Category Archives: Playing Help – Sites & Resources

PLUC 2015 Top Ten – October

Xmas 2014 - 04 Steve H & Tina 01

Steve H & Tina

Tina has picked three tunes that she always sings aloud, usually whilst hoovering or in the shower!

As before, we’ve put the versions of the songs we’ll be using in the PLUC Box for members. Have a go at playing them & be ready to perform them as a group on Tues 20 & 27 October, after which we’ll vote upon the one that works the best & to keep playing for the next few months.

Song OneHallelujah – by Leonard Cohen (a tune that’s been covered by over 300 artists). Here’s Richard Hefner, who plays it through first, then gives a tutorial:

Song Two – Valerie – by The Zutons (& also well-known by Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse). Aldrine from Ukulele Underground thrashes out a version:

Song ThreeGirl On Fire – by Alicia Keys. Wisa89 gives her uke cover here:



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PLUCking Ukes – Ten Minute Practice Tips

Stu Fuchs (aka Stukulele / Ukulele Dojo) is doing a new series of beginners’ videos, starting with the basics & progressing as he teaches his latest class. He says these are for anyone who wants a refresher or check to see if they need to get out of any bad habits they’ve picked up whilst playing. This first one covers strumming; keeping rhythm; accenting the backbeat; fretting chords without too much tension; & a simple strumalong to Jamaica Farewell. In Week Two he introduces 3/4 time & plays a long-distance duet with you of Amazing Grace.

There are also plenty of other interesting items & tutorials on his website, at all levels, so do have a look round.



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PLUC Weekend Workout

Uke Nut is an interesting blog, covering various ukulele resources, including links to a selection of fingerstyle tunes & practice drills. Amongst the instructional postings are some links to a useful site of tools –

Uke Nut has customised the Fretboard Memorisation Tool for a standard gCEA-tuned uke. Use it to practice identifying the notes up to the 10th fret. This will help you develop your skills, including helping you form moveable chords more readily.

Ukulele Fretboard Memorization Tool from, customised by Uke Nut

Ukulele Fretboard Memorization Tool from, customised by Uke Nut


More PLUC fretboard-relatedmoveable chord & quiz posts.


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PLUC Weekend Workout

Chris has found this interesting lecture from the basic Listening To Music course by Yale University and feels it would repay many members of our group for the time spent watching it.

It opens with a preamble about musical notation & the reasons we use it (also mentioned in last month’s PLUC Weekend Workout & other music theory postings if you need more detail). Then the majority of Prof Craig Wright’s talk covers rhythm in many music styles, showing how different time signatures sound & getting students to listen to various pieces of music so they can conduct along to the beat.

Given how important it is to recognise the rhythm of the songs you play & be able to keep time, this is a very useful exercise. Several people have been puzzling over how to work out strumming patterns to fit tunes, so they will find it handy to be given these practical tips to aid them in improving their listening skills.


The lecture is number three in Yale’s full free course, available online. Coincidentally, it has been updated for 2015 & is being run by Coursera (about whom we wrote recently) as part of their Introduction to Classical Music. Their courses are also free & include lectures, interactive quizzes & discussions with tutors & other participants. Even if you only decided to register to watch the videos from the first two weeks & not bother with any of the exercises, they would help your music skills.

Week 1
Music in Our Lives
Rhythm: We’ve All Got It!
What is Melody?

Week 2
Harmony: From Bach to Do Wop
Tone Colour: Welcome to the Orchestra!
Texture, Form, and Style

(Weeks 3 – 8 cover music styles from the Middle Ages to Postmodernism.)

The recent Coursera Songwriting course was excellent – hugely interesting; ideal for making you pay more attention to the style, structure & nuances of songs; & the assessments kept you focussed on learning, so this should also be good.


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PLUC Weekend Workout

There are so many online learning resources out there, it’s difficult to know where to start! One of the interesting sources is TED-Ed, who create ‘lessons worth sharing’. They produce fun & informative videos & lectures on numerous topics. Here are three for you to view for starters.

How To Read Music – by Tim Hansen:


To help you consider your strumming: A Different Way To Visualize Rhythm – by John Varney.

And a fascinating lecture by Evelyn Glennie about How To Truly Listen.

Why not look at their site or channel and recommend any music-related YouTubes you’ve enjoyed in the comments section below?


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PLUCking Ukes – Free Fingerpicking Lessons

Brett McQueen, from the excellent Ukulele Tricks site is offering a free three-week Fingerpicking Tricks Mini Lesson Series to subscribers on his mailing list & PLUC website readers. For any of you that have followed his free videos or enrolled in his Strumming Tricks onine course, you’ll know he’s a very clear & articulate teacher. Read the rest of this entry »


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PLUC Weekend Workout

Here’s a fascinating stop-frame animated YouTube from Vi Hart talking about how musical notes are made up of different frequencies. It uses an unfretted instrument (viola) to show how you can work out where along the fingerboard the different notes appear, so you can see how this translates to the uke & why the frets are where they are. Read the rest of this entry »


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