Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

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Last updatedLast updated: July 22, 2021
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Even though the ukulele is one of the easiest string instruments to learn to play, it is still no walk in the park for a novice. However, if you’re determined to learn, we can make it easier by providing you with a list of easy ukulele songs for beginners. These songs cut across various genres, and you might even find some of your favorites among them. If you learn to play them, you’ll find even more difficult songs a breeze to play.

Tips on playing ukulele

Easy Ukulele Songs for BeginnersWhen learning to play ukulele, you need to keep things as simple as possible. This means that you pick songs that have no more than four chords. Consequently, you may need to research musical chords on a deeper level. That way, you can easily learn how to finger them on your ukulele.

When selecting your practice chords and songs, try to use those that don’t need more than three fingers to play. Another thing to look for is whether the song has a barre or not. If it does, it can make playing a bit more complicated than it needs to be. However, do remember to revisit this once you’ve achieved a higher level of proficiency.

Additionally, avoid songs that require a capo. As a beginner, you might not have gotten around to getting one. Also, you might want to get used to playing with your fingers before introducing other equipment. After you familiarize yourself with the chords, take some time to learn some strumming patterns. Choose the easiest ones you can find that doesn’t require you to hold a chord. Lastly, learn to play one song at a time.

Once you get proficient enough to record yourself, you’ll want to invest in a top-tier acoustic-electric guitar that will carry your sound to an amp or computer. The Donner DUB-1 comes recommended by reviewers as one of the options you should look into. It has a mahogany body and comes with inbuilt EQ. Adjusting the tone will thus be an easy matter, and even a carry bag is included with the instrument purchase.

Country and folk songs

Jambalaya

If you pick jambalaya by Hank Williams as the first song you teach yourself to play once you have a ukulele, then you’re likely going to stick with the instrument for a while. The song has two chords that you can probably master if you practice for a day or two. As such, it’s bound to lull you in with just how simple it is to learn.

The strum pattern may be a little tricky, but once you break it down, you’ll find that it’s much more manageable. The chords that you need to work with are C and G7.

A horse with no name

This song by America is about five decades old and pretty easy to learn to play on the uke. However, this is only if you know the trick to simplify it the first time you play it. It incorporates some somewhat challenging chords such as Dm9 and Em9 that should be confusing to any beginner. However, by swapping these out with the much simpler E minor and D, you find the song much easier to strum.

I hope that I don’t fall in love with you

This song by Tom Waits has an extra chord compared to Jambalaya and A horse with no name, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s trickier to play. The chords in question are C, F, and G. It should, however, prove comforting for the newbie that most of this song has a slow strum pattern when you play it on a uke. As such, once you’ve figured out the strum pattern for each chord, you don’t need to rush the sequence. This makes it harder to make mistakes even as a beginner.

Banana boat song

The banana boat song does not originate in the USA but is from Jamaica as a work song. It is a few centuries old and makes for an easy ukulele song for beginners. The chords that you have to study before learning to play this song are D and A7. Alternatively, you can play it using the F and C7 chords. The strum pattern may be slightly more complicated but not enough to discourage you. Also, if you have a ton of free time, you can probably get the hang of it within a day.

Pop songs

Easy Ukulele Songs for BeginnersWith the popularity of pop songs rising over the years, you might be even more motivated to learn to play the uke if you can figure out how to strum some of the top hits of the last decade. The Kala KA-EBY-T tenor ukulele has been hailed by reviewers as a great musical tool for learning to play some of these pop songs. It has a deep sound in part due to the high-quality wood components. The striped ebony bracing pattern is also attractive. Here are some pop song suggestions that you can use to break the ukulele in.

Uptown funk

Bruno mars is a modern music legend, and his prowess is easy to see in this song. However, what you’re looking for in this song is the groovy beat that makes it a joy to play for beginners. The two chords that you’ll have to play for the entire length of the song are also sufficient incentives. These chords include Dm7 and G7.

The tricky part in playing this song on the uke is the transition from one chord to the next. Once you have that worked out, everything else becomes a piece of cake. Also, the pattern for strumming the chords may change depending on where you are in the song.

Hello

There isn’t a person who’s heard hello by Adele who doesn’t want to hear themselves play it. However, do note that you’ll be upping the complexity a bit compared to some of the songs mentioned above.

Notably, most people prefer to play this tune with a capo, but you can make do without it. You just have to familiarize yourself with Em, G, D, and C chords. The spacing or time between the chords also works in your favor, especially in the intro. Once you figure out how to get the timing of the chords right, you won’t have a problem playing the song.

