Bonus Tabs and Chords

It seems I just can’t stop myself tabbing. Despite being on a blog break the last few weeks, I put up a few time-sensitive tabs and chords in other places. Here’s a catch-up on them:

O’Neill – Nun Song (From Orange is the New Black)(Chords)


O’Neill- Nun Song (Chords)

As I mentioned yesterday I loved the second series of Orange is the New Black (even if it was the straw that broke that camel’s back and made me sick of John “sick fuck” Green being everywhere.)

Of course my favourite part was O’Neill’s anti-nun banjolele song. So I had to put up the chords. And, delightfully, I got a shout out from the man himself.

Joel Marsh Garland on Twitter
Orange is the New Black on Netflix

Bottom Theme: The Mar-Keys – Last Night (Tab)


Mar-Keys – Last Night (Tab)

For anyone annoyed by my toilet humour and swearing in blog posts, you can lay the blame squarely at the feet of Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson. I was obsessed with Bottom and The Dangerous Brothers in my younger days. I’ve even snuck in the occasional reference on the blog.

So after the death of Rik Mayall I had to do my own little tribute.

The Mar-Keys version on iTunes
Watch Bottom on Netflix UK

Eux Autres – World Cup Fever (Chords)

Eux Autres – World Cup Fever (Chords)

It might be four years until this song is relevant again but it’s a top notch song all the year round.

Eux Autres – World Cup Fever (Solo Tab)

Buy it on Bandcamp

Brett Domino – Sexy When You Do That (Bassoon Riff)

After all those emails begging me to transpose a riff from bassoon to ukulele I’ve finally caved in.

BrettDomino

Buy it on Bandcamp

Blank Ukulele Tab

Blank Ukulele Tab (PDF)

Big Blank Ukulele Tab (PDF)

A couple of PDFs of blank ukulele tabs for you to print out and scribble on.

Intricate Strumming & Slash Notation

For simple strumming patterns the usual ‘du-’ strumming notation works just fine. But for more intricate rhythms you need a more comprehensive system.

And that’s where slash notation comes in. Slash notation looks a lot like standard musical notation. But it’s a lot simpler. It dispenses with all the notes because you only need it pick up the rhythm.

So this post is a combination slash notation primer and advanced strumming patterns post. Including the famous Mumford strum and the greatest strumming pattern in the world ever.

This post follows on from the ideas in the How to Play Ukulele Strums ebook which covers the basics of strumming and understanding how the fit into a song.

Basic Strums in Slash Notation

This example is just a simple ‘d u d u d u d u’ strum. Each strum has a vertical line. And each ‘d u’ pair are connected by a single line above them.

SlashNotation1

BTW the chords in the mp3s are all A – D – A – D unless it says otherwise.

Here’s how it looks when you play a down strum by itself (i.e. you miss out the accompanying up-strum):

SlashNotation2

That down strum just has the vertical line and isn’t connected to anything. So this one is a ‘d – d u d u d u’ strum.

When you miss out a down strum you use a tie. Which looks like a bracket that’s fallen over:

SlashNotation3

Here the up strum is tied to the next strum. Showing that you just let the chord ring. That gives you the good old ‘d – d u – u d u’ strum.

Rests

SlashNotation4

One thing slash notation has that basic strumming notation doesn’t is a way of representing rests. A rest is when you don’t make any sound at all. And if they chord is playing you stop either (by resting one or both of your hands on the strings).

This example – a diagonal line with a ball at the top – uses a rest that lasts the length of either a down- or up-strum. Here each down strum is replaced by a rest. So you play an up-strum. Stop the strings for the length of time you’d usually play a down-strum. Then play another up-strum.

The different length rests look different. You can look at the other rest lengths here.

Also, because the up-strum hasn’t got its down brother, the bar that would go across just goes flaccid.

Chord Changes in Weird Places

SlashNotation7

Slash notation is also great for indicating chord changes that occur in unusual places. You can indicate exactly where the chord changes by referencing the chord above the strum it changes on.

