Swallowtail… bluegrass ukulele tab

Download the tab for Swallowtail

I have to admit. Al started it. He had the nerve to transcribe and demonstrate the “Larry O’Gaff” section of my favorite John King/James Hill performance; Larry O’Gaff and Swallowtail medley.

I wasted no time “woodshedding” over Woodshed’s (Al’s youtube moniker) transcription. I even tried to work out James Hill’s accompaniment. With this version I thought James was using a split stroke, but you will see in the final performance (James’ part by Jim) I realized it was a triplet-type strum, later verified by James himself.

Here is that result, with the split stroke accompaniment.

Now, let’s add Swallowtail.

Like Al must have done, I poured over the performance video with the ears of a blind man, listening to and absorbing every note. To accurately see what John was doing I had to download the video, import into iMovie, strip the audio and realign it to the video. Youtube just doesn’t play things perfectly in sync.

Experience from being in my first cover band, age 16, the one where the band leader vehemently wanted everything to sound like “the radio” really helped me in putting what I hear and see onto to the fretboard.

So.. I worked up John King’s Swallowtail.

Fate brings me Jim. A gifted learner (now badass) that lets me beat him into submission and joins me on my task. We worked up the entire Larry O’Gaff and Swallowtail medley and practiced it every day for months (we work at the same place so it was logistically feasible). One day we finally took a video in his big yellow kitchen, before too many beers (that’s another secret).. and here is that result. BTW, Swallowtail begins at 1:10.

Since then I have received many requests for the tab to Swallowtail.


Well.. what is a badass to do?

Without further ado…

Download the tab for Swallowtail

Performance notes: It is a tricky piece, especially to play at speed. If you need help with fingering, let me know. I’ve already received feedback that it may be confusing (from Jim.. harhar) so don’t be shy.

I posted a slowed down how-to for Swallowtail.

9 responses to “Swallowtail… bluegrass ukulele tab

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