46 Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

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by Jenny Selig

Are you a beginning ukulele player looking for easy songs to play? These 35 songs work well on ukulele and contain chords suitable for those at the beginner level.

Common Beginner Chords

You really could choose any chord as your first ukulele chord, and learn them in any order, but many beginning ukulele players start with 1- and 2-finger chords, and with songs that contain just a few chords total, before moving on to more fingers and more chords.

It’s very common for a ukulele player to start out by learning the 1-finger shapes of C, C7, Am, and A7 chords.

These are frequently followed by F and/or A chords (2 fingers). G and G7 chords are 3-finger chords considered crucial by most players, as is the D chord. Em is another one I encourage you to learn early on.

Eventually you’ll want to add D7 and E7, D7, B-family chords, and the much-maligned (but so worth learning!) E chord.

Where to Start?

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Choose a song on this list you know the sound of already. Most of us feel more motivated to practice songs we know, love, and want to play.

If you don’t know any here, listen to a few and pick one you’d like to learn. You never know what will inspire you to spend another 15 minutes “at play” (pun intended)!

Easy & Simple Ukulele Songs for Beginners

1. “Coconut,” by Harry Nilsson (1971)

1 chord – C7


Click for chords
This song can be played in its entirety with just one 1-finger chord, but you may need to sing along.

2 Chord Ukulele Songs:

2. “Singin’ In the Rain,” lyrics by Arthur Freed and music by Nacio Herb Brown (1929)

2 chords – F C7


Click for chords
Here, the chord changes come slowly, giving you time to set up for each one. The player in the video is playing a more complicated version in the same key, and you can strum along.

3. “Iko Iko,” by James Crawford, Barbara Hawkins, Rosa Hawkins and Joan Johnson (1965)

2 chords – F C

Click for chords
Especially fun in a group, this song is perfect for beginners just getting comfortable with changing chords.

4. “Jambalaya (On the Bayou),” by Hank Williams (1952)

2 chords – C G

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G is often one of the first 3-finger chords beginning players tackle, and it’s a versatile one.

5. “Draggin’ the Line,” by Tommy James Bob King (1971)

2 chords – D C

Click for chords
Playing this song in this key allows you to practice the D chord, which can be tricky until you’ve got it down. Don’t try to play along with this video until you learn F and Eb; she’s playing in a different key.

6. “Istanbul, (Not Constantinople),” lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy and music by Nat Simon (1953), famously covered by They Might Be Giants in 1990

2 chords* – Em B7

Click for chords*
Em is not the hardest chord, but switching to and from Em takes practice. B7 can be played with the same shape, so you can move just one shape around. *Skip the intro for a 2-chord version.

7. “Paperback Writer,” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for The Beatles (1966)

2 chords – G7 C

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In the video, G and C7 are also played at times, but in the same key, so you can play along.

3 Chord Ukulele Songs:

8. “What’s Up,” by Linda Perry of 4 Non Blondes (1993)

3 chords – G Am C

Click for chords
If you know the vocal part to a song well, it’s even easier to strum while singing, something that can be tough for new players. So if you can belt this one out acapella, try it on ukulele!

9. “Shake It Off,” by Taylor Swift, Max Martin, and Shellback (2014)

3 chords – G Am C

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Am and C chords become second nature quickly, and G will become easier the more you play it.

10. “You Are My Sunshine,” authorship disputed, usually credited to Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell (1939)

3 chords – C F G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/embed/TIZQPNdXHqI

Click for chords
A classic folk song, many people know this one well enough to sing along. The F chord is not difficult to form, but switching to and from it may take some practice, like any chord change.

11. “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry (1958).

3 chords – C F G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQN9gqZwN9Q

Click for chords
A lot of songs can be played using these three chords because they make a popular pattern (I-IV-V). Don’t worry if that bit of music theory doesn’t make sense to you just yet — just know you’ll see or hear it again and again!

12. “Lean On Me,” by Bill Withers (1972)

3 chords – C F G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF1XT9s0Uqc

Click for chords
This song is loved by many. If you know it, it’s a great choice.

13. Somebody to Love,” by Valerie June (2013)

3 chords – C G F
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTpU0N-4JKw

Click for chords
Simple to pick up, this song repeats itself, allowing players to really get comfortable with the lyrics and chord changes. If you have a banjolele, it will sound great on that, too, and work with picking or strumming!

14. “Down on the Corner,” written by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)

3 chords – C F G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QD7MSctnoro

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This is a fun jam using chords that are quickly learned by most beginning players. Try it in a group!

15. “Bye Bye Love,” by Felice & Boudleaux Bryant (1957), popularized by The Everly Brothers

3 chords – C F G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9L9Qg2i-ZU

Click for chords
Play G7 instead of G, if you like. There are no rules in ukulele.

