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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:

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!)

Desperado – The Eagles
Desperado Performance

The wistful notes of this melancholic cry for a wanderer to come home work well on the uke, and we can even play it in the original key (harder to sing than play). Most of the chords should be familiar, and even the unfamiliar ones aren’t too hard – the Cm6 sounds scary, but is just two fingers, and the rhythms are fairly straightforward. The chords are mostly G, G7, C, Em, and D – and although they change a lot, it’s really not as hard as it might seem… You can skip out the B7 and the quick Ds if preferred.

I’ve even tabbed out the intro and outro as played on piano – they can really sound good on the uke. Keep it steady and not too fast, and even the quick chord changes at the end should prove doable. It’s often voted one of the finest songs of all time (494th in the All Time List according to Rolling Stone – I think it should be higher).

A gem of a song to play around a campfire when the mood is right.

I’ve added tab for the verse and chorus in case you fancy having a go at the fingerpicked twiddles I put in on the performance…

If you don’t want to sing – then Ukulele Hunt have an excellent instrumental arrangement (I borrowed the intro from here!) – it’ll stretch your fingers more than your vocal chords

Somewhere Only We Know – Keane

Keane’s nostalgic hit, from a piano based band, works actually pretty well on the uke. The original key of A might force you to learn a few chords that we don’t use all that often on the uke, and you’re gonna have to make peace with some barre chords to play this.

You can follow the chords in the chord chart if you want a slightly simplified chord progression, but if you listen to the piano in the original, almost none of these chords stay in one play for long, there are sus4s and maj7ths all over the shop. Check out the tab for the full progression details.

Here’s the tutorial
And here’s the full arrangement

All of Me – Jazz Standard – Gerald Marks – Seymour Simons

Here’s my version of the song

Doing a song called ‘All of Me’ last week just means that we have to do the ‘real’ All of Me this week. This is from 1931 and has been performed by all the jazz greats over the years.

On the uke, it’ll give your fingers a work out, and your jazz chords a stretch. I’ve done an easy chord chart and a ‘proper’ one. The easy chords follow our emergency chord rule: If you’re faced with a ‘jazz’ chord (i.e. with numbers) that you don’t recognise, just strip away the numbers until you get to a chord you do know. e.g. C6 -> C, A9 -> A7 -> A, Dm7 -> Dm, Fm6 -> Fm, Bbmaj13#5b9 -> Bb. The only rule is, you can’t change the fundamental major/minor nature of the chord (don’t let me catch you playing Am instead of A9!)

Following this rule will allow you to play otherwise pretty daunting songs – of course it won’t sound quite as authentic / cool / fancy but it can get you through a song that would otherwise be impossible…

The ‘proper’ chords are played using voicings designed to allow you to play with all strings fretted, giving a much better control over the length that the strings ring on for, and allowing us to do a nice tight staccato quarter note rhythm without too much effort – they’re also meant to be easyish to move between – I use my thumb around the back of the neck and on to the g-string when doing these chords.

Here’s the Livestream tutorial

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

Well – this is the MOST PLAYED SONG OF THE 21st CENTURY (on British radio). Who knew? Who’d’ve thought in 2006, when this song came out, that kids who weren’t even born would still be able to recognise this simple little tune in 15 years time. Amazing.

It’s got it’s share of haters, but I actually think that this is a great example of a well crafted simple pop/rock song. It’s only got three chords, and the sequence never changes, but there are layers upon layers of guitars and vocals on the original recording, and it conjures up a specific feeling for me – which is after all what music/art should do…

I’ve moved this one to the key of G (original key A), in a departure from our usual C major songs. You only need G, D, and C chords to play this – but of course there are ways to make these chords a bit juicier if you want to…