So much more than just a book
Here you will find the moving images and sound with the book: We’re here to get you uked. In this book we will teach you the basics of playing the ukulele in a weekend (if you take a little time) with simple funky techniques that make you sound like a pro right away. We do this on the basis of original songs from Shanin Blake, of which she has written a few especially for the beginner. The book is divided into a general section about the ukulele, the basis for playing; how do you hold uke fast and how do you vote. Then we have devoted a part to the left hand, which makes chords, how to read them, with which fingers to make them and how to read TAB. Then a part with the focus on the right hand, with which you will create interesting strums and rhythm. There are people who can imitate the strum by watching a movie and there are people who need some help with that. We have created a simple notation system for this: the strumbeads. Check out more of Shanin’s music on Spotify.
STRUMBEADS For the idea of our strumbeads we are inspired by this Ted Ed video by John Varney. To record strum patterns, we make a circle / chain and place symbols / beads on it to indicate which stroke or strum to make. The space between the beads is the time you take between them. Some take a moment and some strokes come in quick succession, that makes the rhythm. A circle is a measure. You start at 12 o’clock and you usually keep going, clockwise around for the entire number. On the left you see the strumbead for example Riptide. A dot is a down-strum and a circle is an up-strum. You see that two strokes come in succession, then a small break and then three strokes immediately after each other. The symbols / beads for all types of strokes are shown on the right.
This is a wonderful first song to learn because you only need one finger for each chord. They always push a ferret up. Honestly, you play this within half an hour. Even if you’ve never held an instrument before. You will find the chords and the lyrics in the book. Shanin plays the small, super fine Carvalho soprano traditional here.
Free as a bird. This is a very nice second song to learn because the chords are very easy to transfer. A kind of finger favorites. You can find chords and text in the book. Shanin plays here on a super beautiful and very flexible Martin tenor.
Am I in love
This is a wonderful song to practice singing and playing. Keep your game simple, as soon as you get the hang of it you try to sing along. You can find chords and text in the book. Shanin plays a small, handy Carvalho soprano traditional here
The ultimate song to practice the Island Strum with. The most common strum there is. It takes a while to make it your own, but then you can get away with any song. The way Shanin does it here is a bit of a delayed jazzy version. We all explain that in the book. Shanin also plays the Carvalho soprano traditional here.
Stop wait a minute
This is such a super Shanin song that teaches you some cool techniques. Simple barre chords and a very funky strum. With the strumbead in the book and the video you will get it right. Shanin plays here on her favorite, the Carvalho soprano traditional.
Vow to be
With this song you learn the plucking technique, you pull the strings and tap the sound box with your fingers. In the right order you get a nice reggae groove. Look in the book for the strumbead, the chords and the lyrics. Here too Shanin plays on a Carvalho soprano traditional.
With this number you can practise with finger picking. Strike the strings one by one. This song sounds a bit easier than it is. The book also contains the simplified way to play this song. Shanin plays here on the favorite of most people, a Carvalho concert traditional.
Give it up
This song has cool and funky strum pattern, similar to Stop wait a minute and here you het to learn to play on the higher frets. You will find the chords and lyrics in the book. Shanin plays here on a Carvalho soprano traditional.
She is the fire
What a nice song from Shanin. Here you learn to combine a number of techniques. This is the advanced stuff. You don’t have to be able to do this on your first weekend. In the book you will find the strumbead, opening vocal tone, chords and lyrics.
The grand finale. The game is not the easiest song to learn to play (therefore also the last). A new technique that you learn here is to strike the bass string (the C string) separately from the other strings. In the book you will find the strumbead, chords, text and tabs. Shanin plays here on a very beautiful Carvalho concert classic.
Learn to play a true classic: House of the rising sun. Here in a finger picking style version played by Liselotte, alternating with a strum. Small mistake but we left it in it, because it actually makes us very happy. And also to show that your music does not have to be perfect. The picking pattern is explained on page 131 of our book (which you can then use to play Leonardel Cohen’s Hallelujah or the Jeff Buckley performance). On pages 132 and 133 you have the chords and the sheet music. The strum that Lot plays is N NO NO. She plays on a nice beautiful Carvalho tenor classic