Best Videos of 2017 So Far

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Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel (Tab and Chords)

Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel (Chords)

What a brilliant song. And one that’s very popular with uke groups. It started life as a half-written Bob Dylan song called Rock Me, Mama before OCMS finished it up and launched their career with it. It’s been covered many times since with Darius Rucker‘s being the most popular.

Like the original, I’m using a capo on the second fret. It’s not essential but it does make the chords much easier and avoids the dreaded E chord.

Suggested Strumming

You can use this simple pattern all the way through:

d – d – d u d u

Use that once for every chord until the last C in the progression where you play it twice.

Here’s how it sounds:

Strumming pattern

Twiddley Bits

Intro and Outro (Tab)

Here’s an arrangement of the violin part in the intro (which starts four bars into the song). Again, there’s a capo on the second fret.

The example finishes up with the violin lick in the outro.


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UkeTube: Vecina, James Clem

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Friday Links: Useless tips and Weird Ukes

Petey Forrest’s completely useless ukulele tips: play the same note on all strings, dead G string wah-wah and Zombie Slides.

Window Shopping

Hoffman ML style cedar/cocobolo tenor.
1930s heart-shaped Dayton.
Fanned-fret Kukamae i.e. the bridge, nut and all the frets are diagonal. I’m a bit suspicious of the supposed advantages of this but it certainly looks cool.
Hive Hornet tenor.
– Weird and possibly unplayable Asuka ukulele.
– The translation wasn’t much help identifying this ukulele.

Chris Cornell Riffs

Soundgarden – Spoonman

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A typically off-kilter Soundgarden riff. It’s seven beats long so I’ve split it into a bar of 4/4 and a bar of 3/4.

I hope you’ve got a capo ready because a lot of these use a capo to get in the right key.

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Temple of the Dog – Hunger Strike

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From the album Chris Cornell made with what went on to be Pearl Jam in tribute to Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood.

The riff transfers very nicely to ukulele. I’m using thumb and two finger picking to play it.

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Audioslave – Cochise

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This one, on the other hand, sounds pretty ridiculous on ukulele. But fun to play all the same.

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Soundgarden – Rusty Cage

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The first Soundgarden song I ever heard thanks to MTV2’s 120 Minutes back in the day.

For this one I tuned the C-string down to A. Which is the point it starts to get wobbly and doesn’t hold the tuning well. An alternative is to use a low-G with the G tuned up to A. The move everything from the third string to the fourth.

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Soundgarden – Rhinosaur

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From Soundgarden’s underrated Down on the Upside. It’s packed with great riffs and my favourite album of theirs. But it didn’t do anywhere near as well as Superunknown and the band (temporarily) broke up after it.

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Manchester Music

Manchester is the heart of the UK’s music scene. And it’s hosted some legendary moments in live music including Bob Dylan’s Judas moment at the Free Trade Hall, the Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall (sparking the music careers of the Buzzcocks, Morrissey, Mark E Smith, Jay Division and Magazine), the epicentre of the house scene at the Hacienda and Oasis at Maine Road. To celebrate the great city and its music here’s a collection of Mancunian tunes I’ve tabbed and chorded:

Five Manchester Riffs: The Stone Roses – Waterfall, The Happy Mondays – Loose Fit, Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart, The Chemical Brothers – Galvanize, The Fall – Wrong Place, Right Time
Happy Mondays – Step On
Stone Roses – All for One

The Smiths

5 Riffs: This Charming Man, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, What Difference Does It Make, Still Ill, Suedehead.
Bigmouth Strikes Again
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
The Queen is Dead
Unhappy Birthday

The Fall
How I Wrote Elastic Man
Theme from Sparta FC

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun (Chords and Tab)

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun (Chords)

Soundgarden were the most musically adventurous group to come out of the grunge scene. Their songs are peppered with unusual chords and strange time signatures. Both of which crop up in Black Hole Sun.

The progression starts with the sweat G6 and Bb6 chords then lazily descends the neck with trademark grunge melancholy.

I’ve kept that descending move in my arrangement with the chords starting high up the neck. So pay attention to the fret numbers at the side of the chord charts and remember that they’re relative to the capo on the first fret (e.g. the G6 chord is played 8th fret but notated at the 7th fret).

The strangest aspect of the progression comes at the end of the verse. The song is in G but the verse ends with an Ab chord. The chord doesn’t sit comfortably and they leave it hanging in the air. Building up the sinister, unnerving atmosphere and creating tension pushing the song forward into the chorus. Genius piece of songwriting.

Suggested Strumming

Intro and Verse: Here’s a strum you can use for most of the chords in the verse:

d u d u – u d u

Do that once for each chord except the short G – G7 move where you can use this once for each:

d – d u

Here’s how that sounds:

Verse strum

Chorus: I like to switch to this as the main strum:

d – d u d u d u

Again, once for each except the G-G7 where you use d-du.

Solo/Outro Riff

The riff in the solo and outro doesn’t transfer too well to ukulele. So I’d recommend skipping it if you’re performing it.

If you do want to tackle it, I strum down once on each chord except on the B-C move I strum down on the B then slide up to C. Finishing off with down on the F and up-down on the G.

This is where the weird time signature comes in. The riff is 9 beats long. I think of it as a bar of 5/4 followed by a bar of 4/4.

Here’s my best shot at it:

Solo Riff

Twiddly Bits

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Here’s a picking tab that combines elements of the backing and lead parts in the verse. Similar to Chris Cornell’s incredible acoustic version.

For the intro, just play this up to the open A-string in bar 3.


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Five Grunge Riffs

UkeTube: Imelda May, Lola Marsh

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Friday Links

The online portion of the Art on a Ukulele campaign has kicked off with proceeds going to The Hepatitis C Trust. There are various levels of reward. I’ve gone for the Art on a Plectrum and have my fingers crossed for a Pam Glew eye-pick that will go great with my collection of Illuminati memorabilia.

Pelem guitarlele.
Hive’s Aural Genesis.
David Gomes T8-425 2000s Tenor 8 string.
Alula with crazy back.
1928 Martin 5K.

New Releases
Isaac Balson’s Mild Card complete with a Slow TV video for the whole album.
– Jacob Norman Chainsaw-Arm’s low-fi, 8-bit Heartburn64.

Not Ukulele
– Mexican popstar and occasional uker Natalia Lafourcade has put together one hell of a backing band for her latest album including guitarists Miguel Peña and Juan Carlos Allende. Take a listen to Te Vi Pasar and her collaboration with Buena Vista Socialist Omara Portuondo.
Musical fractals are completely insane.

Nancy Sinatra – Bang Bang (Tab)

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)(Tab)

It wasn’t until embarrassingly recently that I found out Bang Bang was written by Sonny Bono and first recorded by Cher.
sparse and haunting Nancy Sinatra version.
I don’t think any cover has eclipsed the original since Oasis’s version of Mike Flowers Pops’ Wonderwall

For my version, I’ve taken cues heavily from the Sinatra version. Keeping the timing and the phrasing very loose.

In the tab there are a few repeat symbols you’re unfamiliar with. The first repeat comes at the end of bar 16 with the familiar double bar and dots. That sends you back to bar 5. From there you play through to bar 20 where it says D.S. al Fine (Da Segno al Fine). That sends you back to the squiggle at bar 5 and tells you to stop where it says Fine in bar 16.


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