Heading 1

Never Felt More like learning the blues

Boriana's Beginning Blues Part 1


Please do the following in small increments. 



a) Make an A Chord - strum emphasing the OPEN

E string.  Count 1 2  -- if you don't count you're slowing your progress. 

b) added your ring finger on the E string 2nd Fret count 1 2

c) added your pinky to the E string 3rd fret.  Count 12

then take off your pinky finger. 

d) your RING FINGER IS STILL ON THE 2ND fret count  1 2 

e) take off your ring finger and count 1 2  - keep doing this until you have the "Blues Groove"


a. Make a D Chord - 2020 is easiest.  strum emphasing the OPEN A string.  (the bottom string)

count 1 2. 

b. add your ring finger to the bottom string 2nd fret

count 1 2

c. add your pinky finger to the bottom string 3rd fret

count 1 2 - take off your pinky finger

d. your RING FINGER IS STILL ON THE THE 2ND fret count 1 2  and take off your ring finger  and count 1 2.  

to end this sequence play an E7 chord 1 2 0 2  count

1 2 3 4 --   D chord 1 2 3 4  -  back to the A chord  1 2 3 4    THEN THE E7 CHORD ONE TIME.   And you've got the birth of the blues.    Practice this last part like it is a whole separate part of process.  Mix it up.

[more here later]

Okay you've got some of the above under your fingers and you're ready to expand your horizons. 


We’re started with the A chord combination.  Which includes: A chord  D7 2020 and E7 1202. But, to really get into a bluesy grove we’re going to take these same chords and play them further UP the fret board. 


The A chord on the 5th fret uses the Gm form which you already know. Ergo:  Play 6750 and you’re playing an A/7 blues chord. Slide it down to the 4th fret slide it back. Experiment.  


Tuckerism 34c. The lowest note is where you index finger goes. The lowest note in this configuration is 5.


The D7 chord on the 5th fret -  again this is simple.  Make a G chord. Move it up to the 5th fret and then jump a string so that your G chord now looks like this: 5650 – Index finger on the G string 5th fret.


The E7 chord is beyond simple.  Just slide the D7 chord up to the 7th fret and BINGO!  You have a groovy, slide-able, pluck-able, and pick-able E7 chord.


To really get familiar with this, repeatedly take your left hand off the fret board and bring it back to the three NEW CHORD positions.  Slide them around mix them up.


Get in a blues groovy.


PLEASE CLICK here and JAM along.



Part 2   beginning SOLOING is below.




Here's a chance to kick!  It doesn't matter what your belief --- Everyone loves a good gospel tune. 

Here are few of tuck's tricks. 


 #1.Take down this G7 – 4535 take down one fret at a time – 3424 – 2313 then to the more familiar 0212 G7 -

and now to  -- C or C7 to begin or end a song.  

Ex: Amazing Grace 

#2. How about a few NEW C7 chords – 0031  & the wonderful, bluesy, slide-able -  3430. Tuckerism #66v These are terrific Blues chords.  Get them under your fingers and use them again and again.  

#3. Go hog wild ---- try this  0201 ---- and play 2313

and you've got most the  Joe Crocker Song --- FEELING ALRIGHT.    Tuckerism 4  0201 --- can almost always be substitued for a C7 chord..... Soooo much jazzier. 



Don’t Worry, Be Happy- Three Little Bird-----Tricks

         a.) Put a finger between the string on the first or second fret. Now rake it down the fret board for neat scratch sound. It takes a bit, but watch heads turn next time you play Stand By Me. 

      b.) Tuck, I had to say that, your fingers into the plam of your strumming hand.  -- Now flick them out --- where the fret board meets the body of your uke. This just ONE way to do a  palm chunk

       c.) After a scratch, and a few chunks gently THUMP your thumb or palm on the  bridge of our ukulele’s. What a sound!!!!!        



Practice the above and you'll take your playing to a new level. 

Here --- are some of the Gospel Songs

from my Gospel Packet. 

Down By the Riverside.  We can Lay down our swords and shields as we scratch, solo, pop and chunk.


