Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill (Tab)

Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill

Fats Domino’s version of Blueberry Hill perfectly shows off the roots of rock and roll. He plays the driving boogie-woogie and has blues riff bassline. But the song itself is a country song first released by Gene Autry. So you have this sweet, major key country melody rubbing up against bluesy runs and liberal use of the minor third (the C-string, 3rd fret in my tab).

I’ve tried to keep those two elements in my arrangement of the tune. The verses have the melody with the bassline sitting between the lines (now not at all bassy). Try to separate these by playing the melody a bit louder (I didn’t do a great job of this in the video). The, “Wind in the willow…” section lays off the bassline and has chord stabs in between the melody. Keep those short by releasing the pressure with your fretting hand just after you strum.

To finish the song off I’ve added a little blues run. A great place to throw in your own favourite blues licks and play around.


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Tutorial: What’s the Deal with Sus4 and Sus2 Chords?

A good chord progression is all about building tension and releasing it. Which makes the mysterious and unsettled suspended chords, sus2 and sus4, so effective in a progression.

This post should demystify them a little. Giving you ideas for when to use them, how to play them and why they work so well.

Using Sus4 Chords

Suspended chords are neither major nor minor which makes them sound unfinished. Sus4 chords particularly have a bright, restless feel to that pushes a chord progression forward.

Compare this progression that ends with Csus4:

C – F – Csus4

With this version where the Csus4 resolves into C:

C – F – Csus4 – C

The first example feels wrong because the Csus4 demands the C chord comes to the rescue to end the progression. It fuels the progression with momentum.

This move from a sus4 chord to its major chord is the most common use of the suspended chords. A classic example is The Who's Pinball Wizard which starts with a repeated move between Bsus4 and B then continues with a series of sus4 chords resolving into their relative major chord.

Sus4 chords in Pinball Wizard

Another favourite of mine is Keston Cobblers' Club's fantastic Pett Level that uses both Csus4 and Gsus4.

Sus4 chords create enough tension that just switching between the sus4 chord and the major chord you can just hang out and do that for a while as Queen do in the intro to Crazy Little Thing Called Love. And as ABBA do in Dancing Queen when they switch between A and Asus4.

Asus4 in Dancing Queen

Although suspended chords can't be major or minor they can be 7 chords. Here's an example using G7sus4:

C – F – G7sus4 – C

In this example I'm using the 2013 inversion of F which means the A-string, 3rd remains constant through the chord changes. Giving the progression continuity.

A great example of this is Prince's masterpiece Purple Rain. That uses G7sus4 to maintain F (E-string, 1st fret) and C (A-string, 3rd fret) notes through the first three chords:

G7sus4 in Purple Rain

Shifting from major to sus4 and back right at the end of song is a classic ending move. Here's how it sounds:

C – F – G7sus4 – C – Csus4 – C

Using Sus2 Chords

Sus2 is very similar to sus4 in that it is neither major or minor. But it is much more mellow than sus4. To the point where it's almost melancholy.

This aspect of the chord is used to full effect in Radiohead's Paranoid Android with a move from Gsus2 to Gm. (It crops up once the hand moves down the neck.)

Amanda Palmer uses it to similar effect on Bigger on the Inside this time moving from Gsus2 to G.

Like sus4 chords, the most popular move with sus2 chords is to switch between the sus2 and its relative major. On uke this works particularly well with G, D and F (so long as you use the 2013 version of F). What makes them particularly good is that you can play the sus2 version of these chords and hammer-on an extra finger to create the major chord. You can hear me doing that to these chords in this example:

Succession of sus2s

Sus2 Chords are Also Sus4 Chords

If you've really been paying attention you might have noticed that Fsus2 and Csus4 are exactly the same chord (0013).

Similarly, the chord shape for Asus4 (2200) is exactly the same as Dsus2. So, for example, the A – Asus4 move in Dancing Queen could also be thought of as an A – Dsus2 move.

