Yoredale Ukulele Strummers, Keith Stephen Hot Club Trio

Ukulele Festival of Great Britain

Location: The Norwood Arms, 1 Leckhampton Rd, Cheltenham GL53 0AX
Date: June 19 to 21, 2015
Performers: James Hill, Ryo Natoyama, Herb Ohta Junior, Ukulele Bartt, Tobias Elof, Tomoki Sato, Hot Potato Syncopators and Zoe Bestel

Ukulele Hooley

Location: Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
Date: August 22 to 23, 2015
Performers: TBA

York Ukulele Festival

Location: RED COW MUSIC, 13 Goodramgate, York
Date: June 20, 2015
Performers: Grand Old Uke of York, Ukulele Sunshine Revival, Tenfoot Ukes


Czech Ukulele Festival

Location: Unetice, Prague, Czech Republic
Date: July 24 to 26, 2015
Performers: TBA

Helsinki Ukulele Festival

Location: Helsinki, Finland
Date: May 22 to 24, 2015
Performers: Ken Middleton, Chris Hough

Morkelele – Morecambe Summer Ukulele Spectacular

Location: Morecambe, Lancashire, UK
Date: July 10 to 11, 2015
Performers: Uff & Dave Trio, Mersey Belles, Dead Mans Uke

My Big Fat Greek Ukulele Adventure

Location: Askeli Beach, Poros Beach, Greece
Date: September 19, 2015
Performers: Seeso, Matt Lindahl

Paris Ukulele Festival

Location: La Bellevilloise – 21 rue Boyer – 75020 Paris
Date: May 14 to 16, 2015
Performers: The Sweet Hollywaiians, Les Poupées Gonflées, Les Rois du Macadam, Yan Yalego, Dust Sweepers

Australia and New Zealand

Blue Mountains Ukulele Festival

Location: Carrington Hotel, 15-47 Katoomba Street, Katoomba NSW
Date: February 13 to 15, 2015
Performers: TBA

Dandenong Ranges Ukulele Festival (DRUKE)

Location: Burrinja Cultural Centre, Upwey, Victoria
Date: May 29 to 31, 2015
Performers: Tomoki Sato, AJ Leonard, Lucy Wise, Paul Jonson

The Huskisson Uke Muster

Location: Huskisson, Jervis Bay New South Wales 2540
Date: June 16, 2015
Performers: TBA

Lauder Ukulele Festival

Location: Lauder Green, Lauder, Omakau
Date: February 5 to 8, 2015
Performers: Keith Lightfoot, Hyram Ballard, The Misfits, Pic’N Mix, Aspiring Ukes and LX Ukes.

Meadow Mushrooms Ukefest

Location: Geraldine, New Zealand 7930
Date: July 3 to 5, 2015
Performers: The Nukes, Formidable Vegetable Sound System

Melbourne Ukulele Festival

Location: Thornbury Theatre, 859 High Street, Thornbury VIC 3071, Australia
Date: March 13 to 15, 2015
Performers: Victoria Vox, Ralph Shaw, Ukulele Russ

SPRUKE 2015 – Brisbane’s Ukulele Festival

Location: South Bank TAFE campus, 66 Ernest Street South Brisbane, Queensland Australia
Date: October 2 to 4, 2015
Performers: TBA

Sunshine Coast Ukulele Festival

Location: Borumba Deer Park, Imbil
Date: March 13 to 15, 2015
Performers: Sarah Maisel, Craig Chee, Matthew Fagan, Mic Conway and Mike Jackson.

The Staves – Facing West (Chords)

The Staves – Facing West (Chords)

I’m more excited for the new Staves album than I am about any other record apart from Meow the Jewels this year. The Staves with Justin ‘off of Bon Iver’ Vernon producing is a dream team.

To tide myself over I’ve written up the chords to the ukulele song from the first album Facing West.

The chords themselves are dead simple. If you’re okay singing it in F then you’ve got no problems.

But in the original they’re tuned down one fret (so is Dodie ‘dodleoddle’ Clark in her version if that’s the one you’re interested in). So you’ll have to do that if you want to play along. Alternatively you could put a capo on the first fret and play these slightly more troublesome chord shapes:

Facing West (Capo Chords)

Suggested Strumming

You can use this strum twice for every chord all the way through the song:

d – d – – u d u

Or this strum sounds great with a touch strum on the first strum. You play a touch strum by just hitting the g-string (although if you hit the C-string as well it’s not a big deal). It gives the strum a bit more variety.

Here’s how it looks (slow then up to speed):


Buy it on iTunes
Bon Iver chords for Skinny Love and Michicant

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