Last minute call to GNUF

This weekend (May 5th – 7th) is the Grand Northern Ukulele festival in Huddersfield.

Uke Magazine said:

A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival (GNUF) is much more than just a ukulele gathering. It’s a properly unique festival that belongs to every one of its punters, players and makers. We couldn’t let a landmark like a 5th birthday pass us by so we’ve got some truly spectacular things in store! See you there, 5-7 May, 2017!

There are still ticket available and it’s just over an hour drive to Huddersfield.

  • + Over 50  world-class acts from around the world and across the country.Check out the ace ARTISTS we’ve already announced!
  • + 2 Full Days of concerts in the main auditorium.
  • + Multiple Other Stages across the weekend including:
    • Mim’s Sideshow Stage
    • The debut of an Original Ukulele Songs Stage
    • Return of the Late Night Cabaret and
    • The all new unplugthewood Stage
    • Local favourite, the Vinyl Tap Stage
    • Friday night gigs in town
    • The Sunday Evening After Party at the Head of Steam
  • + Access to new, innovative & outstanding festival workshops (check our our wide range of fun & engaging workshops)*
  • + The Grand Bazaar (with stalls from familiar faces & a few new ones)
  • + A chance to join in with all the jams & open-mics
  • + The pop-up events & proper surprises we’ve become known for

Finally – thanks to Tony for standing in for me last Monday, I wasn’t well. THANK YOU!



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Good Riddance / Flash mob stuff.

A while ago I asked for suggestions and one player mentioned Green Day.

A favourite Green Day tune of mine is “Good Riddance”. It’s a lovely catchy song that is often played at funerals. This makes it ideal for the Hull Ukulele Group. Nice mix of twiddly bits and strumming and death.

I found a nice tutorial here: – Once again it’s the brilliant Ukulele Underground people.

Here my version of the song: Good Riddance

I’ve uploaded a written version of the picking here: Good Riddance Picking





The flash mob we’ve been invited to is on Saturday 27th May at 2pm.

The two songs they have asked us to try and memorise (hence no printed music) are:

Click here for Sloop John B

Click here for You are my sunshine

Ideally we’ll make a song book of favourites and songs that others won’t play, find a pub and have a strum in public.

Next meeting is tomorrow night (24th April) – 8pm usual place – The Old English Gentleman.


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Music from last Monday night session.

As promised – here are the songs from the last session (and maybe more).

Bonnie Tyler – It’s a Heartache

Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side

Peter Sarstedt – Where do you go to my Lovely

Jame Taylor – Sweet Baby James

R.E.M. – Losing my Religion

Dusty  Springfield – I Only Want to be With You

The Ink Spots – Whispering Grass 

and finally

Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl. 

I want to concentrate on Brown Eyed Girl. It’s a lovely tune with a simple riff that is very effective (as all great riffs are).

Here’s Van Morrison :

And here’s a great way to learn it:

(notice when he riffs, he just uses two fingers. I start with index and middle finger,
then move to index and ring finger for the notes that are two fret apart and
back to index and middle for notes that are one fret apart).

For example:










It’s just a suggestion.

IN FACT: From this video you will find lots of Ukulele Underground – they are superb and great fun to play along with.

It’s a excellent way to practise your playing at home on your own.

Here’s their Youtube channel :

Their Homepage :


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Happy New Year!!!


Hello lovely people.

I hope you have had a remarkable Christmas 2016 and 2017 is off to a good start.

The meetings for 2017:
At the last meeting we discussed when to have the meetings throughout 2017.
Through the power of Microsoft Excel and =sum(a1+14), repeat,  I bring you:

skip today!! 03-07-17
16-01-17 17-07-17
30-01-17 31-07-17
13-02-17 14-08-17
27-02-17 28-08-17 !
13-03-17 11-09-17
27-03-17 25-09-17
10-04-17 09-10-17
24-04-17 23-10-17
08-05-17 06-11-17
22-05-17 20-11-17
05-06-17 04-12-17
19-06-17 18-12-17

This set of dates avoids all bank holidays – except August Bank Holiday on August 28th – so we’ll skip that one.

