Just another weblog


Posted by Ian on January 22, 2012

It seems like this has become a bit of a trend — making a post every once in a while, trying to convince myself that I will begin posting again…

The way I figure, if I actually want to get back in the swing of things, I might as well actually post something and see if it gets me to post again. So, without any further adieu:

In the many years since I have made any sort of useful blog post, I have fully fleshed out a song I started writing a while ago. Anyways, here’s a video of it being performed by my (late) band, Clean Slate:

And, for your enjoyment, here’s a tab for the opening bit:

(it’s a PDF)

And then the lyrics, should you want to know anything besides the opening bit.

Verse 1
Thoughts never thought,
And dreams, never dreamnt.
Words never spoken,
The things we forget.
A smile never smiled,
A frown, turned around.
The things you’ve lost forever,
The things you’ll never know.
You get up,
You go out,
You live your life.
Not knowing,
What could be,
Or what was right…
Of all the things you’ve ever done,
How many went through.
Of all the words you’ve ever said,
Which ones came from you?
Verse 2
And, as we go on,
What stays the same?
A couple of friends,
well, who’s to blame?
The times they keep on changing,
Changing all you’ve known.
What was true, gone forever,
You’re all alone.
Chorus 2
Of all the things you’ve ever done,
How many went through.
Of all the words you’ve ever said,
Which ones came from you?
Verse 3
So now you think,
What can you do.
‘Got nothing left,
Not even a clue.
You know you,
Must do something.
Escape this low.
You’ve got to,
Rise above this.
Let spirit show.
Chorus 3
So why don’t you just get up,
Go on and live your life.
No more of this turning back,
Go on and make it right.

Now, from the video, you should be able to figure out the verses (they are the last couple of lines of the tab, repeated over and over).

The chorus is simply C, F, G, C. Watch the video for the chord changes.


No guarantee as to whether or not I’ll be posting regularly again, but I will try to give you all something to mess around with every once in a while.


Posted in Tabs, Ukulele | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Back! (again)

Posted by Ian on March 1, 2010

Yes, it has been nearly two years since I last updated this blog, but what amazes me is that I am STILL getting 100+ views per week as well as comments on my posts!

Since there is such continued interest in my blog, I figure I might as well work to expand upon it a bit, so I will start trying to put up new posts every once in a while.

If all goes as I hope, there will be new ukulele-specific theory, tabs, chords, reviews, and tips. I’ve picked up a lot in the last couple of years, and I’d like to share it with you all!

Until then, peace, love, and ukuleles!

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Posted by Ian on April 8, 2008

So… I just checked my site’s stats today… and found out that, though I had only posted once in a week (stupid ants….), I had a steady amount of people checking my site… around 20 individuals per day.

I thank all of the 20+ of you who visit my site regularly… it means a lot to me to know that I have a steady group of people who enjoy and appreciate my work, and that motivates me to try to take my sight a bar or so higher….

However, regretfully, for the next three weeks, I will probably be posting less often than usual, as I am having to devote two hours of my time each day to a driver’s education course… fun fun fun.

So I will try to get posts out, but they will probably be fewer, far between, and of lesser quality than usual.

So, in the meantime, I suggest that, if you haven’t been visiting my blog from the beginning, you go take a look at my ‘tabs’ section. There is a ton of materiel there that you may find interesting.


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Ukulele Power Chords

Posted by Ian on April 5, 2008

Power Chords on the Ukulele

Something that most every rock guitarist has an understanding of is Power Chords. Power chords are merely a root note with a

second note that is a 5th above it…. they are not really chords in the traditional sense (a chord is a combination of three or

more notes).

Power chords can have various uses on the uke… whether it be playing a song that has them in it or substituting a major chord

for one to achieve a different sound.

There are many ways to finger a power chord on the uke, and I shall explain a couple.

For starters, here are two basic ways of fingering a simple two note power chord….


A common variation on power chords is the adding of a note an octave above the root….


Another common variation comes from inverting the notes in the power chord….


And there are other variations and ways of fingering the chords that you will be able to figure out with a little bit of experimentation… so have fun!

Posted in Lessons | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

I’m Back (Pentatonic Scales)

Posted by Ian on March 31, 2008

Well… it turns out a colony of ants decided that it was to their benefit to eat our phone line and make a nest in its space… stupid things.

However, the problem has been taken care of, and I am back in action.

Sadly, I don’t have anything ready for posting today and I have a long day ahead tomorrow so I’m going to get to bed early, so I can’t throw anything together, really.

So, in the meantime…well… what the heck is a couple minutes less sleep.

Intro to Pentatonic Scales (thrown together in about 4 minutes..)

Pentatonic scales are scales in music that contain only 5 notes, as opposed to the typical 8 used in most music. These scales can be found in many ethnic types of music, such as Indonesian Gamelan music. Some of them are, however, commonly used in various western styles of music, including classical, jazz, blues, and a lot of rock.

To find the most basic type of pentatonic scale, all you have to do is right out a normal scale…


and remove the fourth and 7th tones from it…


Pentatonic scales may sound somewhat odd to your ears when you play them… rather incomplete… but there are various uses for them.

Firstly, when you stick to a key and only use one pentatonic scale, accompanying chords are very easy to write in, as the choices are limited. Secondly, it is very easy to improvise over a chord progression if you understand pentatonic scales. You can play any of the notes of a chord’s root’s pentatonic scale over the chord, and it will sound fine (almost always… chords with extensions can make things sound a tad strange).

