Janis Joplin – Mercedes Benz (Tab)

Janis Joplin – Mercedes-Benz (Tab)

Time for a song of great social and political import. And, more importantly, an easy to play song. I’ve kept the simplicity of the accapella original. Just adding a few chords in for support.

I’m using fingerpicking in my version. But it’s arranged so you can play the whole thing with your thumb if you prefer.

Links

Buy it on iTunes
More 60s tabs and chords

G7th UltraLight Ukulele Capo Review

After I put up my round-up of capo alternatives someone suggested I check out the G7th UltraLight capo. I bought one recently and it was a good suggestion.

How it Works

The G7th is a screw-capo. You wrap the capo around the neck, put the screw in a notch in the capo and tighten it to suit.

The Good Stuff

Adaptability: It fits all of my ukuleles from a sopranino to a baritone and does the job on all of them. Definitely a good capo to have if you’ve got a wide variety of ukes.

Light: They are not BSing when they call this “ultralight”. It’s noticeably lighter than even my elastic capo. I find a heavy capo can throw the balance of the ukulele off on smaller ukes.

Firm grip: I haven’t had any problems with it being knocked out of place or not holding the strings down well enough. You can fine tune how firmly the capo grips the fretboard more exactly than any of my other capos.

Price: G7th list it at $15. I got it for less than £10 on Amazon. Good value for money.

The Not So Good Stuff

A Little Fiddly to Put On: You can’t just slap it on with one hand like you can some capos. It is a two-step process of attaching the capo the screwing it tight. It’s only a few seconds so it’s not a deal breaker. But other capos do this job better. And ease of putting on a capo may be important particularly if you’re playing live.

Interfering with Playing: The capo does wrap all the way around the fretboard so I’ve find it slightly impedes my playing hand. I tend to prefer capos such as G7th’s Newport capo which leave the underside of the fretboard open giving your hand more room.

Again, it’s nowhere near enough to stop me using the capo but I do notice it’s there more than I do with some other capos.

Overall

The lightness and adaptability of the G7th capo make it a great choice for ukulele players. I’m definitely going to keep using it on my smaller ukes. But I am going to keep using my Shubb capo on my tenor Ohana and baritone. That one’s great to use, sturdy and unobtrusive. But it is heavy and only fits a couple of my ukes. So the G7th nicely fits with that for use on smaller, lighter ukes. So if you have similar capo needs I’d recommend checking this one out.

Links

G7th
Buy it on Amazon UK

INXS – Never Tear Us Apart (Chords)

INXS – Never Tear Us Apart (Chords)

INXS’s Kick is one of my favourite albums of the 80s. But today’s post was prompted by Courtney Barnett’s cover for an Apple ad in celebration of gay marriage in Australia (she’s covered the whole of Kick in the past). It’s a fantastic mix of pop, blues and rock elements.

The chords are dead easy. In the verse you only have to add or remove one finger for each chord change. The only thing slightly unusual is the time signature.

12/8 Time

12/8 isn’t a common time signature for a pop song and adds to the song’s bluesy edge. You might not have come across it before. But it’s not hard to get the hang. You can just think of it like 4/4 time but with each beat being a triplet. So I count it like this:

1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a

Count that along with the strings at the beginning and you’ll have it down.

Suggested Strumming

I use this as the main strum:

d – d u d –

Intro and Verse: Do the main strum four times for each chord. Here’s how that sounds:


Strum

Chorus: Do the main strum twice for each chord until the last line.

Twiddly Bits

I’ve written up the simple guitar chords. But the strings are a little more complex. Here I’m mimicking the short stabs by plucking all the strings at once rather than strumming.


Strings

The short guitar riff can be played like this. Here I’m strumming an Am where the drums are in the original.

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Finally there’s the bluesy sax solo. The solo starts out using the A blues scale which is the A minor pentatonic with the addition of the Eb on the A-string, 6th fret (lots more on both those scales in the How to Play Blues Ukulele ebook). Then in bar 4 it switches to the C major scale building up into the C chord at the start of the chorus.

