Keeping TABs on Your Phone

Literally. As in an application to keep Ukulele TABs on your telephone.

There are a lot of apps for the iPhone. There are plenty of Ukulele apps for the iPhone. Since I don’t own an iPhone (I gave up waiting for Verizon to get the iPhone and went with an Android phone), I can’t review any of the apps for you. But I can review some Android apps.

And one of the best–at least for Uke TABs–is, oddly enough, called Uke Tabs. It’s put out by (a site which you should be on for Uke TABs and lessons). The app allows you to do a number of things, including:

  • Browse tabs by artists
  • Browse monthly top tabs
  • Browse overall top tabs
  • Search tabs by artist or title
  • Generate a random tab
  • Save tabs for quick and offline viewing

And the best part about Uke Tabs is it’s free.

The only quibble I have with the app is that it doesn’t show full lyrics. Probably to get around copyright restrictions, it uses “XXX” in place of some lyrics. This is fine for songs you know, but not very helpful for songs you don’t know and are trying to learn.

Still, it’s a nice little app. It would be worth it even if it weren’t free.

You can grab the app from here, using the QR Code.


Shake it Up

If you didn’t think the Kala uBass was capable of rattling the windows, then you need to check out this video.

According to Zilero TV, the uBass is only turned up to “3.” You can hear everything rattling as he’s playing.

Very cool.

More uBass Videos

There’s been a distinct lack of uBass news lately, so I thought I’d post some cool videos featuring a uBass for your viewing and listening pleasure.

These are definitely worth checking out:

As always, Magnus Sjoquist is worth watching. Here’s a new video from him, part of his Jammin’ with a uBass series.

Our friend WS64 has a new video cover of Willie Nelson’s “Me and Paul.”

Sebastiano Mereu has a pretty nice cover of Maroon 5’s “Misery.”

Here’s a nice original by Astro Defenders and the Goose (pictured above) called “Sergeant Annie.”



Everything I Learned About the Ukulele I Learned on the Internet

And that’s part of the problem.

The Internet is a great place to learn things. But it’s also full or wrong information. There are plenty of “experts” on the Internet. Unfortunately, a lot of them are just plain wrong.

One of the most popular questions on the Uke forums and Blogs seems to be about transposing guitar chords to the Ukulele. Somebody will find a song in guitar TAB or a chord sheet and want to play it on the Ukulele.

Invariably, the question goes like this one from an actual blog: “I found a song I like and tried searching for the chords but they only come up as guitar chords. Here are the chords. I want them in ukulele form: A#, F, Cm, Dm, D#, E#. I want to know how to play it on the ukulele. Does anyone know how to convert the chords from guitar to ukulele?”

Sounds like a reasonable question. Right?

Well, no, actually, it’s not. Because there’s no need to transpose the guitar chords to “Ukulele form”. The chords are the same. An A# on the guitar is an A# on the Ukulele. The chord shapes most likely will be fingered differently on the guitar and the Ukulele, but an A# is an A#. An A# on the guitar doesn’t become a C on the Ukulele. The chords will sound different because the Ukulele is tuned higher than the guitar.

Obviously you can transpose the chords from guitar to Ukulele if you want to. Maybe the song doesn’t sound so great in the higher register of the Ukulele. But you don’t have to. There is no need to assume the chords on the Ukulele are different than the chords on a guitar. If a song you like has the guitar chords A#, F, Cm, Dm, D#, E#, just play those chords on the Ukulele (using the correct chord fingerings for the Uke of course). That’s all there is to it.

Now, if the questioner is asking how to form the chord shapes on a Ukulele, that’s a different problem. But that’s not what he’s asking. He wants to know how to translate a guitar A# into a Ukulele A#.

Even worse, someone answered the question. And got it half right. Here’s what the answer was: “The four strings of the Uke are the same as the top four on the guitar. You would play a A# the same as a guitar.”

That would be true if your are playing a Baritone Uke or using a Tenor Uke tuned D-G-B-E. But if you’re playing a Soprano, Concert or Tenor in standard C tuning (G-C-E-A), that would not be true at all. It would be even worse if you are using the older tuning of A-D-F#-B.

The questioner never mentioned what size Ukulele he’s playing, so this answer ranges from not very helpful to downright incorrect. He’s assuming all Ukulele players are tuning to D-G-B-E. Which all of them don’t.

The Internet can be a wonderful thing. But you can’t always trust what you read.

That’s One Bad Axe You Got There

Can you say “Jumping on the Bandwagon”?

Music Factory Direct, an online retailer of musical instruments, has a line of Ukuleles, called BadAax. Mostly sopranos, the BadAax Ukes come in solid Koa and Maple laminate versions. They do seem to have one Baritone though.

Their budget line of Sopranos comes in Green, Pink, Yellow, Black and Blue, and features Maple bodies, Mahogany fingerboards and metal geared tuners. These retail for $30. They also have a Mahogany Soprano and Baritone model for $50, featuring Mahogany top, back and sides and a Rosewood fingerboard.

Their top-of-the-line model is the new solid Koa Soprano, featuring a Rosewood fingerboard and bridge, a bone nut and saddle and metal tuners. These retail for $160.