How Can I Get Over?  Beware a few chords are wrong but we can cook this song.  Applying one finger techniques and what we’ve already practiced. Make a conscious effort to use different fingers when strumming.!


Try this newAm chord. 5453 – You’ll be using this little beauty again and again as we play the blues and you solo. 


We'll teach the  World to Sing. --- using plucking and arpeggio techniques because most of the notes of the song are on the bottom two strings.  E and A doesn’t get much easier.


I’ll Fly Away -  Start with the 321   421 arpeggio then let loose.  Plucking, strumming and experimenting with different fingering techniques.


Much love, 


Keeping plucking,



I'll bet you $4,211 you can't guess how much I owe my bookie. 

My computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.

One Finger Songs

Strum down across the open strings count to four aloud.

Now place the INDEX index finger of your LEFT HAND over all the strings on the 5th fret.  The 5th fret is the one with dot.  Strum 4x and then take your finger off and strum the open fret board again four times. 

Now place the index finger of your left hand over the 7th fret,  It also has a dot.  And strum four times.  As you get the groove add the up strum.   Repeat   One an - Two an- Three an - Four an.  

You can a play quite a few songs using this technique. 

uke jazz humor.jpg


p.s. if you want to keep jamming.  Get out your SOLO HINTS SHEET.  On the RIGHT you'll see a fret board with the letter C above it.


You can play any of those black dots -  SPECIAL  note if you play the following in the key of C

   1 3

   1 3

0   3

0   3     You're playing the EXACT finger PATTERN as                          as    10    12                                                                               10   12                                                                             9       12

                              9       12                                                                             that you played in the Key of A

How cool is that!




I know you’ve all been religiously practicing the “Caterpillar Crawl.,”( see below) Here’s your first payoff for your diligence.  


For this exercise you’re only going to use the index finger and ringer finger.  Let’s start at the bottom.  Place your index finger on the bottom string.  [The 1 String.  The A string.]  on the 10th fret.  That’s the one with the dot.  Which makes finding the position easy!


Now place your ring finger on the 12 fret.  It also has a dot.  Is this simple or what!  Pick each string.  Alternating between the 10th and 12th frets and then Mix them up.  The rest is simple.

Now jump up to the 2nd string and play the exact same notes.


Now jump up to the  3rd string and play the note on the 9th fret and 12th frets

And finally go to the 4th string and play the notes on the  9th and 12th frets.


 --- NOW STOP ---- you can play any combination of those notes. Please go over this as many times as possible before Saturday.

Go to you tube and play along with any backtrack in A --- or join Eric Clampton in Lay Down Sally. 

SOLOING:e top.  


 STRUMMING make a determined effort to use more than one finger. We alternated between our thumb, index, middle and ring fingers.

Tuckism # 32x. 

The more you do this the faster you’ll progress.

And the more imaginative your strumming will become.  I Promise.


PLUCKING -  a truly wonderful skill – that will really separate you from all rookie ukulele players.

        a. we plucked all four strings at the exact same time

        b. we plucked accenting different strings. This is what it’s all about!  Try to accent the single tab notes.


We played ‘Running like a dog through the Everglades.’ Strumming and plucking like a gator in the Everglades.


We let the Four Strong Winds Blow a few times adding the 321 421 arpeggio and it was beautiful.


And then it was time to ROCK AND ROLL  

We rocked to the old tune Kansas City. Counting 1 2 3 4.

In rock n roll; in 4/4 time  the beat is on the 2 and 4. More on this next time during Gospel Week.  



Sometimes you get a sheet of music in a KEY you find impossible play or sing in.  Change from one key to an other is simple. 



TRANSPOSING WITH THE WHEEL – the inner (smaller circle is the key you are in -  point that key to key in the outer circle that you want to change to.  i.e.  Changing C to G.  Just point the inner C to the outer G and go from there. It does not matter if the chord you’re changing is a minor chord or a 7th chord.  Just add the minor notation or 7th notation to the chord you change.


MODUATION I i.e. please look down in this section for a full explanation.


