“Bodysurfing” – Herb Ohta

Below is the lesson for “Bodysurfing” by Herb Ohta.

Helpful Tips

This instrumental jam is one of the most iconic compositions tied to ukulele music! Our version pays tribute to this in an exciting way as we’ve arranged it as a high-energy duet! The most difficult part of this arrangement is the heavy use of syncopation. Syncopation means that we are hitting off the beat. This can be tricky as playing off the beat doesn’t come as natural as playing on the beat.

There are two learning approaches we can take for tackling this with the first being to play by ear. This will be the easiest way, as you simply have to memorize the beats. For example, to do this, listen to bar 4 (ukulele #2 part). After you listen to it (looped, if needed), sing back the strum pattern. This will help you memorize it.

The second approach is to view it from a rhythmic standpoint. Which looks like:


Note: For 32nd notes, you can add an “&” to the start of the 16th count. So in the example above, the last two hits of beat 3 could be counted as: “& a”.

Listen to this measure being played at 90 and then 60 BPM:

The second approach requires an understanding of rhythmic notation. As these rhythms are tricky, I’d recommend counting sixteenth notes out loud and clapping on the beats before putting it onto the instrument. If you really want to gain a deep understanding of rhythmic notation, there is no better way than by learning to read standard notation.

Lastly, with 16th notes, remember to strum down on the downbeat and up on the upbeat. This looks like:

1 (down)
e (up)
& (down)
a (up)

Part 1 – Performance & Free Lesson

Part 2 – For Premium Members


Tab Play Along


Backing Track Play Along Sans Ukulele #1

Backing Track Play Along Sans Ukulele #2