Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How to play Lua by Bright Eyes

I hope you've heard this song, Lua by Bright Eyes. Thanks to Jessibee for the heads up on it.

Anyway, it is a nice case study on simplicity with acoustics and excellent song-writing. What can I say but the guy writes a good song. I suspect this one is about being, and being with, a druggie. The mellow mood makes it pretty perfect for the ukulele, although I think a uke and a bass would really do this song right.

The tricky part of this song is just a little bit of fingering on the G chord. It's not too bad, you just have to practice when to press and release one of the strings in the chord. The good news is, once you get that part, the rest will be easy.

So here's my video on it:

Video Timing:
0:00 - Intro and Tuning (GCEA), capo (2nd fret)
1:15 - Chords (D, G, Em, A, A7, Bm)
2:05 - Strumming pattern (loops in 8 beats, see above)
3:19 - Strumming example
3:30 - Intro (Dx2, Gx2 with some detailed fingering) THIS PART IS IMPORTANT!
5:07 - Intro Example
5:35 - Verse 1
Dx2, Gx2, Dx2, Gx2, Emx2, Ax2, (Em,G), (Em,A), Dx2
(Other verses have the same chord pattern)
8:01 - Verse 1 Example
8:43 - Chorus
Gx2, Dx2, Gx2, D, (A, A7), G, Bm, (D, A), (Em,G), (Em,A), Dx2
9:05 - Chorus Example
The uke itself is tuned to standard GCEA, but there is a capo on the 2nd fret, which shifts all the chords up one full note.


Once the capo is on, putting your fingers in the standard C chord position now makes a D chord. I will refer to the chords with the actual chord followed by the non-capo equivalent chord position in parentheses, i.e. D(C). The chords are:
D(C), G(F), Em(Dm), Bm(Am), A(G), A7(G7)

Strumming Pattern
The strumming pattern loops in 8 beats, where each beat could be considered one up or down strum at a regular rhythm. Strumming pattern:
1- down (emphasis on top string)
2- miss up
3- down (hit all strings, emphasize this beat)
4- miss up
5- miss down
6- up (emphasis on bottom strings)
7- down (emphasis on bottom strings)
8- up (emphasis on bottom strings)
(repeat, switching chords if necessary)

I don't have my handy-dandy table-maker right now, so I can't make the full table with lyrics yet. In the meantime, I'll break it down by loops of the strumming pattern. The chords in parentheses means each is played for 1/2 of one loop, so everything in the parentheses makes for one loop.

Keep in mind, this is just a guide for now, full description with lyrics coming soon.

Intro: Dx2, Gx2
Verse 1: Dx2, Gx2, Dx2, Gx2, Emx2, Ax2, (Em,G), (Em,A), Dx2
Verse 2: same as verse 1
Chorus 1:
Gx2, Dx2, Gx2, D, (A, A7), G, Bm, (D, A), (Em,G), (Em,A), Dx2
Verse 3: same as verse 1
Verse 4: same as verse 1
Chorus 2: Gx2, Dx2, Gx2, D, (A, A7), G, Bm, (D, A), Gx2
Ending: (Em,G), (Em,A), Dx2, (Em,G), (Em,A), Bmx2, (Em,G), (Em,A), (Em,G), (Em,A), D