Monday, May 5, 2008

How to play Boy with the Arab Strap by Belle and Sebastian

Update: has the chords and lyrics up for this song here. We decided to collaborate on an area where our musical tastes collide, and I hope we do again. As he makes note of at the link, Woodshed at also figured out an interesting addition: by playing Cmaj7 and D6 instead of just D and C, this song has a sustained B note in every chord, which is apparently what the piano does in the original version. Cool.

This is one of the most rockin'est songs Belle and Sebastian songs ever made. It's not as mellow as their other stuff, but his Scotsman voice sounds great over a rock beat and a good bassline. I love the clap as part of the beat.

It's a simple song to learn, at least in terms of chords. It has just G, C, and D and the chord switches are slow. This song is all aboot rhythm. Unfortunately I don't have a good source for the chords yet, because everywhere online has incomplete chords.

The good people over at figured out that the missing chord in the online chord list was a "D", so if they put up a version of this song I will post a link.

My tutorial video:

Video breakdown:
0:00 - Intro
0:12 - Tuning (GCEA)
0:25 - Chords (G,C,D)
1:05 - Strumming pattern (details below)
2:55 - Chord switch timing
3:21 - Demonstration (slow to faster w/ lyrics)

The difficult part here is the strumming pattern. Using my normal way of describing it as beats, where each beat is an up or a down strum, there are two "sections" of the strumming, which look like this:

Section 1:
1) down
2) up
3) hit
4) up

Section 2:
5) miss
6) up
7) hit
8) up

Then, once you can do those sections individually, the entire pattern loops like this:

Strumming pattern:
1) Section 1
2) Section 2
3) Section 2
4) Section 2
(Repeat twice then switch chords)

That was kind of hard to explain, but hopefully it made sense especially if it goes along with the video. If not, please let me know in the comments and I will try to fix it.


Aaron said...

In the.. unplaying freeze-screen of the video (if that's what you call it), you're giving me the finger. You're giving it to ALL OF US.

Paz said...

If you look carefully, that's a key component of all my videos. In fact, most of them are just misleading titles and it's seven minutes of me holding a ukulele giving you the finger and slurring a string of obscenities off-camera. might be directed at everyone, but i'm thinking of you.

Addicting Games said...

Thanks for the step by step tutorial :) This is cool ^^
Anyway nice to know you.. if you have time, take a visit to my Download Games website.


Anonymous said...

Thanks very much Paz. If you visit Brighton I’m gonna buy you several pints down the pub…

buy cialis said...

Wow this is interesting, thanks for, I hope the manual it's very complete because I just find one, but the guy didn't know how to explain.

nicole said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I have been playing ukulele for 6 weeks and, thanks to you, this is the first song I have actually been able to play, and sing along with, in its entirety, with relatively few mistakes. And I thought I was hopeless! It's summertime in the Southern Hemisphere and I am ready for ukulele beach parties with Belle & Sebastian!