Every sus2 chord has a twin sus4 chord (and vice versa).

That gives suspended chords another layer of ambiguity. Not only are they not major or minor but also you can't be sure what chord they are.

The Theory Behind Suspended Chords

Chords are all built from scales. For this example we'll use the C major scale since it's the most straightforward. It goes:

C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C

Major chords are made up of the first, third and fifth notes of this scale. In this case C, E and G. You can find all these in the standard C chord:

C on the open C-string and A-string, third fret.

E on the open E-string.

G on the open G-string.

Since the uke has four strings and major chords have three notes you can double up one of the notes in the chord. It doesn't matter which so it's usually the one that's easiest to play.

Suspended chords do exactly what they say on the tin. They take out the third note in scale and replace it with the fourth note in sus4 and the second note in sus2.

So Csus4 will take out the E and replace it with an F. You can play that just by adding the E-string at the first fret to the C chord.

Csus2 will replace the E with a D. That's a bit more tricky to play. First you need to get rid of the open E-string. You can do that by playing it at the third fret (a G note) then add a D by playing the C-string at the second fret.

C on the A-string third fret

D on the C-string, second fret.

G on the open G-string and E-string, third fret.

And, of course, the Csus2 chord shape is the same chord shape as Gsus4.

Arctic Monkeys – Mardy Bum (Chords and Tab)

Arctic Monkeys – Mardy Bum (Chords)

Rumours of a new Arctic Monkeys album this year don’t seem to have come to fruition. So I’m doing one of their old songs in an attempt to The Secret a new album into existence.

The chord that really makes this progression is the F# (the major III chord in theory terms). In the key of D you’d expect to hear and F#m (which also crops up the progression). The Bb note in the F# chord doesn’t fit in the D major key so in creates loads of tension until it becomes more settled in the G chord. It’s a classic chord trick. You can hear the same move (I – III – IV) in the chorus of Tennesee Waltz.

Mardy Strum

Intro, Verses, Break and Solo: The intro starts with all down strums (eight per chord). Then I switch to this pattern (which you can hear in the video below):

The xs indicated strums muted with the fretting hand. If you want a simpler strum that doesn’t use muting here’s one that takes the rhythm from the intro solo:

Which sounds like this:

Easy Strum

Chorus: The chorus is much more straightforward. It’s all down-strums. One each on all the Gs and As. Two on the D. And three on the Bm. The exception is the last chorus where it’s just one down-strum per chord (and don’t forget the lenthened Bm chord).

Middle: Eight fast down-strums per chord. Until the final F#-G-A move where you do two slower down-strums per chord.

Twiddly Bits

Mardy Bum (Intro Tab)

Two little twiddles from the song. Both use the D major pentatonic include C# from the standard major scale.

Mardy Bum (Solo Tab)



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UkeTube: Anne Janelle, Bud Sugar, Ukulele Death Squad

Full Playlist


Anne Janelle – In The Morning
Claire Hastings – Come Spend a While wi’ Me (Thanks to Colin)
Bud Sugar – VIRAL
Ukulele Death Squad – Paris On A Train via @ukeist
Natasha Ghosh – New Rules
Gracie Terzian – Bitcoins from Heaven
Jan Laurenz – The Ukulele Song
Jonathan Lewis – Hard Times
The Ukelites – Lurleen Lumpkin Songs

Friday Links

It’s your last chance to get a Uke Hunt t-shirt. You can buy them in the US and the UK until 31st October. Both campaigns have hit their goals so you’re guaranteed one when you order.

New Releases
– Debut self-titled album from Les Guitares Magiques with lots of old-timey jazz and blues. With appearances from long time Uke Hunt favourite Winin’ Boy (thanks to Karl for the heads-up).
– Jazz, R&B and hip hop ukulelist Sam Trump has released a “reimagining” of his 2013 debut EP:
Sam Trump plays the Uke Redux. And the songs scrub up very nicely indeed.

