Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Now I'm not one to make a big deal about looks or anything...

...but I suspect this girl, Taimane, is one of the cutest ukulele players out there.

Not crazy about her voice, but her playing is amazing. Too advanced for me to learn much from at this point though.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

How to play Nantes by Beirut

Well, I didn't really mean to do another video about a Beruit song (I swear I was working on an Arcade Fire song), but I came across this awesome video of Icefunk playing his version of Nantes on the ukulele and I decided to try and work out the basics of what he was doing. His version is a bit fancier on the strum. He seems to hit a few individual strings on some of the strums to get a bit more of a melody out of it, but that was more advanced than I am ready for yet. Here's my video tutorial:

Once again, like Elephant Gun, the ukulele is tuned one semi-note sharper than standard, so G#, C#, F, and A#. There are (surprisingly!) only three chords in the song: D#m, C#6, and F#. The timing is D#m for one measure, C#6 for one measure, then F# for two measures, then repeat at D#m.

The difficult part is getting the strumming loop correct and switching chords at the right time. As I describe in the video, there is sort a "hit" on the strings to add rhythm to the beat. Someday I'll figure out how this is actually expressed, but for now I'm going to do an ad hoc description of the strumming pattern. I will consider 1 beat to be an up or a down strum, and this song has an 8-beat loop that goes like this:

1) down
2) miss up
3) down
4) up
5) hit down
6) up
7) down
8) up
(switch chord and repeat from 1)

If that makes no sense, check out the video and see if it makes sense after seeing and hearing it. Describing strumming ain't easy. Hit the fourth string topwise, TOPWISE!

The lyrics and chord changes can be seen here.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to play Elephant Gun by Beirut

Ok, so last week I got the chords and tabs from ukulelehunt.com for Elephant Gun. I just made a video to go along with them, thereby demonstrating for anyone else in the youtube community how to do the part I learned. It's nothing fancy, but it's a pretty song even without that much practice.

The chords are A#m, D#7, G#, C#, and C#Maj7. By tuning the ukulele one semi-note sharp on all four strings, you can just use the standard non-sharp positions for Am, D7, G, C and CMaj7. That or put a capo on the first fret.

The strumming has a "two down, two-up" feel, with the down strums focusing on the top two strings and the up strums focusing on the bottom two. The timing seems to work best for me as:

A#m - 4
D#7 - 4
G# - 4
C# - 2
C#Maj7 - 2


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Ukulele Hunt (is on)

I just added a link over on the left to a great site called "ukulelehunt.com". It's got detailed tabs and chords in pdf format for a bunch of songs--most notably Beirut songs. The guy over there loves the uke too, so I can trust him.

I plan on learning the uke part to two favorite songs of mine: Postcards from Italy and Elephant Gun. And maybe The Penalty once I've heard it a bunch more times. To put it in perspective, my iTunes play count for the last year has...

Elephant Gun: 1014
Postcards: 971
Penalty: 30

...so, as you can see from those perfectly normal non-obsessive play count numbers, i just haven't heard The Penalty enough.

I've already got the basic beginning to Postcards, thanks to our instructional-if-distracting friend youtube. Maybe once I can play either song to some degree I'll return the favor and put a beginners level instructional video up on how to play what i have at that point.


Monday, January 7, 2008

mixed strumming

This is my basically an intro video so I can keep track of where I am starting at. The chords don't get too involved, and there wasn't any thought put into them beforehand. It starts at C and F and goes to G and some other basic ones.

Hopefully I'll look back at this someday and say "What a pile of shit." Hopefully that day won't be tomorrow.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Inaugural Address

I just got a ukulele as a gift for Christmas, so now I am going to learn how to play it. I've been messing around on the guitar for some time now, but this site will be only for cool things on or about the ukulele. That's why it's called Ukulala (pronounced "Yook? Ooh-la-la!" like a French maid might say).

Sweet beans it begins!


Standard Tuning Chords: F add 9

In standard GCEA ukulele tuning, F add 9:


Standard Tuning Chords: F major

In standard GCEA ukulele tuning, F Major:


Standard Tuning Chords: E Minor

In standard GCEA ukulele tuning, E Minor:


Standard Tuning Chords: C (alt)

In standard GCEA ukulele tuning, C (alt):


Standard Tuning Chords: G major

In standard GCEA ukulele tuning, G Major:


Standard Tuning Chords: e/C

In standard GCEA ukulele tuning, e/C:

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Standard Tuning Chords: C major

In standard GCEA ukulele tuning, C Major: