PLUC Weekend Workout

UkeAbility -

UkeAbility – Select the chords you know & be shown tunes with just those in.

UkeAbility has a nice twist on the standard playalong site!

You’re presented with a page of chord diagrams. Click to select the chords you know & you’ll be given a list of the tunes they have containing just those ones.

It’s interesting to look through & note which chords you can play without any thought – & likely to be far more that you expected! Scan through a second time: you’ll spot chords you do actually know, either through using them in context in a song you perform regularly or just ones you use occasionally & might need a little memory jog to recall.

Also, most of the moveable chords aren’t on there so, once you’re able to use those, that increases your repertoire up the fretboard giving you new voicings for familiar chords. Thus, if you know three ways to play C that gives you an even larger number of chords at your fingertips.

UkeAbility -

UkeAbility – If you select 3 chords, they have 72 songs you can play


Posted by on September 12, 2020 in Playing Help – Sites & Resources


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Play Music On The Porch Day At Home – 29 Aug 2020

I’d never heard of this annual event until a few minutes ago, but for anyone with a porch who wants to make music on their doorstep, this seems a fun notion. Beginning as an idea in 2013 “What if for one day everything stopped…and we all just listened to the music?” Play Music On The Porch Day is always the last Sat of Aug and runs from 10am – 10pm.

Play Music On The Porch Day - Aug 29 2020

Well, everything has pretty much stopped for most of us this year – and many of us have been grateful that we play an instrument or have been reliant on listening to different music over the last few months.

Naturally, this year the event is all about staying home, avoiding being in big groups and sticking to local rules about singing.

If you fancy a little social-distanced home-strumming you could register to tell others you’re taking part. Or why not look at the worldwide map to see if anyone near you might be playing so you can saunter past in your mask & support them with a friendly wave?

Have fun & stay safe!

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Posted by on August 27, 2020 in PLUC News & Info


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Lewis Club RIP

PLUC10 Group Pic 01 - With Julie

PLUC Tenth Anniversary – Out In The Beer Garden With Julie (second from left)

Another sad casualty of the Coronavirus  pandemic,  PLUC’s home for over twelve years, is gone. We’ve recently been informed that the Lewis Club at Lewisham Hospital has been permanently closed. The Trust have yet to decide how to repurpose the space.

We’ll be sending a thank you card to the erstwhile landlady, Julie Kitson. Her generosity in letting community groups like PLUC and the Role Play Haven use her upstairs room each week meant we could rehearse easily over the years without having to pay out for a more expensive venue. 

For present and past members, if you’d like your name or a little message added, please get back to me by Mon 17 Aug 2020. Cheers.

When things return more to ‘normality’ we’ll scout round for another similar venue, such as a room above a bar or cafe. Take care everyone and stay safe.



Posted by on August 12, 2020 in PLUC News & Info


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PLUC Weekend Workout

Phil Doleman, familiar to many as a mainstay of nearly every uke festival, has been busy during lockdown recording a pile of new tutorial videos. 

In addition to his playlists of handy Two Minute Tips and growing selection of Ukulele Lessons, there are now a number of Intros, Vamps & Endings videos. There is a pile of free resources to accompany these on his website, along with his clearly-written books, CDs and Patreon pages, all especially useful while you can’t catch him performing or teaching in person. 

The mini workshop here shows you how to play all over the ukulele neck with just four shapes. Phil explains how to use this knowledge to be able to create a couple of hundred different chords! As always, he’s very practical and describes how to incorporate these into your regular playing, rather than just trying to learn everything he’s told you by rote – which isn’t the way to learn musically:


To supplement this, you might also like to view Phil’s YouTube of Learning The Fretboard Notes Quickly & Easily or how to combine the two to make your moveable chords using a fretboard diagram.


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PLUC Weekend Workout

If you’ve been playing your uke for too long in one sitting during lockdown or are just new to the instrument, you might find yourself with some unexpected aches & pains. Or, if you have short fingers like me, you may be keen to find ways of improving your reach for those long stretches!

Bree, from You And Bree Music Tutorials, has carefully produced a video of useful and gentle stretches and massage for your fingers, hands, wrists & forearm based on her experience of playing with injury and conditions such as tendonitis & carpel tunnel. It’s well worth you watching and using a selection as part of your warm-up before playing (Chapters: 0:00 – Intro / Disclaimer 1:28 – Stretches 8:55 – Massage):

Once you’ve viewed this, you might fancy checking out Rob MacKillop’s finger independence exercises. By regularly incorporating techniques from these two videos you should find your hands are more relaxed and fingers gain strength & dexterity, making it more comfortable to play.


