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Ukulele Tab: Learn To Play Yankee Doodle

Aug 17, 2007
An ukulele is very effective for strumming chords to songs. You can also use this instrument to play melodies. Let's learn a melody with ukulele tab and without sheet music!

Here is the first verse and refrain of Yankee Doodle, as often sung today:

Yankee Doodle went to town
A-Riding on a pony
He stuck a feather in his hat
And called it macaroni

Yankee Doodle, keep it up
Yankee Doodle dandy
Mind the music and the step
And with the girls be handy

Well, it's time for you to pick up your ukulele and play this melodi!

Here is the first line of lyrics and corresponding melody with ukulele tab:

Yankee Doodle went to town

0/1 0/1 2/1 4/1 0/1 4/1 2/1

Now I guess you ask: What does the numbers and slashes mean?

This is a special form of ukulele tab notation with numbers that indicate what fret to press down and what string.

4/1 for example means: Press down fret 4 on string 1. Number 0 means that you play on a string without pressing down a fret. This is also called an open string.

On my site you will find a more common ukulele tab notation with staffs but the notation I use here works better on article sites.

I hope you understand my ukulele tab notation now so here is the next part of the melody:

A-Riding on a pony

0/2 0/1 0/1 2/1 4/1 0/1 4/2

You can use your right hand thumb to play the strings or alternate between your right hand index and middle finger or thumb and index.

Time for the next line:

Mind the music and the step

0/1 0/1 2/1 4/1 5/1 4/1 2/1

One more ukulele tab to go for the verse:

And called it macaroni

0/1 4/2 0/2 2/2 4/2 0/1 0/1

What about your left hand?

If you want to you can play the melody using a professional fingering like this:

Press down the notes on the first fret with your index finger, the second fret with your middle finger, third fret with your ring finger and fourth and fifth fret with your pinky.

Maybe a little bit tricky at first but when you get used to it you will find that it is much easier to play this way!

Now when you know how to read this ukulele tab notation I will give you the refrain in one chunk:

Yankee Doodle, keep it up

2/2 4/2 2/2 0/2 2/2 4/2 0/1

Yankee Doodle dandy

0/2 2/2 0/2 2/3 1/3 0/2

Mind the music and the step

2/2 4/2 2/2 0/2 2/2 4/2 0/1

And with the girls be handy

2/2 0/2 0/1 4/2 2/1 0/1 0/1

This is the melody and here are the chords your ukulele playing friend can use assuming that you use C tuning on your soprano. That means that the third string is tuned to C and the first string to A:

A major: 2/4 1/3 0/2 0/1

D major: 2/4 2/3 2/2 0/1

E7: 1/4 2/3 0/2 2/1

And the chord changes:

verse:
A / / / A / E7 /

A / / / A / E7 /

A / / / D / / /

E7 / / / A / / /

refrain:
D / / / D / / /

A / / / A / / /

D / / / D / / /

A / E7 / A / / /
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson at Capotasto Music invites you to download your free ukulele sheet music, ukulele tabs, ebooks, music lessons and read his music blog at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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