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Ukelele folk tunes

GUEST,FloraG 10 Mar 19 - 03:23 AM
Johnny J 10 Mar 19 - 04:48 AM
Susan of DT 10 Mar 19 - 05:13 AM
Stanron 10 Mar 19 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,FloraG 10 Mar 19 - 06:06 AM
Johnny J 10 Mar 19 - 07:03 AM
Ernest 10 Mar 19 - 07:04 AM
Marje 10 Mar 19 - 12:07 PM
Helen 10 Mar 19 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,FloraG 11 Mar 19 - 03:00 AM
Susan of DT 11 Mar 19 - 03:45 AM
Helen 11 Mar 19 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,Grishka 11 Mar 19 - 05:20 AM
Marje 11 Mar 19 - 10:53 AM
Helen 11 Mar 19 - 01:45 PM
Jack Campin 11 Mar 19 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,FloraG 12 Mar 19 - 02:52 AM
Johnny J 12 Mar 19 - 04:07 AM
Helen 13 Mar 19 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,FloraG 16 Mar 19 - 09:39 AM
Marje 16 Mar 19 - 12:25 PM
Big Al Whittle 16 Mar 19 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Tootler 18 Mar 19 - 02:30 PM
Big Al Whittle 18 Mar 19 - 02:49 PM
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Subject: Ukelele folk tunes
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 03:23 AM

I know someone who has bought a quite loud Uke and would like to join in a few sessions and even lead a tune or 2. Its his first instrument.
He does not read music but has learnt some chords and strum patterns.
Can anyone suggest some starter pieces that work easily on the uke in the key that everyone else plays in.
I've written out blackthorn stick in tab for him and recently found Dark island works.
Any others?


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 04:48 AM

With soprano and concert Ukes, there are limitations as regards keys and you need to go "up the neck" for many of the tunes to play them properly.

One suggestion if mainly playing melodies is to tune the G string an octave lower and this will give much more scope. It still sounds effective while strumming too. You will need to make sure that use the correct gauge, of course.

There are also lots of subtle techniques which can be adopted including the "campanella" but you require to retain a "high" G string for that.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Susan of DT
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 05:13 AM

I lead a ukulele group at our retirement community. Most of what we play is not folk because my group is not fond of folk and we try to play what the 90 year olds in medical know and can sing along on. That said, I do have a fair number of folk songs set up for ukulele, mostly in C with some in F or G. Flora, if you join mudcat, you can send me a PM (personal message) with your email and then I can email you some files with these songs.
















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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Stanron
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 05:13 AM

If you re-string and re-tune the uke to the same as the top four strings on a guitar you will be able to play an awful lot of folk tunes. The majority of folk tunes have a highest note of B. This is at the seventh fret of the first string. If you use normal tuning rather than re-entrant, the lowest note of D will allow most tunes to be played.

Of course, technically, the instrument will no longer be a ukulele.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 06:06 AM

I don't think I want to retune - I know the problems. He likes Irish - and I know they like to not change the key - thus asking for tunes that work.
Blackthorn stick goes up to fret 12, but mostly on fret 10, 9 and 7 with only one jump down to 2 and 3.
Its my impression that you can be more liberal with the keys of English and Scottish tunes. Thus the request for suggestions that work as tunes.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Johnny J
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 07:03 AM

I don't think "re tuning" is a good idea either. However, changing the "G" string to a lower octave is quite useful and it doesn't really change things to0 much otherwise but, as I say, it gives you more scope.

A baritone Uke is actually tuned the same as the top four strings of a guitar but, maybe, it's a bit early for a new purchase.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Ernest
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 07:04 AM

Try these:

https://ukuleletabs.org/title/i/the-irish-washerwoman/

http://www.kenmiddleton.co.uk/free-tabs/

or put "irish english scottish uke tabs" in a search engine....there are a few more....


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Marje
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 12:07 PM

I'm not sure what you mean about leading a tune on the uke. Without following the conventional staff notation that sits above it, reading proper uke tabs isn't easy. If your friend is a good and patient learner, he might eventually be able to play a recognisable melody,but even a loud uke playing single strings will easily be drowned out by other instruments if they're all playing the same tune. As a melody instrument, the uke is best when heard solo.

