One song, multiple overlapping chord charts
December 17, 2016 8:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for songs in two (or three) arrangements for ukulele that can be played simultaneously. Say, a simplified version using only three or four easy chords for beginners; and a more advanced version, adding more advanced chord changes, for more experienced players. If there's a site or songbook devoted to such things, that would be ideal; otherwise, links to individual songs would also be appreciated.

I recently started a ukulele meetup group. We do mostly strum-alongs, and most of the people who've been coming are just getting started. (Which is great! I wrote the group description to be welcoming to newbies and the curious, and I'm thrilled that it seems to be working.) This can make song choice somewhat challenging; either we stick to simple three-chord progressions, or we leave people behind.

Both those things are fine in moderation, so this is not a huge challenge. But it's occurred to me that a couple years ago, at a different uke meetup, somebody brought in three different sets of chord changes for "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," with the beginners getting one set, intermediate players getting the second, and advanced players taking the third. We all played them together, and it sounded great, and was a lot of fun.

I don't know where those arrangements came from. I don't know if there are more such things out there. But it seems as if there ought to be? There are a lot of ukulele groups out there, and this seems like something a lot of us could use. Does anybody know of such resources?
posted by Shmuel510 to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you're looking for "ensemble" arrangements, like this. Googling "ukulele ensemble arrangements," "ukulele orchestra arrangements" etc. In conjunction with specific song titles should turn up the sorts of things you're looking for.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:14 AM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is just an idea, but I think you could also take a more advanced arrangement and highlight the I, IV, and V chords for the newbies to play. Everyone could be working off the same sheet that way. If you have difficulty finding enough ensemble arrangements, this could expand your options.
posted by bunderful at 9:19 AM on December 17, 2016

I've never seen things like this in the wild, but commercial "Pop Songs for Piano" books and fake books will have chords as well as notes for more detailed play. Ever thought of becoming a published author? :)
posted by rhizome at 9:40 AM on December 17, 2016

Also look for duets arranged for teacher and student. I don't know if they have them for ukelele, but there are piano books that do this, having a very simple melody on one page and a very complex arrangement on the facing page.
posted by CathyG at 2:00 PM on December 17, 2016

I appreciate all the suggestions so far!

Just to clarify... I'm specifically looking for something where all the parts consist of chords, not fingerpicked melodies. "Ensemble arrangements" is an excellent search term that I didn't have before, but all I'm finding under it are songs arranged with one set of chords and multiple fingerpicking parts.

I think bunderful is closest to the mark here.
posted by Shmuel510 at 4:21 PM on December 19, 2016

I found the sheets for "Satisfaction"! So here's the one example I have seen:

Beginners (Note: the first "Verse" should be "Refrain")
Advanced (Going from E9 to F9 involved sliding the chord one fret down immediately after strumming.)

(Slashes indicates downstrums, carets indicate upstrums.)

Here's what it sounded like in practice.
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:51 PM on December 19, 2016

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