Ukulele

Perth Ukulele Groups

There's plenty ukulele action happening around Perth and Fremantle. Want to meet other players? Check out some of the groups below. More information at ukuleleperth.com.

Fremantle Ukulele Jam (FUJ)
2nd Tuesday of the Month, at Sullivan's Hall, White Gum Valley (Cnr Nannine Ave and Stevens St).
7:00 general workshop / jam / singalong, bring a song to teach the group; 9:00 solo / open mike, show us your stuff.
Contact: Stewart Greenhill.

Perth Live Ukulele cafe Klub (PLUck)
9AM - 11:30AM Saturday Mornings, outside the Blue Duck Cafe, 151 Marine Parade in Cottesloe.

Ukulele Rabble
3PM - 6:00PM Friday afternoons at North Fremantle Bowling Club, Stirling Highway.

Subiaco Ukulele Free For All (SUFFA)
8:30AM Saturday Mornings, at the Subiaco Farmers Markets, Subiaco Primary School.
Contact Mike at UkulelePerth.com

Northern Ukulele Group (NUKES)
5PM - 7:00PM Friday afternoons at at Hillarys Boat Harbour near San Churro.

The River Ukes
Southeast Metro ukulele jam. 9:30AM - 12:00PM, Kent St. Weir (gazebo opposite cafe), Corner Kent St and Queens Park Rd, Wilson. Contact: theriverukes at gmail.com.

Mandulele
1PM - 4:00PM Saturdays at Café Pronto, Cnr Mandurah Tce & Pinjarra Road, Mandurah (facing the old bridge)

Albany Ukulele Group
Meets on Monday evenings. Details here.

Ukulele Perth Facebook group
Perth ukulele news, announcements and chit-chat on Facebook.


Ukulele Songbook


Here is the songbook from my ukulele workshops, arranged roughly in order of increasing difficulty. The first songs should be suitable for the complete novice, with no prior experience on ukulele. The trick with playing chords is not just the chord formations, but the transitions between them. I start with two-chord songs, with simple and repetitive transitions and work from there.

I have tried to choose familiar songs, since we want the tune and lyrics to be on "autopilot" while we concentrate on the fingering.

To download the songbook, right click on the link and select "Save Link As". Otherwise, it will probably display in your browser, though you may be able to save a copy from there anyway.

As we progress I'll be adding more songs to the book, so check back next month for the latest version.

Enjoy!

Download Ukulele Songbook (July 2011)

Just the songs for the July 2011 workshop. Tablature for Waltzing Matilda is here.

Note: Copyright is held by the respective copyright owners. This material is intended solely for educational purposes. Please support the artists by buying their records.

Chordpro chord definitions for Ukulele

I prepare my ukulele arrangements in chordpro format, and create songbooks using Songsheet Generator. Recent versions of the software have a ukulele mode which allow four-string chords to be printed, rather than the usual six. To get this to work, check the "Ukulele mode" box under "Options -> Chords/Grids". I put together a database of ukulele chords for use with the program. To install, just download the "chordrc" file to the same folder as the Songsheet Generator program. Note: installation instructions have changed for the most recent version. To install, download the "chordrc" and then place it in the folder described here. This works with both the Windows and Mac (Java) versions.

Download chordrc file.

In my workshops I've been using Songsheet Generator's full-screen display mode. The formatting options can be tailored separately for print and screen display. This allows me to project the chords and lyrics from the same document that generates printed songs. Neat!

19 Comments

  1. Paul:

    Thanks Stewart,
    I didn't realise you were creating the songsheets, ie, thought you just downloaded from the many sources online. I assume you are able to play along to songs 'by ear' and hence get the required chords? I really appreciate the effort in your choice and the progression in difficulty.
    Paul

  2. Stewart:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your comments.

    There is a lot of good stuff out there, though I can really only use it if (a) I like the song, (b) I like the arrangement, and (c) its in the right key. I usually just arrange the song by ear, choosing a key that makes the chords simple (usually C or G). For beginners I try to avoid complex transitions, or chords that are hard to finger. This means using a maximum of 3 fingers, and no bar chords. Sometimes this means "bending" a chord a little to make it easier to play.

    Once I have the arrangement, its relatively easy to do the songsheet using the tools I described. Chordpro is a proper logical description of a song. Its a mark-up language (like HTML but much simpler) so the result is not just a visually formatted document (as you would get if you did it in a word processor) but something you can easily re-format. With Songsheet Generator, you can even transpose the entire song in one step. The chord diagrams are generated automatically for whatever key you choose. The layout you get is not always the most elegant, but the tools are fast and flexible.

  3. Liz:

    Hi Stewart,

    I was having problems getting Songsheet Generator to find the chordrc file on my Mac and Christian at tenbyten gave me this advice - it works now :-)

    On the Mac the file is named com.tenbyten.SG02.chordrc and it lives in your ~/Library/Preferences folder, where ~ is your home directory.

    Best wishes,

    Liz

  4. Stewart:

    Hi Liz,

    Thanks for that information - I haven't tried Songsheet Generator on a Mac recently, but its nice to know that it works.