But you say he only plays chords and strums, in which case he just has to follow the melodies that others are playing. To do this, he only needs to be able to play a handful of chords to accompany many tunes. Actually, this could be a much more useful contribution, as the uke's strength in a mixed session is as a rhythm instrument, adding pulse and chords in the same way as a guitar often does. The best chords to start with are those used for tunes in G, D or A. The key of C is an easy one for the uke, but not that common in Irish sessions. If he is happy to strum the chords for now, there are hundreds of uke sites giving chord-diagrams (as opposed to uke-tabs written on the staff) for thousands of songs and tunes; but the best thing is to learn the main chords and then try to play along by ear.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Helen
Date: 10 Mar 19 - 01:27 PM

I bought a concert sized uke and changed the G to a low G string. I can pick out a lot of melodies on it fairly easily but if there are some high notes it does mean going up to the 12th fret sometimes.

I'm especially fond of a tune called The Limerick Rake. (Note: the lyrics are very #MeToo - I am aware of that, but I just love the tune. Thanks a lot, The Pogues
!! LOL)

Limerick Rake sheet music

There are only three chords and they are relatively easy.

My suggestion is for your uke friend to bite the bullet and just learn the music notation of the treble clef and it will probably be a lot easier to interpret that than trying to fathom those pesky tabs. Some uke sites have tunes with the music notation and the tabs.

I play along with most of the tunes in our session. The tunes in C Major/A minor, G Major/E minor, and D Major/B minor are ok - although I need to bite the bullet and learn how to use a bar chord for the B minor chord because it has a lovely sound but I try to fudge it and use my thumb.

Examples: Roddy McCorley in G Maj - G & C chords only
Boys of Blue Hill, Harvest Home in D Maj - D, G & A chords

I don't strum. Being a harp player I tend to pluck the chords or use a picking pattern. That's just me. The uke is easier to carry than the harp. That's why I bought it and the concert sized uke is ok as a chord instrument in a session. No annoying plinky-plunky sounds, expecially with the low G string.

I'm off to work soon, but I can post a few good uke sites later. My first port of call, however, would probably be the website called The Session for all sorts of folk and Irish tunes. A great resource.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 03:00 AM

Its not my uke so I can't really suggest changing the string. He is really pleased with his purchase. I don't think he will be up to singing and playing solo by the summer, which is why I was looking for some easy tunes. He would like to join in a few sessions at Broadstairs - has already booked his B and B. It is a very loud uke.

I admire those people who can hear chords. I would worry that he will be heard if he plays the wrong chords, which is why I was looking for a few easy tunes he can lead off on - in the key they are usually played in - so he can enjoy some success at a session.

Ernest - thanks for the tabs - but a lot seem in ' uke' keys rather than standard session keys.

I can write out uke tab from music notation, although I have found that sometimes - like blackthorn stick - you can do it all in 2 positions rather than scooting up and down the neck all the time - so it takes a bit of thinking about.

So still looking for a few easy suggestions.

Thanks - FloraG


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Susan of DT
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 03:45 AM

Clementine 2 chords
Down in the Valley 2 chords
Whole world in His Hands 2 chords
Michael Row your Boat Ashore 3 chords
Oh Susanna 3 chords
Coming 'Round the Mountain 3 chords
Swing Low Sweet Chariot 3 chords
Good night Ladies 3 chords
Hush Little Baby 2 chords
Skip to my Lou 2 chords
Yellow Rose of Texas 2 chords
Camptown Races 3 chords
Michael Row your Boat 3 chords
Molly Malone 3 chords
On Top of old Smoky 3 chords
and so on


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Helen
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 04:33 AM

Richard G's Ukulele Songbook

All sorts of songs. Basically it's lyrics and chords with no tabs but a good place to start.

House of the Rising Sun

Not a folk song but a nice chord progression.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 05:20 AM

If by "lead a tune" you mean play the melody, a single note at a time, the key is not so much of a problem. Generally, slow tunes with a small range are easiest, but still some technique is required. If no uke or guitar teacher is at hand: fiddlers will know what to do as well.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Marje
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 10:53 AM

Well, the key still matters if you want others to join in. If you just intend to play a solo melody, the key won't matter,but if you play something in B or G#, no one will join in.

