Little Drummer Boy (Tab)

To give you an idea of the tabs in the Christmas Ukulele III ebook, here’s an arrangement in the same styles and with a similar difficulty.

The Little Drummer Boy is (supposed to be) based on an old Czech folk melody. But it only became well known when rearranged and given lyrics in the 1950s for the Harry Simeone Chorale version.

Full Arrangement

Little Drummer Boy (Tab)

This arrangement is designed to be played solo. It can all be played with your thumb on your picking hand. When you play more than one string just strum your thumb down until you hit the last note in the chord.

The notes in brackets here are backing notes. They’re not part of the melody so play them softly.

Melody Arrangement

Little Drummer Boy (Melody Tab)

This version is even simpler. It splits up the chords and the melody into different parts. So you can play this version with a friend or with this MP3. It’s stereo split so you can play along with either the chords or the melody.

Melody Version

For the strumming here I’m just doing two down strums per bar.


Buy the Harry Simeone Chorale version iTunes
Christmas Ukulele III

Christmas Ukulele III: Return of the Magi


It’s the third and final ebook of the Christmas Ukulele Trilogy. I promise not to make any shitty prequels.

Ten more Christmas tunes arranged as easily as possible so you’ll be able to play them if you’re called on to provide a festive performance at any point.

This collection is the most varied so far. As well as a selection of Christmas carols it includes the Appalachian tune Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over (as made famous by Jack White’s version on the Cold Mountain soundtrack), the creepy English folk song Down in Yon Forest and Hanukkah O Hanukkah.

Buy Christmas Ukulele III here

If you don’t own Christmas Ukulele and Christmas Ukulele 2 yet, you can pick up all three for the price of two:

Buy all three here

What You Get

– Tabs of full arrangements for these traditional Christmas favourites:

Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over?
Ding Dong Merrily on High?
Down in Yon Forest
Hanukkah O Hanukkah
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (The “Hymn” version.)
O Holy Night
O Little Town of Bethlehem (The Ralph Vaughan Williams version.)
What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)

They’re all arranged without any fancy finger work. The picking hand can all be done with the thumb. (The exception is Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over which has a simple arrangement and a more difficult one). They’re intended for high-g tuning.

– Super-simple melody arrangements of all those tunes. Only one note at a time. These include tab, standard notation and lyrics.

– MP3s of the melody arrangements. Stereo split so you can play along with either the melody or the chords.

– A PDF with performance notes and tips on playing all versions of the tunes.

Quick warning: if you’re using iPad/iPhone/Android you can’t download everying directly to your gadget. But there is a link to download the main body of the book (with the performance notes and the full arrangements) directly to you device.

What They Sound Like

Full Arrangement Videos

Melody Versions

Here’s what the melody-only versions sound like. The melody tab also has chord names so you can be accompanied by a friend. Or if, like me, you’re a badass loner you can play along with these mp3s. They’re split so the left hand side has the chords and the right has the melody.

Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over

Ding Dong Merrily on High

Down in Yon Forest

Hanukkah O Hanukkah

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

O Holy Night

O Little Town of Bethlehem


What Child Is This?

Buy It

Buy Christmas Ukulele III:

Buy Christmas Ukulele III here

Buy Christmas Ukulele III with Christmas Ukulele and Christmas Ukulele 2:

Buy all three here

Lorde/WIUO – Team (Chords)

Lorde/WIUO – Team (Chords)

After 9 years of being together, the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra have put out their debut album Be Mine Tonight. It’s a collection of songs from New Zealand largely unknown in these more civilised parts. It serves as a guide to all the songs we’ve missed out on from impressively magnificent treasures that should have been global mega-hits to impressively, magnificent cheese.

One song that did make it global is Lorde’s Team. And that’s the one I chose to write up.

Slap a capo on the first fret and the chords are straightforward. Both songs are in the same key and the chords are pretty much identical. So this will work for playing along with both of them.

Suggested Strumming

When I’m playing along with the Lorde version I like to do all downstrums as the main strum. But with the third strum in each group of four emphasised to match the clap. So with the capital D being a strong downstrum:

d d D d

The only difference is the short Dm chords in the chorus and outro. There I just do two downstrums.

Together it sounds like this (slow then up to speed):


The WIUO is a bit more laid back and I go with ‘d u’s as the main strum.

d u d u d u d u


Buy the Lorde version
Buy the WIUO version
Royals chords
More WIUO tabs, chords and whatnots

Blues Ukulele 2nd Edition


I’ve just released an updated version of How to Play Blues Ukulele ebook with a snazzy new look, more examples, YouTube videos of every example, and more backing tracks.

If you’ve bought the ebook in the past you should have had an email from me with a link to download this version (it may have ended up in your spam folder). If you don’t have it shoot me a message with the email address you used when you purchased it and I’ll get you a copy.

Buy it here

Or find out more about it here.

What It’s For?

Way back in 2008 I was working on a tab of the James Bond theme and I’d reached that, “I hate this instrument, I can’t play it, I’m going to throw it into the canal” stage. I was pulling my hair out trying to get it together (as you can tell in subsequent videos).

A few days later I was listening to music and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Look at Little Sister came on. I grabbed my ukulele and started jamming along to it. I was immediately refreshed and energized by it.