This example starts with a C chord. Changes to E7 on that second up-strum. Then you get a tie so you don’t play the next down-strum. Then you switch to F on the last up-strum of the bar. And that is tied over too. Finally, you have the same deal with the change to G7.

Faster Strums

SlashNotation5

This example is strummed just like the first example (d u d u d u…) but it’s strummed at twice the speed. So whereas the first example had a ‘d u’ in the space of one click of the metronome, this example has ‘d u d u’ for each metronome click.

Because you’re doubling up the speed you also double up the lines going across the top.

Mumford and Strums

MumfordStrum

Here’s a strumming pattern that uses some of these ideas. You might recognise it from Mumford and Sons songs like I Will Wait and Little Lion Man.

You’ve got the tie (meaning a missed down strum) combined with a batch of fast strums.

The chords here are Dm and F.

Lust for Life Strum

LustForLifeStrum

This is my all-time favourite strum. I throw it in every chance I get. It’s in How to Play Ukulele Strums, How to Play Blues Ukulele and Ukulele for Dummies. And now it’s here.

You’ll recognise the fast strumming. And the rests should look sort of familiar too. But these have two balls rather than the more Hitlerian one ball we saw before. That indicates they’re twice as fast. So they take up the space of one of the fast down- or up-strums. In this case, it’s down-strums both times.

One new thing: there’s a dot after one of the notes. That’s telling you to increase the length of the note by half. So originally it’s half a beat long. Add on half again. Now it’s three quarters of a beat long. With that fast up-strum filling up the rest of the beat.

There is one more thing: the little equation at the top left. That’s indicating swing time. But that’s a post for another day.

Here’s how the strum sounds at a slow tempo on a B chord:


.

And here’s how I used it in the blues ebook for an uptempo jump blues:

.

Links

If you want to learn more about strumming check out my ebook How to Play Ukulele Strums

Creative Commons License
This work by Ukulele Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Friday Links

Learning

- James Hill has a new membership site: The Ukulele Way.
- The Glory of Love by Ukulelezaza. I haven’t worked through this yet but if you liked his last book you’ll like this one too.

Videos

- The documentary Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings is on US Netflix.
- Three questions for James Hill
- Or you can kill two birds with one stone and watch Jake and James play live together (for the first time?): Billie Jean, In My Life (thanks to Rob).
- Documentary about the founder of Bristol Ukulele Club.
- Roy Smeck: The Wizard of the Strings (thanks to Ron Hale).

Pictures

- Ukulele fishing.
- Tommy’s singed ukulele.

New Releases

- New double album from Craig Robertson: Bad Choices/There Must Be A Circus In Town.
- The Entry’s Ukulele Outing.
- Songs For Swinging Ukuleles by Tricity Vogue.
- Dinosaurs Ate My Caravan by Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers.

Another reason not to let kids play ukuleles.

Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song (Tab)


Led Zeppelin – Rain Song (Tab)

I just love Zeppelin so this song has been on my to-do pile for a long time. It had stayed there because I was a bit intimidated by how much there is going on. But once I got stuck into it the tune transferred to the ukulele surprisingly smoothly. I didn’t even have to change the key and I think I crammed the most important parts in.

My version is shortened but most of the important sections are in there once.

My favourite technique in the tune is the long, drawn out up strums. I’m doing a slow up strum with my index finger there. Definitely worth incorporating into your playing arsenal.

Trickiest Bit

I found sliding down the 3323 chord really tricky. You can simplify out without losing anything much by muting the g-string and just sliding down the G7 chord shape i.e. from x323 to x212.

Links

Buy it on iTunes
More Led Zep tabs

Mr Moustafa from Grand Budapest Hotel (Tab)


Alexandre Desplat – Mr Moustafa (Tab)

I got a request from Justin saying that Alexandre Desplat’s music from the new Wes Anderson movie Grand Budapest Hotel would be perfect for ukeing. And he was absolutely right. As soon as I heard this tune I knew it would suit a campanella-style ukulele arrangement.

