Monday, 31 March 2014

Progress at last, I'm playing Mr Sandman instrumental!

I was talking about progress a couple of weeks ago. A piece I've been working on for just about a year is Mr Sandman, the instrumental version so beautifully showcased by Ukulelezaza, Remco Hautmann-Janssen. Here is Remco's,, complete with tutorial and TAB....

It's a catchy tune, quite well-known, and part of the appeal for a uke player keen to develop instrumental skills is that the chords used are easy, basic ones in the basic position... all except for a few.... they are the ones that challenge you. I've put them in bold here..

C | G7 | C | G7 |

C | B7 | E7 | A7 |
D7 | G7 | C | G#7 G7 |
C | B7 | E7 | A7 |
Dm | Fm6 | D7 G7 | C |

They are four-finger chords up the neck with the chord melody built on them, and you need to be pretty nifty on the changes. It's the final G7 (fingered 4535) that had me struggling the longest and hardest. I had to think about which fingers to use on the melody on the preceding D7 (which is 5655), and I'm using the little finger on 7th fret of the A string and leaving it there whilst moving to the other frets of the G7...453(7) then moving the little finger to the 5th fret. It's not easy to play quickly and cleanly. I tended to get lost on the fingerboard, then I'd play it on time but muted, or late but clean! But once you've got used to finding it quickly, turning the hand very slightly whilst fretting that chord helps to exert more pressure on the strings, for a clean sound. And of course, the old mantra - practice, practice, practice!

I don't usually post my own videos on here, I'm no budding star... but I am pleased that persistence with this has paid off at last, so I thought I 'd share. This isn't perfect, but it's as good as it's going to be for a while yet!

Thanks to Remco Hautmann-Jannsen (Ukulelezaza) for the tutorial and TAB... (see link above!)


  1. Omg, your Mr. Sandman is so inspiring! We have a lot in common, age wise, types of music you like, you've been playing a little longer than me, and neither of us is afflicted with UAS ;) But to see you've been studying this song for about a year and watching how (seemingly) effortlessly your fingers make the chord shapes gives me hope. The name of the game is persistance isn't it? Bravo! Oh, and just wondering, are you still happy with your Kiwaya KTS-4? I'm on the verge...

    1. Hi MD and thanks for you lovely comment! So kind.....sorry for the delay in replying, I've been away on holiday for a week - yes, the name of the game is persistence - and of course, practice practice practice! The reward is being able to pick up your uke and play apiece without the music in front of you - I love that! In answer to your question, I am still very happy with my Kiwaya - it's definitely a keeper. Superb quality and lovely sound! Experiment with strings until you have a sound you love - I use Ken Middleton's Living Waters.... thanks for reading and listening! :)


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