It is important as a budding musician to learn the easy things first. Not only will you make noticeable progress faster but you’ll enjoy the journey too. We would never recommend a beginner to try to play a song with 12 different chords, difficult chord progressions or ask them to fingerpick, or even to play an advanced strumming pattern. It is setting them up for failure. For this reason we’ve compiled a list of easy ukulele songs that you can play with just 4 chords!
We like to teach four chords to start with to start to unlock a lot of popular ukulele songs. Once these four are mastered you can start to learn one or two more as they come up in songs. By the time you know 10 chords you’ll look like an advanced Luthier to most people!
We also think that playing ukulele songs that are easy to play is extremely important when learning the ukulele. If you learn to play a beginner ukulele song by Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Vance Joy, Leonard Cohen, or Jason Mraz that your friends can sing along with it will motivate you to learn other chords, songs and strumming patterns that otherwise might just frustrate you.
Like this list? Check out our 8 Tips To Learning the Ukulele Quickly!
Table of Contents
The 4 Chords You Need to Play Beginner Ukulele Songs
When playing ukulele as a beginner we recommend you start off with 3 easy ukulele chords. Once you learn the chord progressions switching between those you can add the fourth later. The 3 super simple basic chords are Am, C, F, and these three chords make up hundreds of popular ukulele songs.
Pretty easy right? The C and A minor chords require a single fret to be held down, and the F chord simply requires you to add the 1st fret of the E (2nd) String to the A Minor chord.
The G chord involves 3 fingers, but most players find the chord shape to be simple and easy to learn.
Guitarist will recognize the shape of the G chord as the same as that of a D Major chord on a six-string guitar.
With these four easy chords you’ll be able to play all of the songs on this list (and a number that we didn’t have space to include!).
There are plenty of easy ukulele songs that are really simple and can be played used C F, G. After a while you can start to add in other common chords like Em and D to round out your basics!
If you want to explore the rest of the Major, Minor and 7th Ukulele chords, there is a full list with diagrams at UkeGuides. That being said, until you learn to play the simple ukulele chords there is no need to rush, many ukulele players never learn the minor or 7th variations and still can play a ton of songs on the ukulele.
30 Easy Ukulele Songs For Beginners
Now that you know the 4 chords, C, F, G, and Am, you need we want you to remember a few things before you start playing. Make these songs as easy to play as possible when learning them by simply strumming 4 down-strokes per bar. If that is too difficult simply play one down strum, but make sure you are tapping your foot to keep time!
We did our best to include some 2 chord ukulele songs, some with 3 chords, but nothing on this list is played with more than the four chords mentioned! Some of these will have more challenging chord progression arrangements than others, but all the chords are really simple!
We also tried to make sure we sprinkled in a few easy ukulele songs for kids as well as ones for country, pop, and rock music lovers!
1. Riptide – Vance Joy
The Riptide ukulele version is a great example of an easy ukulele song popular in today’s music. Afterall, it was written and originally performed on the uke, so there is nothing lost in translating it to the instrument. Riptide’s strumming pattern is also a fun one to practice as you gain skill!
The whole song is made up of easy chords and a simple chord progression. Start with simple strumming and use this song to practice your speed as you get the hang of it!
2. Birdplane – The Axis of Awesome
You may not recognize this song by the name, or even the band, this is definitely a one hit wonder for most people. The whole song will have you jamming along and loving every minute!
The tab we’ve linked to actually asks for a standard Amajor chord at one point during the song. We recommend playing with the Am until you’re comfortable playing the major chord, then adding the level of difficulty!
3. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
Don’t have a Ukulele to play yet? Check out our Guide to Great Beginner Ukuleles!
4. Love the Way You Lie – Eminem ft. Rihanna
There was a time when you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing this haunting, powerful song. If you can sing Rihanna’s part, or know someone who can, this is an amazing ukulele tune to play!
5. Hey Soul Sister – Train (C,G, Am, F)
Hey Soul Sister is simply one of our absolute favorite songs to play while learning the ukulele. This upbeat hit was made for the instrument.
6. Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry
This song is just simply FUN to play. 4 chords, quick changes, a lot of down strums, a mixture of hammer-ons and string muting give this song an amazing sound.
Now, we’d recommend you start with a nice slow easy pace for the down strums, get your chord changes down, then increase the difficulty! You will be able to play this song and have fun all the way from beginner to advanced!
7. Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
8. It’s my Life – Bon Jovi
This huge hit from on of the legendary 80’s bands is not exactly what comes to mind when you think of popular ukulele songs, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to play.
We aren’t ashamed to admit that we know it on every single instrument we play!
Bon Jovi used easy chords and still topped the charts with this electric hit song from ‘after their prime’. We love playing this anthem on both the Ukulele and the guitar.
9. Stay – Rihanna
10. Self Esteem – The Offspring
Every time we play this on the ukulele we have to chuckle. This ballad of teen angst sounds pretty funny on the happy little uke.
