Hello lovely people.

Next meeting 19th July 7:30pm
NOTE: people are turning up at 8pm. If we want to find a seat, be a bit social and start properly at 8pm (or before) you need to get there earlier.

The signs are that we are going to have an end to the lcokdown/ social distancing as planned on 19th July.

This means that we will be able to sing.
This is important for a number of reasons:

  • we will be singing in the key of the written music (much less “grating”)
  • there will be no solos from the original (suddenly finding yourself in the middle of a guitar solo with no music!)
  • the music won’t have missing parts or repeats that aren’t written down
  • the timing will be up to us and more regular (think Johnny Cash and his changes in rhythm)
  • we can slow down songs that are fast and play a slow “Swing version” of songs like “Happy Hour” or “Fell in Love with a Girl”

The only problem I can see is that we have to sing. Put away any embarrassment and get ready to belt out a few favourites.
(I’d like to open a few windows and if you wish to wear a mask – that’s fine by me)

For the next practise I’m hoping to cover the previous two books (but with singing) and go on to another old book – Country Hits.
If you want to practise before this is the link: https://hullukulelegroup.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/hug_country_hits_a4.pdf

As we are allowed to sing, we can start fully following the book and keeping our own timing, but this does rely on us singing.
Once we’ve practised a few times, we can move on to creating multi part songs with players playing different parts of the song (riffs and solos).

In our last session I was asked “What’s the strumming pattern for this?” It get asked a lot.

I tend to either DDUUDU or follow the syllables in a lyrics.
I use the DDUUDU (D = down / U=up) for practically any song that is 4:4 timing (1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 etc)
So if you play “Urban Spaceman” or “It must be love” this pattern naturally fits.
“It Must be Love” was originally DDDD, but sounds “bouncy” with DDUUDU.
It works with “These Boots are made for walking”,
You may have to break out into a different strum for choruses and riffs, but this strum works for a lot of songs.

I was going to make my own videos of me strumming, but found much better videos online, already created with illustrations.

There are videos on YouTube to follow such a
For beginners – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAScCO3Mb-w – these are quite simple.
For more advanced strumming you can watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSQ7gfMp8gk – he’s very good. Bookmark this.

Years ago I compiled a list of strumming patterns for people to try, print and keep.
This is it https://hullukulelegroup.files.wordpress.com/2021/07/strumming-patterns.pdf

Syllables in the lyrics“?
When I play certain songs, I strum in time with the lyrics.
“Give me an example John!”
Ever Fallen in Love with Someone (that you shouldn’t have).
The pattern would be (if written down) (Dm)D-D-DUDUDUU-(C)DUD-(Dm)D-D-DUDUDUU-(C)DUD-(F)DDDUDUU-DUD-DDDUDUU-DUD
(and if you can follow that – you’re good!)
Simple put – you play a strum either up or down in the rhythm of the song. This isn’t something that I’ve seen written anywhere. It’s not something I’ve learnt it’s just evolved as

One song that we have in our songbooks that people are confused about is a Bonzo Dog Doodah cover of “Button up your overcoat”.
This is mainly because no one has heard of the song. Therefore here’s a link to YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf9SJ9LyDRs
The main parts of the song can be covered by DDUUDU.
the “Take good care of yourself” part is a bit odd – C9 and C7 in quick succession.
The two chords are just one finger away so, you are putting on and taking off a finger with each word

Take (C9) good (C7) care (C9) of(C7) your(C9)self (C7)
Take (on) good (off) care (on) of(off) your(on)self (off)

(F)Button up your overcoat,
(G7)when the wind is free
(C9)Take (C7)good (C9)care (C7)of
(C9)your(C7)self you (F)belong to me (C#)(C)

Anyway – hope to see you at the Highway pub on 19th July 7:30pm

Thank you

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Fortnightly Practise at Highway

Thanks for the beginners who came on Monday and I hope you will keep practising.

The next regular fortnightly practise is on Monday 5th July 7:30pm – 10pm ish.

If you want to get ahead, the songbooks we’ll be using will be the old ones we started with all those years ago and a couple of loose songs:

…. and Bad Moon Rising from this

… and I’ll make this into a format that I can project on the night: https://ukutabs.com/n/neil-diamond/sweet-caroline/

I hope yo see you there.

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Beginners Lessons

28th June 7:30pm
Upstairs function room at Highway pub Willerby Road.

Free lessons for beginners. There is no catch.

If you don’t know the notes of the strings, how to tune it or play the first few chords, please feel free to attend Highway pub with your uke. We were all beginners once.

I’ll go through the first few chords and give you advice and information to get you up and running.

Hopefully by the end of the session, you will be able to play a couple of songs.

Before attending you may want to tune your uke. A new uke or new string will go out of tune roughly every 5 minutes.

