Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jake Shimabukuro Tab Book

Since Jake Shimabukuro burst onto the scene with the Gently Weeps Youtube video, people have been looking for tabs of Jake's compositions in hopes of learning how to play them.  While Dominator had some tabs he transcribed, these were taken down at the request of Jake's representatives a while ago.  This year, Jake has finally released the long awaited (by ukulele fans anyway) tab book with tabs for all the songs from his Peace, Love, Ukulele album plus tabs for Gently Weeps and Hula Girl.

When this tab book was announced, I have not been paying much attention to ukulele related happenings online, so I had no idea when it was actually announced.  By the time I found out such a book was being released, it was less than a month before the release date.  Being a big Jake Shimabukuro fan, I promptly ordered it on  I've already learned many of the songs from this album, but they are all from watching various youtube videos and trying to learn from watching and listening.  So this tab book would not only help me learn some new songs to play, it would also correct what I have learned before.

The book was delivered to me on 2/17, about 10 days after its official release date.  The songs I was most interested in checking out initially were Bohemian Rhapsody and Bring Your Adz.  I learned these songs by watching Youtube videos and was eager to see how close I came.  I knew I was quite a bit off on Bring Your Adz as I played the first section differently than how it sounded on the CD, so I can now practice how to play it correctly.  As for Bohemian Rhapsody, I think I got most of it right, with some minor adjustments needed.  I haven't really dug into the songs I don't know how to play yet, but I will tackle them as time allows.

The tabs featured in this book are pretty much exactly as how Jake plays them, and they are definitely not dumbed down at all.  This means the difficulty of the tabs is pretty advanced.  As I worked through a couple of the tabs of songs I've already learned, I found a couple of instances where the fingering presented is quite a bit harder to do than the way I learned them, despite the exact same notes being played.  I think in these instances, it's OK to go with the easier fingering.  I think while the book is advanced, it is not impossible.  With enough practice and also if you listen to the CD enough so you know how the songs should sound like, I think most of the songs are possible to learn for most people with some work.

Overall, I think it is great to have this tab book out there.  It may be too hard at first for many of the ukulele players out there, but it is something to aspire to, and I'm pretty sure people would buy it just to see what Jake's music actually look like.  Hopefully Jake will issue more tab books in the future.

Here are some pictures showing a few pages from the book:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Unknown...

I've been working on learning Kalei Gamiao's The Unknown in the past week after seeing the first of Dominator's tutorial on the song.  I had heard this song before, but didn't pay much attention to it.  Having checked it out again after seeing the tutorial, I thought it was a cool song and decided to try to learn it.  Dominator has posted tutorials on the first two sections so far and they helped a lot getting me off the ground on it.  I was eager to learn the song so I went ahead and tried to learn the rest of it by watching a couple of videos of Kalei playing it, and it came together for me (well, to my ghetto standards anyway) a lot faster than I anticipated.  The key to learning this song is what this particular tutorial called a "Kalei Gamiao Strum".  Using this strum, or fast picking technique, you can get it to sound close to how Kalei plays it.  So in my excitement on learning how to play this song, I wanted to upload a video of it, hence the video that appear on this post.

I guess taking a video of yourself playing the ukulele is a good way to see what needs improvement.  I noticed that I'm a lot worse at the "Kalei Gamiao Strum" than I thought when watching the video, and I could do a better job with the pace of my strumming.  So I hope I can get a better take on playing this sometime later.  But here it is, the patented ghetto attempt on The Unknown by yours truly:

Which uke should I bring on my next trip to Oahu???

What's the maximum you'd spend on a ukulele case for your best uke?

If you could steal one of my ukes, which one would it be???

How curly do you like your koa? (preferably on a uke)

What's the maximum number of ukes a perfectly sane person should have???

Poll: How often do you play the ukulele???

Poll: Which guitar company's approach to ukes do you prefer???

Poll: What's your favorite type of headstock???

Poll: The new basic Collings concert uke (UC-1) sells for about $1k, your reaction is: