AUS Open Mic

The TUGsters played at the Austin Ukulele Society open mic at Kick Butt Coffee on Saturday, February 16. Thanks to everyone who came out to play – it was a blast – and here’s a little video of our TUG version of Midnight Special.

Tug Song Files – Demystified

We use an iPad program called OnSong to project our songs each week at TUG. The songs we project are formatted using a simple text file format called ChordPro. By using the ChordPro format files in OnSong we can do things like change the key on the fly, display chord diagrams in different places, set the size and color of the fonts and chords, etc.

The format of a ChordPro file is really pretty simple. The chords are placed in square brackets ([]) where they should appear in the lyrics.

[C] Cecilia, you're [F] breaking my [C] heart, 
you're [F] shaking my [C] confidence [G7] daily
Oh, [F] Cecili-[C]-a, I'm [F] down on my [C] knees;
I'm [F] begging you [C] please to come [G7] home.

Note that the chords can be placed in the middle of words. For TUG when a chord appears within a word we add dashes before and after the chord (ex-[G7]-ample). Also, for TUG we try to keep a space between any word and a chord – this just makes the final chord chart a little easier to read.

The file format is a simple text file that you can edit with TextEdit or Notepad. It is better not to use a word processor such as Word – they add hidden characters which can make the song format strangely.

So, a simple text file of the lyrics with chords in square brackets is all you need to format a song for us to display. Everything else is completely optional. Here’s a few other formatting options you can use.

If you’d like to add musical directives – like “Play softly here” – you can use a comment tag. Put it on it’s own line and enclose it with curly brackets ({}).

{comment:Play Softly Here}
{c:Play Softly Here}

Since choruses tend to repeat, you can just enter the chorus once, then merely refer to it later in the song. You can define the chorus using {start_of_chorus} and {start_of_chorus} (or, if you like, {soc} and {eoc}.)

A very merry [G]Christmas - And a happy New [A]Year
Let's hope it's a [Em]good one - [G]Without any [D]fear [E]
A very merry [G]Christmas - And a happy New [A]Year
Let's hope it's a [Em]good one - [G]Without any [D]fear [E]

For TUG a chorus marked this way will be indented and bolded. When the chorus comes up later in the song you can use a comment line to indicate it:


We always add a title and composer line in our TUG songs. Enter the title at the top of your file like this:

{title:Let it Be}
{t:Let it Be}

The author line should be right below the title – we use the subtitle tag for this:

{subtitle:John Lennon/Paul McCartney}
{st:John Lennon/Paul McCartney}

For our TUG files – the first two lines look like this:

{title:Let it Be}
{subtitle:John Lennon/Paul McCartney}

That’s really all there is to it. Here’s a short song file in our TUG format. You can see the additional optional fields at the top of the file.

{t:Bow Tie Daddy}
{st: Frank Zappa - 1968}
{key:C }
{book: Q119}
{c: First Sung Note: C }

[C] Bow tie daddy dontcha [A7] blow your top
[D7] Everything's [G7] under con-[C]-trol
[C] Bow tie daddy dontcha [A7] blow your top
[D7] 'Cause you think you're gettin' too [G7] old

[C] Don't try to do no [C7] thinkin'
Just [F] go on with your [G7] drinkin'
[C] Just have your fun, you [A7] old son of a gun
[D7] Then drive home [G7] in your [C] Lincoln

[C] [C] [C] [B] [C]

And here’s what it looks like formatted in OnSong.

OnSong formatted ChordPro file

Check out the links in the ChordPro Format Sources section to the right for places to find songs in ChordPro format and tools for creating and viewing ChordPro files.

Tuesday Uke-Along III

The weather did not cooperate on September 11 for our Oskar Blues Uke-Along – so we decamped to the Central Market on Lamar – where Nancy hosted first TUG meeting long ago. We had a great time. Once we set up the loaners folks got interested – and pretty quickly all the loaners were out – and we had a whole table of ladies doing a ukulele Flash Class. Once we got to playing we had a series of dancers, and drop-ins – and everyone seemed to have a great time. The beer didn’t hurt.