And it turned out to be even easier than I expected. Without even changing the key the whole first section of the verses mostly could be played on the open strings.

Trickiest Bit

As with most campanella arrangements the trickiest bit is memorising the string plucking order. If there’s a quicker way to learn it than playing through slowly over and over again I don’t know what it is.

Flicking the Bean

In the bridge section I’m trying to recreate the mandolin tremolo strumming. Tremolo strumming is a bit more tricky on the uke though. So I used a technique I refer to as “flicking the bean”.

It involves turning your strumming hand palm upwards and wiggling your middle fingers across the strings like this:

Links

Buy it on iTunes
GrandBudapestHotel.com
More movie theme tabs

ukulelezaza – Happy Days are Here Again: Book Review

ZaZaBook

I’ve long been a fan of ukulelezaza (aka Remco Houtman). In fact he was in the third ever UkeTube in 2007. Back when MySpace was the obvious place to link to. So I was very excited to try out his tab book Happy Days are Here Again. Which Shelley of The Jumping Flea Market was kind enough to send me.

What You Get

A book containing:

- Tabs (no standard notation) for 16 tunes:

Bei Mir Bist Du Schön/Für Elise – Caravan – Drifting and Dreaming – Freight Train – Georgia On My Mind – Happy Days Are Here Again – Home – I Surrender Dear – Margaret’s Waltz – On The Sunny Side of the Street – Pa’au’au Waltz – Painting the Clouds with Sunshine – Sweet Lorraine – When You’re Smiling – Who’s Sorry Now?

- Descriptions of the techniques used in the DVD.
- Two-page histories of Martin and National ukuleles (used in the DVD) and shorter descriptions of a few other ukuleles.

A DVD containing:

- Performances of all the pieces (in a more ornamented fashion than they’re tabbed).
- Short demonstrations of the techniques described in the book.

The Good Stuff

- Having a Style: The biggest lesson I took from the book was an abstract one. The tabs as they’re presented in the book are really straightforward. Then for the DVD he pours that ukulelezaza-sauce all over them. He has a jazz-ear style, sound and set of techniques that make his playing immediately identifiable. I admire that because I feel like I don’t have a style at all. And it was interesting to watch him transform the simple arrangements.

- Clean, Simple Arrangements: All the tabs are simply arranged. Mostly combining single notes for the melodies with chords. If you wanted to play them straight they’re comfortably in an intermediate difficulty.

- Concise Tutorials: The tutorial bits in the book and the DVD are short and to the point. The trend on YouTube seems to be for long, boring ukulele tutorials. I’m much more into doing things the concise way.

- Well Presented: The book is nicely laid out with easy to read tabs and (black and white) photos of vintage ukuleles for some eye-candy.

The Not So Good Stuff

- Tab/DVD Differences: It’s my favourite aspect of the book but I know from experience some people are going to be really annoyed by that the tabs don’t match his performance. They’re just the basis of his version.

- Nitpicking: There were a few points in the book fingering suggestions would have been useful but I picked it up from the videos. And DVD menus are never a pleasure to use.

Overall

If you’re a fan of golden era jazz and that style of ukulele playing the book is a must. Ukulelezaza is a master of that style and this is the best book around on that style.

Links

You can buy Happy Days are Here Again at The Jumping Flea Market’s Etsy for £11.59 (or the equivalent where you are).
ukulelezaza on YouTube

Uke of Carl – Guest Post

I’m a big fan of Uke of Carl’s arrangements of various theme tunes for ukulele. A while back I had him write a guest post with a bunch of his tabs. Now’s he’s launched his own website and a series of ebooks so I asked him to write another guest post. And he was kind enough to do just that.

Sagreras for Ukulele

I didn’t begin life as a Ukulele player. I started off on the guitar, and like many have, gravitated toward the Uke. Despite being a metal head at heart, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the Spanish guitar sound. One day I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Julio S, Sagreras Guitar Method and it changed the way I looked at the instrument. For this book, I’ve taken a few of his exercises and tried to do something new with them. I’ve changed some keys to be more Uke friendly, played around with the time signatures and chopped them up so they are almost entirely new pieces.