Window Shopping
– The Ukulele Review discusses three Japanese custom builders.
Ohana’s new Pequeno ukulele a Nunes-style soprano.
– A couple of handsome Pelem ukes with Indonesia-shaped soundholes: Flame Acacia Concert and Mixed Wood Tenor.
Tim Laughlin Style-5K.
Yoshida UC-STD Concert.
Kamaka soprano 1916-21.

Five Halloween Riffs and Intros

Here’s a selection of short Halloween-suitable bits and pieces for you to work up for the big day.

Michael Jackson – Thriller

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Those chord stabs are so great. Instantly recognisable even on ukulele. The bass line is a bit ridiculous on uke though!

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Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams

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This is a supremely creepy song. The riff is in C minor but uses an Ab note (an augmented fifth) which creates the uneasy, dissonant feel.

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Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down to Georgia

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This is hellish to play on ukulele. If the devil were challenging me he’d definitely get my soul. You’re going to have to put in a lot of practice if you want that golden ukulele.

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Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear the Reaper

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I was expecting this one to transfer to uke more easily than it does. It’s a bit fiddly to play (make sure you move your hand down the fretboard for the A-string, 5th fret or you’ll be stranded) and it requires a capo at the fifth fret.

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Harry Belafonte – Jump in the Line (from Beetlejuice)

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Jump in the Line was originally written by calypso legend Lord Kitchener and first recorded by Woody Herman. But it was Lord Flea’s mento version that Harry Belafonte took inspiration from. Belafonte popularised the song and it got another boost when it was used in the iconic scene from Beetlejuice.

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Halloween Tabs and Chords

Now you’ve got your raunchy jello pudding pop costume together, here are some tunes you may wish to bone up on before the big night.

Addams Family Theme Tune
Chopin – Funeral March
Jonathan Coulton – Re: Your Brains
Dance Macabre
The Fall – Mansion
The Gothic Archies – Freakshow
Halloween Theme
Harry Potter – Hedwig’s Theme
The Last of Us II –
Through the Valley

London Bridge Is Falling Down (From Halloween)
The Misfits – Dig Up Her Bones
The Misfits – Halloween
My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (from The Exorcist)
Ray Parker Jr – Ghostbusters
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil
Gustavo Santaolalla – Last of Us Theme
Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
This is Halloween (From Nightmare Before Christmas)
Tom Waits – Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard
Twilight Zone Theme
The Walking Dead Theme
Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London
The White Stripes – Little Ghost

And a tutorial on spooking up your playing:

Spooky Ukulele Sounds

My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade (Chords and Tab)

My Chemical Romance –
Welcome to the Black Parade(Chords)

Starting off Halloween week with what might be the most pompous and overblown song I’ve ever tackled on here. But it does bear out the idea that any song with a strong melody will work on ukulele. With a little bit of tweaking it survives the transition pretty well.

Most of the chords in the song you’ll be familiar with. If you don’t care for the D6 and E6 chords you can just replace those with straight D and E without a problem. When the song changes key in verse 5 I’ve suggested chord inversions further up the neck. That makes the chord changes easier. But if you prefer the shapes you’re more familiar with they will work perfectly.

Suggested Strumming

You can keep the strumming pretty simple. In the quieter verses (1, 2 and 5) I just do one strum per chord.

Then in the louder parts I play this:

d – d – d u d u

You can hear that in the video below.

If you find that a bit tricky when the song is belting along you can make the chord changes easier by dropping that last up-strum to get:

d – d – d u d –

Twiddly Bits

Black Parade (Lead Part)

Here are some of the twiddly parts in the song crammed together.

The lead part above has the piano riff in the intro and verse followed by the lead part in the first break. And the back part below plays the guitar part in the verse (that provides a counterpoint to the piano riff) and the chords for the break.

Black Parade (Backing Part)


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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.


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UkeTube: The Helmsmen, Walk Off the Earth

Full Playlist

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