Monthly Archives: September 2013

Don’t forget to practice up a song for the open mic October 10

cowboys and werewolvesHey! It’s time for the “Cowboys, Werewolves, Aliens + Other Supernatural Things”  event, Thurs, Oct. 10, 2013 from 7-9pm.

Our final list of Cowboy/Werewolf/Alien/Etc. Play-along songs includes:
–Ghost Riders in the Sky (Cowboy x Supernatural = bonus points!)
–Your Cheatin’ Heart
–Stand by your Man
–Four Strong Winds
–Fire on the Mountain
–The Joker (Space cowboy!)
–Werewolves of London
–Little Red Riding Hood
–Witchy Woman
–Sympathy for the Devil
*To prevent redundancy, don’t pick the above songs as an open mic tune! (Or let us know if you want to lead one of the songs above, so we can invite you to the mic.)

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You can download the uke chords for these (simplified for play-along-ability) songs in a PDF: CowboysWerewolves

For more info on this event, read the full post here, or find the event on Facebook!


Transposing for dummies — and zombies!

how-to-chartDo you ever run across a song you’d like to play on the ukulele, but it’s in a hard key for singing, or the chords are too hard?

It’s easy to transpose to a different key. A lot of people can do it in their heads (depending on how many heads they have, of course), but I’m not that smart. I get tired of thinking through all those whole steps and half steps, so I made myself this handy transposition chart. (Of course there are online tools and there’s probably even an app for this —  I just felt like making it old school, okay?)

Transposing Chart Printable PDF

Using the chart is simple:

1. In the top line, select the “too hard to sing or play” chord that the songs starts on (or any chord in the song, actually).

2. Trace straight down that column until you find a chord that’s easier for you to sing or play. (It helps to place a piece of paper below the selected row to mark it.)

3. Then, go along the top line again, and find each chord in the song. Trace straight down the column to your selected row, and replace each chord in the top row with the corresponding chord from the selected row.

You’ll soon see patterns, so you won’t have to look them all up. For example, once you know a G changes to a D, it’s going to be that way through the whole song.)

If the chord is a minor or 7th, etc., you still make it minor, 7th, etc — just with the new note name.

In the sample above, I changed a song that starts on Am to start on Em. (The gold stars are just an exciting visual aid!) transposing chartJust experiment until you find a key that fits your voice and playing ability.

(FYI: the green shading indicates the increments in the major scale…. err… I think…)

October 10 Ukulele Open mic – Cowboys, Werewolves, Aliens and Other Supernatural Things

Oct_10_Ukulele_Open_MicDoesn’t October make you think of Cowboys? And Werewolves? And Aliens? And other supernatural stuff? Thought so.

That’s why we picked the theme of COWBOYS + WEREWOLVES + ALIENS + other supernatural stuff for our October ukulele open mic and play-along at Wild Joe’s! The evening will be partly open mic and partly play-along, with chord sheets provided by your ukulele instigating friends at the B.U.C.

Mark your date-book and think up a song to perform! (Dibs an open mic slot by commenting on this post or signing up at the door)

Even if you do not desire the fame, glory and limelight of the open mic setting, bring your ukulele! All are welcome to strum along on fun songs ranging from tried and true country western oldies by Hank Williams to pop tunes by Warren Zevon, Steve Miller Band and other respected supernatural subject matter specialists.

The open mic sign-up will be posted at the door at Wild Joe’s beginning at 6:30 pm, or drop us a note via the Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret Facebook page.

For keep up with developments, join the Cowboys + Werewolves… EVENT via Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret’s Facebook page.

(Agghh! We can’t stop saying Facebook page!)

Wild Joes is located at 18 West Main in Bozeman.  (DUH!)

PS: Yes, we are going to do Werewolves of London as a play-along song.

Yes Uke Can Crash Course

Yes Uke Can Lesson 1We offer the free Yes You Can ukulele crash course a few times a year, or you can try the course yourself by downloading the PDF:


In this all ages class, we look at our ukuleles and identify the head, neck, body, sound hole, tuning pegs, frets, bridge, and nut

We talk about what you need to do to play a song.

  • Hold your ukulele
  • Press down between certain frets
  • Strum a rhythm
  • Change chords at the right time

First we try strumming with no chord, covering the strings with our left hand.

  • Strumming down and strumming up

We learn the names of the strings, GCEA “Goats Can Eat Anything”
We learn to press the first string on the third fret to play a C chord.
We play “Frere Jacques” with C

We learn to play “My Dog Has Fleas” using Am7, C7, and C

That’s the end of the kids’ course. Older youth and adults can continue on to learn the F chord and practice 2 chord songs using F and C7.

In the longer (2 hour) version of the course, we go on to learn the G7 and G chords, and play some 3-chord songs.

I designed this course to introduce several basic concepts:

  • Learn to place your fingers on the strings to create easy chords
  • Learn to get ready to change chords
  • Learn to stop the strings to strum chk-chk
  • Try three strumming rhythms:
    • Bump Bump Bump Bump
    • Ditty Ditty Ditty Ditty
    • Bump Ditty Bump Ditty

After you have gone through this stage, the booklet introduces other chords and familiar songs.