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How to Play Ukulele: 10 Easy Songs for Beginners

How to Play Ukulele 10 Easy Songs for Beginners Header

Let’s face it — practicing is necessary, but playing is where the fun is. Let’s take a look at some cool beginner ukulele songs to get you out of the woodshed and into some real music!


1. “Let It Be”


Among popular ukulele songs, the Beatles’ classic “Let It Be” is one of the best. This song works well with a down, down, down-up strumming pattern. If you’re new to strumming and/or chord shapes, start by checking out ArtistWorks’ helpful ukulele lessons here.


2. “Hey, Soul Sister”


“Hey, Soul Sister” chords for ukulele are fairly easy to play. This is a catchy song by Train that will teach you some new chord shapes. This song is based in the key of E, but you’ll also find a C# minor thrown in to expand your chord vocabulary. Give it a try!


3. “I’m Yours”


The ever-popular “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz has been covered countless times, and it’s a wonderful song to add to your ukulele repertoire. The great thing about this song is that you only need four chords (C - G - Am - F), with one little D7 at the end of the third verse.


4. “Over The Rainbow”


“Over The Rainbow” is a classic song first composed for the famous film “The Wizard of Oz,” which lends itself quite nicely to the mellow tone of the uke. This one has a few more chords than previous selections. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll have an enduring ballad that can be enjoyed in a number of settings.


5. “Hallelujah”


Poet, novelist and musician Leonard Cohen penned this beloved secular hymn in 1984, first appearing on his album “Various Positions.” This song will give you an opportunity to practice your arpeggios with some basic chord structures and is one of the best sing-alongs out there.


6. “One Love”


Bob Marley’s splendid “One Love” is a party favorite that brings people together. In addition to being a great sing-along, this song will give you an opportunity to learn the reggae strum pattern. Typically, the strong beats of the song are 1 and 3, but in this case, you’ll be emphasizing beats 2 and 4.


7. “Stand By Me”


Ben E. King originally performed this famous tune, which has now been recorded over 400 times by some of the most well known artists around the world. When you really want to get people singing, this is a great one to pull out at a party or jam session. “Stand By Me” is another four-chord song, utilizing the ever-popular I-VI-IV-V progression.


8. “Brown Eyed Girl”


Van Morrison released “Brown Eyed Girl” in 1967. This song is in the key of G and only requires five chords. If you want some extra fun, try to work out the harmonized intro to the first verse.


9. “Stay With Me”


“Stay With Me” was released on Sam Smith’s debut studio album in 2014. This song is super simple and easy to transpose to other keys, only calling for three main chords, with a fourth only included in the last line of each chorus.


10. “Riptide”


Another pop hit, “Riptide” was released in 2013 by Vance Joy. This is a bouncy, uptempo song that’s really fun and a good strumming workout. This is another tune that only requires four chords, so it’s easy to learn and fun to sing along to.

If you’d like to learn more about ukulele tuning and sizes be sure to check out ArtistWorks’ blog here. If you’re also interested in technique such as arpeggios, strumming patterns and the like, check out these lessons with Craig and Sarah!

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