From Bangers to Ballads: 20 Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

by Anne B. Robinson
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Learning to play the ukulele requires a lot of patience and dedication. Oftentimes, people give up rather early on because they try to tackle difficult songs without going over the simple ones first. That is why it is important to start with easy compositions you can complete at your own pace and actually learn in the process.

To achieve that, you need to create your own list of the most popular easy ukulele songs for beginners. Luckily for you, this article will contain precisely that, along with an introduction to the four basic ukulele chords. Read on!

The Four Ukulele Chords

When you start learning to play the ukulele, you should focus on three main chords first (Am, C, and F). After you master those, you can add the fourth one (G) and complete the package.

Though they are known as the basic chords, Am, C, and F are actually enough to play hundreds of songs on the ukulele. To play Am and C, you only need to hold down a single string.

In the case of A minor, you need to fret the uppermost string (also known as the G string). For C, you fret the bottom string (A string). The F chord is a bit more complex, but nothing you cannot master through a bit of practice.

With your index finger, you fret the E string, while your middle finger should fret the G string. It is important that you bend your fingers to avoid hitting the A and C strings while playing. It will take some practice, but you will get the hang of it pretty soon.

Finally, you can introduce the fourth chord after you are sure you have mastered the first three. It is called the G chord, and it is the most complex of the bunch.

For this chord, your index finger should hold the C string, while your middle one should fret the A string. At the same time, you should position your ring finger on the E string. You will definitely need some time to manage this chord. So, be patient and don’t give up if you can’t get it right immediately.

There are quite a few other chords you will be able to master later on. However, most easy ukulele songs for beginners require only the above-mentioned four. Here are 20 of them to get you started.

20 Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

1. Riptide by Vance Joy

This song is, perhaps, one of the easiest ones you can learn when you’re just starting out. Though the studio version is more polished and adorned with other instruments as well, the original was actually written on a ukulele. That is why playing Riptide on this instrument feels so natural and easy.

The song consists of a simple chord progression that will be easy for you to master. The strumming pattern is a fun one, and it makes for great material when it comes to practicing your speed and ease of movement.

2. I’m Yours by Jason Mraz

Beloved by many as one of the best love songs released in the 2000s, this cute number makes for a perfect ukulele tune. The chord progression is simple enough that you can even sing the lyrics while you play. Of course, it is best that you learn how to play it first and then introduce the singing gradually.

3. Love the Way You Lie by Eminem ft. Rihanna

Back in 2008, this song was practically inescapable. It is the first of several Eminem and Rihanna collaborations that followed, and it paired off their distinctive styles perfectly.

As difficult as the rap part might be to learn and master, the instrumental is actually quite simple. In fact, this tune is one of the easiest ukulele songs for beginners that you can try learning.

4. Hey Soul Sister by Train

If you are looking for easy ukulele songs for beginners, you cannot overlook Hey Soul Sister. This song was practically made for the ukulele, as it is easy to play and sounds cheery and fun.

You should bear in mind that you will have to use all four chords mentioned in the sections above. That means that this particular tune will take you slightly more time to learn. However, the satisfaction you will feel when you finally play it from start to finish will be unmatched.

5. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars

just the way you are by bruno mars

This cute song about admiring your partner and all their quirks is a perfect song for the ukulele. You will learn it quite quickly, and you will be able to use the chord progressions from the song to play other tunes as well. The three basic chords will be all you need to master Just the Way You Are.

6. Someone Like You by Adele

To play this beautiful ballad on a ukulele, you will need to use all four chords mentioned above. However, the entire song consists of a simple pattern you will be able to memorize and master instantly.

Once you learn the chord progression, you can experiment with different strumming patterns. The song is simple enough to learn that you can really go all out when it comes to little embellishments.

7. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd

This country classic is one of the most popular easy ukulele songs for beginners. That is mostly because it is fun to play and consists only of three chords. It has the same chord progressions for the verses and chorus, which means you’ll learn it in no time.

If you learn to play this song, you’ll be the favorite person at any party, as people go absolutely wild every time they hear it. Get your friends to sing along, and you’ll have a memory you’ll want to keep forever.

8. Let It Be by The Beatles

If you want to start your ukulele career off with a classic, there is no better choice than Let It Be. However, the chord progression is slightly more complex than that of any of the songs above. Thus, it might be best to try and learn this one after you have already mastered at least a few of the songs above.

