Sakura Sakura: Japanese Traditional Video and Tab

Download the TAB to Sakura Sakura

Well, since I am a bit under the weather tonight and missing my monthly Austin Ukulele Society meeting, I thought I would at least try to be a little productive.

I arranged Sakura Sakura using influence from John King and Jake Shimabukuro’s versions. John’s version, found in his Classical Ukulele book is a single note melody and Jake’s version has more chords and some harmonics. Although I hope I am not ripping them off (I really don’t think so), I think I came up with a good combination of the two that is not difficult to play. It sounds good, too.

PERFORMANCE NOTES: Koto sounding notes and harmonics. These are the two SECRETS to this arrangement.

FIRST the KOTO sounds. Very often in the song I am using tiny bends of the strings to get that particular sound. I know you can hear it. They are not noted on the TAB.. because I didn’t know how. So, you will have to watch the video and listen closely. I try to place them strategically.

The TECHNIQUE.. Before you pluck the note with your right hand finger, bend the note SLIGHTLY up with your left hand fretting finger. Then IMMEDIATELY after you pluck the note, let it return to it’s original ‘unbent’ state. And there you have it. Instant KOTO. The technique combined with the right notes will transport you to their origin. Badass.

SECOND.. the HARMONICS. I may be mistaken but I believe they are called ARTIFICIAL harmonics, hence the “A.H.” over the notes in the tab.

The TECHNIQUE, if you don’t know how already.. Fret the note indicated in the TAB with the left hand finger. Then place your right index finger on the string DIRECTLY over the fret (not between the frets like we play regular notes) TWELVE FRETS UP, on the same string. An octave.

IMPORTANT: DON’T push the string down onto the fretboard.

With the right thumb pluck the string. It’s a little tricky but worth figuring out. If I haven’t explained it well enough just ask and I will try again. Or, I am sure there are countless explanations online.

There are also many versions of this song on youtube and Al Wood recently tabbed out a nice version over at ukulelehunt. Listen to as many as you can, even versions played on other instruments. You might get some really cool ideas to incorporate.

さようならありがとう (thank you and goodbye)

Download the TAB to Sakura Sakura

And here is the viddy..


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5 responses to “Sakura Sakura: Japanese Traditional Video and Tab

  • Dan

    Thank you for the secret. I check everyday to see if you have a new one.

    I will try this out tonight when I get home.

  • Haydnangst

    hi tim,

    a really fine arrangement have u done. I have a question to the A.H. -> Everyting u explained is as I know it myself. But If u try to make an A.H. for the 7th fret, u have to place the index finger of your right hand over the 19th fret. Even if i don`t the that on ur uke, i definitely have no on my ukes.
    Do I have to trail end error for the right position near the sound hole?

  • ukulelesecrets

    Haydnangst, you bring a good point. My bad for not covering that. Of course, I don’t have a 19th fret and most will not. But the harmonic still exists! You have to use trial and error to find it. Go beyond your frets and pluck until you find it. Technically, it will be where the 19th fret would be, if you had one.

    Once you find it, though… remember where it is =)

  • Christine.O'Sullivan

    Well I guess your name says it all. I just found you after playing uke for six years. I like your version of Sakura. King’s single notes opener are slightly more dramatic but harder to play. I do like the blend. I’ll give it a whirl. If they ask me where I got the tab. I’ll tell Em ukulelesecrets.

    Thank you, Chris

  • diane suzuki


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