Leonard Cohen – Suzanne (Chords and Tab)

Leonard Cohen – Suzanne (Chords)

2016 sure has been a ride. (The first draft had hopes of no more musicians dying here but between writing the post and it going up Leon Russell died.)

Being in the key of E, the chords for Suzanne are a bit tricky. You can make it easier by doing it in F like the version Sylvie Simmons (ukulelist and Leonard Cohen biographer) using these chords:

Suzanne (Chords in F)

Suggested Strumming

You can just use this dead simple pattern all the way through:

d – d u

Picking Pattern

Suzanne (Picking Tab)

I’ve also moved the picking into the key of F as it makes it much easier. You can play along with the original by tuning down to Gb B Eb Ab. Or here’s a tab of the picking in E I did before giving up on it.

The tab goes from the intro through the first verse and you can use the same patterns throughout the song.

You pick the E-string with your index finger, A-string with the middle finger and your thumb for both other strings.


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Hallelujah chords

Jim Boggia, Bookshop Band: UkeTube

Full Playlist

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Friday Links

Robin Evans is attempting to break the world record for the longest time playing a ukulele by playing for 30 hours. If you’re in the London area on 26th – 27th November head to the Duke of Uke and give him some encouragement.

Ukulele Go’s top 5 ukulele books.

Martin ukulele sales 1915 – 1935.

Spooky New Releases
– The Bookshop Band are a great folk trio who write songs based on literature. Their latest is a collection of tunes inspired by spooky tales That Ghost Belongs to Me (Thanks to Ron Hale for turning me onto them.)
– New Ramonesish EP from Bloody Death Skull: The Haunting of….

Dirby the dove pecks out a tune.
Ukulele vs. hydraulic press.

Blues and Rock Slide Ukulele

Carrying on from The Joker, more of my favourite slide moments.

I wrote an ebook about playing slide ukulele. But the number one tip is: mute everything. Slide playing is noisey (which is part of its charm) so you need to mute the strings behind the string with your index and middle fingers. And use your picking hand to mute any strings you aren’t playing at that point.


None of the tunes here are played in standard tuning. When you have to play all the strings at the same fret it’s useful to tune the strings so they make an open chord.

The tunings used:

Open C: gCEG Tune the A-string down to G.
Open F: fCFA Tune the g-string down to F and the E-string up to F.
Open G: gBDG Tune the C-string down to B, the E-string down to D and the A-string down to G.

Robert Johnson – Cross Road Blues

A video posted by @ukulelehunt on

Tuning: Open C: gCEG, Capo 3rd fret.

Starting with the greatest slide guitarist of all time. The intro to Cross Road Blues is an absolute classic.

The intro mixes up slide and notes played with fingers. It’s all slide up to the triplet at the end of bar 2. Then it’s all fingers apart from the two notes at the seventh fret.


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Led Zeppelin – Traveling Riverside Blues

A video posted by @ukulelehunt on

Tuning: Open C: gCEG

Another Robert Johnson tune. This time the Mighty Zeppelin’s cover of Traveling Riverside Blues. Again mixing up slide and fingers. All slide in bar 1 and all fingers in bar 2.


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George Thorogood – Bad to the Bone

A video posted by @ukulelehunt on

Tuning: Open F: fCFA, Capo 2nd fret

Bad to the Bone is the iconic slide rock riff. All slide for this one. The tab alternates between the main riff and short licks. Feel free to improvise around these.


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White Stripes – Little Bird

A video posted by @ukulelehunt on

Tuning: Open F: fCFA

A definite Bad to the Bone influence in this White Stripes riff. The tab starts with the riff that ends the verses and leads back into the main riff. The notes with simultaneous sixth and seventh frets are played with the fingers.


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Elmore James – The Sky is Crying

A video posted by @ukulelehunt on

Tuning: Open G: gBDG

The Sky is Crying is one of the most covered blues songs. The most notable versions are those by SRV and Albert King. And the two of them together. Even George Thorogood had a go without quite so much success.

This one is all slide. And it’s a demonstration that the hardest part of playing slide isn’t the slide but the staccato notes.


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Polychords: Making Jazz Chords from Easy Chords

There’s a neat little trick at the end of the solo in Steve Miller’s The Joker. While the backing guitar plays a C chord, the lead guitar slides into an F chord. The two chords blend together to make a much more interesting sound than they do individually.

Stacked chords like these are known as polychords and there’s a lot of potential for them on ukuleles where chords are limited to four notes per uke.

Here’s the averagest chord progression possible: C – G – C – G

C – G – C – G

Incalculably boring, I trust you’ll agree. Here’s another one: Em – Bm – Em – Bm

Em – Bm – Em – Bm

Also very boring. But if you play them both at the same time you get this:

Combined Progression

The two ukes blend together to create the progression: Cmaj7 – Gmaj7 – Cmaj7 – Gmaj7.

You can pull this trick with any major chord. When you combine a major chord with a minor chord a third higher (i.e. the root note is four frets higher) you get a major 7 chord. For example:

F + Am = Fmaj7
D + F#m = Dmaj7
Bb + Dm = Bbmaj7

The Theory

The theory behind it is pretty simple. Each major and minor chord is made up of three notes. In the example of C and Em they’re:

C chord: C – E – G

Em chord: E – G – B

And Cmaj7 contains four notes:

Cmaj7 chord: C – E – G – B
Blending the C, E and G with the B from the Em gives you all the notes you need for a Cmaj7 chord.

Getting Fancier

You might already be familiar with maj7 chords and already playing them. But what about 9 chords (Prince’s favourite chord) that contain five notes? Playing them on one uke you have to ditch one of the notes. But by stacking chords you can create them by playing a major chord along with a minor chord a fifth above it.