9. You’re Beautiful by James Blunt

This haunting love song is one of the most widely covered songs of the last decade. Apart from the lyrics, people have always been drawn to the instrumental and its melodic composition. It shines best when it is stripped down, and playing it on a ukulele will do just that.

To play You’re Beautiful, you’ll need the four basic ukulele chords. The verses have a slightly more complex chord progression, while the chorus uses a simplified version of it. Try learning them separately first and then playing the song as a whole, as that might be easier.

10. Love Yourself by Justin Bieber

love yourself by justin bieber

Love Yourself has a simple melody that is stripped back to let the lyrics and vocals of the performer shine. As such, it is a perfect song for a beginner to learn on the ukulele.

The chord progressions are slightly different than what most other songs on this list require. However, that is what makes the song so special. You’ll feel accomplished and good about yourself when you master it, and you’ll enjoy every step of the learning process.

11. Stand by Me by Ben E. King

What makes this tune everyone’s favorite among all easy ukulele songs for beginners is the fact that it consists of a single chord progression you have to repeat over and over again.

Once you learn it, you’ll have learned the entire song. Thus, this number might be a good choice for the very first song you try to learn. You’ll master it in the blink of an eye and feel accomplished enough to move on to something more complex.

12. It’s My Life by Bon Jovi

At first listen, this rock classic might seem like too big of a task to learn. However, behind the heavy bass and hard-hitting drums, there is a rather simple chord progression you can learn on the ukulele.

Though you are used to hearing this song played on the guitar, you’ll see that it can be just as empowering on your ukulele. One thing is certain: you’ll feel like a total badass every time you play it!

13. Stay by Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko

This heart-breaking ballad topped the charts around the world. It showcases the vocals of both singers, as well as the haunting lyrical content. To achieve that, the piano instrumental is quite simple and soothing, which makes it perfect for a newbie ukulele learner.

After you have mastered this song fully and learned how to sing it at the same time, you can find a partner and trade-off vocals. The song works best as a duet after all, and the ukulele will shine a completely new light on it.

14. Fearless by Taylor Swift

At one of her concerts, Swift remarked that the ukulele is the instrument she uses when writing happy songs. She noted that it sounds light and breezy and is perfect for songs about love. That is why she used it to play Fearless on all her tours, as there aren’t many songs in her discography that are as happy and easy to play like that one.

Thus, you’ll have no problem learning to play this cute banger on your own instrument. You will need the four main chords, and you’ll alternate between them in a simple progression. The only slightly more complex section is the bridge, which is what will make this song a bit of a challenge.

15. Poker Face by Lady Gaga

poker face by lady gaga

You might be surprised to find this pop banger on the list containing easy ukulele songs for beginners. After all, its instrumental sounds quite complex and all over the place.

However, Poker Face uses just a single chord progression for the chorus and verses, which is what makes it so catchy in the first place. Thus, you’ll be able to learn it in no time and shine a new light on this timeless dancefloor hit.

16. Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

This tune has made pretty much every list containing the greatest songs of all time, and with good reason. It is a favorite for many people, and it is fairly easy to play.

You will need to use the four main chords along with a simple strumming pattern.

Don’t Stop Believing will be a great choice for you to play at parties. It will get everyone to sing along, and you’ll be the star of the party by the night’s end.

17. She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5

She Will Be Loved is one of the most popular easy ukulele songs for beginners out there. It consists of a simple chord progression and is quite easy to learn. What might be trickier is learning how to sing it at the same time, but you’ll cross that bridge when you get to it. As long as you are patient, there’s nothing you can’t do.

18. Counting Stars by One Republic

Playing Counting Stars on the ukulele makes the song sound much lighter and happier, regardless of its lyrics. You will be able to learn this one rather quickly, as you only need to master two chord progressions to do so.

19. Complicated by Avril Lavigne

This banger launched Lavigne’s career back in the 90s, and it has become a timeless teenage angst hit since then. You can learn the basic melody of the song using three chords first, and then make things interesting by experimenting with the strumming pattern. All in all, you’ll get a more cheery rendition of the song and present it in a whole new light.

20. Whistle by Flo Rida

Whistle is, perhaps, one of the catchiest songs released this century. Behind the catchiness is the fact that the song is based on a single chord progression repeated over and over again. That makes it rather easy to learn. When looking for easy ukulele songs for beginners, Whistle is a tune you simply cannot skip.

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