Whistle

For a more fast-paced but easy ukulele song for beginners, Whistle by Flo Rida is an easy choice. Like Hello, it incorporates four chords, namely Am, F, C, and G. The placement of your fingers should be the first thing you figure out.

However, once you get these chords right, you have to deal with a relatively tricky strum pattern. It’s slightly different from the ones where you run your fingers straight down or up. If you pull it off even slowly, it’s only a matter of time until you’re proficiently playing the song.

Stay with me

Stay with me by Sam Smith is his breakout song and one that got his name into the hearts of many a music lover. It’s pretty popular, even giving songs like Hello a run for their money. It’s also one that a lot of ukulele newbies would love to learn to play. Since it’s a four-chord song, this is doable even in your first few weeks of owning the instrument.

The four chords in question are Am, F, C, and G. The strum pattern might be simple enough; however, the chord progression is where the difficulty level rises slightly.

I’m yours

This song by Jason Mraz is one of the most recommended pop songs for beginner ukulele players to figure out how to play. The simple melody incorporates C, G, Am, and F chords in its progression and is overall a very fun tune to play. It’s also held its relevance as a pop song for quite a while and will do you a lot of good to learn.

Hawaiian songs

Easy Ukulele Songs for BeginnersGiven the ukulele’s history in Hawaii and the fact that it was introduced in the region more than a century ago, it’s no wonder that there are some Hawaiian songs that go well with the instrument. Some of the simpler ones that you can try out as a beginner are as follows.

E Huli Makou

This song is a traditional Hawaiian song, although you’re likely to find a more modern version of the same on YouTube as well. It is basically a song about learning the Hawaiian language. Once you’ve learned the song, you can then attempt to play it on your ukulele. The most prominent chords within this song include F, G7, and C7.

The song is fast-paced, with spacing being short. However, the song progression is easy to keep track of since you don’t need to pause between chords now and again. It also goes well with a Hula dance, so that you might have some extra fun with that as well.

I Kona

The sweet melody of the I Kona song is not very intimidating for beginner ukulele players either. The simplest version of the song consists of C and G7 chords when played on the ukulele. As you progress in your proficiency, you can incorporate other chords that enrich the song, such as D7. However, before that, make sure you master the basic playing pattern.

Reggae Songs

Another genre with some fairly beginner-friendly tunes for the ukulele novice is reggae. Some of the classics play very well on the uke, consists of four chords or less, and have a nice rhythm to follow. Here are examples.

One love

Most people in the older generation are familiar with Bob Marley, and his hit song one love has continued to shape music for the last few decades. The C, F, G, Am chords in the song are seemingly easy to get the hang of, but with reggae, the most complicated bit is the timing. We would recommend this song after you’ve gained a bit of confidence in your playing ability. That way, you can take on the extra challenge without much difficulty. That said, this song is pretty simple to learn on the ukulele in the grand scheme of things.

Three little birds

Three little birds is another Bob Marley song that isn’t too challenging for beginners to try out on their ukuleles. Usually, you would have to play it using A, D and E chords, although beginners might find that a bit tricky to pull off. That said, you can make learning the song easier on yourself by switching out the E for an E7. After that, it won’t take too long to get the chord progression right.

Red, red wine

The red, red wine song by UB40 plays really easily on the ukulele because you only need to learn three chords to pull it off. These are G, C, and D. What you might like most about the song is, however, the repeating progression that makes it one of the easier reggae songs to pull off.

Happy songs

Easy Ukulele Songs for BeginnersYou also need to have some happy songs in your arsenal to play at parties and on social occasions.

Happy birthday

The happy birthday song should be one of the first few songs you learn to play whenever you pick up a new instrument. Luckily for beginner ukulele players, it only contains three chords. The repeating progression of the C, F, and G7 chords isn’t complicated, which makes it fun and easy to learn.

Gospel songs

Some Gospel songs can also be easy to learn for the novice ukulele player, and here is one example.

Amazing grace

Playing with C, F, and G7 chords is the simplest variation of the song that you can play and is thus perfect for beginners. However, with a higher skill level, you may need to add two or more chords to your progression.

Final thoughts

The options mentioned above are all easy ukulele songs for beginners that should make it a breeze to learn to play the ukulele. However, ensure that you’re taking on more challenging songs the longer you play so you can progressively get better. That is the only way to perfect your skills as a ukulele player.

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