There’s something about that combination of having just a few notes to choose from and complete freedom to do whatever you like with them that the blues gives you. It’s exciting, inspiring and makes you feel like a rockstar.

The goal of the ebook is to give you the tools to help you do that too. So you can jam with friends, along with records or by yourself.

Side-note: check out what happens in that SRV video after he breaks a string in the solo.

What’s In It?

To give you an idea, are the last two examples in the ebook which take some of the chord progressions, soloing techniques, licks and scales from it contains and combines them to make a short solo.

The A Blues

The C Blues

You can get a full run down of the ebook here. But here are the basics:

– Learn to improvise and jam in the blues style.

– Learn the most common blues chord progressions, variations and adaptations.

– Packed with ideas and techniques for blues soloing.

– Play riffs and licks in the style of blues musicians from Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

– Blues chord patterns and strum patterns in a variety of styles.

– 123 examples all with mp3s and YouTube videos.

– 4 backing tracks to jam along with.

– Minor pentatonic scales and blues scales for every key.

– Contains chord charts and tab for re-entrant, C-tuned ukulele.

Buy It

Buy it here

Or learn more about it here

Ocean Leaves, Missy Higgins: UkeToob

Full Playlist

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Friday Links

New Releases

– Two new albums from the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra: Be Mine Tonight a collection of New Zealand songs from the Maori lullaby Hine e Hine to Lorde’s Team and Collected Hits featuring songs from their EPs.
Bosko and Honey’s The Universe Will Provide.
– Rock journalist and Leonard Cohen biographer Sylvie Simmons has released her debut album Sylvie.


Sneak peak of Street Punk! Banda Aceh a documentary about the ukulele-toting punks who were arrested and ‘re-educated’ by the Indonesian government.
Phil Harris and Alice Faye’s ukulele lesson from 1949. (Thanks to Ron Hale.)
Reggie Watts makes music with Garfunkel and Oates (US only) and some sort of cigar-box fiddle/ukulele.


The Love Leighs are making a new record Spreading the Love.


Madeira machete.
Wood burning ukulele.

The UOGB have been commissioned to make a new show for the 100th anniversary of WWI: When This Lousy War is Over.

Claudia’s Theme from Unforgiven (Tab)

Lennie Niehaus – Claudia’s Theme (Tab)

Have to admit, I’ve never actually seen Unforgiven. It’s a western with Clint Eastwood and that’s about all I know. But I got a request for Claudia’s Theme, gave it a listen and loved it. Plus it seems ideal for the uke.

The original starts in the key of E before switching to F. But I stuck to the more uke-friendly F for my arrangement.

The intro and outro are very sparse. If you catch me nodding my head in those sections that’s me trying to keep time. It’s very tempting to rush these bits. But I’d recommend trying as hard as you can to hold it back.


Buy it on iTunes
Watch Unforgiven

Essential Ukulele Records of 2014

How in the merry hell did it get to be November already? The year is fast disappearing and I’ve got a lot planned so here are my favourite ukulele albums and EPs of the year. Let me know what yours are in the comments.

Note: for the purposes of this post “2014” refers to the time betwen the last time I did this post and now. Which means I’m missing out WIUO’s debut album and Craig Robertson’s Greatest Hats.

If you aren’t satiated by these take a listen to more of this year’s releases in my Ukulele 2014 Spotify playlist.

James Hill – The Old Silo

Who? Canuck uke legend, world’s best ukulelist and and not Alan Sugar’s apprentice.

What? James’s first album with no instrumental tracks at all but plenty of nasty-ass distorted baritone ukulele.

Buy it on iTunes

Keston Cobblers Club – Pocket Guide to Escaping

Who? Instrument swapping folkies coming straight outta Bromley.

What? Another top collection of singalong, foot-stomping, good time music.

Buy it on iTunes

Arroyo Deathmatch – Through the Fear of It

Who? Dethklok when they had to play grandpas’ guitars.

What? “Nocturnal New Mexican Rage Folk” proving acoustic instruments are not just for pussies and grandpas.

Pay what you like for it on Bandcamp

Purple Ferdinand – The Dragonfly EP

Who? London singer songwriter and Ed Sheeran tattooist.

What? Spacey ukulele soul. And it’s free.

Download it on

Allo Darlin’ – We Come from the Same Place

Who? Australian songstress who recorded her first record at Duke of Uke.

What? Third album of ukulele indie pop.

Buy it on iTunes

Cream – White Room (Chords)

Cream – White Room (Chords)

Sad news this week of, bass playing legend, Jack Bruce’s death. As my little tribute, here’s a write up of one of his biggest hits.

In the chord sheet above I’ve included the standard chord shapes. But I like to use these slightly trickier inversions:

White Room (Alternate Chords)

(Aside: The ukulele once owned by Cream’s producer has a colourful history – although this ukulele was more expensive.)

Suggested Strumming

Intro and Middle: This is in 5/4 time. So you can just do five down strums for each chord. But I like to ape the drums and do a triplet strum on the second bit. So it sounds like this:

Intro Strum

Verses: You can stick with just down strums here too. Twice each on D – C – G and once each Bb – C.

Verse Strum

Bridges: I like to go with d – d u – u d –


Buy it on iTunes
Eric Clapton’s For Jack (MP3 link)

The Staves, Happy Gland Band: UkeTube

Full Playlist

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