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.
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!
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?
In the middle of a hauntingly sad song about life and love, a distant voice is heard from the back of the festival tent – “PLAY TOP GUN!”. I used to get heckled by this during my fleeting festival gig career – well, here it is. On ukulele.
This is an instrumental piece, but there are 4 or five parts to choose from if you fancy getting a family ukulele orchestra going…
A smooth love song from the star of the early 21st century singer/songwriter world, Ed Sheeran (and co-written by Amy Wadge), Thinking Out Loud is a romantic pop tune, played on electric guitar originally.
Actually, it’s perhaps not written entirely by Ed or Amy, as he was sued by the owners of Marvin Gaye’s classic – Let’s Get It On – which has an undoubtedly familiar bass line and groove to it – but what the heck – you can’t copyright a chord sequence! (can you?)
I’ve moved it down to our favourite key of C (from the original in D), and even tabbed out the solo for you – aren’t I nice? There aren’t too many challenges technically in this piece, although the last line of the chorus might give you a wobble when suddenly you get all 7 chords of the song in quick succession!
The key thing here is to get the 1 (and 2 ) AND (3 and 4 and) groove right, and to not over play it. The twiddle at the end of each line of the verse is optional but a good exercise in hammer-ons for the more adventurous.
It’s the feel-good hit of the previous century this time folks. It might seem easy peasy, with just four chords making up the bulk of the song – but there are a few subtleties in this one. That riff for a start… I’ve finally found a way to play it on the uke that I’m happy with. And then you have the bridge – whatever key you play this song in, either the verse or the bridge will use chords that you don’t like…
However, it’s a lot of fun to play!
One of the latest songs to be called ‘All of Me’ (there are many) I think happens to be an unusually well-written sentimental ballad written by John Legend for his wife-to-be, which took the charts by storm in 2014. Unusually for top-ten hits, it’s a very sparse arrangement consisting solely of Mr Legend’s (nice stage name) voice and piano, and some lyrics broadcasting his love for his fiancee. I didn’t really want to like it, but its simplicity, strong melody, and unusually faithful / monogamous lyrics sucked me in in the end, so here it is for the ukulele.
It starts off with a chord progression that forms the backbone of at least 40+ massive super hits, good start – (vi, IV, I V) in this key Em, C, G, D but then actually does change chord sequence and pattern twice more. The pre-chorus uses Am, G, D then the chorus uses G, Em, Am, C, D – it’s a pleasant run around the chords of G major (in the original it’s actually a semi-tone higher in Ab major) without once straying to any borrowed chords from another key – proof that you don’t have to be a master of music theory, or even ‘know all the chords’, to write or play a hit.
I’ve tried to borrow as much as I can from the piano part for this arrangement, although of course you can get by simply playing the chords. The interlude finger-picking pattern has some difficult rhythms in, to try to match the tasteful sparse piano notes in the original – not sure if I’ve quite succeeded…
It’s a four chord fun package that was featured in Shrek – what more could you want?
You can add some nice embellishments as well, so there’s plenty of scope for more adventurous players.
This song will really sort out your G major chords, and particularly changing to and from a C major chord.