We transposed the chords in Kansas City from C to G. 



We slid the G chord then played C adding the C7 then back to G and the slid the D7 Chord.



Take a  G chord and moved it up to 7th fret.  Although the form is the same you are now playing a C chord.   Now take that same G chord form and move it up to the 9th fret and although the form is the same…. You are now playing a D chord.


Do this with the G7 chord form.   Making C7th chord on the 6th fret   0767    and a D7 chord on the 8th fret 0989

How cool is that??!  And now you were really rockin and rollin.


See you soon.  Have fun with your gospel packet and Ahi Wela and Tiny Bubbles.


Keep strumming and pluckin’



Your first chords..


Get these 4 chords under your fingers and you're ready for anything. I'll will send a copy of the songs we'll be playing on Saturday, January 26 -- You'll see that most of the songs we'll be playing use the same chords as above.   Try to learn G - Em -C- and D7 on your own.

If you never registered for the class; I don't have your e-mail so please contact me so that I can send you the song charts.   

Keep strumming the world of ukulele is wonderful.


MODULATION   This is advanced 

How can I modulate from one key to another?  Again this is simple.

Please commit the following to memory.  We'll use the keys C   &  F.

But remember this formula works for every key.

To modulate from C to F     Play for a while in the key of C. 


Then play a C chord and the five chord of F   which is C7   and play

then play in the Key of F   ---- the formula is:


"What ever key you're playing in--- When you modulate play the 5 Chord

of the key you wnt  to change to. "   


Make a list of 5 chords ---


C to F      play C    C7 then F  --- and you're in the key of F


F to G     play F    D7   then G   this a one step mod, the most common and easiest on the ear.


G to A    play G   E7    then A  -----


This formula is very useful and worth knowing.  Much like the Hawaiian Vamp formula.


Hawaiian Vamp. play the 2 chord   5 chord and them the 1 chord in any key.  


Love to all,


Are you going to Maui???????????


Sure  u  r



You folks are terrific! Thanks for all the feed back. 


A couple of warm up strums.   Down D D D 

DnU  DnU  DnU  DnU   &  D  D  U U D


CLASSIC POSITION   - barre the 5th fret with your index finger and point to your nose.


Caterpillar Crawl  tuck's hint 33a --- this is the best warm up exercise ever. And at the same time you build finger dexterity that make each new hurdle so much easier!


1 Finger songs  Open =C6   barre 5th Fret=F6  

barre 7th Fret = G6  - Don’t be afraid to move to these chords when you’re playing a song. 


Sticky fingers --- tuckerism 45a. 

     1.Build chords slowly.

     2. Slide your chords for different effects.


Reading a Tab.  


--  a quick note when playing tabs --- usually your index finger will play the notes on the first fret – Middle finger will play the second fret – ring finger on the third fret and pinky on the 4th fret.




How to read a ukulele tablature :

The 4 lines correspond to the strings of the instrument, The Numbers show you which fret to play  the strings (a zero means to play the open string),

Please read ukulele tabs from the left to the right to find out when to play the notes. If two or more notes are to be played together, they are written on top of one another.

Each letter above the tablature denotes the root note of a chord.  Or a chord you might play as you pluck the tab notes. 


Tucks Hint  103b  (I have no idea what the 103a hint is)

Extra letters or symbols between the notes to indicate how to play them, Most common symbols are :

/ for a slide up
\ for a slide down
h for a hammer
p for a pull-off


We'll be using these in songs like Blue Bayou etc. 


Tab notation lacks accurate information on rhythm and timing (it will not tell you exactly lengths of the notes), and in most cases you will have to listen to the song to find out when to play upstrokes and down strokes, or how long to strum a chord...



FIRST ARPEGGIO:  Get to the pluck position.  Thumb on the G string Index finger on the C string Middle finger on the E string and Ring Finger on the bottom string.


Play and say  3 -2-1      4-2-1   -- Change chords while you do this.  It is so much fun and so cool.


We didn’t do this but try this one---   3-2  -4-1   3- 2 -4-1

Practice changing chords and accenting different fingers.