In 2019 we’re going to go to a quarterly schedule for our Uke-Alongs – the first Tuesdays in January, April, July, and October. The January Uke_along will be January 1 – so we’ll plan for something special that day.

See you at the next Uke-Along!

Tuesday Uke-Along II – Oscar Blues

We had a great time at Oscar Blues – the weather cooperated – the rain stopped – and it didn’t get too hot.

We had a nice song circle out under the trees

David John, and Ashley enjoying the shade – and the ukes















David, Marty, and Ashley rocking out on Toot Toot.








Laura, Eric, Stephanie and Brad- Eric and Brad are playing a loaner ukes! The infection is spreading!







We had a great time – we’ll plan for another Uke- for sometime in September – check back for the date.  If you’d like the song sheet from our July meeting – here you go.  TUG_JULY18.

Marty’s Magic Uke Stand

Marty designed and built a great, lightweight ukulele stand that we’re using for our loaner ukes. You can build it for 1, 3, or 5 ukuleles – enough for everyone!

Our loaner concert ukes in Marty’s Magic Uke stand.

Click here to download a copy of the plans for yourself.

TUG at Día de Los Niños y Día de Los Libros

TUG did a session at the St John’s Branch Library for their Día de Los Niños y Día de Los Libros. We performed a couple of songs – and Rich reprised his hula.

Rich shows how the paniolos do it to Ulapalapkua

We followed that with a sing-along with the kids and their parents – and finished up with FishHeads – wearing fish hats, of course.

Fish Heads with Fish Hats

Finally there was a Ukulele petting zoo – we took our 5 loaner ukes – and the library had 7 – the kids snatched them up and Rich had them strumming away.

It was a blast.

Having fun making music

Happy New Year (let’s celebrate for a few weeks, since the U.S. has taken quite a beating)! We’re celebrating, of course, by never quitting our weekly meetings. Next one is Jan 26, and we hope we see you there. Please join us if you like! Each Tuesday at 7:00pm CST we have a (very) casual Online Open Mic – we play a couple of songs together, and then folks get an opportunity to play for the group. If you’re not on the mailing list, shoot us an email at


Ready to Log In? If you’d like to log into our Tuesday, January 26 Zoom meeting at 7 p.m., here’s how to do it. You don’t need to perform a song–you can listen or strum along–and we usually provide a chart of the lyrics and chords. But we’re always happy to have you perform for the group. Join us!

Join the Zoom Meeting on Tues, Jan 26, 7 p.m.–just click on this link and follow the buttons (say “Yes” to the audio and video):


We used to email people invitations to our Zoom meetings, but since they don’t change, the instructions are below. We also capture the meetings on video – OnLine Open Mic Videos.

We also have play along videos – check out the Member Videos and the Spring 2020 Songbook videos. And since we’re all pretty much sitting at home most of the time – this is a good chance to work on some new strums with our TUG Strum Class videos. We’re adding videos (and other stuff) almost every day – so check back.

We’ll be updating our calendar with local online events – and check out Ukulele Magazine’s Live Stream Events Calendar – lots of great stuff going on in the ukulele world.

Take care – and keep playing.

We’re a group of uke players who wish we could meet each Tuesday at 7:00pm at The Hancock Recreation Center – 811 E. 41st Street, Austin, TX. (Hancock Rec Center Web). It’ll happen again, we hope, and we’ll let you know when.

We open our meetings by playing a couple of songs that we haven’t played for a while. Then we play a few songs from our current, and ever-changing quarterly songbook. Folks bring in songs they like and we try new songs – we’re open to anything! We project the song sheets on the wall – and we have loaner ukes at every meeting – so you don’t need anything! At the end of each quarter we pull a dozen or so songs from our current songbook, print song sheets,  and have an open uke jam at a local watering hole – we call it a UkeAlong.  We take our loaner ukes and usually get some bystanders involved  – it’s a lot of fun.

From 6:30pm to 7:00pm each Tuesday we have a gentle warm up where we play one and two-chord songs.

If you have any questions drop us an email – We’re very informal, and this is a friendly group – so come out and play ukes with us.