I recommend GStrings app for Android as a free uke tuner. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.cohortor.gstrings

You need to tune the string closest to your chin to G4. Then moving down towards the ground, C4, E4 and A4

… and they sound like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weu8nsJRMqE&ab_channel=69erJC

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Hello all you lovely people.

Last Night
The meeting of the Hull Ukulele Group (first post lockdown) was a breath of fresh air. I thoroughly enjoyed it although it was a little overwhelming to have people talking to me after months pretty much on my own.

There were 13 players and one supporter – which I thought was great given that via Zoom our worse turn out was 2 (including me!).

Thank you for coming.

There were no problems with my wifi flaking out, no issues with Zoom blacking out people’s screens and no problems with mics being muted randomly.  As far as “playing uke to some backing track goes” it was a massive success. We actually managed to play a lot more than I expected!

As there are new players and rusty players (that would be all of us covered there), I decided that we’d go back the start and back to where the Hull Ukulele Group started. We went back the first songbook that was created.

I need to move away from bringing in reams of paper. It’s wasteful and time consuming to produce and painful to carry.

This songbook we used last night can be found HERE to download and print.  
I will continue to bring the projector to play along with. It’s lighter than carrying 4x Tesco shopping “bags for life” and easier to sort the music on a Sunday afternoon. I’ll move the projector next time to make a sharper and brighter image.

If you have difficulty viewing the projector, please can you print the book?

I am going to continue with the early songbooks over the next few weeks/ months continue in with this SMALL SONGBOOK. This is early warning that next meeting (5th July 7:30pm at Highway pub) we will dip into this SMALL SONGBOOK. You could print off and practice in advance?

If you have difficulty printing I can print both of these two books together for £5. This would be one plastic folder with 60 sheets and 30 songs.

If you want to order one of these for me to bring at the next meeting CLICK HERE

We will continue to play along to a recording (often in a different key) until we can sing indoors again. I’ll try to find good versions of the music.

The Pub
I liked the pub and the staff were brilliant. The chap behind the bar went out of his way to help me set up and even carried drinks upstairs for one customer.
The car park was easy – I hope everyone else found it so.
The room was good and a change from performing in front of regular customers trying to watch football or eat a meal. I liked the old pub, but the new one is more suitable.

I’d like to work out lift sharing as we go on to enable people who can’t drive or don’t have suitable transport to attend and enjoy the night. I have already started on this with my own car. It would be nice if we can work it out amongst ourselves.

NEXT MEETING – 5th July 19:30 – 22:00 Highway pub, Willerby Rd, Hull HU5 5LH

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How are we going to playing before full lockdown is lifted?

I’ve been reading the advice on the Musician’s Union website and the advice on from the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport).

This is what I’ve boiled it down to:
– We are not allowed to meet in groups of more than 6 – unless the larger group splits into smaller groups of six – basically 6 people in a group on a table with social distancing between groups of 6
– We are not allowed to sing indoors

How do we practise ukulele under these circumstances?
1. If there are more than 6 people, we separate into tables of 6. NO switching or mixing within groups
2. Music will be passed out or projected onto a wall
3. There will be no singing. We will play along to a backing track. We did this to learn a new songs in the past before COVID and we have been doing this via Zoom since COVID started
4. Masks should be worn until sat down and whenever stood up to get drinks/ visit the toilets
5. No hugging, hand shaking or close contact
6. No sharing of equipment (don’t try someone’s new uke)

It’s basically the rules for going to a pub, but we are going to be holding ukes and playing along.

What’s good about this?
1. This is a massive step in the right direction
2. This is a social event
3. We will be actually playing the ukulele together – something that is impossible via zoom. We might be in sync
4. We will start with simple old tunes that experienced players will know and learners can pick up

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Emerging from Lockdown.

This is all subject to change – dependent on govt advice.

Most of us have had two vaccinations and we are heading in the right direction as far as infections are going.

I am keeping a close eye on the following guidance: https://www.gov.uk/…/working-safely…/performing-arts
Once we are clear to actually sing in a room together, we will be.

I have been contacted by new players and old faces asking what we’ve all been asking the Govt. : “When do we get back to normal?”.

Recently I visited a pub that was not only open, but bustling. They have a room that we can use and seem happy to let us in. The other day, the landlady rang me to confirm when we would like to start and how she can help with publicity. A very positive start!

(There is a small catch – but I’m not telling anyone yet).

So, on Monday 21st of June 7:30pm – with the usual caveats of the rules changing (watch this space) I’d like us to meet up.