I still don't think that even a loud uke will work well as a melody instrument at a mixed session. Each individual note is very brief, so you can't differentiate between a quaver and a minim except by the time gap in between. It won't be loud if other instruments that can sustain a note are also playing it. The loudness will only be effective with rhythmic strumming. Really and truly, a novice player needs to start with chords and learn how to fit them to a tune.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Helen
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 01:45 PM

I think maybe the ukulele could be underestimated.

Misirlou (cover) - Pulp Fiction Theme - Ukulele Death Squad

Not Afraid - Ukulele Death Squad

Scroll down to the video of this song: Into My Arms

or scroll down to this one:

All I Want is You

or check out some of the other videos on their website.

I went to the Newcastle (i.e. NSW, Oz) Ukulele Festival last year and saw a lot of brilliant performers and groups. The uke was used for lead ins and melody lines a lot.

If it's just an all in session with lots of other types of instruments then the uke would fight to be heard but if it is a specific agreement e.g. for the uke to play the lead in or the break in the melody or something, then it would work.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Mar 19 - 02:22 PM

Fretless electric bass ukes are wonderful.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 02:52 AM

I'm still just looking for a few tunes that work in the usual keys so others can join in and ideally in first position. I'm going to write out dark island in tab today but I've also thought of bear dance.

Thanks for all the other helpful comments.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Johnny J
Date: 12 Mar 19 - 04:07 AM

Jim Ward's "G"
Lisnagun Jig "G"
Jamie Allan "D"
Short Coated Mary "D"
Fairy Dance "D"

All easy possibilities but you'll need to "write them out" yourself.
:-)

You should be able to get the dots from The Session or somewhere similar.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Helen
Date: 13 Mar 19 - 02:54 PM

Traditional Irish Ukulele tabs


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 09:39 AM

Since writing this I've added shepherds hey to my list of tunes to write out in tab. Still looking for well known tunes that are not too childish but don't go below middle C and not above E ( one octave + 2) in the keys they are usually played in. The Limerick Rake doesn't but I've not heard anyone play it at a Braodstairs session.
Thanks all
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Marje
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 12:25 PM

I'm still struggling to see how this would be an easy way in for a beginner. To accompany Shepherd's Hey on a uke is a doddle, with the same pattern throughout (G C G D, G C D G, that's it). To play the melody, however, with those quaver runs, up to speed, isn't easy, and the sound at that pitch is quite plinky and delicate, even on a tenor. It means going very quickly up and down the fretboard, almost all on the top string. Are you sure this is going to be helpful to your friend?

But if this is really what you want, the waltz "The Man in the Moon" in G seems to tick the boxes (and isn't too fast!).

Marje


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Mar 19 - 12:44 PM

I've played guitar nearly all my life, but I'm finding the uke very challenging.

To be honest, I think playing tune sessions is quite tricky for many experienced players. You haven't got the words, like you have with a song to give you the cues when to change - and the words often give you the rhythm.

I think you have to be quite modest in your ambitions when you start playing an instrument.

Start with songs.Easy ones.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: GUEST,Tootler
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 02:30 PM

I'm a ukulele player and I use it to accompany my singing. I both strum and finger pick and have all sizes fom soprano to baritone and they all have their place.

I know a number of people who use it for a melody and there is an instrumental technique for melody playing called campanella which takes advantage of the re-entrant tuning. The principle of campanella technique relies on playing succesive notes on different strings so the strings carry on ringing after they are plucked. There are sites that have tab and notation for folk tunes played in campanella style. They aren't all in the usual folk keys of G, D or A. If you want to play in folk keys, then go for a concert or tenor. A soprano doesn't have enough frets to reach top B, though if you use the alternative ADF#B tuning you can manage the D ==> B' range on a 12 fret soprano that covers most folk tunes.

If you want a ukulele that will not get lost in a session, consider a banjo ukulele.


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Subject: RE: Ukelele folk tunes
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Mar 19 - 02:49 PM

well if you want to strum along to sessions, i think maybe the best idea would be a five string banjo, with the 5th string removed.

most the tunes are in G or D. You could tune it like a baritone uke, DGBE.


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