View Full Version : The Machete TAB Book - Volume 1

05-14-2015, 08:19 PM
Hi uke people,

[Not sure which sub forum to post this under, so please move it if needs be]

Rob MacKillop here. I've tabbed out ten of the best tunes for the Machete - a 19th-century uke-related instrument. The music for the machete is beautiful (waltzes, polkas, etc) but is hard to find, and then only in standard notation.

I did offer this to Mel Bay, but they rejected it on the grounds that the uke requires a different tuning. The fourth string should be a low G, and you have to tune the first string down from a to g. This gives a tuning (from bass to treble) of GCEG.

The book is download-only, for the price of a posh coffee:


Here I play one of the pieces, Clara Polka, on a Mele Concert uke. It gives a good idea of the contents of the book:


Hippie Dribble
05-14-2015, 09:39 PM
Brilliant stuff Rob. I need this.

05-14-2015, 11:03 PM

I'm getting a newly-made machete in a couple of weeks, once it arrives from Canada. More info to follow.

05-15-2015, 12:53 AM
Is a Machete played like a musical saw , how do you tune it , and do you need to keep an edge on it ?

My local B and Q has a fairly good selection ......:rolleyes:

05-15-2015, 02:24 AM
cut the crap dude. ;)

05-15-2015, 03:57 AM
cut the crap dude. ;)

So that would be keep an edge on it then , righty o dokey:D

Luke El U
05-15-2015, 04:47 AM
Hey Mr. MacKillop, I've seen your name and face just about every day for the past few years. Your Sanz, Briggs, and Celtic uke books are almost always open on my music stand. You inspired me to transcribe the rest of the Sanz and Briggs stuff for uke. That has been a great learning experience. It led me to check out the other antebellum banjo music as well as other 17th century baroque guitar music which will work on uke.

Then there's the Scottish Guitar book. Love it. Some of it I found can work on uke which got me interested in the Balcarres and Skene lute manuscripts. Which leads me to ask if you would recommend the transcriptions edited by Matthew Spring as a source for me to possibly make further transcriptions of the music for the uke. I mean, the book is expensive, do you think there is enough material in it that would even work on the uke? I dig your YouTube renditions of it on a Fender Strat. So much so that I went out and bought my own Strat to play the music on.

And then there's the Machete music. You got me hooked on that, too, so I have the Manuel Morais book and have eagerly been waiting a long time for the Machete videos you've promised. ;)

So, what I'm saying is that you've had a huge influence on playing and knowledge of so much great music. Hopefully, we'll see many more new books and resources from you in the not too distant future.

Thank you kindly!

05-15-2015, 06:14 AM
Ha! Coincidence. I downloaded these songs last night.

As I haven't really been playing much of anything at all since Katrina I had decided with the 10th anniversary coming up I needed to get back to some of the things I used to do. I decided the instrument to start on was one of our Tenor Largos. I already had it set up in Open C (g c' e' g') when during some correspondence with Rob about our strings for the original Machete tuning (d' g' b' e") he told me about the downloads. No more excuses, here was just what I had been thinking about doing, with all the transcribing already done by Rob!

Not having played tab either, I was surprised how easy it was compared to what it would have taken for someone so out of practice to use the standard sheet music. I managed to fumble through Clara Polka in no time, and can say that while these tunes were written for an instrument with a short scale, I found nothing difficult on this first song, at least, in playing it on a 20" scale.

Thanks Rob!

05-15-2015, 06:14 AM
Awesome resource, thanks!

05-15-2015, 10:10 AM
Did you point out to Mel Bay ...

Yes, of course. I think that as they have a dozen books by me, they might be of a mind that that is enough! I wouldn't blame them. Also, my contact was always Collin Bay, grandson of Mel, but he has recently left the company. So, there are new brooms around the workplace. I don't mind that they won't publish it. I could find some other company, but I'm happy to try download sales for a while. I have seen a few members from here buy it today, and have had positive feedback.

05-15-2015, 10:11 AM
Is a Machete played like a musical saw , how do you tune it , and do you need to keep an edge on it ?

My local B and Q has a fairly good selection ......:rolleyes:

Guitarists have their axes, so it's only right that we uke players have our machetes :-)

05-15-2015, 10:17 AM
Hey Mr. MacKillop, I've seen your name and face just about every day for the past few years.

Hi Luke. I've been aware of your activity, and I think you might have emailed me about Balcarres before. There is a huge amount of material in the Balcarres manuscript, some 252 piece, if I remember correctly, and I think much of it could be adapted to the uke if you don't just think of the notes, but are sensitive to the nuances of the music. There is an art to transcription, as I'm sure you are aware.

I will be making more machete videos when I get my machete in a couple of weeks. I'll start a new thread on it after its arrival.

Cheers, Luke. Glad my work has been a positive influence.

05-15-2015, 10:19 AM
Ha! Coincidence. I downloaded these songs last night.

Hi Dirk. Nice to see you here. I look forward to hearing you play Clara Polka on a Tenor Largos! It sounds great already, just thinking about that!

05-15-2015, 01:08 PM
This is a fabulous collection Rob, thank you for making them available. They're all very enjoyable tunes & fun to play!

05-15-2015, 07:10 PM
I look forward to trying out these transcriptions, and look forward to hearing you play them on a machete...thanks!

05-15-2015, 08:35 PM
Thanks, folks.