Friday, January 21, 2022


                                                    Lil Rev @ Sam Ash in Clearwater, FL 

                                                       I'll See You In Citrus Blossom Time

                                                                  {Florida Blog Post #1}

For as many years as i can remember, i've been making a sojourn to Florida in the winter.

In the early days, there weren't many ukulele clubs to stop and teach at and there certainly

wasn't any covid to worry about. Tampa Bay Ukulele Society was the first club i visited way

back when, thanks in part to Steve Boisen and Jay Nunes warm welcome. I played shows

at the Tarpoon Springs Cultural Arts Center, Temples, Coffee Shops, Ty Olapai's Fort Lauderdale group

and a few retirement homes. The goal then as now, has been to escape from WI during the coldest,

darkest months and amp up our vitamin D levels, returning in the spring, as the robins 

began to sing. Over the years, we've made alot of close friends and even

have family living there now. 

Planning a tour in normal times is hard work. There's gigs to book, p.r. to stay on top of,

logistics and lodging, healthy food procurement {i'm dairy free and gluten free...can you say

pull over!}, plotting gas and mileage, route, hotels, lodging with friends, start times, arrival

times, merchandise packing, unpacking, selling, teaching material to send off, instruments

to manage, keeping track of everything you bring to a show. Protecting the family from the

vagaries and hazards of the road and weather....etc...etc. Anotherwards, its a lot of work!

Since we are in the midst of a pandemic, its a whole nother ballgame. Many of my peers

and some noteable pros are cancelling their tours, Adele just cancelled her Vegas residency!

We have been home for 2 years now. With every precaution in mind and each venue well

thought out we decided it was time to go. Nobody knows what the awaits us, but we feel

that we don't have the luxury of sitting our den any longer and must go out and be a part of

the world. For better or for worse! Do you know that line? We have great faith and we're

hoping for the best! Now excuse me while i go pack my luggage, stage all my gear by

front door and oh yeah! go vaccum and clean the mini-van out!

See You Soon

Lil Rev

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

An Interview with Ukulele Hunt's Al Wood

                          Interview & Spotlight On Uke Hunt W/Al Wood  

 The following post is part feature and part interview, that I did with Al Wood of the Ukulele Blog: Uke Hunt.

I have been a huge fan of Al's work with the blog for years now and feel that his effort to shine a spotlight on the ukulele, is worthy of any and all accolades, that one could muster.  

Al's work transcribing intros, solos, riffs, songs, posting uke news, and highlighting noteworthy you tube videos, makes his blog a real one-stop shop for both the aspiring ukulele student, as well as the real players, who want to brush up on an old riff or perhaps find out what's up and coming in the Uke world.

In addition to his work running the blog, Al has written a number of instructional e-books which are all available on his site as well as the print book: Ukulele For Dummies.

In an era when it's become very hard to maintain a physical print magazine, offers us all a glimpse of what a great blog can and should be. 

Ukulele Songstress Victoria Vox agrees with me when she recently said: "Apart from Al having the best ukulele site name ever, he's been around sharing his love of ukulele and promoting artists for as long as I can remember. The website is really a great resource for all things ukulele...and one could get lost for hours, or days!" 

Fellow Ukulele Crooner Danielle Ate The Sandwich adds: "Its always an honor to be mentioned on Uke Hunt, Al has mucho personal style and has some of the most interesting cover song choices on his You Tube channel." 

At the end of the day...those of us who ply our trade writing songs and hoping for a little recognition along the way, its guys like Al who's life work, helps others to discover something beautiful and for this we are grateful! 

So let's find out how Uke Hunt first got started...

Al says: "I started the blog in May of 2007 in the spirit of "Be The change you want to see in the world." He goes on to say "there wasn't much ukulele information online at the time and that he kinda got swept along when things were just starting to build steam." 

Prior to the blog, Al was doing a lot of guitar tabs for the Ultimate Guitar site and said that "it was natural to move into doing ukulele tabs, which in turn, led to creating my own site." (Folks reading this blog post today, should note, that the ukulele world was only just developing online back in 2007 and it's a very different landscape out there today. )Wood says, "At the time, there were only a couple of people doing tabs like Dominator and Pascal Fricke. Once I started my own site, it quickly grew into one of the bigger ukulele resources on the net." 

