Author Archives: aquifer

A Million Dreams – The Greatest Showman

I arranged this 2 years ago for the 25th Anniversary of Macclesfield Music Centre – for ukulele, french horn, piano and choir – it worked surprisingly well – so here’s a homemade version.

https://youtu.be/YWHu8mMFc38

True Colours – Cyndi Lauper

I’ve based this arrangement on the original Cyndi Lauper version, but there are numerous other excellent versions out there. I’ve moved the key to Em, in an attempt to find a way to play the opening piano riff on the uke. That’s the trickiest bit of the song, although the strumming patterns might give you a few hesitations, as there’s lots of anticipated chords in the chorus.

And So It Goes – Billy Joel

A lovely lovely song, if you like this sort of thing (which I do). It works best on piano, can be done well on the guitar, but the uke is tough for this one – you can’t just bash the chords out here… So – there’s no chord chart this time – you’ll have to use the tab – but it’s not too difficult – just a little adventurous! There are really only two sections to learn… and we’re in C so the shapes are familiar.

The Cave – Mumford and Sons

You’ll need Am, C, F and G – that’s it.

Four chords is all you need to play this – and if you’ve been playing for more than a week – you’ve probably already learned them! However, don’t dismiss it as too easy – it’s got palm mutes, fingerpicking, fast lead lines, and *that* superfast strum pattern that Mumford and Sons are known for… hold on to your banjos – here we go…

The original is in E – played on an open-D tuned guitar with a capo on fret 2. If you want to play along with the original using this chord chart, put your capo on fret 4 of the uke. I’ve kept it in C to make it easy to jam along with but it nearly ended up too low for me!

Merry Xmas Everybody

This song has been listened to by 42% of the world’s population. Possibly. Wow.

(PRS for Music – https://www.theregister.com/Print/2009/12/14/merry_xmas_everybody/)

There are a few twists and turns in this – I’ve moved it to the key of C from the original G which is quite a change, but it makes it a bit more straightforward on the uke. You will need some Eb chords and a Gm, but otherwise it’s plain sailing for ukesters familiar with the key of C major. Got to work on your swing strum though.

It’s very nearly Christmas – and although I do love a sad song, this song might make you smile instead (or scream, possibly) – have a great Christmas everyone.

Performance
Tutorial

I Believe in Father Christmas – Greg Lake

It’s my favourite Christmas song – but Greg Lake says it’s not a Christmas song. Go figure. However, the line “I wish you a hopeful Christmas, and I wish you a brave New Year” resonates with me like no other Christmas song. I recorded this one last year, but who knew we’d need so much hope and bravery for 2020 – not me…

The bit pinched from Prokofiev is simply magnificent and works really well on the uke – it’s my go-to thing to play when trying a uke out for the first time. The chords work well too – they’re very similar to Feelin’ Groovy (although the feel is somewhat different). All the modfied chords LOOK scary, but they’re really quite straightforward. The Bb might stretch a few fingers but that’s as hard as it gets. Who knew a Gadd11 and an Fadd9 could be so easy?

Enjoy!

Performance video (from last Christmas!)
Livestreamed Tutorial

Final Countdown Collaboration

Here it is folks! The first ever Adventurous Ukuleles Collaboration Video attempt. The Final Countdown…

Basic instructions:

Video yourself playing / singing / dancing along with one of the guide tracks – and send it to me using the dropbox link below.

Detailed instructions:

Film yourself in landscape, with the best audio quality you can. Play along with the backing track (in headphones). You can play the rhythm part, the lead part and/or the solo part, and you can also do a singing part as well if you’re up for it! Kazoos, bass and other instruments also welcome! I will try to use everything you send, but no guarantees. Please just send me ONE take (per person) of each part you attempt.

Send your finished videos to me using this link:

https://www.dropbox.com/request/hs1vRNmQvon4Kwk8PoF9

Tips for recording:

  • Clap or tap along with the clicks at the start of the track so I can sync your video to everyone else’s.
  • A smartphone camera and mic will work fine – but if you have any better mics/cameras feel free to use them – you can record and send separate video and audio files if you want to. Record audio and video at the same time if possible.
  • Use a tripod or stand to hold the camera steady.
  • Film in landscape please!
  • Try to have a neutral(ish) background behind you. Have the light source in front of you, not behind you (don’t play in front of a window, unless it’s dark!)
  • Try to make sure there are no other loud audio sources (baby crying, washing machine, etc) when you’re recording.
  • Use headphones so you can hear the backing track but the microphone can’t!
  • If you can’t hear yourself singing or playing with the headphones on, try taking one ear off/out.
  • Have a practice first!
  • It doesn’t have to be a perfect take! I can fix many things in post-production…
  • For a video, sometimes your attitude and visuals are more important than the perfect tuning or timing… send me the most fun take, even if it’s not the best!
  • Record one part at a time – e.g. one video for vocals, one for ukulele rhythm, one for lead and solo attempts – this makes it much easier to mix together and balance later.
  • Ditto, record one person at a time as far as possible.
  • Please just send me ONE take (per person) of each part you attempt – otherwise my dropbox will die and I won’t finish mixing till the end of 2021…
  • Lastly, enjoy it! It makes a better video, and you get to have fun…!

Sheet Music

Full Backing Tracks

Solo backing tracks

Livestream Tutorial (old!)

Starlight – Muse

At the very least you can clap along with this one. It’s Muse at perhaps their most radio-friendly, and another song that works surprisingly well on the uke (so long as someone has a bass) – a really strong riff, and great melody and not too many chords make this one a great uke choice.

You will need some sort of bass and rhythm section to make this sound convincing though, as several of the verses are really just drums, bass and melody. However, there are lots of parts to get involved with, including a catchy clapping rhythm, a cool riff, some simple chords (and some more adventurous options), and even a wailing backing vocal – so it can be fun for the whole family!