Category Archives: Secrets

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..

——-

Top 50 Ukulele Sites


Ukulele Secret #7: Pretty Up Your CFG… plus bonus chords

Who says a ukulele badass can’t play pretty stuff.. at least once in a while?

Here are some different chord voicings, or inversions, plus some ideas to ‘pretty up’ the basic C F G chord progression, otherwise known as the I IV V (1 4 5) progression in the KEY of C. C is the I chord, F is the IV chord and G is the V chord.

First some chords, then ideas. BTW, videos are at the bottom of the page.

CHORDS: These chords have a really nice continuity as they all have the C string open. I’ll throw in an Am voicing (VI chord) because it is very close to the F chord. They are played like triads with the open C as the glue between them. Pay close attention to the fret markers.

The left hand fingering for ALL the chords:

1st string – pinky
2nd string – index
3rd string – open
4th string – middle

Playing them this way makes it easier to switch between them.

C chordF ChordGsus ChordAm Chord

Experiment and try them in various orders. Below I’ll mention a few songs I mess around with as well as an original I wrote using all these chords. But first…

BONUS CHORDS: Here we ascend from the original C voicing and head for celestial realms. The Dm7 is the ii chord, the Em6 is the iii chord and here is another F. Again, pay attention to the fret markers.

Dm7 ChordEm6 ChordF Inversion

Honestly, this pattern of triads can continue for as many frets you have.

IDEAS: We all know there are thousands of songs in the key of C. Here are a few to play with using these voicings.

Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits
Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Insert yours here…

Here is the video tutorial so you can hear what it sounds like.

And here is the original song I wrote a few years ago using these chord forms. The actual chords mentioned in this tutorial begin around the 48 second mark. Also note, if you follow this blog, I am using the Folksy Fingerstyle technique.


Ukulele Secret #6: The World’s Most Dangerous Triplet

I came across this a while back on an Italian blog and it has given me great entertainment once I figured out the secret. It is deceptively simple, and gives the appearance of being simple, but the ears hear a lot more than the eyes see.

This was coined the ‘index and pinky strum’. I hear a triplet in there so I am lumping it in with my triplet strums category. DISCLAIMER: I usually don’t like to put something out there that has already been done but I think my slant might help simplify it some.

Well, how do you do it?

As you see in the video, it really is a triplet. Index down, index up, pinky up. Repeat.

POINTERS: I only strum the top two strings with my index and the bottom two with my pinky. This can vary and by all means, don’t try too hard to do that. It will work itself out. Those are the basic mechanics of the strum.

THE SECRET: Don’t try to be accurate with the index down, index up, pinky up, etc, etc. Instead… be sloppy. The technique or concept I used to get better at this is pretending I spilled hot water on my hand and I’m wringing it furiously in pain and trying to get the water off.

This means the right hand is going up and down in an effortless and RELAXED manner. And fast.

Thanks to Bob Guz for showing me the chord progression I use to demonstrate. He played in the Shorty Long band and said this was the basis for tin pan alley sound. It’s fun, too.

D, B7, E7, A7 — or — 1, Dominant 6, Dominant 2, Dominant 5

Here ya go..