Links

Buy it on iTunes
More Australian tabs and chords

UkeTube: My Sun and Stars, Claire Hastings, Tove Styrke

Full Playlist

Tracklist

My Sun and Stars – Married in Las Vegas
Mathias CéVé – Them There Eyes
Claire Hastings – Caledonia
August Green – In Front Of You
Tove Styrke – Say My Name
The Helmsmen – Riverside
Brit Rodriguez – What Gods Prevent
The Sonder Bombs – Shitty Boyfriend
Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel – Bluesette
The Peter Moon Band ft. Cyril Pahinui – Lepe ?Ula?ula

Friday Links: Peter Moon, What Type of Ukulele Player are You?

Ukulelist and Hawaiian Music Hall of Famer Peter Moon has died. I highly recommend checking out his playing on Pua Lilia with his band The Sunday Manoa.

Videos
What type of ukulele player are you?
Melania Trump ukes a lament on Colbert.
– Rob Bourassa talks to luthier Gary Zimnicki about his Martin 5K style baritone ukulele.

Ukes
One of only six ukuleles made by KoAloha in 2002.
1920s hipster and his uke (via Jake Wildwood).
Custom Martin Tree of Life.
Custom Martin “blister koa”.
Santa Cruz Guitar Company UK-3.

Jonathan Lewis – Lonesome Fiddle Blues (Tab)

Lonesome Fiddle Blues (Tab)

UPDATE: Jonathan has released an ebook of minstrel banjo tunes arranged for ukulele. So if this tab is your thing give it a look.

A guest tab today from Jonathan Lewis. This time a campanella arrangement of Vassar Clements‘s classic bluegrass tune Lonesome Fiddle Blues. Perhaps best known for the part it played in Devil Went Down to Georgia.

If you enjoy Jonathan’s arrangements and are looking for something to play on St Patrick’s Day do check out his ebook Irish Tunes for Campanella Ukulele.

Links

Buy it on iTunes
Jons-Ukulele.com
More Jonathan Lewis on Uke Hunt

Tab Reading FAQs: Xs, Brackets and Arches

I’ve written up a full guide to reading tab but there are few questions I get asked a lot. So here’s a little post clearing up any problems.

What do the numbers in brackets mean?

There are two ways brackets are used. The first is to indicate these are background notes that should be played more quietly. I use them to indicate that notes aren’t part of the melody. You need to play them more softly so the listener doesn’t mix them up with the melody.

Here’s an example from my Claudia’s Theme tab:

To illustrate the difference, here’s the example played first as if the brackets weren’t there and then played taking the brackets into account.


MP3

If it’s just a note by itself in brackets like above, it’s a background note. If it has an arched line connecting it to a previous note, then it’s a tied note. Which brings us on to the next question.

What do the arches between notes mean?

Again, this could mean a couple of things. An arch between a note and the same note in brackets or a blank space indicates that the notes are “tied” i.e. you add the length of the notes together.

So in this example from Ziggy Stardust there’s a tie from a quaver (or eighth note) to a semi-quaver (sixteenth note) making the note as long as a dotted quaver.

Sometimes you’ll see ties between all the notes, sometimes (like in this example) it’s just a tie at the top.

If the arch links to a different note then those indicate a transition between notes without repicking them. That means a hammer-on (if the second note is higher) or a pull-off (if the second note is lower). Often the arch will have a “p” above if it’s a pull-off or and “h” if it’s a hammer-on.

This example from The Lumineers’ Ho Hey includes first a tie and then a pull-off. Plus the note being pulled off to has its own tie.

The other type of transition it could indicate is a slide. When there’s a slide you’ll see a diagonal line between the notes as well as an arch. Here’s an example from Fraggle Rock where you slide a whole chord up one fret:

What do the X’s mean?

X’s in tabs indicate dead or muted notes. They’re not notes with a specific fret. They’re just used as percussion.

