James Hill, ings: UkeTube

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$300,000 Ukulele: Friday Links

– Madonna’s ukulele sold for $300,000 at an auction for Haiti. They could have saved themselves $299,700 and bought it on Amazon.
Zombie Ukulele.

– A selection of classical ukulele tab books for solo and ensemble ukulele. You can buy them in physical form or get the PDF version on a pay-what-you-want basis.
– Apple has released a free iOS app Music Memos. It’s a nice app for making a quick recording of any musical ideas you have. As well as being able to do some basic editing, add notes and the option to automatically add (slightly cheesy) bass and drums, it’ll attempt to work out the chords you’re playing. In my experience it does a reasonable job with major and minor ukulele chords but it does have a bit of trouble with 7 chords.

New Releases
Matt Griffo – My Brother’s Friend Jerome.
– Danielle Ate the Sandwich wrote, recorded and produced an album in 24 hours.
Tiki Cowboys – Island Dreams.

Helen Arney extends Tom Lehrer’s chemical element song with the new elements.
Full show of some great musicians playing timples, ukuleles, cavaquinhos and other uke-adjacent instruments (via @HermanVDC).
I Rettiloni.
Squeeze do a bit of lyric changing to heckle David Cameron on The Andrew Marr Show. He must be getting used to ukulele heckling by now.

Uke for Xmas? Read This!

When I got my first ukulele, I was completely clueless. This was in those dark, long forgotten days before the internet had been discovered. I didn’t even realise that the strings weren’t supposed to go thickest to thinnest and restrung it.

But you can save yourself from the social disgrace I experienced. I’ve put together a free mini-ebook covering the basics that every first time uke owner needs to know. Here’s what it contains:

Five Things to Know
Five Chords to Learn
Five Patterns to Strum
Five Songs to Play
Five Websites to Visit
Five Things to Get Free
Five Things to Buy
Five Videos to Watch
Five YouTube Channels to Subscribe to

You can download it free by clicking here:

So You Just Got Your First Ukulele (PDF)

And get playing by following the beginner ukulele lessons.

If you’re not new to ukulele but know someone who is feel free to pass it along. It has a Creative Commons license so distribute it as you wish.

Merry Christmas! See you in 2016

Merry Christmas, Chanukah Sameach, Happy Holidays, Io Saturnalia and Happy Holidays! (If you’re into that kind of thing.)

If you’re after some Christmas music and you’re as Spotify user here’s my Christmas Ukulele playlist. Or if you’re sick of Christmas music my playlist of ukulele selections from 2014.

Don’t forget my chord theory ebook How to Play Ukulele Chords is being taken down at the end of the year. You can buy it here until then for the reduced price of $7 (down from $17).

That’s it from me for this year (other than the ebook for new ukers). I’ll be back at the end of January 2016 (year of the unnecessarily difficult F7 chord).

If you can’t bear to be without a steady stream of uke, I’ll be posting bits and pieces on Tumblr, UkeToob and on Twitter.

Christmas UkeTube 2015

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Ukulele Uff, Jive Aces: UkeTube

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Solo Ukulele ebook by Wilfried Welti

Erste Ubungsstucke fur Solo Ukulele

Wilfried Welti has just released a new free tab ebook Erste Ubungsstucke fur Solo Ukulele and was kind enough to let me share it. The arrangements are very simple and suitable for people just starting out with solo ukulele.

It goes along with his solo ukulele crash course for people new to solo ukulele (it’s currently in German only but he’s working on an English version and Google does a reasonable job in the meantime).


Wilfried’s other ukulele ebooks

Winter Wonderland (Tab)

Winter Wonderland (Tabs)

I did the chords for this Bernard and Smith tune way back in 2008 so it’s long overdue a run through a tabbed version.

I’ve gone with a chord arrangement for most of the tune. That means I’m just holding down chords and strumming. Then emphasising the melody while letting the other strums hang back.

The other main technique is picking the C-string with my thumb and flicking my index finger up across the E- and A-strings. I do that right at the start of the verse (second half of bar 4) and in the, “In the meadow…” section (bars 14-19).

The only bit of pure fingerpicking comes in the descending line in bar 20.


Buy the Bing Crosby version.
Christmas ukulele tab ebooks

Run the Jewels – A Christmas Fucking Miracle (Intro Tab)


Even though it features no animal noises whatsoever*, A Christmas Fucking Miracle is one of my favourite Christmas songs.

For this tab of the intro I’m picking all the strings at the same time. That way all the notes are played simultaneously just like a piano (as opposed to strumming where they sound at very slightly different times). It seems like a subtle difference but it really helps match the sound of the original.


Buy it on iTunes
More Christmas tabs

* Unexpected connection: That Colbert bit was directed by Christmas ukulele album maker Ballard C Boyd

2015 Ukulele Quiz

Time for the annual Uke Hunt Christmas time-waster.

– Grab a pen and paper
– Display knowledge.
– There might be spoilers in the comments.
– Check the answers here (no peeking).
– Return in triumph or despair and share you score in the comments.

If you’re reading by email or feed reader you may need to click through to the post to see everything.

Name the Chord






Name the Brand

Click for a bigger version.

By The Donotron

By LazyLibrarian

By FolsomNatural

By Kyle Nishioka

By NGdesigner

Name the Cover

Who first released the songs these ukulele orchestras are covering?

11. Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

12. Exeter Ukulele Club

13. Tickhill Ukulele Group

14. Jerome Ukulele Orchestra

15. Grand Old Uke of York

Name the Celeb

a) Patti Labelle
b) Maya Angelou
c) Michelle Obama
d) Oprah Winfrey

a) Dolly Parton
b) Madonna
c) Cyndi Lauper
d) Cameron Diaz

a) Shailene Woodley
b) Cara Delevingne
c) Margo Roth Spiegelman
d) Jennifer Lawrence

a) The Kardashians
b) The Real Housewives
c) America’s Next Top Models
d) The Osbournes

a) Nerd³
b) Jacksepticeye
c) PewDiePie
d) Markiplier

Name the Lyric

Which songs – oft covered on ukulele – are these lyrics from?

21. I see trees of green/Red roses too.

22. I look at the world and I notice it’s turning.

23. Magic, madness, heaven, sin/Saw you there and I thought/Oh my God, look at that face.

24. I’m laughing at clouds/So dark up above.

25. Your lipstick stains on the front lobe of my left side brains.

Name the Theme Tune

This is a uked version of the theme tune to which…

26. …recently revived 80s supernatural movie.

27. …90s sitcom.

28. …TV medical drama.

29. …animated series.

30. …blockbuster podcast.

Check the answers here

Past Quizzes
Ukulele Quiz 2014
Ukulele Quiz 2013
Ukulele Quiz 2012
Ukulele Quiz 2011
Ukulele Quiz 2010
Ukulele Quiz 2009

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