If you’re goal is to turn heads, get a few laughs, and play something that no one else at the gathering would think to play, then you could do a lot worse than this jam.
11. All of the Stars – Ed Sheeran
12. Pokerface – Lady Gaga
Oh, Gaga. What can we say. Everyone knows who this pop superstar is and her music is something you simply can’t avoid in the last 10 years. So what do you do? We went with it, learned to play her biggest hit, and are perfectly happy with our decision!
Is 4 chords too many? Check out 8 songs that only require 2 chords!
13. The Hanging Tree – Hunger Games
14. Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
We admit it, we love this song… who doesn’t? In fact, it’s made many “top songs of all time” lists over the years! The best part is that you can play it with four chords and a fairly easy strumming pattern. It’s also a huge crowd-pleaser that everyone will be able to sing along to.
15. All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix
16. She Will Be Loved – Maroon Five
We are going to warn you… you won’t be able to sing this song like Adam Levine. He has such a unique voice that it’s just not going to happen. That doesn’t mean you can’t make this easy song sound great on a ukulele though!
Just a note, the Tab specifies playing an Fmaj7 chord. Play the F, we think it’s right (and in our opinion it sounds better than the 7th chord too)!
17. Counting Stars – One Republic
Counting Stars has been such a popular song in recent years that it had to be on this list. Plus, this lesson is done by one of our favorite online ukulele teachers! Counting Stars ukulele will definitely sound different than the version you’ll hear on the radio, but we actually like it better!
18. Let it Be – The Beatles
Our first (but not last!) offering from the legendary band that turned the world electric. One of their most famous songs, it’s been covered and played more times than any of us could venture to count. Why not add your name to the list?
19. I Still Haven’t Found what I’m Looking For – U2
20. Down Under – Men at Work
This was the #4 song for the year 1983 as voted by Billboard music. Obviously a gigantic hit, and one that gained popularity worldwide. Starting in Australia, then moving to Canada before finally finding it’s way to the United States.
21. Leaving on a Jet Plane – Jonh Denver
22. Complicated – Avril Lavigne
A song about the, lets say, shady side that people can have, it is much more cheery when played on a ukulele. This is also a song that you can find much more difficult tabs for. Start simple, then work your way up!
23. Octopus’s Garden – The Beatles
24. Kids – MGMT
This song has a soft spot in our hearts as it was included in one of our favorite snowboarding videos, ever. It’s also fun to play because the original is an electronic pulsing song that many may not picture being played on a Uke.
This is a song that the tab wants you to switch up the chords for the chorus and if you want to play to the record version that’s true, but as a beginner keep the verse pattern for the chorus so you can play the entire song!
25. Whistle – Flo Rida
Flo Rida’s Whistle is a catchy tune that we love to play on the Uke. It is already a rather happy sounding tune, and the ukulele gives it a little extra pick me up.
This song will get stuck in your head. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
26. Double Rainbow – The Gregory Brothers
This is a pretty silly song that is almost guaranteed to put a smile on the face on anyone who is listening. It’s also one that most people know but wouldn’t expect to hear, so it’s got a goofy shock factor to it too! You should have fun while you learn ukulele, right?!
27. Cane Fire – Peter Moon Band
One of the few Hawaiian songs that is simple enough for beginning ukulele players!
While not all of your friends may know this song, it is a fun one to play with easy ukulele chords and an authentic sound. The Peter Moon band toured Hawaii and the U.S for years, helping to popularize the Ukulele for all of us!
28. Paparazzi – Lady Gaga
Another monster hit for Lady Gaga, paparazzi is a fun song to play to give a little crap to anyone who always seems to be following you around with a camera. Yes, we all have those friends! Just stick to C, G, Am, and F and you’ll be jamming to this tune!
29. It’s a Heartache – One Groove
30. One Love – Bob Marley
Last but not least. A song that needs no introduction buy surely every musician should know, the amazing “One Love”, by Bob Marley.
Reggae songs also have the benefit of using a lot of up strumming rather than most patterns which are dominantly down strummed. This will allow you to practice something that many beginners struggle with!
The Final Note
We realize that there are hundreds of popular, easy songs played on the ukulele that we couldn’t fit in this article. Songs like Brown Eyed Girl, Wonderful World, Ho Hey, Thinking out Loud, Jingle Bells, Sweet Home Alabama, and Blowin in the Wind are all fairly easy to play songs that you can find ukulele tabs online for.
Also, check out the works of Colbie Caillat, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Justin Bieber, Christina Perri, Taylor Swift, Twenty One Pilots, Jack Johnson, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and (last but not least) ukulele legend Israel Kamakawiwoole.
These artists are well known and if you’re looking to play a song from one of your favorite artists, almost all of them have a simple ukulele songs you can start playing as a beginner!