Friday, March 28, 2008

How to play Postcards From Italy by Beirut

This will be my last Beirut song for a while... I don't want to give the impression all I ever listen to is Beirut this and Beirut that, no matter how true it may be right now. He plays the energetic and rhythmic style of uke I want to learn, so right now it's a good match.

With that in mind, my most recent tutorial is on Postcards From Italy (chords, tabs, and lyrics can be found here, thanks to the good people over at Here is my instructional video:

0:00 - Intro (am I shaking my leg?!)
0:12 - Tuning (standard GCEA)

=====> 0:21 - Part 1
0:29 - Chords (F and A)
0:58 - Hammer-on (top string, second fret)
1:30 - Strumming pattern (hammer-on, pause, up, down, down, repeat)
2:25 - Timing (3 loops of hammer-on)
2:40 - top string melody (3rd fret, 2nd fret, open, 2nd fret)
3:21 - Demo of F chord strumming and melody
3:33 - Description of A chord (same as F, index finger moves up one string)
4:10 - Advice on practicing Part 1
5:30 - Part 1 Review (and, of course, some encouragement!)

=====> 5:48 - Part 2
5:48 - Chords (Bb add 9, F, Dm, C)
6:55 - Chorder (chord order--those four chords loop)
7:17 - Strumming pattern (up, miss, up, down, pause, up-down, up, down)

8:23 - Demonstration of each part (please excuse voice)

The video goes over the tuning, chords, hammer-ons, strumming, and timing. The song has two very distinct parts, and it switches from one part to the next in about the middle of the song.

As usual, it's a tutorial for beginners, but it is a somewhat advanced song that will take a beginner (like myself) a long time to learn and requires a lot of practice. Of course, the song is awesome and was originally played on a uke, so it's a FUN kind of practice where the better you get the more it sounds exactly like the Beirut version.

This is also my second entry for the Play It Forward ukulele video contest at This time I totally forgot to pronounce the word ukulele the correct way: "oo-kuhlaylay". Instead, I pronounced it the obviously gringo way, "You-kuhlaylee". I hope it won't sway the judges too much. Oh well, the truth is I'm not Hawaiian and I have to accept that.

For now.


Anonymous said...

you're awesome :)
and i love beirut!

Anonymous said...

This is the best tutorial I have come across yet! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I just bought my uke today, and now 2 hours later, strictly due to your tutorial I am able to play this song. I have always wanted to learn it since I first heard it. You made it easy to understand, and your instructions were great to follow. Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you!!

cwniarz said...

this is the best video i ever saw yet! i usually don't listen to them since they don't help me but geeze yours is great! loved it loved it. i will seriously recommend this video to some of my friends if they ever feel like learning this song on the uke. thank you so much again, you're the best!

Anonymous said...

bought my ukulele today and learnt this song in 20 minutes, best tutorial I've ever had and you make it really clear what to do when. keep making videos!

Cindy said...

I got a ukulele and knew that the first song I wanted to learn was Postcards From Italy. I played the piano and viola as a kid, but really didn't know what I was doing with a strumming instrument. Watching your tutorial for an hour I can play it now (although not sing along at the same time...yet) and I just wanted to say thank you. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this. I am in love with the instrument and I am looking forward to learning Elephant Gun next!

Brad Verebay said...

I just thought you should like to know that you are improperly identifying the strings. The "first" string is the one closest to your legs and the "fourth" string is the one closest to your face. Please consider using the correct terminology to avoid confusion.