Here’s 3 chords…now form a band

(photo curtesy of  Diana More)

(photo curtesy of Diana More)

Our good friends and London’s most amazing punk ukulele band The pUKEs have received Arts Council England funding to deliver a series of punk rock uke workshops for beginners at festivals and community events this summer.

The fun and friendly workshops, based on the theme Here’s 3 Chords…now form a band, are guaranteed to get complete beginners strumming along to a classic punk song in less than an hour.
Festivals confirmed so far include Brighton’s Paddle Round the Pier, Rebellion in Blackpool, Deer Shed in Yorkshire and the aptly named 3 Chords in Cornwall. The band are producing a cut’n’paste style fanzine to hand out at workshops which will include chord charts, song sheets and playing tips.

Clara Wiseman from the pUKEs said: ”Playing punk rock on the ukulele is a lot of fun and we’re stupidly excited about this project. It’s a relatively simple instrument to learn, so we’re going to have people of all ages strumming along to punk classics in no time. We believe in the DIY punk ethos that making music is for anyone who wants to have a go ­ and that’s what this project is all about.”

The 21­strong group, who are mainly women, play quirky covers of well known and more obscure punk songs. Around half the band were ‘non musicians’ before they learned the uke two years ago, the others have been in bands such as UK Subs, Extreme Noise Terror and Lost Cherrees. Their massive stage presence and raucous live show has landed them support slots with many of the bands who inspired them, including Sham 69, Bad Manners, Peter & the Test Tube Babies, Menace and Subhumans. Their debut EP is set for release on Damaged Goods records in May.

The original ‘3 chords’ illustration featuring drawings of three guitar chord shapes, captioned, ‘this is a chord, this is another, this is a third. Now form a band’ is often incorrectly credited to Mark Perry’s fanzine ‘Sniffin’ Glue’, but it first appeared in another fanzine ‘Sideburns’ in January 1977 and was later reproduced in The Stranglers’ fanzine ‘Strangled’.

The project is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.



To find out more, register your interest in a workshop, or book The pUKEs for your event:

July 7 Paddle Round the Pier ­ Brighton
July 13 Music in the Park ­ Wanstead, London
July 21&22 Deer Shed ­ North Yorkshire
August 10&11 Rebellion ­ Blackpool
August 24 3 Chords ­ Cornwall
October 12 Sound & Vision ­ Norwich
More tbc

julesd’s quick guide to ukulele power chords.

Power chords (or fifth’s as they are sometimes known) are a staple of rock and metal music as played by guitarists, but are not largely documented for ukulele’s. They go widely unnoticed in chord books and charts because ‘the man’ does not want you to rock out on your uke. Well, we got two fingers for him. If you a bit too much of a mummy’s boy, you should stop reading now. The rest of the article is for the hardcore only. 🙂

So, what is a power chord? They are 2 note chords consisting of a root note and a fifth interval. When these notes become amplified, the resonate against each other in a way that screams ROCK! This happens because the relative frequencies between the 2 notes are close to being 3:2 and as such, they drive each other along, creating more power. Obviously this works best if you add a touch of distortion which has the additional benefit of making the 2 resonating notes gain a further dynamic that sounds 1 octave lower.

On a uke, these power chords are very simple and can open up a whole new level of fun when you are playing. If you have ever seen the console game ‘Guitar Hero’, a handful of these uke chords can replace the coloured buttons on that dedicated controller for simple rock fun. The trick is to only play 2 out of the 4 strings. You can mute the other 2 strings however you like, or simply don’t play them. A little practice will help you find your way with this method.

You might want to try using power chords to replace other chords when you are playing just to see how it feels. Try replacing, say, an F with an F5 and listen to the difference it makes. There are 2 positions for each power chord. Typical rock music is empowered by the low version of the chord, but you can still use the higher version as an alternative chord.

King Uke’s quick guide to ‘Ukulele Chords’ for guitarists

We are proud to announce that the invitation we sent out to a friend of ours, King Uke, has been accepted and he has now become our newest staff writer. Welcome aboard, King Uke. In his first article (originally blogged over on his own King Uke’s blog , King Uke talks about a discussion we had, uke tunings and the uke’s relationship with guitar.

I got into an interesting discussion earlier this week with Julian Davies of Electric Ukulele Land. The subject was ukuleles and it wasn’t long until we were chewing the fat over the various uke models, tunings and chords. I learnt some great stuff! Here are some highlights… with illustrations…

King Uke – Aloha!

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