Are you a new ukulele player or are you looking to add a few easy ukulele songs to your repertoire? The great thing about the ukulele is that you can play just about any popular song ever written and add your own personal artistic spin to it!
That said, there are some songs that are ukulele classics. Not only are they easy to play, but these are also songs that most people already know. This makes them great for sing-alongs around the campfire or in your weekly ukulele group.
Here are my picks for my top three easy ukulele songs that everyone should know!
3 Easy Ukulele Songs Everyone Should Know:
You Are My Sunshine
This was one of the first easy ukulele songs I learned how to play on the ukulele after I had learned just a few chords. You Are My Sunshine is one of those songs that just makes people happy, no matter who they are!
What makes this song so easy to play? You only need to know four basic chords – C, C7, F, and G7 – and the chorus is the same melody as the verses. Once you learn the chord progression, it’s easy to play the whole song!
C F C
You are my sunshine my only sunshine/ You make me happy when skies are grey
F C F G7 C
You’ll never know dear/ How much I love you/ Please don’t take my sunshine away
This is a fun song to teach to kids, too!
What Is the Strumming Pattern for You Are My Sunshine?
The strumming pattern for You Are My Sunshine is easy to learn: D DU D D is all you have to learn to play this fun song. If you’re not sure about the tempo of this song with the strumming pattern, start slow and work your way up to a faster tempo.
Three Little Birds
Not only does this song bring back memories of my college days, but it also popped up again recently in the first episode of one of my favorite shows!
Although the song was originally written in the key of A, it’s definitely still playable when you transpose it to the key of C major. And the only three chords you need to know are C, G, and F.
C F C
Don’t worry ‘bout a thing/ ‘Cause every little thing/ Is gonna be alright
Singin’ don’t worry/ ‘bout a thing/ ‘cause every little thing/ is gonna be alright
Rise up this mornin’/ Smile with the rising sun/ Three little birds/
C C F F
Pitch by my doorstep/ singin’ sweet songs/ of melodies pure and true/ sayin’ this is my message to you
Three Little Birds by musical legend Bob Marley is sure to bring a smile to anyone who hears it. It’s a perfect song for a beginning ukulele player, and one of my favorite 3-chord ukulele songs! This is a favorite to play around the campfire in the summer.
What’s the Strumming Pattern for Three Little Birds?
There are a few different ways you can strum the chords for Three Little Birds. The first strumming pattern is simple: D D D D. Just strum down four times for each chord.
If you want to add a little more rhythm to your strumming pattern, you can do DU DU DU DU, just adding in the up strum.
For a more reggae feel to the song, only play on the up strum or up beat of each beat: U U U U. This last strumming pattern for Three Little Birds is a little more challenging to play, and would be a great learning experience for a new player!
This popular song from 2014 really brought the ukulele into the 21st century! Fun and funky, it showed a whole new generation of music makers how the ukulele isn’t just a blast from the past.
Riptide by Vance Joy is another easy 4-chord ukulele song, and it uses the chords of Am, G, and C in that order throughout the whole song. The F chord comes in a few times on the bridge, but the rest of the song is simply Am, G and C repeated.
Read more: The Best Songs For Ukulele Beginners
A fun fact about this song is that the original key is actually A# minor, so you would have to raise each chord by a half-step to play in the original key. Thankfully, all you need to do is put a capo on the first fret and you’re ready to go!
Am G C
I was scared of dentists and the dark
Am G C
I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations
Am G C
Oh all my friends are turning green
Am G C
You’re the magicians assistant in their dreams
What’s the Strumming Pattern for Riptide by Vance Joy?
The strumming pattern for this song is fun: D D UDU
To really make it work, make sure you keep your hand moving even if you’re not actually coming in contact with the strings. Start slow and then work your way up to a faster tempo and pretend you’re a rock star!
If you’re interested in learning more fun and easy songs for the ukulele, make sure you check out all the great courses available on the Uke Like the Pros website!