May 4, 2017

Ukulele Tricks: Easy Capo Trick - Play Ghost Riders in the Sky


Ghost Riders in the Sky by Stan Jones; Behind the Music

The song tells a folk tale of a cowboy who has a vision of red-eyed, steel-hooved cattle thundering across the sky, being chased by the spirits of damned cowboys.

One warns him that if he does not change his ways, he will be doomed to join them, forever "trying to catch the Devil's herd across these endless skies".


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​Jones said that he had been told the story when he was 12 years old by an old cowboy friend.

Using a Capo


A capo is used to change the key a song is in, either to make it easier to play or to make it a bit higher so it's easier to sing to.

More here on how to use a capo

Don't have a capo, no problem, you might call this a poor man's capo.


Here's a neat trick to make a capo out of things you have around the house.

​You will need to push down the strings behind the second fret for the song below. As pictured below, you can place a pencil just behind the desired fret and use rubber bands to keep it in place.

The pencil needs to be held firmly enough against the strings so the all of the notes sound clearly, so make sure the rubber band is nice and tight.





Place the pencil just behind the second fret for this song. It will then be in Bm.

You can also play it in Am without a capo.


Play Ghost Riders in the Sky


Use the Pop Strum from the Play ukulele NOW Method and Songbook

An (Am) old cowpoke went riding out one (C) Hot and windy day,

Up (Am) on a ridge he rested as he (C) went along his way,

When (Am) all at once a mighty herd Of red eyed cows he saw,

A-(F) plowin' through the ragged skies

And (Am) up a cloudy draw.

Yippee-yi- (C) ya, yippee-yi- (Am) yo,

(F) Ghost Riders in the (Am) sky.

Their brands were still on fire and their hooves were made of steel,
Their horns were black and shiny and their hot breath he could feel,
A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky,
For he saw the riders comin' hard
He heard their mournful cry:

Yippee-yi-ya, yippee-yi-yo,
Ghost riders in the sky.

Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred, their shirts all soaked with sweat,
They're riding hard to catch that herd, but they ain't caught 'em yet,
They've got to ride forever on that range up in the sky,
On horses snortin' fire,
​as they ride I hear their cry:

Yippee-yi-ya, yippee-yi-yo,
Ghost riders in the sky.

And as the riders loped on by he heard one call his name,
If you want to save your soul from hell a-riding on our range,
Then, cowboy, better change your ways or with us you will ride,
A-trying to catch the devil's herd
Across the endless skies.

Yippee-yi-ya, yippee-yi-yo,
Ghost riders in the sky.

Here are a few videos so you can listen to some different versions of the song:

Outlaws version - Ghost Riders in the Sky




Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson - Ghost Riders in the Sky




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