I’ve created an arrangement of the classic Simon and Garfunkel tune, Bridge Over Troubled Water for low “g” ukulele. It is a chord/melody solo. I’ve included the lyric to the first verse merely as a guide for learning the arrangement.
Here is a simple arrangement for solo low g ukulele of the old standard, “You Always Hurt the One You Love,” that was requested by one of my students. Though I’m mostly familiar with the Spike Jones version with crazy bells and whistles, this version is based more on the version by the Mills Brothers, et al who start in 3/4 and play it nice and slow.
KaraUke ® is the band or orchestra without the solo ukulele so YOU get to provide the solo instrument.
I arranged the popular standard, “Wind Beneath My Wings” for solo ukulele (low g) and recorded it. Upon listening to the recording, I thought it would be nice to add a bass, so I did. It really needed pretty picking guitars so I added those. Then I thought, “If there’s a bass, there should be some drums,” so I added drums. I’ve always loved strings so I added those too. The trombones and french horns were just aching to play too so I added them. So now it’s uke and orchestra.
Here is a version of “Side by Side” I created for beginners. The first section repeats three times within the song and the middle section is based on familiar chord shapes so it’s not as complex as it looks.
It has been recorded by many artists, but is probably best known in a 1953 recording by Kay Starr. Harry Woods, who practised songwriting only as a sideline, wrote numerous 1920s standards, including “When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbing Along”, “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover”, and “Try a Little Tenderness”. He composed his songs on piano, despite the fact that he was born without fingers on his left hand.
So, fellow uke-stars… If Harry M. Woods can compose those great songs on the piano with only one fingered hand, you all can learn this arrangement with two!
Just take it a couple of bars at a time. Master those bars before moving on. There is a lot of repetition, as in all of these songs, so once you get the first section, you’ll have half of the arrangement.
What better activity is there to do on a welcomed rainy day than pull out the ol’ uke and learn a new tune!?
I’ve created an arrangement of “A Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins for two ukes. Though it’s arranged and played on high g and low g tuned instruments, it can be easily adapted for two of the same. (did that make sense?)
I thought it would be really fun to arrange duets of classic pieces from the Big Band era. This first one, Stompin’ at the Savoy, was written by Chick Webb’s alto saxophonist, Edgar Sampson and made famous by Webb and, even more so, by Benny Goodman and his band.
I’ve recorded the song as follows:
1) Stompin’ Uke TAB vers. Low G – This version features the low g string uke with the high g uke playing quietly in the background. This part plays the melody (“calls”) on the “A” sections and accompaniment on the “B” sections.
2) Stompin’ Uke TAB vers. High G – This version features the high g string uke with the low g uke playing quietly in the background. This part plays the “responses” on the “A” sections and the lead melody on the “B” sections.
3) Stompin’ Uke TAB vers. ALL – This version has both ukuleles at normal volume.
All versions have Bass and drums functioning as the metronome.
If you have a third player or have enough players for a third group I recommend having the third part strum the chords to help keep the time and give it some drive.
Over the last 3 years or so I have immersed myself in ukulele, from playing and arranging songs to performing, and teaching workshops, classes, and private students. I have created this blog as a resource for ukulele enthusiasts, from seasoned veterans of the instrument to beginners. I will post free lessons, chord charts, and solo arrangements along with audio examples.
There are a lot of uke sites online that provide valuable uke information but I find fundamental concepts lacking on these sites that I feel I can provide. My training is in orchestral arranging and therefore my knowledge of chords and theory may be very useful to you.
So please visit often and tell your friends about it. All feedback is welcome.
Here is an original ukulele tune I call “No School Today” that takes some practice to master but is very fun to play…