How it happened (A Different Kind of Twelve Steps): 1. Got an ukulele that will stay in tune ($50+). 2. Got one of those electronic tuners (3. Learned the chords C, Am, F, and G7. 4. Played Away In A Manger (#18) many times. 5. Kept the ukulele next to my recliner. 6. Picked other songs and learned more chords. 7. Explored 3/4 time and 4/4 time. 8. Experimented with picking patterns. 9. "Figured out" chords on these songs. 10. Watched many ultranet videos. 11. Practiced with chord progressions. 12. Saw Jake Shimabukuro at the Ryman. Happily Addicted?
Dear Ukulele Companion-Beginner, The Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote that as pray-ers that we are always beginners. Don't
yet know if that is true of an ukulele player, for this book is by an uke newbie. Our Hey Deddy Charlie Wolf used to say that everyone ought play some instrument. I tried learning the guitar with half of my brothers; it didn't take. Tried the cello in seminary; didn't take. Gave the piano a fair shot as a new priest; didn't take. When brothers and cousins were guitaring Christmas before last, and I spoke of old attempts at guitar, brother Danny strummed C, G, and F, and said that's all I need to learn to begin. A light came on. Gave myself an uke for Christmas, and it stared at me accusingly until the October vacation, when I learned C, G, and F, and for six months have played the thing every day.
These songs (from Hinge Hour Singer) have been part of my daily life for twenty-five years in the Liturgy of the Hours, a prayer form used by Catholic priests, religious, and a growing number of lay faithful, so right away I wanted to start singing them with ukulele chords. Peppering brothers Greg and Danny last Thanksgiving about how to do this, they both said, "You'll figure it out." When Greg became annoyed, I kept asking questions until he stood to walk away as I said, "I want to know what chords to use to play Creator of the Stars of Night I want to play Creator of the Stars of Night " He turned and kind of yelled, "Of course you do And who wouldn't " Brother's button pushed. Success.
Still able to play only chords using the index, middle, and ring fingers of my left hand, that is all you will find in this book. Brother Kevin assures me the more difficult chords will come later. So this book is by a beginner for a beginner who just wants some chords to play Creator of the Stars of Night and a bunch of other traditional hymn melodies. This should truly be considered only a
place to begin, for you, companion-beginner, may very well want to sing in a different key, or choose a more beautiful strumming or picking pattern, or change some lyrics back to their originals, or construct some better chord progressions.