Get the tabs for this here. They’re not 100% accurate but you should be able to work out anything that’s missing and add your own personal touches. It didn’t take me long to come up with the arrangement (only 3 chords, Gm Eb C) and have never played it twice the same way!
This is a study for classical guitar that I have arranged for re-entrant tuning. I had to change key and omit several of the bass notes of course, as the ukulele doesn’t have anywhere near the same range as a guitar (about 2 octaves compared to 3.5).
The Riddle - Nik Kershaw Ukulele fingerstyle - YouTube
I really liked this song when I was a teenager, there was something about Nik Kershaw’s songwriting that was special. And working on this arrangement made me realise just how carefully he crafted his songs. This was a pop star whose pretty face was all over magazine covers and girls’ bedroom walls – but I find it hard to imagine that many stars today could produce something like this song. The melody in the verse and the chorus is quite simple – I heard him say in an interview that it was inspired by some of the Celtic music he had been listening to at the time. But the arrangement is anything but simple, I’ve rarely seen a song with so many chords!
How to Play Harmonics on your Ukulele (natural and artificial) - YouTube
The limited range of the ukulele (especially with high-G tuning) sometimes makes it difficult to make satisfying fingerstyle arrangements. There just aren’t enough octaves to have a melody and an accompaniment. I often use harmonics to play high notes that would be too much of a stretch to play while keeping a chord or bass note in the first position. I’ve made this tutorial to help you see how it’s done. In standard music notation, harmonics are shown as little diamonds instead of the normal oval notes and in Guitar Pro you’ll see the fretted note and the diamond. If the fretted note is D (2nd string 2nd fret) you’ll see the diamond showing another D an octave higher. So that means you hold the note on the 2nd fret with your fretting hand and touch the string above the 14th fret to sound the harmonic. Hopefully the video will make it clearer.
Here’s a great tune to practice campanella picking. Polyushka Polye (Meadowlands or Oh Fields our Fields in English) is a Russian song about a young recruit in the Russian Red Army, written in 1933.
If you’re new to campanella picking, notice how I sometimes play the same note in different places to avoid cutting off the first note. The first note, C, for example, is played on the second string eighth fret, then again on the first string fifth fret. Even a harp can’t play the same note twice at the same time! Play it through slowly and let those strings ring out loud and clear.
I’m sharing with you the first fingerpicking tune I ever learned (on the guitar) – my brother taught it to me and my sister, I taught it to my kids and now it’s your turn! When I learned it I was told that it was the theme to a kids TV program called Tales of the River Bank, but in fact only the first couple of bars have a slight resemblance to it, the rest is either made up or so simplified it doesn’t sound anything like it. But it’s a great exercise to get you started with fingerpicking on the uke and you can make it a lot more sophisticated should you wish.
Super Easy Fingerpicking Lesson for Ukulele - YouTube
Watch me play it through in the video and you’ll see that to begin with I just use my thumb on the open third string and my index finger for the melody which is played on the first and second strings. When you can do this easily you can use the same piece to practice your picking hand technique – classical guitarists alternate index and middle fingers when plucking a melody so why not try that? Or you could try playing it just with fingers, no thumb, and see what it’s like to assign one finger for each string.
I’ve also added a harmony which means plucking with your index and middle at the same time while alternating with your thumb. It gets a bit trickier at the end when you’ll need to play the first and fourth strings together (using your thumb and index, while alternating with your middle finger.
On the tabs the picking hand fingers are indicated by the letters P for thumb, I for index and M for middle (R is for ring but we’re not using it here).