Basic Songs for Ukulele

The ukulele is a remarkable instrument great for musical folk and non-musicians alike. Sitting down to learn the ukulele will bring tremendous benefits to anyone ranging from small children to the elderly. 

Most songs found in popular music can easily be played on the ukulele. It is completely possible to pair songs with chords that are difficult to play on other instruments and simplify them for the ukulele. This means that it is possible to adapt most of the music you come across in popular culture to the ukulele.

Playing the ukulele will give you access to thousands of easy-to-sing songs. With the help of the internet, adapting your favorite songs to the ukulele has never been easier.

Due to the basic structure of the instrument, even songs with complicated chords can be simplified on the ukulele. Instruments like pianos and guitars have vast ranges of notes, but the limited range of the ukulele makes it accessible and easy to adapt songs to even with only four strings.

Did you know that only four chords are really used in many popular ukulele songs? C, F, G, and A Minor are the four most common ukulele chords.

These ukulele songs are easy to learn, and by learning a few basic ukulele chords and strumming patterns, you can master them.

1. I’m Yours – Jason Miraz

Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours is a fascinating track for the inexperienced ukulele player, as it was written for the ukulele. These chords will give you the perfect sound to play the song instantly.

If you would like to play this in the original Jason Mraz track key, then put your capo on the 4th fret. Just four basic chords make up the chorus of the track: G, D, Em, C. It is an easy pattern to learn since each chorus simply corresponds to one bar of music. Play the G on the word ‘I,’ on the part ‘-tate’ of the word ‘hesitate,’ switch to D, and so on.

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2. Riptide – Vance Joy

Another fun one to play is this energetic track. It fits very well with the bouncy, simple sound of the ukulele, It is really easy to get a hang of the rhythms and strumming patterns.

You should sit back and use only the shortest chord sequence in all the music as soon as you have put your capo on the first fret. This track is exclusively based on A minor, G major, and C major – three of the simplest ukulele chord forms, other than two uses of F major.

The adjustments to the chord are very intuitive. It does not take you long to find out when to turn to another chord.

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Also Learn: One chord Songs on Ukulele

3. Love Yourself – Justin Bieber 

This next song by Justin Bieber is a far more modern example.

Make sure the 4th fret is capo, and then prepare for a bit more complex chords compared to the previous ones.

Although in this series, C and Am are still present, the tune also throws a D minor into it. You would want to use your 2nd finger to hold down the 1st fret of the 1st string to shape this, and your 3rd finger to hold down the 4th string’s 2nd fret. It also uses a G/B chord, which is essentially the G form but as the lowest note in the chord with the B note.

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4. You’re Beautiful – James Blunt

For this one, F, G, C, and Am are everything you need, and you can even chuck on a capo if you need to.

Something oddly effective in terms of strumming patterns is a simple single strum on each chord for ‘You’re Beautiful’. For example, strum your C chord once in those opening moments, then go straight into the “my life is brilliant” line. Then hit the G chord and sing “my love is pure” when the word “brilliant” is over. It works the entire way through the song, but towards the end, you may want to build the texture up a little.

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5. The A Team – Ed Sheeran

One of the earliest popular tracks from Ed Sheeran,’ The A Squad’, also fits very well on the ukulele. You’re going to need to broaden your harmonic range a bit, having said that. You’re also going to have to leave Cadd9, A7sus4, and Am7 among the basic G, Em, and C chords scattered throughout. 

Leave the 2nd and 4th strings open fully for Cadd9, then put your 4th finger on the 1st string’s 3rd fret, and your 2nd finger on the 3rd string’s 2nd fret. You’re going to need a lot more dexterity for A7sus4. Place your 2nd finger on the 4th string’s second fret, your 4th finger on the 3rd string’s 4th fret, your 3rd finger on the 2nd string’s 3rd fret, and your 5th finger on the 1st string’s 5th fret. Finally, Am7 needs you to put your 2nd finger on the 4th string’s 2nd fret, your 4th finger on the 3rd string’s 4th fret, and then use your 3rd finger to bar the 3rd fret of strings 1 and 2.

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6. The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars 

‘The Lazy Song’ is a simple ukulele track to translate. Serving as one of the breakthrough hits of Bruno Mars, the tune is upbeat and uplifting and suits the ukulele’s high frequency, playful sound exactly as it should.

The chords should be played, as in the original Bruno Mars track, in a funky, off-beat reggae style. So, for example, you’ll want to hit an up-stroke on the word “I” in that opening chorus and, as such, emphasize the second beat of the bar. On beat four of the bar, which falls on the word ‘don’t’ in this first section, the same emphasis should be felt.

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Also Learn: Easy Ukulele Christmas Songs


Learning to play your favorite song on the ukulele does not have to be daunting at all. We are confident that with proper practice you will soon be able to translate the chords of any song to suit the ukulele. Until then keep practicing the ones we mentioned on this list, and more importantly have fun!

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