For example: Play 3  2  4 1   3 2 4 1.  Most important,  create your own variations.


Stay in the pluck position: see above --- and pluck counting 1 2 3 4  changing  chords --- Now pluck all four fingers, but accent different fingers.   Pick a song from our packet and play using the above technique and your find to your (and my) amazement – you’ll start to hear the melody.


Try Blue Bayou again but this time  -- STrum,  PLuck, ARpeggio. 

Rhythm and timing :  Always count when you play. 

1 2 3 4  aloud 


Any grammatical or spelling errors in the above are the fault of Sister Mary B.  more about her and how she beat  me in the "Ah, but I Digress"  


Keep Strumming and much Love. 



Tuckerism 13b Don't play with NO STICKY FINGERS - SLIDE CHORDS - Build chords slowly...... then add the pinky -- then remove fingers one by one and see how they sound. 













caterpillar crawl 2019.jpg

Beginning Class 



Hello and congratulations you all were

terrific!  Here's a review of what we did and I hope you all practice and join us for our first folk-song Hootenanny --On Saturday, January 26 ---- We're going to keep things simple and I know you'll have a ball. 

A special thanks to Betty S. You light up our




Also my name tags seemed to have walked

away.  I'd love to have them back.




We went over the different parts of the ukulele.   See Picture to your right. 

    a. The notes on the strings going toward the floor are  G - C - E- A.  To remember this say Good Children Eat Apples.


Place your index finger across all 4 strings

barring the 5th fret (with a dot)



 We learned that to tune our ukulele we could:

    a, Buy a tuner on line or at any music store.

     b. Google ukulele tuners and use any of the free ones on line. 

     c, We could down load any of the free tuner apps on line for your phone. 


Slowly, point your finger toward yourself then  gently strike downward between the sound hole and the fret board to the floor. 

    a. Do this 4x -- counting aloud One - Two - Three - Four.    Three minutes. 

    b.  Now after you stike down -- come up gently striking the strings with your index finger counting One on the down stroke and AN on the  stroke:  One an - Two an - Three an - four an...... do this for a while.




Start at the bottom of this section!

And you'll find lots of tricks and hints -- tuck




You have to be proud! I am. All of you have come so far so fast.



We had our Caterpillar Crawling all over --- keep crawling and your caterpillar will turn into a musical butterfly.


Barring -  one finger songs  - left hand.  

We played the fret board open C  then the 5th fret and 7th fret.

       a) barring with the index finger  - practice

       b) barring with your ring finger   - practice







Read left to right.  The first number is the top string the G string or (4) string.  The next number is the C string or the (3) etc.


The number tells you were to put your finger.  The lowest number is almost always your INDEX finger.


Now can you tell me what chord 3211 refers to?   _______ ???




LEARN TO KEEP TIME -  please give it a chance; 


Food Plate – clapping to the rhythm – of saying  Food Plate 5 x  then broaden your

timing with 

Carrot/sticks and dip – beef ravioli – rice crispies cookies



Tucks hint #24 e:  Try clapping without saying the various meals out loud and you’ll see why it’s so important to count ALOUD when you’re learning new tunes.  Which segues perfectly  -à


Our somewhat new chords  - go to the ukulele chord family page and play


F -   Dm    - Bb – C7   --


Tucks hint :  #43 c – as you add new chord combinations to your musical vocabulary you’ll notice they’re all built on chords you already know.



Arpeggio  a right hand exercise


pluck the third string with your index finger

second string with your middle finger

fourth string with your thumb

bottom string with your ring finger


say THREE   TWO   FOUR   ONE  gently in your mind 

this takes more than one try, but the payoff is worth it.  





On the bottom string using your index and middle finger pluck in time.   Counting One pluck Index  Two pluck Middle

go fast and slow.  Accent different fingers. 


See you on


Wednesday t





We are cooking.  Here’s how I remember our class….. how about you?


Barring -  one finger songs  - left hand.  

We played the fret board open C  then the 5th fret and 7th fret.