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PLUC Weekend Workout

Kev has found an interesting rhythm practice YouTube from musicwithnopain. It’s about five minutes long, has ten levels of difficulty and will also help you understand the musical notation too.

They reckon you should play this every day for a week to improve your sense of rhythm:


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London Calling: Suspension Of Social Contact

16/03/20 – Coronavirus PM Statement requires us to suspend PLUC until further notice.  26/03/20 UPDATE – PLUC is now running remote meetings for existing members only. Please contact us for the latest situation.

There may be opportunities for some online group activities & I shall post a few of the current live-streaming events that are happening within the ukulele community wordwide while people are in lockdown in the comments section below (as they are ephemeral).

Feel free to pass on any you learn about!

Take care, stay safe & well.



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Neil Innes – How Sweet To Be An Idiot

Sad news today that musician, comedian and writer Neil Innes has died. A local Goldsmiths College alumni, he’s known for being a member of the avant-pop Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band; dubbed the ‘Seventh Python‘; part of Rutland Weekend Television, most notably in the Pre-fab Four spin-off The Rutles; and in other comedy bands, as well as being a successful solo performer.

I’ve seen him live a handful of times – at the BBC; playing in various London pubs (once with Mitch Benn and another with The Idiot Bastard Band, which included Ade Edmondson, Phill Jupitus, Simon Brint and Rowland Rivron) and also solo in a tiny village hall down windy country lanes out near Southwold.

A lover of the ukulele, there’s a nice interview with him speaking to John Tribe from Ukulele Tutorial. Chords for almost two hundred of his songs are on his website.

Here’s Linda Louden‘s cover of My Little Ukulele:



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New Uke For Xmas (2019)

If you’ve got a new ukulele for Christmas or are considering taking up playing one, you’ll soon find there are lots of on-line resources to help you, whatever your level:

Day & Summary Day & Summary
01 –  Helmut Bickel – Fingerstyle 02 – New Uke For Xmas – Useful sources
03 – Bernadette’s 30 Day Challenge 04 – Songs & Songbooks – eg MUJ
05 – James Hill’s Ukulele Way 06 – Danno Sullivan – Play It Daily
07 – Cynthia Lin – Tutorials 08 – Phil Doleman’s Two Minute Tips
09 – Samantha Muir – Classical Uke 10 – Ten Thumbs Productions – Tutorials
11 – Richard Hefner – ezFolk Lessons 12 – Stuart Fuchs  – Tips & Tutorials
  • Have a general look around this website, as we pick out a wide selection of our favourite tools & tips, on-line uke lessons, songbooks, chords, music theory, forums, equipment & other website resources. In particular, my musings on what helped me when I first got my uke as a complete beginner may prove a useful summary if you’re totally new to playing.
  • Joining a local group is always a boost – whether you are a beginner, improver or expert player. We’re a very friendly club based in Lewisham which meets every Tuesday for free jamming sessions. Everyone is welcome & we pride ourselves from having members from all over London, Kent & Surrey. We’re back strumming in the New Year from Tue 7 Jan 2020. Contact us for more details.
  • If you aren’t near Lewisham, do check out the Mighty Ukulele for Londonwide gigs, events & UK clubs or Uke Hunt’s extensive clubs & groups listings covering  UK & Ireland; Europe; USA & Canada and Australia & New Zealand for a local group.
  • If you need advice on buying an instrument, Barry Maz has a wealth of independent reviews on Got A Ukulele as well as a schedule of uke festivals and other handy info to help get you started.

Good luck & happy strumming!



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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1984 (& 1989 & 2004)

The original version of the hugely successful charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?, written by Bob Geldof & Midge Ure in reaction Michael Buerk’s BBC reports of famine in Ethiopia, was performed by Band Aid, a group comprising of the biggest names in British music at the time. It even led to the enormous Live Aid benefit concert the following summer.

In addition to various reissues, the song was re-recorded in 1989 by Band Aid II and 2004 by Band Aid 20,  giving three different versions of the same song the top slot in their respective years.

Here’s an excellent collaborative cover version produced by Ronin Wong, who gathered 43 performers around the world – mainly uke players – into this video collage (full credits & back story). See how many faces you recognise!

And, if you’ve been enjoying this trip down chart memory lane, why not try Smooth Radio’s Christmas Number Ones quiz or Uke Hunt’s annual Xmas ukulele-themed one?

More info on Wikipedia.


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