So first meeting of 2017 will be 16th January 

Can we talk about the years plans (performing, trips to festivals , musical choices for the year etc) ?

I was going to build a new uke from parts of an old uke over Christmas, but have been busy trying to eat as much as possible.
I might attempt this in the next two weeks.


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It Must Be Love

As promised – I said we’d concentrate of technique and (supposedly) difficult songs.

The first one I inflicted you with at the last meeting was It Must Be Love by Labi Siffri.

labi siffri

Mr Siffre


This is the original 

It’s a lovely song, but if you check out the music here: HERE the chords are enough to frighten most players.

Aminadd9 ? Em7? Cadd9?? Am+7 ??
Surely there is no way anyone can play this song!
Why isn’t it just C F and G?

Here’s the secret : It’s an exercise in moving a single finger at a time to make the majority of the song.

Intro and start of song:
Play an A minor and every bar add a single finger on the second fret of the A string, then remove it one bar later.
Next play a G and every bar, you move from second fret of E string over to the A string.
Other parts include moving down one fret on the same string from Am to Am+7 to Am7 or moving from Em7 to A9 by moving one finger one fret.

It is honestly that simple.

This is something that I neglect in practises and it’s something that we all need to work on.
In this song, the strumming is quite fluid and changes in the chorus. But to play as a group and sound like we are playing the same song . . .

To start with try Down Down Down-Up-Down-Up
Listen to this: as I strum the simplest way to play this song. HERE

First part Am to Aminadd9 HERE
ress single finger on second fret of lowest string and lift on off on off

Next part is G to Cadd9 HERE
Moving single finger from third fret on second lowest string to lowest string with each bar.

Put part one and two together and repeat and you get this: HERE

The next part : Move from Em7 to A9 – by simply moving down one fret on the second string from the top.  This is followed by Dm and E7
In this recording I do it twice – as it such s short change.  HERE

The last part before the chorus is same strumming pattern, but moving down one fret on the top string,  then down another and finally off, followed by a D7 – which can be a single strum. HERE

Now the timing changes and there’s s flourish on the end.

For timing in chorus think two strums for each chord change until the D at the end. This, again is moving one finger, removing it altogether and then playing two “normal” chords. G – Gmaj7 – Em7 – C to D HERE

The final part of the chorus (to me) is three strums of each chord and a longish pause – followed by the chords from the intro/ start of the song. HERE

For a recording of me putting it all together listen to this HERE (stumbled a bit there)

Obviously I make mistake and the recording is terrible. But practise this.

The strumming is the simplest I can come up with.
I’d prefer it to be Down-Down Up-Up Down-Up – which feels more natural to me and probably has a name.

Playing the slow strumming pattern doesn’t feel natural to me, but it means that we can all play the same number of notes in the same timing.
This is me playing at my own pace – which we just can’t do with 15 – 20 people.  HERE  
It’s just a nice song to sit an dabble with quietly in a corner.
Perfect this and at the office Christmas party the chick will be all over you 🙂

If you poke around the few files on my SoundCloud account you’ll also hear some great poetry.

Thank you Mr Siffri

See you soon



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Report from Skipsea Ukulele Festival 2nd April 2016

Hello you lovely people.

I didn’t want to post anything straight after the performance last Saturday – I didn’t want to get carried away at the time.

After democratically choosing what we wanted to play and then discussing the intros and timing, I set about removing all the music from our “Gig books” and replacing them with the agreed songs, in the order we chose.


This took about 2 hours on Saturday morning.

At the gig on stage at 2pm was Beverley Ukulele Group with ukulele superstar Greg Lamb adding his skills to Carole and Ian and the other 8 players (sorry I don’t know your names!). A few solid standards and a good sing-a-long.










