Inkerbella Covers “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”

Honoring a request from the author and yours truly

Above is Bridget Chamberlin-Shoup, known professionally as Inkerbella, honoring a request by yours truly, for a cover of the Tiny Tim ukulele classic, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” This very recent performance is also much to the enjoyment of PNut and Buttercup, who are contently snoozing behind Bella.

October 2014, right after she got her ukelele

Written by Al Dubin and Joe Burke in 1929 and originally recorded by singer and jazz guitarist Nick Lucas that same year for the film Gold Diggers of Broadway, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” will probably always be best remembered as the signature song of Tiny Tim, who recorded it in 1968 for his album God Bless Tiny Tim. The song has also gotten a resurgence in recent years, as it seems to set a pretty eerie tone for horror scenes. Tim’s version was featured in some very creepy scenes in the 2011 horror films Insidious, and Wrecked, and a Cherry Glazerr version was featured in 2015’s Insidious: Chapter 3.I had the pleasure of interviewing Inkerbella back in May of 2012 and have stayed in touch with her since. She took up the ukulele in October of just last year and has since published several videos of her honoring viewer song requests. Knowing that no one can call themselves a true ukulele player without knowing this song by the master himself, and also aware that it was a pretty tall order for someone who’s only been playing the ukulele a short while, considering its tricky chord changes, I still requested it of Inkerbella. After hearing some of the other songs she’s winningly pulled off over the last couple of months, that include “House of the Rising Sun,” “Paper Bag” by Fiona Apple and more recently, One Direction’s “Night Changes,” I was confident that she would do a fine job of this one. In her own words on taking up the ukulele:

With her signature spider web uke

I decided to try it out in October 2014. I just wondered if I could do it after finding out some family history about a month prior. I played my first song after practicing NON-STOP for six hours on the first day! My first song was “You Are My Sunshine.”

So I found out by my Mom that she had a great uncle in the UK, I guess my third great uncle, or something like that, played banjo professionally. He was pretty well-known back in the day in the UK. His name was Benjamin Doubleday and he played for the King and Queen, etc. Anyways, after hearing about this and everything, I wondered if I could play a string instrument. I had never tried before! I had played piano when I was younger and I always sang, so I decided I wanted to see if I had any talent in this department. I decided to go with the ukulele because I like the way they sound ….and they are cute!

Before I got my uke, I was watching videos on Youtube trying to figure out things like how to hold it, strum it, play the chords, etc. So, once I got my uke in October of last year, I was so excited because I’d been waiting and ready to try it out for myself! I got it tuned up, which was a pain in the ass at first! Then, I looked for a few chords to try and from there, looked for some easy songs that had the chords and I learned to play an actual song. I seriously played for six hours straight the first day I got it. My fingers were so, so sore and for like a week I couldn’t feel anything on the tips of my fingers! It’s probably because I kept practicing though the pain each day, as I practiced for at least an hour or two each day to learn new chords and just get better at it!

Since Tiny Tim’s a lefty, and it would be very difficult for a right-handed player to learn watching him because they would have to sort of use a “mirror-image” of his chord fingering, I asked Inkerbella if that was what she did to learn his song. Her reply:

(Laughs) Sure, it probably would definitely be a bit trickier if you’re learning the chords just visually. For me, I watched him play it, then I looked for the uke tabs and then off I went. I just needed to try to figure out a few chord fixes to make it sound closer to his. I figured that out and then messed around with the strumming patterns until I liked how it sounded.

Inkerbella is still taking requests. See more of her at:
Her Official Website
Her Personal Blog
Her IMDb Page
Her Facebook Fan Page
Her Youtube Channel (with all her ukulele songs)
Inkerbella on Twitter
Her May 2012 Interview

About the author

Editor-in-Chief at // More articles

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the monthly magazine, Effective.

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