UD#16 Never Jam Alone Episode 1

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UD#16 Never Jam Alone Episode 1
from Ukulele in the Dark
w/ Guido Heistek
I’ve often heard students say this:

“I don’t understand what happens. I practice the songs at home and when I come and play them with you in class I make all sorts of mistakes! What’s that all about?”

Playing by yourself is fundamentally different from playing with others in one very important aspect: timing. When students practice at home they often take a little bit more time playing tricky parts of a song and speed through the parts that they can play easily. When you play along with others you can’t do this.

I usually recommend that my students find someone to jam with between lessons but this is not always possible. So, I am always on the look out for songs on youtube that my students can jam along with. This week’s newsletter is Episode 1 in an ongoing monthly series where I will share great tunes to jam along with on youtube.

Here we go!

Today we’ll look at a version of Stand By Me. The nice thing is that this song uses four easy chords. C, Am, F, G7.

If you are a beginner use the easy versions of these chords:

If you are up for a challenge use the moveable “up the neck” versions of the chords (more on “chords up the neck” in future newsletters):

Here is the chord progression for Stand by Me.
Please note that  | C                    |   equals  4 beats of C or one bar of C.

| C                | C                   |  Am                |   Am                   |

| F                 | G7                 | C                   | C                        |

This progression repeats again and again through the whole song. This is great for jamming.

One tricky point is that the chord progression begins and ends with a C chord. It can be tricky identifying the beginning or “Top” of the progression. (See https://ukuleleinthedark.com/lost-in-progressions/ for more on this)

I’ve made a recording to help you to practice the progression before you play along with the youtube clip.
I say “TOP” when we get to the beginning of the progression, to help you stay oriented. I go once through the progression playing ONE CHORD PER BAR. Then I start strumming.

Here’s the recording:

If you have no idea what to do in terms of strumming just use a BASIC FEEL like we discussed in the Paper Strum lesson. We’ll talk more about a strumming pattern for songs like this in later newsletters.

Here’s the youtube clip. It’s from a wonderful project called, Playing for Change. Check out their other videos too. Happy jamming:


All for now,

See you next week!



Please share!

P.S. I am regularly adding new lessons to Ukulele in the Dark. Please subscribe to my mailing list below to receive every lesson right when it comes out. Be sure not to miss a thing!


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