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Archives for: January 2006

Additional Comments Regarding Ol' Man River

For those of you who might shy away from attempting to learn Ol' Man River because of the GDF#B slack tuning I offer the following:

James tunes his uke for most of his songs in ADF#B with a low A. For OMR he tunes the A down a full step to G. Jon pointed out in a thread over at FMM the fact that he has played the arrangement on a re-entrant tuned instrument with great success. Since most of the song requires the 4th string to be an open pedal tone the song will work just fine with your standard re-entrant tuning. Likewise, Jon has had success with lowering the high G in re-entrant to F and found the string still had enough tension to stay in tune and function properly. My guess is that it will work better dropping the 4th string down to G from A in the ADF#B tuning since there is already increased tension just from being tuned up a whole step. When I have lowered the 4th string of a re-entrant tuned ukulele to obtain a low G in past experiments it was way to slack and didn't work for me. At any rate, regardless of the tuning you choose this is one that everyone should be able to enjoy.

I forgot to mention that occasionally I get requests for baritone ukulele tabs. Ol' Man River will work just great on your bari. Just lower the 4th string a whole step and play the positions indicated in the tab and it will sound very nice.

James Hill - Transcriptions

I hope the New Year is treating you all well. This is the first update to Dominator Ukulele Tabs in 2006 and if you are a James Hill fan you're in for a real treat. Tonight I am posting 3 complete transcriptions of music from James Hill.

Over the holidays I received a request for Ol' Man River which I had briefly started on over a year ago. I also have an Internet friend (Jon Prown) that I knew was interested in the song. I sent Jon some drafts and between the two of us we came up with what I think is a very good representation of the version James recorded on his CD "On the Other Hand".

I had already been working on Song For Cheri from his "A Flying Leap" CD. I met with James at UGH and he demonstrated his technique for playing this song. At that time I didn't think it would be possible to ever figure this one out. But I got obsessed with it and much to my surprise it started to come together. This is a pretty complicated piece and the entire song is centered on the right hand. Once the main melody kicks in, the alternate strumming/picking combination is what provides the momentum and drives the groove. I have indicated the right hand fingering and alternate picking strokes for a few of the sections to give you an idea of how to get started. A little hard work, patience and determination will pay dividends here.

The third transcription is Eucalipstick. I had originally posted an excerpt of this one back in September of 2004. I took a look at it over the holidays and quite frankly was embarrassed by how bad that tab was. I remember struggling with the timing and ended up with weird dotted notes and rests being tied together trying to force the beginning and endings of the measures. So I just started from scratch and thought to try a swing beat and it came together much better. There are still a few squirrelly spots in Section A2 starting at measure 63 but it is as close as I could get. The transcription represents the entire piece.

I have included a Performance Notes section on all three of these transcriptions to help provide some of the details behind the techniques James is using to play the songs. I hope you all find this very helpful. I also want to thank James for spending his time with me at UGH to share his knowledge and give me some insight into his playing style. I truly am grateful. If you don't have his CDs I highly recommend you visit his WEBSITE and purchase them.
Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions concerning the tabs.