In a nice tip of the hat, Dominic Pieranunzio of Dominator Tabs, told me that Al was a really good player and that his work was "very accurate." Its always nice to get accolades from your peers and Dom like Al was one of the first people to put tabs up on the internet making him somewhat of a trailblazer like Al. 

( Dom's tabs can be found here now: )

Ukulele Guru Craig Chee points out "early in my career, I received many emails from fans who found me via Uke Hunt. Chee says, "I'll forever be grateful to Al for all of the energy he put into helping to connect the international ukulele community."  


Al Wood of The Blog Uke Hunt Doing Rhapsody in Blue

Wood says "the frenzy has waned since those earlier days, as much of the internet has been gobbled up by social media sites trying to maximize profits and realizing there's a lot of money to be squeezed out of the ukulele." "In the early days, the online ukulele world was small enough that you could keep track of it. I knew or at least knew of, most of the people involved in it. But the number of ukulele players online now is impossible to keep track of." Wood says his biggest motivation is "wanting to help people achieve a goal in their ability to play a certain tune and feel proud of themselves." 

I asked Al about his process of transcribing tunes and arranging songs...
Here's Al's Response: 
"The process varying wildly from song to song. But usually starts with listening to a song, picking out the chords, and melody and getting a general sense of how I'm gonna approach the song."

"The two main tools I use are Guitar Pro and The Capo App."

"The Capo App lets you slow down the music and change the key. Which I find invaluable when you're trying to arrange on Uke." 

"Its a fun puzzle reducing a whole song down to the point where it can be played on a ukulele and with the re-entrant string, there are so many options for any particular line that it never gets dull to me." 

Fountain of Uke: Do you have any favorite songwriters? 
Al: "On the songwriter side of things, Zoe Bestel (, her last album Transience was beautiful. She collaborated with Tobias Elof." 

Fountain of Uke: After writing the book: Ukulele For Dummies, what has the response been and are you thinking of doing any other hard copy or e-books? 
Al: "Ukulele For Dummies was such a huge undertaking I felt spent afterwards. There wasn't a whole lot I felt I'd left uncovered after that. The one thing I'd like to write is a book on arranging for the ukulele. But I have a hard time conceiving how I'd go about structuring that." 

Fountain of Uke: What's your desert island Uke and album? 
Al: "Definitely a Fluke for the ukulele. You'd need something sturdy and plastic to survive and the shape would make for a good paddle if you attempted to raft your way out. As for the album: Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I never get tired of that album. I think it's a masterpiece. Its also got heavy involvement from Bon Iver. I think those two are the greatest musicians of the 21st century so far." 

Fountain of Uke: Of All of the ditties that you've tabbed out, which one has become an ear worm that won't go away and why do you like to play it?
Al: Craig Robertson's Staten Island Slide
"It's my go to tune for warming up. Its the perfect ukulele tune. It uses so many of the tricks that work well on the ukulele and evokes the jazz age uke boom so well." 

Fountain of Uke: Any advice for the beginning ukulele player? 
Al: "Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent. If you make a mistake, you're often likely to make the same mistake again the next time you play. But if you can plant the muscle memory for playing something in your head by playing things slowly and without mistakes, you can gradually increase the tempo and play it cleanly." 

Fountain of Uke wishes to thank Al for his time and for all of the incredible ukulele mojo that he's put out for all of us to enjoy and mull. We believe Al deserves a lot more credit for his contribution to the ukulele world online and thus this blog post. If you agree, please share this post and let your ukulele friends know about Al's work and URL. 

If you'd like to support Al's work going forward he has a Patreon account at:

Here's an encore of Al Wood doing a Kanye West Cover called: All of The Lights/Violent Crimes 

We hope you enjoyed this feature/interview! 

Lil Rev 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Join Lil Rev For New Year's Eve 12/31

Lil Rev will be presenting a special virtual New Years Eve show on Zoom. 

Door Prizes including 2 pieces of original Art Work that depict Lil Rev in earlier era's of his musical career as well as CDs, and his big announcement for student of the year award. 

Lil Rev will perform on ukulele, mountain dulcimer, harmonica, guitar, mandolin, tenor and banjo. 

Special Guest: TBA

Register: $20.00

Hope to see you! 


Monday, November 1, 2021

Howdy Friends,

I'm really excited To announce my winter schedule of classes for Mead Library of Sheboygan, WI.

