A Hot Ukulele New Year

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Summer is in full swing in Australia as we head into 2019, with extreme heatwaves affecting much of the country. For us lucky ones down south near the coast it has not been quite so hot, but there’s a scorcher in the forecast.

What better way than to celebrate the New Year with a scorching rock song. Here’s The The Australian Ukulele Show with a blistering version of Thunderstruck by Aussie legends AC/DC accompanied by ukulele legend, Jake Shimabukuro at the Byron Blues Fest. Talk about generating some fireworks.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year from Bayside Ukes and if it’s cold where you are generate your own heat with some smoking hot ukulele songs.

Kat

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Happy Holidays from Bayside Ukes

 

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Bayside Ukes has finished its sessions for the year. We’ve had a great year with several performances, the most memorable being the Sandy Village Festival in October.

A big thank you to all our members for making 2018 such a wonderful, fun year. Your enthusiasm for the ukulele is what it is all about.

Thank you also to all those who have supported this blog. It’s great to have an audience of fellow Ukulele lovers.

Just for fun here are a couple of festive songs that are just made for the ukulele. The first is performed by the fabulous Memphis Ukulele Band. The chords can be found on the Doctor Uke website.  The second, being typically Aussie, is just plain silly. For a link to the ukulele chords click here.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday with lots of ukulele joy.

Kat

Baritone Ukuleles: The Uke with Punch

I recently purchased a baritone uke because I wanted one with a deeper sound than my faithful concert ukulele. It’s a great alternative to a tenor ukulele, especially if you have played the guitar. The chords are very similar because the baritone is tuned to DGBE, which is the same as the top 4 strings of a guitar. There is also the advantage of four strings, rather than six, which makes it easier to play for those with RSI or arthritis who may be having problems with left hand fretting on guitar.

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Some people are put off from playing this great instrument because it requires different chord shapes from GCEA tuned ukuleles to be in the same key (G chord is C chord shape while D chord is G chord shape). For guitar players this is less of a problem, but it still can be tricky if you a jumping between uke sizes and find yourself playing the wrong chord shape. This can do your head in at times. It does become easier with practice and this type of switching is good for the brain. In the beginning you need to work out the DGBE shapes where a song only gives the GCEA chords. Some songs are easier than others but with practice and a little forethought it will get better. Free Baritone chord charts can easily be found online.

I have played the guitar and I find that some songs just sound richer with the similar tuning of the baritone, particularly songs that I played or wrote on my guitar. Having a baritone in a group gives the overall sound more of a punch. On my instrument the D and G string are wound nickel over nylon, which are very resonant and add a lot of depth to a piece. The other two strings are nylon. I find that when I strum these metal strings with my nails it wears them down so I use a pick. This would not be such a problem for pickers who use the pads of their thumb and fingers or those with synthetic nails.

It is very satisfying to be able to play different sized ukuleles. For me it is the concert and baritone. Others may prefer the soprano and the tenor. If you want to try something different don’t be put off the baritone because the chords seem more difficult. You may have already played these shapes by another name in standard tuning.

Ukulele Mike gave a great explanation of the difference between baritone and GCEA tuned ukuleles with plenty of good advice in the following video.

Here is another baritone ukulele tutorial that packs in a lot of information for both beginners and more experienced players.

For those who want to develop their finger picking on the baritone this lesson takes you through simple to more complex picking patterns with clear instructions.

So give the baritone ukulele a try. Although it is similar to a small guitar, it’s still a ukulele and sounds great when played with other ukes of various sizes.

Kat.

Bayside Ukes: The Sandy Village Festival 2018

Well we did it, and what a fun time we had. It was a beautiful day, with a sea breeze from the nearby Port Phillip Bay. The beach road is directly behind the Stage, hence the rumbling noises in the background of our song videos.

We were really lucky with the fine weather and there was a large audience. They seemed to enjoy our performance for which we are very thankful.

Here are a couple of our videos.

More videos of this day can be viewed on the Bayside Ukes YouTube channel. Just click here.

Happy strumming,

Kat

Rock Anthems on Ukulele

There is nothing like a great rock anthem to make you feel energised. You know. The kind of songs that speak to a generation and stay in your head forever. There are many wonderful ukulele versions of rock anthems to be found on You Tube. Here are just a few.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain recently performed AC-DC‘s Highway to Hell that was released in 1979 with the great Bon Scott on vocals. A terrific version with Dave Suich channeling Angus.

Their recent version of David Bowie‘s Heroes is also outstanding (click here).

Another ukulele orchestra, The Unique Komedy Ukulele Orchestra has done a ukulele version of Australian singer John Farnham‘s 1986 hit song, You’re The Voice, which has become a famous rock anthem in our country. It is wonderful to hear a ukulele interpretation that does it justice.

In the 1990s the US band Nirvana wrote some powerful songs that became rock anthems to a generation. That Scottish one man band, Pockets, performs Nirvana’s Lithium on ukulele with the help of a bass guitar and some drums.

Pockets also does a ukulele version of Green Day‘s 1994 Basket Case (click here)

Finally from the Ukulele Turin Orchestra is Muse‘s 2009 driving rock anthem, Uprising.

Playing the ukulele needn’t be sedate. If you love rock and roll there is plenty of inspiration to be found in favourite rock anthems.

Happy strumming,

Kat, Bayside Ukes member.