    Cheers,
    Stewart

  5. Lanikai Ukulele:

    Thanks for the post. I'm curious about the chordpro tab format. Does the require to use tabs in this format cost money?

  6. Stewart:

    Hi,

    The ChordPro format dates back to about 1991 where it was used in the unix shareware program "chord", developed by Martin Leclerc and Mario Dorion. The format is used by many software packages for formatting and printing guitar lyrics. There are no restrictions on the use of the chordpro format, and there are free tools around for converting to PDF, postscript, HTML, etc. I use Songsheet Generator, which is not free but is reasonably priced. I like the fact that I can project the lyrics, as well as generate printed versions. You can also transpose keys very easily, which I find useful.

    I'm not sure about the legal aspects of tablature. I guess if you wanted to publish tabs you would need to make arrangements with whoever owns copyright on the original songs. Its probably considered "fair use" for small scale educational purposes. A while back the music industry forced many of the large guitar tab sites to close down claiming that the free tabs available online were affecting the sales of sheet music. While they are legally entitled to do this, I'm not sure that preventing fans from learning the songs really helps the songwriters. For a niche instrument like the ukulele, the chances of finding published arrangements of most songs is pretty small and your best bet is usually to hook up with other players via the web.

    Cheers,
    Stewart

  7. Christine:

    Great songbook! There are a lot of cool songs for me to tackle. But I have a minor suggestion that would help me A LOT! I am a self taught novice and while my chord repertoire and chord prgressions are improving all the time I still have a lot of trouble figuring out strum patterns. Perhaps you could include some suggestions for strum patterns with the songs...

  8. Pono Ukulele:

    Thanks for this songbook! Would it be alright if I were to post a link to it on my blog, giving you credit and linking back to your site? Let me know. http://ukuleleguy.com is the blog.

  9. Stewart:

    Hi Christine,

    Sorry for the lengthy delay. My blog is badly neglected and I'm still sorting comments from spam.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the songbook.

    Strum patterns are important, but it depends a lot on how you want to interpret the song. You can get a guide for the rhythm of the song by listening to the original, or a cover version. I find Youtube is great for this. It also gives you the tune, which of course is not conveyed at all in song sheets.

    I have not really found a good way to notate strum patterns. Its not really supported in the songsheet software I use, and I find score notation packages too time consuming. I suggest you get familiar with some basic patterns - after a while you'll probably get the feel for which pattern you can use for a particular song. There are lots of good resources on the web. Some of my picks:

    http://ukulelehunt.com/2008/10/22/ukulele-strumming/
    http://www.ezfolk.com/uke/Tutorials/Strumming/strumming.html

    BTW, I've added some more songs this week...

  10. Linda Ambert:

    Thank you so much. I always wanted a uk and finally bought one this weekend. Don't know how to play one and don't want to learn to read music. Your songsheets are a god send. I appreciate your sharing this with the uk community.

    Sincerely,

  11. Stewart:

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you found the songbook useful. I've updated it today; I usually add some new songs each month. Best wishes for your musical journey.

  12. Mark Rawsthorne:

    I had trouble getting the ukulele chords to work with the latest version of Songsheet Generator.

    Christian at TenByTen suggested:

    The location of chordrc has changed in the newest version of Songsheet Generator. Please take a look in the application support folder -- you can get to this by typing %APPDATA% in an Explorer window address bar. Then, find the "Ten by Ten" folder at that location, and the chordrc file will be in there.

    It worked for me

  13. Christian E:

    I really appreciate the positive feedback I have received from the many people who are using Songsheet Generator for ukulele. I never considered this instrument when I originally wrote the program!

    As Mark explains, with version 2.9 for Windows, the location of the chordrc file has changed to %APPDATA%/Ten by Ten/chordrc. On the Mac, the file is still named com.tenbyten.SG02.chordc, and is found in the Library/Preferences in your home folder.

    I hope that in a future version I can provide better built-in support for ukulele. Until that time, please bear with me and copy in the chordrc file manually. If you need assistance, don't hesitate to contact me via the email that can be found on the Ten by Ten Software Songsheet Generator site: http://tenbyten.com/software/songsgen/

    Thank you
    Christian

  14. Kein Zufall: verrückte Welt! «:

    [...] http://stewartgreenhill.com/blog/ukulele/ [...]

  15. Songsheet Generator v1.5.2 for Mac and Java released – fixes problem with chord definitions « Ukes4Fun:

    [...] you can use version 1.5 for Mac and Java with the chord definitions supplied by Stewart Greenhill: http://stewartgreenhill.com/blog/ukulele/ Info on Stewart’s [...]

  16. Micheal:

    Micheal...

    a different tune » Ukulele...

  17. mathewwad:

    Those are best ukulele for you.The reason I fell in love with ukulele is because I could take it anywhere.If you find more you can go at http://www.ukuleletutorial.net

  18. simon george:

    I appreciate the lessons. Ive been playing guitar for a long time and im just now trying to pick up the ukulele. Im hoping the guitar dexterity will help me. Great post keep up the hard work. Check these out IStillGotMyGuitar.

  19. Mark P.:

    Thanks for the uke work -- this rocks!

Leave a comment