I have been partnering with Mead for many years and when the pandemic began, all of my in-person classes moved online to their FB Live Stream. 

For awhile I was doing Monday and Thursday nights, then it moved to Monday night only once a week. 

These days I am doing three days in a row, usually about the middle of each month. 

Every month I offer a variety of classes that cover technique, repertoire, style, and more! 

I realize that many of you may not be on FB. 

Often the classes are uploaded to You Tube, so you can search and find some of them there if you cannot make the "Live" sessions. 

The classes are free, though I do solicit for tips via the virtual tip jar on the homepage of my website 

The classes all begin at 6:30pm CT and go from 45 minutes to 1 hour in length.

Typically, I average 25-50 students from all over the world. 

I hope you can join us one of these night! 


Lil Rev

Monday, June 7, 2021

Summer Virtual Uke Classes W/Lil Rev @ Mead Library

Howdy Ukulele Pals, 

I'm looking forward to a great summer of learning and study with my ukulele students from all over the world! 

We meet most mondays at 6:30pm CT on Mead Library's Facebook Live Stream {Sheboygan, WI}.

Lil Rev teaches multi-level style. Meaning, everything he teaches is geared towards a variety learning levels. 

The classes are free and open to the public.  

Tips are most appreciated via lilrev's virtual tip jar at: 

Each week we present a different subject relating to the ukulele including: Tunes, Techniques, Traditions, History, and occasionally a special guest. 

We are offering a worldclass schedule of uke classes! 

Hope you'll join us!  


Lil Rev 

                                                        Lil Rev @ Las Cruces Uke Fest 

                                                                Photo Credit: Craig Chee 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Ukulele For All Book Review

Educational Book Review By: Lil Rev

Ukulele For All - Beginning Method For Group of Individual Study 

Ukulele for All, is a 57 page method book written by Jenny Peters and her sister Rebecca Bogart. 

The book was published by Kjos Music Company {KJOS} in 2017, to meet the growing demand for curriculum, that is classroom friendly for kids of all ages.   

What makes this book so special is that author Jenny Peters has been a general music and orchestra teacher in the public schools for many years and her sister Rebecca is a classically trained pianist with a wealth of music theory and performance in her background. 

Jenny leads local ukulele classes for groups and kids in the Chicago area and their many song books like: 21 Songs in 6 Days, Easy Songs, and 21 Easy Songs For Christmas are all Amazon favorites. 

Because there are so many ukulele books on the market, its important to note that these kind of credentials serve to remind us that the authors have a real connection to the ukulele and are intimately involved in community music education. 

The book teaches, tuning, instrument identification, practice tips, basic strumming, and melody playing in both tab and standard music notation.

I particularly like that the authors included finger number positions so that the student knows what finger he or she should use to fret a given note. 

Especially important in this age of visuals, is an interactive video supplement to the book, so you can follow with video to firm up the songs. 

As an author of many ukulele books and as someone who teaches ukulele to private students for over 30 years, I have learned that its always best to have both tab and standard notation. 

If you really want to encourage music reading, you can always cover up the tab line, but the reality is, most kids today are going online to learn the songs they want to learn via chords and lead sheets. This book supplements that inevitable process by teaching ukulele pedagogy so that student can then use this as a springboard into whatever most interests them musically. I say this because there are a number of method books on the market that do not include tab and unsuspecting online purchasers need to be aware of this when looking for a good book. 

Another great feature of this book is the wealth of world music, i.e. songs that are derived from a wide variety of cultural traditions including Germany, Israel, America, Mexico, Korea, Scotland, France, and Morocco. 

The book is nicely rounded out with blues studies, holiday songs and fingerpicking. 

As a former grade school music teacher myself and former college music history lecturer, I give this book an A grade. It's a nice starting point for teaching ukulele privately or in the classroom. 

This book could then be supplemented with any of the authors easy strum books like: 21 Songs in 6 Days

Check out author Jenny Peters in acton playing this cool tune from the book called: Lonely Blues


The Book can be purchased at or Amazon:

Reviewed by-Lil Rev 1/4/21 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Slide Ukulele & Online Learning

{Preview: This is a double-post about both online learning during the pandemic and Slide Ukulele!}

The pandemic brought about a flurry of interest in online studies. 

If you were a ukulele teacher, with an established online curriculum, already up and running pre-covid it was cause to holler hallelujah! 

