Playing the ukulele has become really popular over the last few years. This sudden surge in popularity has been picked up by big-name guitar brands like Fender who have started making ukuleles. It’s not surprising the ukulele has become the new ‘it’ instrument to have. It’s really fun, not expensive to buy and small enough to be convenient to store. So if you’ve been thinking about getting a ukulele then you will now need to learn how to play it.
One of the best things about the ukulele is that it’s actually really easy to play and there’s a good amount of easy ukulele songs you can pick up. Knowing only a few ukulele chords can help you pick up an easy ukulele song quickly, even helping you to learn it within a day. In this article, we are looking at beginner ukulele songs that are easy to play and will easily wow a crowd.
Common Beginner Chords
Any of the basic ukulele chords are a good place to start and you can learn them in any sort of order as well. Most people who are new to the instrument will start with the one and two-finger chord types. This will help you to master the basics before you move on to more fingers and more chords.
The most common ukulele chords you will start out learning to play are the one finger shapes. These chords include Am, A7, C and C7 chords. Next up you will probably go for the two-finger chords which will include the A and F chords.
Once you’ve got the hang of the two-finger ukulele chords then you’ll be ready to hit the three-finger ones and these are the ones that are the most crucial for any player along with the D and Em chords.
Eventually,, you will probably want to add in the D7 and E7 ukulele chords and the incredibly difficult E chord to round out your training.
Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners
“Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars
We hope that today you might feel like playing the ukulele! “Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars is actually a very simple song to play if you are just starting out with this instrument. This song comes off Mars’s debut album titled Doo Wops & Hooligans. It’s a bluesy number that has a pop beat making it super catchy and fun to sing along to. Far from being lazy, the song actually helped Mars reach the top of the charts as well as winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. Chords included in “Lazy Song” are C, G Am, Bm, B7 and Em.
“Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5
The early 2000s saw the emergence of one of the best pop-rock groups of all time, Maroon 5. When they’re debut alum, Songs About Jane, first came out “Sunday Morning” was an instant hit for the group. This is a great mid-tempo song all about love and lazy Sunday mornings. All you need for this one is to master three easy uke chords – C, DM and G7 – and you’re sure to get the whole party singing along with you.
“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
“Ho Hey” is a song by The Lumineers which easily launched their way into music stardom. It has a simple chord progression which makes it a superb ukulele song. For fans of indie-folk music, this beachy tune on the ukulele actually makes for a very elegant piece. To start strumming along to this one you will need to learn the chords C, G, F and Am.
“idontwannabeyouanymore” by Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish has been hailed as an artist who has created a truly unique style of music that doesn’t fit into any sort of category or genre we’ve seen before. Injecting her high energy into many of her concerts, Eilish often takes the mood down with one of her stripped-down dark numbers and adorns the stage with her very own ukulele. “idontwannabeyouanymore” is a beautiful ballad that is elegant and translates very well onto the ukulele. You’ll need to know a few more of the more difficult chords including B and Em.
“Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood
Very well noted in the indie rock scene, The Neighbourhood are artists who subtly progressed to the top of the charts in this genre. Back in 2012, they released their hit “Sweater Weather” which spent 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard’s Alternatives charts. Since then the group has gone on to release three studio albums and two EP’s. As they have gone on with their music they have gained a committed following of fans and “Sweater Weather” will definitely get stuck in your head. Only a few chords needed for this one – Bb, Cm, Eb, Gm.
“Death of a Bachelor” by Panic! At The Disco
Now you may not be able to hit Brendon Urie’s epic high notes by this 2015 hit from the very popular band can be perfected as a ukulele song in no time. Panic! At The Disco rose to fame because of their angsty, more pop-punk feel but have since moved forward to produce more mature, big-band tunes. “Death of a Bachelor” showcases this shift in tone perfectly and is a bit more fast-paced than any of the other songs we’ve mentioned on this list so far. Once you’ve got the ukulele chords down you won’t want to stop strumming along to this one.
“All of the Stars” by Ed Sheeran
If you’ve ever seen the hit movie The Fault in Our Stars then you’ll be very familiar with this track. “All of the Stars” is an easy ukulele song for beginners and was recorded as part of the soundtrack for the film. It’s a heartbreaker with slow, rhythmic strumming patterns. It includes the C, F, G and Am chords.
“Bonfire Heart” by James Blunt
James Blunt was quoted as saying his song “Bonfire Heart” was all about ‘love, life, fear and hope’. This one topped the charts all around the world and it’s a beautiful song to be able to play on the uke. All you need to do is get the chords down first. It’ll take a bit more practice than some of the other titles we’ve featured here but the results are well worth the hard work. Once you’ve got the chords down you may even want to add in some extra flair with fingerpicking, strumming patterns and percussive taps.
“Budapest” by George Ezra
This song by George Ezra was actually based on the first three chords he ever learned on the guitar. He intentionally made “Budapest” simple to pay homage to his learning and musical journey. If you want a relatively easy love song that can be played on the ukulele then this one is definitely worth a try. And of course, you’ll have to master Ezra’s three chords which are C, F and A#.
“Fireflies” by Owl City
“Fireflies” by Owl City is so great as a ukuele song for a beginner because it only has five chords that are carried throughout the piece. You’ll have to master C, G, Am, F and Em too in order to play this song. The Am chord only appears quickly throughout the piece so if you’re having trouble with this chord, you can always skip over it until you’ve got the hang of it. It’s an easy ukulele song to play but will be a bit more of a challenge if you are an absolute beginner to strumming patterns and simple chords.
“Happy” by Pharrell Williams
“Happy” is such a fun and upbeat song that it had to be added to our ukulele songs for beginners list. As a ukulele player you will find this song fun to play and it’s one of the easiest songs on our list. You can always upgrade from the simple ukulele arrangements to the more complicated strumming patterns. There’s plenty of tabs iut there that involve easy chords and the more challenging ones so you can make the song more exciting one the basics are mastered.