Pick a song you like from the 2 & 3 song lists in your packet and try to play it.  I’ll ask for volunteers on Wednesday.

       a) barring with the index finger  - practice

       b) barring with your ring finger   - practice


Tucks bonus trick --- make the C7 chord.  You’ll find it on your chord sheet in the F chord section – Index finger bottom string first fret.  It reads 0001.  See the How to Read a Chord explanation above.




Food Plate – clapping to the rhythm – please work on

Strawberry Jam / Apple Turnover  & Barbeque Chicken.


Tucks hint 24 e:  Try clapping without saying the various meals out loud and you’ll see why it’s so important to count aloud when you’re learning new tunes.  Which segues perfectly  -à


We went to the Mary Had a Little Lamb page – and tried a waltz strum   1    2    3  counting  ONE TWO THREE relaxing and strumming  1 2 3 Down in the Valley and Hang Down Your Hand Tom Dooley.  


Again work on your triplet strum  COUNTING ALOUD  1 2 3  


Index Down Count --- 1

Thumb Down Count –2

Thumb Up  Count   -- 3   ---  you can use your thumb or any other finger or fingers

                                                 on the UP strum ---

Foot note Jake Shimabukuro -- does a triplet starting with an up stroke:  i.e.

up stroke - up stroke - down stroke -- if this works better USE it


Then we Kicked it with Jambalaya --- CHECK out the song on You Tube.   Jambalaya in the key of C and play along.

Do the same with Achy Breaky Heart its great fun.


Our somewhat new chords  - go to the ukulele chord family page and play


G  -   Em* - C -  D7   -- which is the same as


* (just add a little finger on the third string fourth fret to the G chord form. 



C  -   Am   - F  - F7    -- which is the same as


F -   Dm    - Bb – C7   --


Tucks hint :  43 c – as you add new chord combination to your musical vocabulary you’ll notice they’re all built on chords you already know.


Please play ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM   - Use your chord sheet and copy in any chords you don’t know like (F)   


Check out the Everly Brothers on You Tube and we’ll play it again in class.


AND THE WORLD FAMOUS CATERPILLAR CRAWL!  I know you all have a lot to do.  But try to fit in a little caterpillar crawl if you can.  




We’ll single finger a song or two.

We’ll strum a little waltz

We’ll Dream a little.

Caterpillar Crawl as far as we can make the caterpillar crawl.


And we’ll play G    Em  C  and D7

And play your first arpeggio.


Keep strumming – I’ll see you Wednesday


Love tuck 





You folks are doing great! And I hope you’re having as much fun as I am.

Please note I arrive around 8:30 --- if you can swing it, join me.


Recap 2


We strummed our ukuleles without touching a string (hint that’s a C6 chord) then we barred the 5th fret (the one with the dot) with our left index finger – twisting toward the sound hole and making sure the tip of our index finger extends over the top of the neck of our ukes. (Hint#2 that’s a F6 chord)  Then we did the same thing on the 7th fret.  (Hint #3 that’s a G6 chord)


Using those combinations we played:  La Bamba – Twist and Shout – This Land is your land & You are my sunshine.   And we could have played all day.


Next we added  C – Am – F – G7 --  The chords we learned on day one and continue to learn .  Playing played  a C chord, added a finger and played an A minor chord, added a finger and played an F chord and added two fingers and made a G7 chord.     Practice this with a blindfold. I’ll be looking for volunteers next week.


Remember to take the sleeping pill-    ß  BCDEFGAB  à


Then we tried some strums ---- remember the ‘SNUFF STRUM TECHNIQUE”

Tuckerism  413c.   Sing a song in your head and create your own strum – Do you have a song we can all try this with??????


STRUMS:  And other right hand exercises.





Here are some one-finger strum patterns (D=down, U=up),  DU   = Down    Up   


DDUUD (used in a lot of contemporary Hawaiian songs – i.e. “Surf”)

Down     Down   Up    Up   Down    say it ALOUD as you do PLAY.