Highway, Willerby Rd, Hull HU5 5LH

Monday 21st June
I propose that you arrive between 7:30 and 8pm.
We play 8pm to 9pm and have a break
We restart 9:15pm and go on until 10pm – 10:15pm

What will happen?
I want to promote this as much as possible. I want to encourage rusty players, beginners and complete newbies. As such, I want to go back to basics with the first Uke songbook. I want it to be fun and I’d like people to treat it as a social night. If there are few of us, we should be able to keep a small distance. We’ll have to “play that by ear”.

What will it cost?
We have to support the pub by buying drinks. As long as we buy a couple of drinks, that should cover electricity, cleaning and any staff costs. Beyond that, there might be a cost for music books for people to keep and take responsibility for.

I know some players will be travelling from afar. I’d like to get people to arrange car shares as we progress. This is “green”, makes parking easier and allows some people to drink and have a designated driver.

The first meeting should be treated as an AGM and we decide what the future will be.

We might not even get to sing a song as the government guidance currently doesn’t let us. I’m hoping guidance changes soon.

Having said that – bring a uke and your singing trousers.

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During Coronavirus Lockdown

Hello everyone.

During lockdown the group is still “meeting” via “Zoom” as a virtual meeting- at 8pm.

Zoom give people 40 minutes free to try out their service. We are meeting for that 40 minutes free time.

If Zoom extend that we go on for about an hour. Zoom cut our first meeting at 40 minutes exactly and the second meeting was extended. I can’t tell if Zoom are going to extend the time each week.

We’ve been using Jim’s Songbook to a pretty good degree. https://ozbcoz.com/Songs/index.php
It allow scrolling and searching so I shared the webpage, hit scroll and we set off.

So far we’ve had a go at :
John Prine – Please Don’t Bury Me (we played this for months before John’s passing and as a tribute to him he day before the news broke)
Things – Bobby Darin
Happy Together – The Turtles
With a Little Help for my Friends – The Beatles

We then just picked random tunes to play.
If you want suggestions to practise – have a go at the above and below).

This week I have proposed:

Take it Easy – Eagles
Daydream – Lovin Spoonful
Stuck in the Middle With You – Steelers Wheel
After Hours – Velvet Underground
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – Beatles

The songs are simple and hopefully we can all play.
During the singing, the meetings are muted so you can only hear me (I’m a terrible player and singer, but I’m there to play along with).
We socialise and have a chat before we start and in between each song and after the session ends.



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Meeting dates for 2020


The most often asked question to this site is when is the next meeting.

We avoid the confusion of Bank Holidays so here are the dates for 2020.

  • 13-01-20
  • 27-01-20
  • 10-02-20
  • 24-02-20
  • 09-03-20
  • 23-03-20
  • 06-04-20
  • 20-04-20
  • 04-05-20
  • 18-05-20
  • 01-06-20
  • 15-06-20
  • 29-06-20
  • 13-07-20
  • 27-07-20
  • 10-08-20
  • 24-08-20
  • 07-09-20
  • 21-09-20
  • 05-10-20
  • 19-10-20
  • 02-11-20
  • 16-11-20
  • 30-11-20
  • 14-12-20

We meet at the Old English Gentleman every fortnight from 13 January at 8pm until 10pm.

Music is provided.
Beginners are welcome and some tuition can be offered to anyone needing support.
We are happy to accept suggestions for songs.

It’s a friendly atmosphere and there are no solos or performances expected from players.
Just turn up and play what you can.



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Hello lovely people.

I’ve been busy organising a different practice space. This one is better for learning and practicing together. The pub is great for a social night, but if we need to go over a song several times and actually hear ourselves the “other Monday” night is at a much better venue. It has various facilities that can help us.

The question I get asked a lot is when is the next meeting in the pub – check out here : CALENDAR

New players are always welcome and we love to have new faces around. We are a friendly, non-judgemental group of people who simply like the Uke.

Next meeting is (in the calendar link above) and Monday 18th February 2019

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GNUF 2018 – Grand Northern Ukulele Festival report.

It’s about time I wrote this down. It’s been a month and I keep putting it off. It’s rather a big job. This is why I was putting it off. Although I was only there for two days, ther eis just too much to cover.  (I missed Friday night, Satruday Cabaret, fringe events like the pubs, cafe and bar.  I missed all the workshops and Mim’s stage etc)

Strap yourself in – this is a long read, but I urge you to watch the videos. These people are great.


We arrived just before lunchtime it was well underway.
We headed downstairs to the “Unplug the Wood” – a small stage with big talent.

Hedge inspectors – the hosts of the weekend on the Unplug the Wood stage.

Check them out of Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thehedgeinspectors/
They were brilliants hosts, having done this for years. Funny, entertaining and talented. They filled in between acts and joined in with acts. Brillaint. Bought Krabbers Album on my way out.


3 Part Split – Great lads from Scotland. Mixture of punk and “just great songs” sung with gusto and a smile.

Dawn and her Uke – There was an ethereal quality about her covers. I expect great things in the future from Dawn.

