5 Basic Chords Ukulele Songs You Can Play on the Ukulele

basic chords ukulele songs

This classic rock tune works particularly well when played on the ukulele, making for an easy introduction to playing for even novice players.

This song only uses three chords and features a simple strumming pattern of D-DU-UDU. Additionally, its time signature of 4/4 makes this an excellent one to practice on.

Abbey Road

There are a lot of Beatles songs that translate well onto ukulele; all it takes is finding an appropriate strumming pattern for them – be it an alberti bass style sequence or more complex pieces like ‘Come Together’ by finding one to suit!

Brown Eyed Girl does not translate as smoothly to modern audiences. The high frequency strings strip away depth from the track, diminishing some of its melancholy. But there is a solution: try playing it faster using syncopated strumming patterns.

Bon Jovi – Crush

Adele’s “Someone Like You” doesn’t translate well onto the ukulele due to the high frequency response of its strings; however, as this takes away from its soulfulness.

Bon Jovi returned with their seventh studio album, Crush, after five years away and it proved an instant classic with its title track becoming an arena rock anthem.

This song offers a slightly unique chord progression as each chord is held for different number of beats. But with practice and patience, this shouldn’t pose too much of a difficulty.

The Cranberries – Zombie

Welcome a change from the upbeat tracks with this melancholic track showcasing how the ukulele can express a wide range of emotions through music. Additionally, its simple chord progression showcases how an engaging melody can resonate with listeners.

Zombie was one of the standout tracks on Irish rock band The Cranberries’ second album No Need to Argue. With its indefatigable lyrics by Dolores O’Riordan that vividly criticized war and conflict among different ideologies, this hit single proved itself the perfect platform for her powerful lyrics – something Colin Parry described it as being both “majestic and powerful”. Additionally, its chord sequence shouldn’t prove too difficult for beginners learning the ukulele.

Ed Sheeran – Perfect

This simple tune is an ideal one to learn on the ukulele if you want to build up your chord sequence skills further. Composed entirely from Em, G and C chords which are all easy to play using a capo placed on the first fret, this piece offers plenty of practice opportunities on chord sequences.

You can play this song using various strumming patterns, but for an added boost I recommend accentuating the 2nd and 4th beats of every bar – this will give the song more bouncy accent that really makes it stand out!

Justin Beiber – Don’t Let Me Down

This catchy upbeat track from one of today’s leading artists makes for a fantastic ukulele piece, as its simple chord structure only requires three chords and can be played using an easy strumming pattern.

An iconic track by one of history’s great songwriters and an excellent song for learning the ukulele, “Teardrops on My Guitar” can make for an exciting challenge on this instrument. To add extra interest, try changing up the strumming pattern or adding syncopated hits – both will help add dimension and life to your rendition! Also, hit each downstroke on each bar more forcefully on count three of each bar for maximum effect!

The Pretenders – You Make My Dreams

This song calls for more intricate chordal complexity than others we’ve covered, yet remains catchy enough to add it to your repertoire.

You will need to master C, G and D chords as well as the strumming pattern throughout this song – D-du-du-du-D is repeated repeatedly throughout – in order to play this tune properly. At first it may seem daunting but practice will eventually help get the hang of it! Additionally, pay special attention when practicing and listening out for accented down strums which help ensure an authentic chord progression sounding melody line.