February 9, 2016

Ukulele lesson for 'Surrender' by Cheap Trick


Had this tune in my head and wanted to learn it… so I did! Note, the tabs below are in the key of G – which is quite simply a decision made because the chord shapes work out well with the various riffs. I couldn’t even tell you which key the actual song is in (I believe it may be B, but don’t quote me on that).

In the tabs below, I mapped out each measure to precisely four generalized strums. Obviously, you’ll want to get into a groove and adopt a strumming pattern that works for you – which may translate into more or less than these 4 precise strums. The key with the ukulele approach to this song (in my opinion) is to capture the accent on the correct string – usually one of the top two strings – to match the melody at that part of the song.

Audio of me playing

For context while using the tabs below, here’s a clip of me playing. Even in my delicate whispering, I butchered the chorus lyrics. Forgive me.

For easy reference, you can jump to these points in the recording to match the tabs below:

Verse, part 1

"Mama told me, yeah she told me..."

---3--3--3--3------2--2--2--2-----3--3--2--0-----3---    x 2
   G               D              C              G

Verse, part 2

"Just the other day I heard..."

   C               D               G

---2--3--3--3------2--3--3--3------3----  stay on normal G for 8 counts
   C               D               G


"Mommy's alright..."

   G              Em             D              C


---2--2--2--2-------4--4--4--4-----2--2--2--2-----0--0--0--0----  stay on C for a bit, then to post-chorus
   G                Em             D              C


---3--3--3--3------5--5--5--5---  repeat
   G               D