16. “Lava,” by James Ford Murphy for the Pixar animated short (2014)

3 chords – C G7 F
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoblMNlyffs

Click for chords
Here, you’ll have a bit of time between chords, but pay attention to the rhythm because one change happens faster than the others. Become familiar with the song before playing it.

17. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” by Solomon Linda, Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, George David Weiss, and Albert Stanton (1961)

3 chords – C F G7
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHsTqK6pN7U

Click for chords
A good foundation song, once you are comfortable with the chord changes you can play around with the strumming and singing. There’s a lot of room for personal interpretation.

18. “Island Style,” by John Cruz (1996)

3 chords – C F G7
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qsSi0RkxF8

Click for chords
One could argue that every ukulele player should give Hawaiian music a try. This would be a more modern choice than some, but it’s a great tune and not too difficult.

19. “Sweet Home Alabama,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)

3 chords – D C G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BVp01IW_jY

Click for chords
D chords can be daunting to some beginners. Experiment with playing it with one, two, or three fingers.

20. “I’ll Fly Away,” by Albert E. Brumley (1929)

3 chords – G C D
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGsxmGRM5m0

Click for chords
Often played in gospel and bluegrass bands, this is a classic and beautiful choice for beginners who’ve gotten comfortable with G and are working on the D chord — or vice versa.

21. “Love Me Do,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for The Beatles (1962)

3 chords – G C D
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VPmcNNbO00

Click for chords
So many Beatles songs work beautifully on ukulele, and “Love Me Do” is especially well-suited to beginning players.

22. “Walk Like An Egyptian,” written by Liam Sternberg and made famous by The Bangles (1986)

3 chords – A G D
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA5LKUN0-sY

Click for chords
This song has an unique and fun rhythm for chord changes. Watch out for those lyrics — they’re a mouthful!

23. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” by Charlie Reid and Craig Reid as The Proclaimers (1988)

3 chords – D G A
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI0BIkFxiVQ

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This one is fun to play loud! Again, if you’re finding it difficult to play and sing at the same time, practice those two elements separately — until they’re smooth on their own — before putting them together.

24. “Three Little Birds,” by Bob Marley (1980)

3 chords – D G A
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nrh5S3QymM?t=279

Click for chords
This reggae classic is great for beginners in several keys. The video gives you more options.

4 Chord Ukulele Songs:

25. The Promise, by Clive Farrington, Michael Floreale, and Andrew Mann of the band When in Rome (1987)

4 chords – C Am F G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLEPh83L_2A?t=82

Click for chords
If the 1980s are your era, you might recognize this hit. The chords are basic and there’s a lot of repetition in the song.

26. I Don’t Know My Name, by Grace Vanderwaal (2017)

4 chords – C F Am G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcmIuxa6TDc

Click for chords
Written by a young woman who rose to fame playing her ukulele and singing original songs on “America’s Got Talent,” this one may just inspire you (or your favorite pre-teen) to write something of your own! Great songs can be written with just a handful of beginner-accessible chords, as you might have noticed by now.

27. “Stand By Me,” by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller (1961)

4 chords – C Am F G7
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqDiaZ-pqyA

Click for chords
A very popular choice for beginning ukulele players, the four chords in this song are some of the most commonly seen on this list.

28. “Hand in My Pocket,” by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard (1995)

4 chords – G F C D
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnlxd1vAAuw

Click for chords
Fun to sing (if you’re into that) and not too hard to play, this nineties number sounds awesome on ukulele.

29. “We’re Going to Be Friends,” by Jack White of White Stripes (2001)

4 chords – G C D A
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htaWQKO_T68

Click for chords
When you’ve moved past beginner, you may also want to play around with simple picking patterns, but it can certainly be strummed if that’s more your comfort zone.

30. “A Million Dreams,” written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for The Greatest Showman (2018)

4 chords – G D Em B7
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXuI2Rm02x8

Click for chords
A recent hit with children and grownups alike, this uses the same B7 shape as “Istanbul” (See #6).

5 Chord Ukulele Songs:

31. “I’m Yours,” by Jason Mraz (2005)”

5 chords – C G Am F D
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ailz-IgzeM4

Click for chords
Most of the song is just four chords, and the pattern repeats again and again.

32. “I’ll Melt With You,” by Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Richard Brown, Michael Conroy, and Stephen Walker (1982)

5 chords – C F Em G A
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kvh1DHE700

Click for chords
This song is mostly C and F chords. Don’t get thrown off by the Em, which takes some practice. It’s a chord you’re going to want to have in your toolbox.

33. “Island in the Sun,” by Rivers Cuomo of the band Weezer (2001)

5 chords – Em Am D G C
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHrSlCJUIdU?t=579″

Click for chords
Bright and breezy, here’s another song sounds sweet on ukulele. Keep practicing that Em!