This book is suited to the beginner who is up for a challenge and for the more advanced player looking to add further tunes to their repertoire.

Example MP3 - Leccion 81

Example TAB - Leccion 5/2 (Original)

Buy it here

Classical Guitar for Ukulele – Book 1

This one was tricky begin with, as there are so many great Classical pieces to choose from. However, I scoured my library and carefully picked 8 pieces which I then adapted for the Uke. Classical guitarists will be familiar with many of these pieces but even if you haven’t heard them before, you’ll find them pleasing to the ear. It’s a well paced book which begins with some simple pieces and develops into something a little more challenging.

Example MP3 - Etude-Op.44-No.2-Fernando-Sor 

Example TAB –  Op.60 No.1 – Sor – Campanella 

Buy it here.

Classical Guitar for Ukulele – Book 2

This is the perfect compliment to book one. It features a further 8 pieces of varying levels. I’ve kept it quite diverse with regard to composers and have chosen memorable pieces from, amongst others, Sor, Giuliani, Carulli and Tarrega. These pieces will really test your playing skills and will serve as ideal party pieces once you master them.

Example MP3 - Andantino – Carcassi

Example TAB - Andantino – Carcassi 

Buy it here.

The Jewish Ukulele

There’s something about Jewish music and, in particular, Klezmer that gets me excited. I play a lot of it on my Clarinet and when I scoured the web for Ukulele pieces, I found very few. That’s when the idea for this book came to me. It was a pleasure researching this one. As well as the obvious, ‘Hava Nagila’, I’ve included ‘Hatikvah’ ‘Dance of Delight’ and ‘Ez Pachach’, which is my own composition. You’ll have great fun with this book. There are some challenges but even a beginner will be able to play through some of the pieces.

Example MP3 - Hatikvah

Example TAB - Hatikvah – The National Anthem of Israel

Hopefully there’s plenty to choose from here and you might find something you’ve not tried before. Make sure you subscribe to my site for future updates. I have a couple of more books in the works and have only just finished the tab for ‘Mr. Benn’ and ‘Duck Tales’, which will appear very soon.

Thanks to Al for this opportunity. Without his encouragement I wouldn’t have had half the publicity I’ve had. Also thanks for the inspiration. When I first saw this, I thought, ‘It can be done!’ and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen this.

Countdown Theme (Tab)


Countdown Theme (Tab)

Emily suggested the Countdown theme should be on the essential snippets post. And she’s quite right.

It’s another classic from Alan ‘Grange Hill‘ Hawkshaw. The tune is in C and fits very nicely on the ukulele. The only odd thing is that the theme is repeated 5 times – presumably to make up the 30 seconds.

I’ve finally accepted that I’m not going to convince the world of the vast superiority of campenella, so this one is very straight forward.

Links

Buy the original version
More TV theme tabs
Alan Hawkshaw’s Grange Hill Theme

Friday Links

So transferring the site turned out to be something of a disaster. If you emailed me on Tuesday/Wednesday (including about the podcast) there’s a good chance I didn’t get your email. So I’m not blanking you, just email again. Some comments are currently missing – I’m trying to recover them. And if you missed it you might want to find out more about the upcoming Uke Hunt podcast. At least the site is up more often than Twitter.

The story to go along with last week’s flapper drawing. Along with the evolution of a ukulele.

Google ‘ukulele’ and you will find a strange red shoe world.

Craig Robertson has the most accurate theory about the ukulele.

Tri-Tabs has a bunch of new tabs for beginners.

Leona Lewis and Matthew Morrison (off of of Glee) do a ukulele duet) and John Hawkes (off of of Lost and Deadwood) records a ukulele song for the soundtrack of his latest film.

The Daily Growl is offering up a couple of mp3s from Meursault.

Another annoying ukulele boy.

Pictures: Portland buskers (if anyone knows who those guys are, I’d love to know), Sniffs, Celebrating Spontaneous Creativity

Why are all ukulele players gay?

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