You can mute strings by resting a finger or two on the string without fretting it. Or, as in this example from the Countdown Theme, rest your picking hand on the string firmly.

Often you’ll see X’s on all the strings. There you can use a chnk or chnk alternative to get the percussive sound.

Here’s an example from the Better Call Saul Theme:

What do the bendy arrows mean?

These arrows indicate bends. Bends don’t work too well with the uke’s nylon strings so I try to avoid them. But sometimes nothing else will do.

At the top of the arrow you’ll see either “1/2” or “full”. This is referring to the number of steps up you need to bend the string. Half a step is the equivalent of one fret and a full step the equivalent of two frets.

So in this example from Cantina Band you bend the string at the third fret until it’s the same pitch as a note played at the fourth fret.

And this example from Crazy (the Willie Nelson/Patsy Cline one) has full bends so the bend on the E-string 10th fret will result in the same note as the A-string 7th fret played directly after it.

You will sometimes see variations in the arrows. They’re usually fairly intuitive. For example, in the tab of The Ventures’ Diamond Head there’s a vertical arrow up followed by an arrow bending down. Here your pre-bend the string before you pluck it. After you pluck it, you slowly release the bend.

Why don’t you include standard notation?

Because I don’t think it’s useful enough to double the length of the tabs. And because so few people read it. Tab has meant that few people feel the need to learn to read standard notation. And now YouTube has meant fewer people learn to read tab and prefer to learn from tedious, interminable videos going through notes one at a time. So it goes.

The Pogues – Waxies’ Dargle (Chords and Tabs)

The Pogues – Waxies’ Dargle Chords)

It’s St Patrick’s Day this weekend so time for the annual Pogues post. Waxies’ Dargle is a good old, traditional three chord romp. The chords are dead easy but it’s played so fast it can be hard to keep up. I like to play it with a capo on the second fret (or in D-tuning) and use the chords F, Bb and C in place of G, C and D respectively.

If you’re looking for more to play, there’s a list of all my Irish tabs and chords here. And check out Jonathan Lewis’s ebook Irish Tunes for Campanella Ukulele for a challenge.

Suggested Strumming

I use this as the main strum:

d – d – d u d u

Verse and Chorus: Each line is two strum patterns long. So if there’s one chord on the line you play the strumming pattern twice. If there are two chords you play the strum once per chord.

The exception is the penultimate line of each verse and chorus. There you can just play a down strum and let it ring. There is a bar of 2/4 in there while he’s yelling “AAAAAARRRRGHHH” then the drum comes in as it returns to 4/4.

The pattern is different when there are three chords on a line. When it’s G – D – G strum down once each for G – D then twice on the final G. When it’s G – G – D you play the main strum on the first G then one down strum each for G – D.

Solo: Do the main strum once for each chord until the final G – D – G when you strum down once each for G – D and twice for G again.

Twiddly Bits

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The solo is a lot of fun to play but the speed makes it very challenging. To get it all in I’m using a combination of pull-offs and campanella elements.

Links

Buy it on iTunes
More Irish tabs and chords

Vangelis – Chariots of Fire (Tab)

Vangelis – Chariots of Fire (Tab)

A quick bonus tab. In tribute to Roger Bannister I knocked together a simple version of the Chariots of Fire theme tune. There were a bunch of requests for a tab so here it is.

Links

Buy it on iTunes
More movie theme tabs and chords

UkeTube: Ukulele Death Squad, Dustbowl Revival, Daniel Ho

Full Playlist

Tracklist
Ukulele Death Squad – Not Afraid
Dustbowl Revival – Call My Name
Jerome Koko & Daniel Ho – Hi’ilawe
Joao Frazao – Blue Bossa
Tyrone and Lesley – Moth Song
Black Gardenia – No Moon at All
The Ladybugs – Tennessee Waltz
Phredd – Son You’ve Got Problems
Kyle Frazer – I’m Still Standing
Jonathan Lewis – Daffodilly Rag
Wilfried Welti – Mille ducas en vostre bource

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