34. “I Walk the Line,” by Johnny Cash (1956)

5 chords – C G7 C7 F G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaM-2brTDCU

Click for chords
Like Hank Williams and The Beatles, Johnny Cash numbers sound great on uke. This one includes two versatile 7-chords. The video shows an even easier version.

35. “Roar,” by Katy Perry, Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, and Henry Walter (2013)

5 chords – G D Em C Am
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5GV2MG_7ZQ

Click for chords
It takes just five chords to get your “Roar” on!
Happy Strumming!

36. “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John (1973)

Chords: A7, Bm, C, D, D7, E, Em, G

See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrpI7WbJcO8

Year of Release: 1973

Artist: Elton John

Album: Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player

37. “Hey Good Lookin’” by Hank Williams (1953)

Chords: C, D, F, G

See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjCoKslQOEs

Year of Release: 1953

Artist: Hank Williams

Album: Memorial Album

38. “Sweet Home Alabama,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)

3 chords – D C G
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BVp01IW_jY

Click for chords
D chords can be daunting to some beginners. Experiment with playing it with one, two, or three fingers.

39. “I’ll Fly Away,” by Albert E. Brumley (1929)

3 chords – G C D
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGsxmGRM5m0

Click for chords
Often played in gospel and bluegrass bands, this is a classic and beautiful choice for beginners who’ve gotten comfortable with G and are working on the D chord — or vice versa.

40. “Love Me Do,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for The Beatles (1962)

3 chords – G C D
See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VPmcNNbO00

Click for chords
So many Beatles songs work beautifully on ukulele, and “Love Me Do” is especially well-suited to beginning players.

41. “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano

3 chords – G, A7, D

See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcsY7Wgi2GI

Click for chords

There are quite a few versions of this Christmas ukulele song, and the easiest has only three chords. You’ve probably heard this one before, and you might already have the words memorized. No worries if it’s new to you: Even though some of the lyrics are in Spanish, there are only a few phrases to remember and the pronunciation is simple. Have fun – this one is a favorite for holiday singalongs!

42. “Let it Be“ by The Beatles

4 chords – C, G, Am, F

See more on YouTube: https://youtu.be/wb2ajiZGXmo

Click for chords

Here’s an easy ukulele song that just about everyone knows – and in case they don’t the lyrics are easy to learn and remember. Let it Be is a classic song that was released way back in 1970, but don’t let that stop you from learning it: The tune is pleasant and catchy, and the meaning can be interpreted any way you like!

43. “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars

3 chords – Bb, Dm, F

See more on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=ohLdNz27aqA&feature=emb_logo

Click for chords

An easy, repetitive pattern makes this song so simple to play! Best of all, it’s a popular one that lots of people know, so singing along is easy if that’s something you’d like to do. Learn this song and it’ll be a favorite!

44. “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt

4 chords – C, G, Am, F

See more on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ARZ0gruMBzI

Click for chords

James Blunt, Amanda Ghost, and Sacha Skabek pooled their creative talent, writing “You’re Beautiful” for Blunt’s first album, Back to Bedlam. If you like this easy ukulele song and you’re curious about its backstory, here’s what happened, in the words of James Blunt himself. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he said: “It’s about seeing my ex-girlfriend on the subway in London with her new man, who I didn’t know existed. She and I caught eyes and lived a lifetime in that moment, but didn’t do anything about it.”

45. “One Love” by Bob Marley

5 chords – Bb, F, Eb, F7, Gm

See more on YouTube: https://youtu.be/mf0d7OYbKwA

Click for chords

Love reggae? Believe it or not, there are a few easy reggae songs for the ukulele, and Bob Marley’s classic hit “One Love” tops the list! Give this song a try and within a few practice sessions, you’ll be on your way to playing it for friends. Don’t be surprised if everyone joins in – even though this is a simple song, it’s extremely popular.

46. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

5 chords – C, Am, F, G, Em

See more on YouTube: https://youtu.be/uz2uFpAuqiw

Click for chords

Even though Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was originally released in 1984, the song didn’t gain much popularity until it was featured in Shrek. These days, it’s even more popular – and the odds are good that you’re familiar with the tune and some of the lyrics!

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Jenny! I needed some ideas for my entries for the #100day and there are some great ones here. Well written article, super happy that you mention chords for each song so we do not have to click another time for that info.

    I will visit this Uke Like The Pros site again.

  2. Thank you for this songs…
    … and hundreds of more on your youtube Channel.
    I have just recognized your sympathic and handsome way to sing and play.
    almost good songs in my taste: nice, aweful and much more…
    only TAB or chords are missing often ;-)…
    Sorry, but my english is ugly bad, but i hope you understand:
    Thanks in a hundred times
    Peter from Bremen in germany

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