James Hill - Voodoo Chile

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27 Dec 2015

James Hill - Voodoo Chile

Regular Got A Ukulele readers will know that I don't flood this site with videos, and really only tend to share them when they stand out to me. James Hill videos normally do that for me.

But I am sharing this for reasons other than the technical standard on display (which, for me, is rather wonderful).

You see, I like James because he pushes some boundaries with what the ukulele can do. Some may not like the music (I'm a Hendrix fan, so I like it just fine - even if James has mis-spelled the name of the track he is covering). Some will say 'you shouldn't play that on a ukulele... And that is really one of the main reasons I am sharing it. You see, I am a strong believer that no matter what the instrument, taking it out of the comfort zone of most people is a HEALTHY thing to do with it. It shows others that the instrument is not so limited, and that has to be a good thing.

The ukulele does, in my view, suffer from being typecast, of people assuming it is a one trick pony, of people assuming that it is 'only' for happy Hawaiian stuff. I say not. I say watch and listen to James Hill.

If you don't like the tune, admire the skill of his playing. If you don't think this should be played on a ukulele... well... it's a musical instrument - they don't come with rule books.

(And if you are interested, James is playing a Mya Moe ukulele)


  1. Good job James - I'm not a great fan of making a ukulele sound like a guitar but I admire the skills involved. I'm pretty old school and like the traditional ukulele sound but each to their own, diversity is our friend.

  2. If I could find a way to make a ukulele sound like a tuba or an oboe, it would only open the range of music I would be able to aspire to play. I love to play Hawaiian, folk, bluea, pop, rock,rude and funny, novelty Formby songs, Spanish love songs, and a touch of Flamenco. Thisbacid rock soundbcomes from routing a uke with a pickup through a solid distortion pedal to a decent amp. It sounds great in the hands of a master. . . now, I have to try. If trying it (even if I fail) makes me even a pinch better, then bless him for that. Rock On, James. (Oh, and correct the spelling: "Chile" not "Child".)

  3. Jimi Hendrix recorded two versions of the song on "Electric Ladyland". The first was a lengthy jam called "Voodoo Chile". The second version was a more rock and roll version called "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)".

  4. I know that he is using a Low G string, but is James in a standard uke tuning? I'm trying to do the chords that he's doing in the video, but they just aren't the same...

  5. knowing James - perhaps not - might be an open tuning!

  6. I was impressed when I saw the chopsticks video, amazed by the Billie Jean video and just plain dumbstruck by this one. Can mere mortals ever learn to shred the Uke like that?

  7. Jon - when I say I don't share videos on here that often unless they REALLY impress me - exactly!


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