“Hey Soul Sister” by Train
This is a ukulele song that has both an easy and harder version so you will need to know some of the more complicated chords if you want to play the more advanced tab. Even with the easy chords you get a similar feeling with “Hey Soul Sister” as you would if you played the more complicated song. It’s a very popular song that a lot of people know and can sing along to if you are planning on performing in front of others.
“I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
Released all the way back in 2007, if you want to be able to sing along to your ukulele playing then “Im Yours” by Jason Mraz is definitely the song for you. It’s a really easy version for beginner ukulele and it will easily end up being one of your favorite and go to tunes for the instrument. You’ll need to know the C, G, Am, F and D7 chords for this one so make sure you have these down pat before attempting the tab.
“Island in the Sun” by Weezer
Many of the items on our list so far have been pop songs featured in top charts around the world. If you have more alternative tastes than what we’ve presented here then “Island in the Sun” may scratch that alternative itchy. It only includes five different chords – C, G, D, Am and Em – but the beat and tune itself is really catchy. Once you figure the chords out you will want to work on replicating the strumming pattern that Weezer is famous for. Soon you’ll be playing along like a pro and having fun like a real ukulele player.
“Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars has been a staple in the pop world for many years and we’re going all the way back to 2010 with this one. “Just the Way You Are” is one of the songs that catapulted Mars to pop stardom and came off his first album. It was written as an homage to a woman and her beauty. If you are wanting a beginner ukulele song to play for that special someone then this is a great romantic song for such an occassion.
“Ku’u Home O Kahalu’u” by Olomana
If you’re going to play the ukulele then you, of course, will want to learn the classic Hawaiin staple “Ku’u Home O Kahalu’u”. Playing this will make you feel like you are on the sandy beaches of Hawaii. It features some easy chords – C, F and G7 – but the words may be a bit challenging if you want to sing along to it.
“Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
Fans of Justin Bieber will have “Love Yourself” as one of their firm favorites and UK pop legend Ed Sheeran also took some credit in the entire writing process. Even if you’re not a fan of the Biebs, this song is still catchy and fun to play. It’s well worth a try and features simple chords such as C, G, Am, F and Dm.
“Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
This truly is one of the sweetest and best mash ups of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and What a Wonderful World. It’s a tribute to the talent that was Israel Kamakawiwo ole who was a true ukulele legend from Hawaii. Practice will most certainly make perfect with this one. You can listen to Israel’s version of the song and then work on your very own style when you become a more rehearsed ukuelele player. You’ll be ready in no time to show off your chords to your friends which include C, F, G, Em and Am.
“Perfect” by One Direction
“Perfect” was one of the top hits made by the band One Direction and it’s one of the easiest ukulele songs for beginners. It only involves three different chords and once you’ve got these down and learnt the lyrics, it’s one that will impress with little to no effort at all. All you need for this one are the D, G and Bm chords and a confident strumming pattern.
“Save Tonight” by Eagle Eye Cherry
“Save Tonight” is a really popular romantic song from the late 90s that has a laid back strumming pattern and only four chords to learn. It moves at a much slower pace than many of the picks on the list and you can certainly slow it down until you’re ready to pick the tempo up. Have fun with it and make sure you have those C, F, G and Am chords down before giving it a go.
“Someone Like You” by Adele
What would a list of modern pop songs for ukulele be without including Adele. Even if you still haven’t found true love, this sad breakup song can still resonsate with someone like you. Only five chords are needed to be able to play this hit and the slow tempo makes the song even easier to play and learn too. G, C, D, Em and Am chords are all needed to be able to play this but the chord changes are slow so you will be able to pick it up easily and play along.
“One Love” by Bob Marley
Let’s take it back to a classic with this one from Bob Marley’s 1977 album Exodus. Bob Marley only had to use easy chords to produce the legendary song that is “One Love” and it’s a lot of fun to pluck on the ukulele. This song is a great pick not only as a popular ukulele song but also if you want to work on your overall timing and chord changes. You’ll need to be well acquainted with the classic sounds of reggae and know the chords C, F, G and Am.
“Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan
We’re keeping it classic with the next song on our list – the traditional folk song from legend Bob Dylan released in the 1960s – “Blowin’ in the Wind”. This is a truly poetic song that has lyrics which may take you longer to learn than the simple ukuelele chords. Once you’ve learned everything that is involved in this song you will find it’s a nice piece to sing along to as well as perform. To get started you will need to know the G, C and D chords.
“Stay with Me” by Sam Smith
“Stay with Me” is definitely one of Sam Smith’s more popular tracks and it’s also easy to play on the uke which is why we’ve added it onto our ukulele songs list. The tempo Sam Smith came up with has taken inspiration from gospel music and may be something when you first start out playing the instrument but you’ll soon pick it up. You’ll only need to use four chords which are C, F, G and Am.
“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Whilst you may not think this rock classic from 1974 would translate well for ukulele players, it’s actually been covered many times and it’s really great to play along to. Once you learn the very well known main riff you’ll quickly notice that the rest of the piece comes together well without much practice. You’ll need three simple chords – C, G and D.
“Saturday Sun” by Vance Joy
Simple ukulele songs don’t get much better than “Saturday Sun” by Vance Joy. The chords and lyrics are sweet and easy to play for beginners to the instrument. With just a little bit of practice you will be able to put the entire piece together and play it well too. Chords using in this song are C, G, Am, D and Em.
So there you have it! Some of the best and easiest songs you can play on the ukulele. We hope we’ve included enough variety in our list so that you can find a song you love to play on your ukulele. Happy strumming!