If you weren't, like me, then you'd better come up with some cool classes and quick! {I'll let you be the judge}. In fact, 2020 will go down as the year I created more content than any other year in my 30 year career as a ukulele player, entertainer and instructor. {Thus my Intro To Slide Ukulele Class on 12/8 via Mead Library FB Live}

Most of my time, I've spent creating physical books, and touring the ukulele superhighway teaching in-person workshops at ukulele clubs and festivals all over North America. So the Covid crisis felt not only like a sucker punch {which I can take} but ultimately, many of us got caught with our pants down, not having an online school, course, or package to market, as folks began looking for places to study while quarantining. So we all jumped on FB live! Then Zoom. 

The reality is, I love to teach! In fact, I live to teach, so these things really matter to me alongside the fact that I happen to make my living from teaching. 

As for an online Lil Rev Ukulele School, that is about to become a reality in 2021. Stay tuned! 

Back to the story...

Everyone realized that this would be a great time to build their skills while laying low and staying close to home. If ever you wanted to learn finger-style ukulele, improvisation, chord melody, basic skills, strumming or any other facet of study, one things for sure....2020 was the year to do it.

Pros have to keep on upping the ante as well! I chose to woodshed on slide ukulele! 

As an instructor and performer, I've always loved slide guitar. I grew up listening to Duane Allman, John Hammond Jr, Blind Willie Johnson, Bukkah White, Robert Johnson, Ry Cooder, Bob Brozman, Fred McDowell and many others.

Locally, I've spent the better part of 30 years backing some of the best slide players in WI while on harmonica. See pic below of me with my longtime music pal and friend John Nicholson. John and I co-wrote the book: Fiddle Tunes for Ukulele. John is one of my favorite living slide players and his slide influence has really inspired and informed my harp playing and now my own efforts to build a repertoire of slide tunes on the ukulele. 

So you see, it was only a matter of time before I decided to start playing slide on the ukulele. 

Quarantining means more time to watch videos, experiment and work up tunes. 

The person most responsible for my forays into Slide playing, is my wife Jenna, who bought me a National Steel Bodied Ukulele for my birthday this year. Once that happened, I was all over! 

What I'm Doing With The Slide: 

Mostly, I'm arranging pre-war blues stuff, but I'm also playing a lot of bluegrass and old time, with slide as a small added ingredient, or just enough slide to spice it up and make it interesting in a way that the ukulele world isn't likely to of heard all that much. I find that the slide can be used as a condiment would. Not to overpower a tune, but to help dress up the taste a tad. The difference in my approach is this...If I am playing blues, the slide leads the way, if I am playing old time or bluegrass I'm using the slide as an ornament in small doses. For example, there's a big difference between how I use the slide on, The Sky Is Crying by Elmore James, and how I use the slide on Columbus Stockade or Rolling In My Sweet Baby's Arms. All of this of course, is really evolving fast for me as I'm spending alot of time working on slide styles on the ukulele and am having a blast doing it! 

My favorite players are Paul Rishell, Fred McDowell, Jerry Douglas {dobro} Blind Lemon's Jack Knife Slide, Blind Willie Davis Gospel Blues, All of the preaching Bluesman who used slide, Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor, Lil Ed, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Charlie Patton, local music pal Peter Roller {who plays dobro and lap steel on most of my records, and too many others to list! 

Here's a cool 8 bar blues called Crow Jane Blues that's a good example of how I'm using the slide on the baritone ukulele. {I plan to record a national steel piece soon!}

I digress, as an aside, another thing I'm really digging is playing, clawhammer on the ukulele, usually I do this on the soprano, but lately I've been doing it on the baritone or my new Beansprout Banjo Baritone. Here's a cool example of me doing an old fiddle tune called: Old Molly Hare

Published Resources For Slide Ukulele Studies: 
At present, there isn't alot of instruction on slide ukulele; if you scour You Tube you'll find some, but not a whole lot relating to good bluesy ukulele slide. Fred Sokolow's Slide and Slack Key Book published by Hal Leonard, is a good starting point. The last 3 pages of Dave Rubin's, Hal Leonard Blues Ukulele Method Book is dedicated to slide ukulele, but more as a footnote and not a feature. 

Suffice it to say, someday,  I aim to produce an in-depth primer on slide ukulele that digs in really deep. Right now, I'm earning my slide stamps! 