In this example the left panned ukulele is playing:

C – F – C – F

And the right:

Gm – Cm – Gm – Cm

These combine to create:

C9 – F9 – C9 – F9

C9 – F9 – C9 – F9

Some other chord combinations that produce this sound:

A + Em = A9
D + Am = D9
G + Dm = G9

Up the Neck

So far all the chords I’ve used have been the bog-standard, from-the-book shapes. But you can use this technique to the fullest by using chord inversions up the neck. That’ll give you a much wider range of notes in the chord.

Here’s another boring progression: C – F – G – C

C – F – G – C

And here are the same chord shapes played with the capo at the 7th fret (so the actual progression is G – C – D – G):

G – C – D – G

Combine those and you get the progression Cmaj7add9 – Fmaj7add9 – Gmaj7add9 – Cmaj7add9

Combined Progression

You can pull the same trick by playing any major chord with the same chord played at the 7th fret stack on top.

Taking it a bit further, here’s a progression based on Purple Rain:

First uke: Bb – Gm7 – F – Eb (using the standard shapes).

Second uke: F – G7sus4 – F – Bb


To create the slightly crazy progression Bmaj7add9 – Gm7add11 – F – Ebmaj7add9. Which sounds like this:

Poly Rain Progression

Putting It Into Practice

Some of the stuff in this post is definitely on the technical side. And I’d recommend using it a lot more sparingly than I have in these examples. But I hope it’s given you a few ideas to spice up playing with more than one uke and encouraged you to experiment. There are so many possibilities it’s a shame to have every uke playing the same thing all the time.

Steve Miller Band – The Joker (Chords)

Steve Miller Band – The Joker (Chords)

I’ve felt in a bit of a rut recently. And I’ve found the best way to bust it is to changing things up a bit. So I slipped a slide on my finger and tried out some of my favourite slide guitar bits on uke. Including The Joker‘s pompatus packed solo.

If you’re in a similar position there’ll be more slide coming up in Thursday’s post and I wrote an ebook about slide playing.

Suggested Strumming

You can use this as the main strum:

d – d – d u d u

In the verse (and the first solo) you can use that once for every chord. But I like to mix it up with a “dudududu” on the last Bb of each line like this:

Verse Strum

You can use the main strum for almost all the choruses. But there’s a slight change in one chorus and the second solo with a C-Csus4 move. There I strum down twice on the C then “du” six times on the Csus4. Then two more downs and six “du”s on the Csus4. It sounds like this:

Chorus Strum

Twiddly Bits


Here’s the bass riff moved to ukulele:

A video posted by @ukulelehunt on




The Joker Slide Solo (Tab)

First thing to do for the slide solo is to tune your A-string down to G. That creates an open-C tuning. Second thing to do is to make sure you mute the strings behind the slide and mute all the strings you’re not playing.

I threw the little wolf whistle that crops up a couple of times at the end of the solo. You don’t need much accuracy in playing it. I just slide up as far as I can go. Then slide up to about the tenth fret and down.


The Joker on iTunes
How to Play Slide Ukulele


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Last Chance T-Shirts: Friday Links

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

Robin Walter’s tab book for groups.
– Ukulele Go! has 34 ways to become a better ukulele player.

– Southampton Ukulele Jam are running a Kickstarter to make a documentary. It’s going great guns and has already passed the goal.
The Mourning Glories are Indiegogoing their debut album.

– I might be a bit biased but West Yorkshire is killing it with the ukulele this year. Hope & Social’s FEEL (Spotify) and Astraluna’s The Pass of Storms (Spotify) are both in contention for my ukulele record of the year.
The Coldharts’ Edgar Allan is a dark comic “manic lullaby”.

Ukes etc.
Gigy gig bags are new colourful, customisable ukulele gigbags from a mother-daughter team.
Cigar Box Nation profiles the weird and wonderful ukuleles of Rob Uker.

The Walking Dead Theme (Tab)

Bear McCreary – The Walking Dead (Tab)

The Walking Dead theme uses a technique I should have included in my spooky ukulele sounds post: unusual timings. Each bar has a pattern that rises and falls twice but then cuts off half way through the third time. The bars themselves are played an odd number of times. The first pattern is played three times at the beginning in my version (seven in the original) and five times at the end. Usually you see bars in powers of 2 (1, 2, 4, 8 etc.) or at least an even amount. Having an even number gives it a unsettling feeling.

I went with low-G tuning here. It makes it so much easier to play. But I like the way it sounds even on high-g. Even spookier if you ask me.

The tune is very simple. It’s just one pattern on three different locations on the neck. It’s great for practicing your thumb and two finger picking. I’ve been using it as a little warm up exercise. The great part is you can move the pattern up and down the neck and it always works.


Buy the Walking Dead Soundtrack
The Walking Dead on AMC
Bear McCreary talks about writing the theme
More Halloween tabs and chords

Halloween Tabs and Chords

Now you’ve got your depraved nose-hair trimmer costume together, here are some tunes you may wish to bone up on before the big night. Including a band new version of Danse Macabre so you can compare version and judge whether I’ve improved or degraded in the nine years between arrangements.

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
London Bridge Is Falling Down (From Halloween)
The Misfits – Dig Up Her Bones
The Misfits – Halloween
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (from The Exorcist)
Ray Parker Jr – Ghostbusters
The Rolling Stones – Sympathy for the Devil
This is Halloween (From Nightmare Before Christmas)
Tom Waits – Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard
Twilight Zone Theme
Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London

And a tutorial on spooking up your playing:

Spooky Ukulele Sounds

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