And that is all that I have time for… I will most likely expand on Pentatonic Scales further within the next few days, but I plan on getting more tabs out, as I haven’t had many of those lately.

Posted in Lessons | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Phone line

Posted by Ian on March 28, 2008

I’m not on my own computer right now… and don’t have much time…

My family’s phone line is pretty much down… and the DSL is down alongside that… so I have no clue how long it will be until I can get back to blogging here regularly… hopefully rather soon….

Sorry about this, guys… and keep tuned, as I will get things rolling again ASAP.

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Alternate Tunings

Posted by Ian on March 25, 2008

There are many alternate tunings for the ukulele.

The most common tunings are the modern standard ‘GCEA’, and the more traditional ‘ADF#B’, which is merely a step higher than the more modern tuning, meaning all notes and chords on it are merely a whole step above what they are in an ADF#B tuning (G chord becomes A chord, F# becomes G#, etc.)

Alternate tunings have multiple purposes: they can make chords less complicated to play, which can make playing with a slide significantly easier, they can make one note easier to play, which on the ukulele usually means retuning the re-entrant string to another note, and they can serve other purposes as well.

Firstly, we shall retune your ukulele to an alternate ‘open tuning’ which will produce a major chord (C, in this case) when all open strings are strummed.

Drop your A string down to a G, the same note as your re-entrant.


Now strum the strings. You are playing a C chord. Put one of your fingers across all strings at the first fret and strum. You have just played a C# chord. If you place your finger across the 2nd fret, you will get a D chord, 3rd, Eb, 4th E, etc. etc.

This tuning, however, alters the way other non major triads are played, causing you to re-learn your chord shapes if you wish to use this tuning for much.

Now we will tune your ukulele to ADF#B if you have never done so before. Don’t worry, your strings won’t break as long as they are in good condition (and if they are in bad condition, they still shouldn’t break). Do this by tuning each string up one whole step (two frets) from what it is tuned to in GCEA tuning. The easiest way to do this from GCEA tuning is tuning the re-entrant G up to the A using your A string as a reference, and then tuning all of your other strings off of the Re-entrant A that you have just tuned.

This tuning is said to often produce a brighter sound in some ukuleles, especially smaller ones, such as sopranos and some concerts, as it supposedly is more fit to a ukulele’s body’s optimal tonal range of amplification.

I personally find that an ADF#B tuning may be somewhat brighter sounding, but that it is not a significant difference, and therefore I generally stick to the tuning that I am most familiar with, GCEA.

Have some fun strumming around in this tuning: you can use the same chord shapes as you do in GCEA, and they will just be transposed up a step.

Posted in Lessons | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

Theory 101 – Minor Scales

Posted by Ian on March 24, 2008

To explain minor scales, I will begin by giving you some more musical terminology that will help out a lot later on.

In any particular scale, there are 7 notes. These notes all have specific names.

1st note: Tonic
2nd: Supertonic
3rd: Mediant
4th: Subdominant
5th: Dominant
6th: Submediant
7th: Leading tone

Now, back to key signatures:

As you have learned, all major scales have a corresponding key signature. All minor scales also have a

corresponding key signature, which they share with a corresponding major key.

An example of this is F major and D minor, which correspond or are ‘related’.

In F major, the notes are…


To find its relative minor, take the submediant note (6th in the scale), and write out the notes that fall in the key of F major for an octave.


You have just constructed the relative minor of F major, D minor.

Now, the next step is to construct a Harmonic Minor of a Major key. To do this, you simply raise the leading tone (7th note in the relative, or natural, minor) by a half step, so you get…


And lastly, we come to the construction of a melodic minor, which can be a tad confusing…

Take the natural minor…


And raise both the 6th and 7th notes (submediant and leading).


Seems pretty straight forward, correct? Well… look at this next part.

When you are playing a melodic minor scale going up (ascending) you play it with the notes we just created.

However, when you descend in the scale, it becomes this.


When descending a Melodic minor scale, you use the notes that correspond with a natural minor.

Transposing parts written for major scales to minor scales is a great way to practice with minor scales, and can be rather interesting, too… songs played in minor keys have a completely different, often sadder or darker, colour.

Posted in Lessons | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Posted by Ian on March 22, 2008

I don’t have the lesson on minor chord ready yet, so, in the meantime, you can have fun amusing yourself with Chordie, which I consider to be the best source of song chords on the internet, for the ukulele or otherwise. It has a searchable database, a useful rating system, and countless songs. Best of all, to make things easier on you when you come across a chord you don’t know, it has a unique system that gives accurate chord charts for various instruments, including C and D tuned ukuleles.

It also has a songbook section (which I myself only recently discovered), which gives some attention to ukuleles, specifically. There are over 60 songbooks that people have put together for the ukulele, though I haven’t had time to look at but a few of them.

Ukulele Songbooks
My favorite uke book that I’ve come across so far

Enjoy…. and stay tuned for the minor keys lesson.

Posted in Reviews | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Music, Ukulele, and French…

Posted by Ian on March 21, 2008

So, as I mentioned a while back, I wrote a song for a project in French….

I have now posted it here:


…it’s the song that is titled ‘Une Ballade Pour Marie Antoinette’.

And, in case you for some strange reason want the chords for it, here they are:

Read the rest of this entry »

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