15 Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners
The popularity of the ukulele grows by the day. With more and more inspiring musicians bringing it into the game, the ukulele can be found in a lot of different genres like rock, pop, classical, folk, and others.
The ukulele is one of the most charming and interesting instruments to play. Even if the ukulele is the first instrument you’ve put your hands on, there are plenty of songs you can easily learn to play.
In this guide, we’ve selected 10 such songs for you to get started quickly!
- 1. Blowing In the Wind
- 2. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
- 3. Hey, Soul Sister
- 4. One Love
- 5. Just The Way You Are
- 6. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
- 7. Stand By Me
- 8. Wonderful Tonight
- 9. I Fought The Law
- 10. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
- 11. Someone Like You
- 12. Sweet Home Alabama
- 13. Let It Be
- 14. You’re Beautiful
- 15. Love Yourself
1. Blowing In the Wind
One of the ground-breaking songs of the 1960s, and one of Bob Dylan’s most beautiful numbers, “Blowing in the Wind” is also a perfect song for every sort of ukulele player. It has a simple three-chord, folk-song structure.
While the original key is D major, in this tutorial you can learn how to play this song in C major. It’s simpler to play it that way on the ukulele, and it’s not difficult to sing along, as well.
Bob Dylan makes complex songs, lyrics-wise, but his singing isn’t that demanding, although it’s not easy to imitate him. That’s why it’s better to find your own way to sing his songs.
2. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Released in 1987 on Joshua Tree, this song is one of the most successful songs made by U2, both in terms of commercial success and reception among the audience.
What makes it so great for the ukulele is the chord progression. The original version is played in D major and the entire song revolves around three major chords in this key: D, G, and A.
Just like with “Blowing In The Wind”, it’s more convenient to transpose it for the ukulele and play it in C major. In this video lesson, you can learn how to play it in that key. The strumming pattern is quite straightforward. What might be tricky is singing Bono’s high-register notes, but you can always sing it an octave lower.
3. Hey, Soul Sister
The song “Hey, Soul Sister” was released by the American rock band Train.
The catchy tune and the pleasant falsetto singing made this number an instant hit.
It was originally written in E major, but chord progression in this key might be a bit complicated for new ukulele players, mostly due to the bar chords that have to be played here. That’s why we’ve picked a tutorial in which a capo is placed on the fourth fret so that the song is played in the original key.
If you think you can cope with the bar chords, here you can check out how to play “Hey, Soul Sister” in the original, E major key.
4. One Love
“One Love” by Bob Marley was released in 1977, on his album Exodus. Like many songs written by this great reggae author, it’s a thrilling song about love and joy.
It’s also perfect for the ukulele because you need only four chords to play this song: C major, a minor, F major, and G major. The original version is in Bb major, which is not simple to play on the ukulele. When the song is transposed to C major, you can simply play it with four open chords.
The rhythm is simple, so the strumming pattern shouldn’t be complicated either. For more details on playing this song, watch this YouTube lesson.
5. Just The Way You Are
Released in 2010, Bruno Mars’s song “Just The Way You Are” has a lively rhythm and a nice tune, plus it’s not too complex, chord-wise. As such, it’s a great song for new ukulele players.
The original version of this song is in F major, which includes some more difficult chords on the ukulele. That’s why we suggest playing it in C major, as shown in this video.
In this key, you can also sing it without too much tension. Bruno Mars has an extremely high vocal register so most people will find it hard to sing his songs in the original keys.
Still, if you can sing high notes, have a look at this ukulele tutorial for “Just The Way You Are”. It’s played and sung in the original F major key.
6. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
Another song written by Bob Dylan in 1967, “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” became more popular in 1990 when Robert Palmer and UB40 released its cover. This version has a ukulele-friendly beat since it sounds more reggae than Dylan’s folk arrangement.
In this ukulele lesson, you can play and sing “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” in the original F major key. However, if that key doesn’t suit your vocal range, you can always use a capo and adapt the key to your singing preferences.
7. Stand By Me
Written and sung by Ben E. King, “Stand By Me” was released in 1961. It’s still one of the most popular songs of all time. It’s also a great choice for the ukulele. The chord progression is the 50s chord progression, which is in this case A-f#-D-E.
On the ukulele, this could be a bit confusing for beginners, so again it’s better to transpose it to C major. In this version adapted to the ukulele, you can learn fast to play and sing this song. As for the rhythm, just stick with the regular 4/4 strumming pattern.
8. Wonderful Tonight
This song was released in 1977 and still remains one of the most beautiful songs written by Eric Clapton.
A slow ballad in G major, it’s a real treat for every ukulele player. What’s also great about playing this song on the ukulele is that most beginners will be able to play the intro, in addition to the chords.
