Very sad news this week that Marko van der Horst of The Uke Box and the Jumping Flea Circus has died at the age of 45. My thoughts are with Shelley and Marko’s family.
There are a bunch of nice ukulele tunes on the Rayman Legends Soundtrack.
I got a request for this one and went with it because the whole thing is done with chords. That means you don’t have to be able to read tab to play this one. I’ve included all the chord charts you need above the tab.
Feel free to vary the strumming in the piece. That happens in the original and in my version.
If you’re looking for someone to inspire your ukulele playing you couldn’t do much better than Kimo Hussey. He’s about the smoothest and classiest ukulelist around.
Lucky for us he’s also a great teacher and he’s put up a series of masterclasses on his YouTube channel. I find them incredibly inspiring and highly recommend you give them a watch. To start you off here’s a selection of my favourites.
– “We’ve become very accustomed to hearing and playing music on the ‘ukulele that goes relatively fast. But the degree to which we play the ukulele slow opens up some wonderful horizons in what we can hear the ‘ukulele do.”
– “One of the things about the right hand that we can utilise in terms of musical interpretation – the way we express songs – is how we use tempo and dynamic.”
– “The degree to which you try and improve the quality of your music is the degree to which you create a balance between the left and the right hand.”
– “The right hand controls five things that are extremely important: melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamic, tempo.”
– Try out these chord shapes.
– Play a descending C scale:
– Then for each note play a triplet strum on all the strings:
– “One of the wonderful things about ‘ukulele is that it can play anything. This little instrument is so smart it can play any song that’s ever been written.”
– Tobias: “With the ‘ukulele you can have so many layers. You can have the rhythm, the chord and the melody at the same time.”
– “I think it’s most important for you to learn 36 chords: 12 major chords, 12 minor chords and 12 7th chords.”
– You don’t have to memorise them all but you have to know how to derive them if you need them.
I’ve been decidedly tardy putting up this 1920s song by Isham Jones and Gus Kahn. It was meant to go up about 7 years ago. But it’s here at last.
The song has been recorded by a huge number of people including Ukulele Ike. But it became an instant ukulele classic when Joe Brown played it at the Concert for George Harrison. And it’s his version I’ve written up.
I’ve tried to capture all the nuances of the arrangement. Which has resulted in 26 chords. Equaling So Long and Thanks for All the Fish as song with most chords. So I’ve also written up a simplified version.
26 chords is a lot to get your head around in one go. So I’d recommend having a play through this version first so you know what’s going on. Then you can introduce elements from the full version as you see fit.
For this version I’ve also simplified the F – F6 – Fmaj7 move to F – Dm – Am to make it easier to play.
There’s a few little ukulele licks in the song. Here’s the line that leads into the solo:
The solo itself uses notes mainly picked from the chords. With this to end it off:
And the lick right at the end:
– Preview of the new Pixar short featuring Uku. A singing volcano voiced by Kuana Torres.
– You might have seen the movie Frank loosely based on Frank Sidebottom and other outsider musicians. Frank with an American accent is no big deal but Frank playing a guitar is egregiously wrong. But you can watch Frank play his ukulele and chat with Tony Slattery and Stanley Unwin. (Via Things I Saw that I Love.)
– Ukulele tap dancing.
Olympic gold medal diver and ukulelist, Matthew Mitcham is starring in an autobiographical ukulele musical.
To counteract yesterday’s gloomfest I decided to do a version of the most cheerful song of the summer. Plus I was feeling like a room without a roof so this is the smiliest I have looked in any video ever.
For the most part I’m playing the verses and the middle picking and the chorus with strums.
In the chorus I’m using a triplet technique (although I’m not actually playing triplets) by strumming down with my index finger, then flicking my index finger up, then my middle finger up. But that’s very much optional. You can strum it however seems appropriate to you.
In the middle section I’m recreating the soul-claps by playing muted notes on the g-string.
In the tab I’ve just indicated to repeat the verse twice. Which you can certainly get away with. For my version I’ve done a few variations in the timing. The only big difference is the “No offence to you…” bit. There I play this:
Making it Easier
This one is a bit tricky. So a couple of pointers for making it easier.
You can drop the harmony in the riff and just play it like this:
The muted notes in the middle section are very tricky. So you can just drop those in that section and play it with just the sparse melody.
A while back I got a comment by Michael asked me for suggestions of songs in a minor key. Which struck me as an excellent idea of a post because I’m always looking for an excuse to stick it to the ‘it’s impossible to play the ukulele without smiling’ brigade.
If you’ve got a favourite minor key song to play leave it in the comments.
So here are lists of tabs and chords in a minor key (or at least minor enough to be glum):
Tabs in a Minor Key
Angi (Davy Graham)
Breaking Bad Theme
Carol of the Bells
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
He’s a Pirate (Pirates of the Caribbean Theme
I Am the Doctor
The Last of Us Theme
Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence
Rolling in the Deep
Safe and Sound
Shades of Cool
Sonic the Hedgehog Boss Level
The Sweeney Theme
Tamacun (Rodrigo Y Gabriela)
The Godfather Theme
Video Games (Lana Del Rey)
Walk on By (Burt Bacharach)
We Three Kings
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Chords in a Minor Key
Anyone Who Had a Heart (Dionne Warwick)
Back to Black (Amy Winehouse)
Bei Mir Bist du Schon (Sophie Madeleine)
Big Bang 2 (Charlie McDonnell)
The Chimbley Sweep (The Decemberists)
Daisy Fraser (Snake Suspenderz)
Down in the Hole (Blind Boys of Alabama)
Elephant Gun (Beirut)
February Snow (Peggy Sue)
Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros (Flight of the Conchords)
Girl (The Beatles)
Golden Skans (The Klaxons)
Gulag Orkestar (Beirut)
Guyamas Sonoroa (Beirut)
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Daft Punk)
I Love the Things that People Make (The Burning Hell)
Standing Next to Me (Last Shadow Puppets)
You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch
Mount Wroclai (Beirut)
Mary (Oingo Boingo)
Somebody that I Used to Know
Stayin’ Alive (The Bee Gees)
Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard (Tom Waits)
I originally had this one planned for the Acoustic Intros post. But in a fit of nostalgia I blundered into writing up the entire thing.
The chords are a bit tricky. There’s a fast switch between G and the dreaded E chord. You can make the transition a little quicker by using these alternative chord shapes. Or you can put a capo on the second fret and play it like this.
For the intro, chorus and solos do this on the E chord:
d – d – d u d
And this on the D:
u – u – u – u d u
Notice that you switch chords on the up strum. Together they sound like this:
In the verses you can use this twice on E and D and once on A:
d – d u – u d –
One long down strum on A and two down strums on G.
Here’s the intro. It’s nice and simple.
The verse follows a similar pattern and includes a few bends. Things get very tricky in the solo. I’ve had to move things around to fit them onto uke.
Here’s how it sounds: