‘Shortenin’ Bread”‘ – Ukulele Tab + Lyrics

“Shortenin’ Bread” has certainly wins a prize for longevity. After all, it has been around for over 150 years. This version of “Shortenin’ Bread” comes from my new book, Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus!

I can’t tell you why, but I find playing Shortenin’ Bread almost addictive. When I start to play it, I can barely force myself to stop. I must not be alone because this song has been popular since the early to mid 1800’s. The song was first collected and published in 1915, and was known as a ‘plantation song.’ All this talk about shortenin’ bread

Read the rest

Ukuleles Come From Where?

This is a guest post from Sarah Jacobs of Know Your Instrument.

The ukulele is long-hailed as the national instrument of the Hawai’ian islands. It’s played at luaus, family gatherings, and while simply relaxing on the beach. A lot of children in Hawai’i even learned how to play at a young age. For hundreds of years ukuleles have been deeply intertwined with Hawai’ian culture – but they didn’t originate there.

Ukuleles actually hail from Portugal – technically, they are evolved versions of the Portuguese machête. The uke was originally invented in Madeira – a small Atlantic island off the

Read the rest

Playing the B-Flat Chord on the Ukulele

By Ted Parrish, ukulele extraordinaire and co-author of Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus!

To be or not to be – Bb, that is.

Beginning ukulele students often have this common experience: You are rolling right along, strumming and singing, you got your C chord down, Am, F, even G. Then you have to play a Bb and you decide to take a break. Forever.

The Bb is the most dreaded beginning chord for the aspiring ukester. Let’s break it down and see why it is so difficult (because it is, you’re right), and the proper way to play this chord

Read the rest

Ukulele Advice: Do I Need a Strap? How Do I Hold This Thing?

By Ted Parrish, co-author of our newest release, Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus!

A lot of ukulele beginners struggle with holding the instrument. It is important to have the instrument supported so that you don’t have to worry about holding it up and can instead concentrate on playing. The good news is there are many options for supporting your uke.

P2080145Traditionally a strap is not used with the ukulele. The classic way to hold the uke is to keep the neck more or less parallel with the floor, then push the end of the uke into your right bicep. Then

Read the rest

Should I Use a Pick with the Ukulele?

(This is a guest post by Ted Parrish, co-author of ‘Ukulele for the Complete Ignoramus‘)

To pick or not to pick, that is the question.

Folks ask me all the time what pick do they need to play the ukulele. And while the easy answer is “none”, there really is no easy answer.

nopick2Historically speaking there is no call for a pick or plectrum. The Hawaiians who invented the ukulele (by modifying Portuguese instruments that came to the islands with sailors) did not use a pick. In Hawaii you generally strum with the first finger or the thumb,

Read the rest

New to Ukulele? Join a Ukulele Club!

By Ted Parrish

One of the many wonders of the modern world has been the proliferation of ukulele clubs in almost every metropolitan area of the country. A Google search and a few inquiries at your local music store will usually direct you towards a group of ukulele enthusiasts. Let’s talk about what these groups do and why you should seek them out.

girls with ukesMost ukulele clubs meet weekly, often at a café or restaurant. There is a big circle of ukulele players of varying levels strumming along to tunes. The tunes are often chosen by a leader, and are written

Read the rest