In this video tutorial, everything is covered, from the intro to the verse and chorus, all the way to the bridge.
When you’ve mastered the ukulele for “Wonderful Tonight”, you can start practicing the vocal line, which requires precise singing. Hence, it might take some time to learn how to both play and sing this song.
9. I Fought The Law
Written by Bobby Fuller Four and originally released in 1966, “I Fought The Law” rose to prominence in 1977 when The Clash covered it on their eponymous album.
A simple, catchy tune is a great choice for the ukulele. The original song is in D major, but one more time C major is a better choice for ukulele players, as presented in this video.
While the strumming pattern isn’t complicated, there are some fast chord changes, so don’t give up if you can’t play them at once. Keep practicing for a few days along with this video and you’ll be proud when you manage to master those tricky parts.
10. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Recorded in 1939 and part of the soundtrack for the movie Wizard of Oz, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” became a true ukulele hymn in the version released by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, in 1990.
What’s important to say is that this song is more difficult to play than most of the other songs on this list. Its harmony requires more chords, mostly due to the age when the original version was written. Back then, harmonies were written in a more complex manner.
Still, you can play a simpler version, like the one you can watch here until you master the ukulele more thoroughly. As your knowledge of this instrument extends, try to learn this version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. It’s more complex, but also more effective, as well as musically challenging.
11. Someone Like You
A very popular song by English singer Adele.
Someone Like You goes on the list due to its moderate tempo and easy-to-learn nature on the ukulele. The song does however require a bit of technique so it’s not all easy and no challenge. It consists of mostly chords but it does have a bit of fingerstyle in some parts.
While it’s still considered a beginner song, it has some ups and downs when it comes to overall difficulty, meaning that it will improve your playing while making this a fun experience and a step towards learning a new song and adding it to your repertoire.
12. Sweet Home Alabama
Most of you probably saw this one coming. The melody of this song is so recognizable and many people learn it right from the get-go.
Sweet Home Alabama is a song from the band Lynyrd Skynyrd and has been around for quite some time.
As far as overall difficulty is concerned, the song is considered to be at a beginner level. This means that it fits perfectly on this list.
The only hard part of this song is quite possibly the intro, as you will need your practice chops to get this down at first, but other than that the song should be smooth sailing till the end. Even better, if you are a singer then you’ve just learned a classic for get-togethers.
13. Let It Be
The legendary Beatles make the list with Let It Be.
We all know this song and we’ve all wanted to learn this song at some point in our musical journey. This time it comes on ukulele and to be honest, it sounds really amazing and sweet.
The learning process for this one is going to be really easy. The song is for beginners and is consisted mainly of chords that can be learned through a single practice session. The only thing left is to sit down and get at it, as a bonus, if you can sing then this song will come in handy on multiple occasions as it will always be a classic.
14. You’re Beautiful
You’re Beautiful is a hit song by James Blunt. It reached number one on the UK and Australian charts. There was a time when this song was everywhere and I mean everywhere. If anyone says they don’t know the song then they’re probably not being truthful.
The great thing about this song on the ukulele is that you can go about it in two ways. You have the easy version where most beginners will nail this down in one day, or you can try the slightly harder version if you want to get as close to the original song sound as possible.
Nevertheless, it should be an interesting and fun experience learning this one, and who knows, it might come in handy when you want to set the mood and be romantic.
15. Love Yourself
Love Yourself is an incredibly popular song by Justin Bieber and chances are you’ve heard it somewhere already. The ukulele brings this song in a whole new light and makes it even sweeter than it already is.
As far as difficulty is concerned, this song is suited for beginners and will most likely take a day to learn and have in your arsenal from there on out. It consists of the verse, the pre-chorus, and the chorus. The chords are really easy to learn, the only “hard” thing will be to just remember which part comes next and that’s it.
This song will be a fun experience no doubt, and it will certainly come in handy for get-togethers and sing-alongs.
There are numerous songs for the ukulele suitable for beginners.
This list, however, consists of songs that are easy for people who are new to the instrument and have no idea which song to start with. This list isn’t for individuals who want to learn difficult and powerful songs that need a lot of practice time.
Everyone should learn some of these songs since they’re very popular and widespread.
The ukulele brings about a special touch to songs. It makes them sweeter, more beautiful and brings out the true essence of the melody.
We’ve mainly followed the mainstream taste in this guide. This doesn’t mean that some metal or punk songs can’t be played on this instrument. What’s so beautiful about this instrument is its adaptability to multiple musical genres and styles. Just take your ukulele, play it as often as you can and you’ll soon be able to play any song you want!
Have fun and thank you for reading!