Sunday, October 11, 2009


Do Your Ukulele Chord Homework!
Aunt Phoebe and Myrtle sez so!
I am a bit of a chord junkie. I think my Berkeley Ukulele Club guru Steven Strauss has spoiled me with a plethora of unique chords. Here, I have a fertile test ground for my and YOUR chord knowledge, it is a site called MIDNIGHT SUN. Peter in the UK has many challenging arrangements for an intermediate (ukulele) player and they are put in BOX FORM and the LYRICS are separate. There are also midi's for all the songs. As you will quickly surmise the songs are a bit more complex than the 3-chord variety and the songs are jazz tunes.

I can't get you directly to the tune "Is You Is or Is You Ain't Ma' Baby" due to the way the site is created. Go to the "I's" find the song and check out the chords, lyrics, and midis for yourself. And Kim J., I know you're reading this - have fun with this and see how well it coordinates with Glen Rose's jazzyukulele books. There are many songs to sort thru and test your chord knowledge. Have fun stimulating those brain cells. HU


  1. Kim J. let me know he prefers the music to align with the words. He says that the Jim Beloff Ukulele Masters books of Lyle Ritz and Herb Ohta have the chords, musical score and words neatly aligned for immediate consumption. I went back to my HO book I bought perhaps 3 years ago and set aside - Now my fingers and perhaps rhythm are ready to make chord variations up the neck and keep a steady rhythm too.

  2. I'm one for chording as close to the nut as possible. Dr. Uke's method of learning chords
    is perfect for that, in that you take one form
    up the neck until a simpler form is possible, then you go back to an open chord again & then take that form up the neck (a couple of frets usually).
    I don't think I've fingered a chord higher than the 4th fret in months, or want to. You pretty much (not always) need just one form for each chord, & can thus learn more chords, never having to worry about knowing 16 different ways of playing each chord. Works in its simplicity for me.

    I recall vaguely Craig Robertson saying something along the lines of he never plays
    higher than the [ ] fret (maybe it was 6 or 7), that the air is too rarefied up there, too hard to breathe (maybe the rarefied bit is mine & he said something similar).
    I've seen a lot of his videos & he seems to play as close to the nut as possible, without suffering musically at all (for his style). Every chord is available down there somewhere.

    Plug 1:
    Craig's new CD, Under the Mystic, is shipping now
    from Psychic Hamster Records, & tomorrow's (Tues., 10/13) Ukulele Noir is the official release party.

    Plug 2:
    A Bay Area pop band that integrates ukulele & banjo ukulele
    into its music very well, The Corner Laughers, started shipping their second CD, Ultraviolet Garden, last month, & are celebrating the release in San Francisco on Halloween night.

  3. Ron -- I'm not sure why you choose to make an argument about playing chords up the neck. I would think that for 95% of the players already are doing it that way, and enjoy doing so. This Midnight Sun site doesn't really suggest any fingerings but it does suggest many jazz chords that are rarely seen by the multitude of players but can give really delicious chord sounds to the ukulele. I'm not really advocating any type of playing style -- but just exploring the limits of ukulele topics as much as possible.

    In general, there is one argument for playing other chords further up the neck. When playing with a group of other ukulele players it is nice to have some other chord "textures" to the music.

    This blog is from the point of view of a person desiring to learn and starting at the ripe age of 44. So whatever I may post I may not have a fully informed opinion upon, everything is developing and this blog is a record of my likes and things I'm learning.