Teaching Slide
For those who'd like to see what I'm doing with the slide, here's a virtual class I did on December 8th 2020 for Mead Library in Sheboygan. I taught this as an Intro To Slide UkuleleSlide Class 2020

My pal Michael August, attended the class, and says my class on slide ukulele inspired him...I'm not buying it! I think its the other way around...Mike is tearing it up on the slide ukulele, and I cannot wait to jam with him when this pandemic is over! He's sounding really nice on the slide ukulele! 

Here's Michael's take on a tune I taught in my intro to slide class: Elmore James' The Sky is Crying. In my class, my goal was to teach absolute beginners how to find the I, IV, V chords and how to slide into the chords using, 8th note and triplet phrasings; as well as proper slide intonation. Michael took it to the next level with his use of fills, 12th & 14th fret slide embellishments, 7th chord exaggerations,  fretted turnarounds, runs and much more! Thus, I give Michael an A+ grade on his own rendition! Mike's advice to those, wanting to learn to play slide, is to focus on "learning how to mute and putting the right amount  pressure on the strings while fretting with the slide." 

Here's Mr. August doing Howling Wolf's Little Red Rooster

Great Job Michael! Keep it up and Please Post More! 

Tunings: I've been using C tuning alot on the soprano, which is GCEG. That means you only have to re-tune one string! In addition to C tuning, I've been using G tuning {GBDG}. Dig, there are many tunings, like D tuning, F tuning, Bb tuning, and a slew of others are a worth exploring to get to the keys you want to play in. You can also use tune to C for example and then put a capo on the 2nd fret and you're now in D or at the 4th fret, you'd be in E. I advocate having a couple Ukes and keep em in different tunings so you are more amp to learn the scales, positions, and chord shapes that are necessary to master those tunings. Remember, the bar or slide shapes are always gonna be the same in terms of I, IV, V and other open tuned chord positions. If you know how to transpose, then the shapes remain the same, while the keys change. For example in C tuning, the IV chord F, is bar {or slide} on the 5th fret. In G tuning the IV chord is C, and that's also bar or slide on the 5th fret and so on, as you change tunings. 

Same thing for the V chord, in C tuning, the V chord is G which is bar or slide on the 7th fret. In G tuning, the V chord is D, which is bar or slide on the 7th fret. Point being, you only have to remember the fret number and how to transpose the chord names and you can easily change tunings without having to relearn I, IV, V chord shape names. That goes for the II chord and others in the circle of 5th's wheelhouse. 

When using the Baritone to play slide,  the options, for guitar inspired slide tunings open up exponentially.. 

The two tunings I've been using on the baritone are CFAC or DGBD as well as a Banjo Inspired C minor tuning: CGCEb which I use on alot of cool modal Appalachian stuff and my Jewish and Yiddish Repertoire. 

Here are some of the Main Tunings I use on the Baritone Ukulele: 
Open D tuning: DF#AD
Open G Tuning: DGBD
Open Gm Minor Tuning: DGBbD
Open A Tuning: EAC#E
Open E: EG#BE
Open C: CGCE
Open Em: EGBE

Strings as they relate to slide playing on the Ukulele: 
The big conundrum that you'll run into when you start on your slide journey, is that nylon strings and slide  don't really work well together. Wound strings are the way to go! The closer you can get to playing wound/steel/bronze strings is where you need to be. Why? Metals produce slide tone and nylon sucks butt! 
The problem with wound is that they fray and sometimes at the most undesirable times, like on stage! 

For Concert and Tenor Uke, Shoot for a wound G and C and then nylon on the E and A. 

For Baritone, go for a wound D and G string coupled with two nylon strings on the B and E strings.

        I like Aquila Brand Strings  for my concert and tenor ukuleles. 

For baritone, I use wound Guadalupe Brand Strings:  Super cool little family run business in L.A. 

Slides: My favorite slides are from Rocky Mountain Slide Company 
They will customize a slide to fit your finger! 

Bottom line, stay tuned folks, I'm woodshedding slide like madman in 2021 and when this damn pandemic is over, I'm gonna blow the roof off the joint with the some smokey slide, kosher BBQ! 

                                To Close, Dig This Deep Cut:  Son House's Death Letter Blues: 

Here's to more slide on the Ukulele ! 
Lil Rev 

                                                                   Lil Rev @ Sam Ash in Clearwater, FL                                      ...