Fake Plastic Tigers – this was the second time I saw Fake Plastic Tigers. A collection of Radiohead songs  played with ukulele, bass and vibraphone – What could be better?

I love the Fake Plastic Tigers. Check he out here https://www.facebook.com/fakeplastictigers/

Then we decided to have lunch and wander to the main stage for the afternoon

Katy Vernon – great way to star the afternoon. We missed the start, but caught the end.

Her website: HERE

Ooty and the Cloud – trio of talent here

Bryan Tolentino & Asa Young – actual Hawaiians playing ukulele and guitar. The playing!! The voices!! Heavenly. They travelled from Hawaii tpo play here and there were superb

Andy Eastwood – here’s talent. Andy is a great traditional Formby style player, but at GNUF he treated the audience to a composition with athe Didsbury string quartet.

The Water Gypsies – I LOVED THESE!! They are a group that lives on canal boats and play great music.

Mim’s Showcase – Mim comes from the US every year and is a major contributor to GNUF. She’s a remarkable lady with masses of talent. Mim has a stage outside and the best of the stage were up on stage giving it their all.

Bad Mouse Orchestra – all the way from Germany this trio of talent burst onto the stage with tunes from 1920s and 1930s. Utterly brilliant and another CD purchased.

Plastic Jeezus – a great fun band with their own songs to make to smile

Natasha Ghosh – all the way from the Netherland, this tiny lady was heart-breakingly good. She is petite and I didn’t realise she was 20. We sat next to her parents who practically fizzed with pride.

Kiki Lovechild – break from Ukuleles with a bit of cabaret. Kiki Lovechild reenacted a spy story.
Here’s the full show:


Andrew Molina  -another MASSIVE talent all the way from Hawaii. I’d put this young man in the same bracket as Jake Shimabukuro. His father played along next to him. Both were so cool and talented.

Hot Potato Syncopators – Utter madness!! UTTERLY BRILLIANT!! If music ahll still existed – I’d be down there weekly watching this hysterical act of juggling, ukulele, saw, ventriloquism and just pure madness. The finale was a tribute to the Dam Busters with thousands of paper aeroplanes being thrown and a bouncing bomb going around the auditorium. So funny.

Lucky people managed to get to the cabaret after this, We went to Tess’s house. See about more about Tess and her husband, Sam at the bottom.


Again, we started downstairs at Unplug the Wood.
Grab it and Bang – an absolutely great start to the day with this cracking group.

ANDYDAN – this was remarkable. Forget Comedy, punk, Formby and Hawaiian music for 15 minutes and soak yourself in seriously good original music. This was 15 minutes where you could feel the cold of the mountains as Andydan took us up the Himalayas and onto Everest.

Dave and the Isaacles – proving that you don’t have to be old enough to buy a pint to take to the stage, Dave and the Isaacles gave their all in a performance that was warmly welcomed.

Findlay Napier – what a voice! All the way from Scotland, this brilliant singer songwriter played a selection of his songs for us. I loved it, bu couldn’t find a CD  at the merchandise stand.
Listen to the song, smile at the content and then (God bless him) learn how to play it

Jonathan and his 4 String Fiasco – all the way from the US, Jonathan showed us his talents. Great voice and played like a god. Well done that man!

Sadly I cannot be in two places at once and the main stage was calling.

Amelia Coburn – to my utter horror we missed Amelia. Thank God for youtube. If you can listen to this without goosebumps, hand in your ukulele, you are already dead. This diversion to youtube made writing this very long. Who is she? Where is she playing next?

Follow her here https://www.facebook.com/ameliacoburnmusic

Percy Copley – Percy is one of those that make the GNUF possible. He teaches workshops, write music, comperes the main stage, performs at unplug the wood, plays the main stage, travels the world spreading ukulele love and is an all round great fella. Search for him on the internet and you’ll find tutorials.


Robin Evans Esq. – like Tom Waits? Like Slide guitar blues? like Beastie Boys? You would love Robin Evans esq (world record holder).
He did a wonderful cover of Chocolate Jesus

Astraluna – she has inspired me to buy a loop pedal (when I can decide which one).

Peter Luongo – one of the worlds best ukulele tutors. Having taught a class or two over the weekend – they took to the stage and performed like pros. His infectious enthusiasm was electric. He never stops smiling, dancing or walking. Truly a great advert for the ukulele.


This is part of this group made up from the workshop attendees on Sunday.

Mr B The Gentlemen Rhymer – the last big act on Sunday before the finale, Mr B brought us the history or rap as only he could – Chap-style with a uke.


The finale was every act that could up on the stage for a strum along

That was it. One thing left to do and that was a group photo.

Another brilliant GNUF. Too much to take in. I’ll be back next year!



Click here





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