On the open-mic stage Pet and Saalo managed to avoid me and I missed them performing.














While Maggie bravely did a solo, before being joined by Liz












Maggie and Liz

On the main stage group after group played a 20-25 minute set. Some played purely ukuleles, others brought guitars, violins and percussion instruments. All added to the depth of sound.

Eventually after most groups had covered our entire set list (Bye Bye Love, Bad Moon Rising, Urban Spacemen, Happy Together, I Wanna Be Like you), we went on stage at 5:30pm. We improvised our set list to omit some repeats and I think it worked really well.















The effort paid off. We haven’t played live in 16 months (empty car park in the rain)  and we hadn’t performed some of the songs I had re-written on Friday night. So the sounds that actually came out of us was brilliant.

Well done all of you.


So . . . .  as the sun set over Skipsea village hall, it’s goodbye from me.











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Last night and info

Thanks for all who came last night – I had a good time.


I was very impressed with our attempts (most for the first time) at Bowie songs. They have odd chords, strange timing and weird lyrics – that’s what make them special.
It was hard, but worth it.

I’m guessing you are all itching to practise these again and if you didn’t take home a copy, here are links and in the order we played them:

– Starman LINK
– The Man Who Stole the World  LINK – but if you look at SCORPEX version you don’ play the Dm – but he’s only got two thirds
– Ziggy Stardust LINK
– Space Oddity LINK – some great chords in there.


Also Grand Northern Ukulele Festival – I said I’d mention it.

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival

Looks remarkable. Loads of performers – some serious, some comedic.
Workshops and chances to perform/ busk

It’s in Huddersfield so 75 mile away.
27th – 29th May (ticket site says 28th – 29th, but I bet there is a load on Friday night – even if it’s just pubs full of players hammering out “Sloop John B”!
Full weekend ticket is £44 (there are concessions)
There are workshops with may cost extra per workshop.
This is a great way to learn the skills that you simply yearn to have (picking, Jazz, Blues, building a uke, Bass uke, etc. )
Last year the one workshop I would have killed to attend was “Learn to play any song by ear“!.

Here’s last year’s programme:
From this the workshops seem to be late morning until early afternoon and then performances early afternoon into the night.


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All of Me

Last meeting we had a suggestion of “All of Me” – nice song.

The print was a little out as the font had changed – so I’ve attempted to edit this together as correct and added the G7+5 chord and chord diagrams

Click here to download: All of Me


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Inkspots Introduction.

Further to the Inkspots “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”


This should be known at the “Inkspots Intro”.

(possibly play twice)

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Explanation of “I Don’t Want to set the World on Fire” – it’s all about the “pinky”!


At the last meeting I tried to “stretch” people to playing “I don’t want to set the world on fire”.

I dont want to set the world on fire – click here for music.

First sticking point: The original Inkspots version is actually too slow for any sane person to attempt to play.


It’s horribly slow. So I try to play this a little faster – in order to not fall asleep between notes.

Second sticking point (s)

There’s a Ebdim and a Dm7.

Ebdim is enough to give you nightmares unless you think about it from a different angle.


Here’s the trick: Play the C chord, at the start of the song,  with you little finger. Then at “on” you press down your first, middle and ring finger as if you are playing a G on the remaining three strings.

Ordinarily you’d be playing C with your ring finger, but to change from C to Ebdim – you need to play with your little finger.



Thinking of it this way – playing C with your little finger – make the Dm7 easy too. Simply keep the little finger on the C chord position and play Dm – this make Dm7




. . .  and the final two “odd chords”
C9 – which is just a C7 and a middle/ ring finger onto the C string on second fret – not impossible.


The last “odd” chord is the G7+5


This is just a G& with that lovely little finger pressing down on the third fret of the C string.

Please try this. Once you’ve master the timing between C, Ebdim and Dm7 you’ll actually enjoy it.





“Inkspots Intro”.

(possibly play twice)



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