Thumb on the top string ---   the 4 string --   the G string  ---- TOP STRING

Index finger on the                        3rd string -- the C string

Middle finger on the                     2nd string – the E string

Ring   finger on the                        1st string   -- the A string --- BOTTOM STRING


Emphasize different fingers as you pluck.  More Wednesday.   Ex: pluck the top two strings stronger than then bottom.





UKULELE SITE OF THE WEEK -  Doctoruke.com --- 200 plus songs in pdf files.  You’re bound to find a few tunes you’ll  like.  Down load to your computer and then  print them out and add them to your song collection.  (Sometimes he “overchords”  too many chords.  If you’re having a problem check them out with me.)



This Land is Your Land and You are My Sunshine  And Holiday Tunes.  


Tuckerism  3 don’t put your ukulele in a case unless you’re driving.




Shake Shake Your Fingers --- Vulcan Stretch/ Knuckle Stretch


Tuning ---+ Keep praciting




Strings --- 4-3-2- 1-   Good Children Eat Apples  


Barre Finger – up and down EACH FRET.   2 minutes


Practice the Chords Change sheet     C – Am -  F -  G7  backward a forward.


Keep strumming and I’ll see you Wednesday





Please remember you’re invited to the San Rafael Elks Club tomorrow night.

6:30 – if you can come let me know and I’ll save you a place.


Great fun on Wednesday and you did great!  As promised here’s a quick recap..


You can’t play if you’re not in tune.   So…..


Tuning ---    How are you doing?  Remember start lower than the note you’re trying to tune to. 

            Ex:  To tune your G  string  [the 4 string,   the one closest to your nose,  also known as the top string]  turn your peg until you get to F.  Then twist the peg and pluck the string and the tuner will show  F # and then G.   If your tuner goes to “E”,


 “Start at a lower key and slowly bring the string UP to your desired note.”


            ß  Down       A B C D E F G   A B C D E F G  à UP


Still having trouble tuning??


            Tuckerism b13 each tuner is a different. Make sure your tuner is on     “UKULELE” Tuning!


Tucks’ hint 34a – use the above to practice going up and down a scale in your mind.



Postion ----  How are you holding your uke?  Place your LEFT index finger across the 5th fret  [the one with the dot] and point your finger nail to your nose and you’re in the classical position.

            Remember this position is also the easiest way to make new chords.


Strings --- 4 - 3- 2- 1-   Good Children Eat Apples  

            Pluck each string and call out the number then the name.  Up & Down

            G    = 4TH STRING THE TOP STRING

            C    = 3RD STRING   ---- ARE YOU SAYING THEM ALOUD? ??  Tuck asked.

            E  =  2nd String

            A =  1st String  - the bottom string -  Think bottom floor. 


Barre Finger Exercise  – up and down.   2 minutes  TRY THIS THE PAY OFF IS

            TERRIFIC –


            Note extend your index finger over the top of the neck

            Use your middle finger for support on top of your index finger

             Barre up and down the fret board.  Which way is up????? Tuck asked.

             Emphasis  the 5 – 7 – 10th frets


Now STOP! take a second and  Shake Your Fingers --- Vulcan Stretch/ Knuckle Stretch






“Your left hand is what you know.  Your Right hand is who you Are.”


YOUR LEFT HAND --- This is hand we’ll use to make chords and finger notes and scales. 


So we made some music.  Our first chord.


The  C    chord  --- Now please take out the chord sheet I passed out in class

And strumming with your Index Finger, Middle Finger,  Ring Finger  always counting ALOUD   1  2   3  4


PLAY ALL FOUR CHORDS    C  1 2  3 4  ---- Am  1 2 3 4  F 1 2 3 4  G7 1 2 3 4


Try accenting  certain beats    - the  2 4  for example


And lastly ---- try this  with your right hand index finger and thumb


Down with the index finger --- then follow with the thumb.



Ukulele Artist of the week



James Hill  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO7spLjad3k


Terrific Instructor Ukulele Mike  Web site of the week





Tucker’s pluckers  --- don’t forget to pluck.   Thumb on top string – ring on the bottom and the other two fingers will fall in place.




Tuck -415-461-4628