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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…