Very few instruments are capable of doing what a ukulele can do. This very unique instrument has the ability to instantly change the mood in any room.
It can put you at ease when you are feeling stressed, or make you smile when you are feeling down.
All it takes is a few simple chords, and before you know it, everyone will be smiling and having a good time.
The purpose of this guide is to share a few great songs we believe are great from beginners to learn.
But we also want to be 100% honest with you. Improving your ukulele skills is no easy task. It takes time, and it can be quite boring.
But it doesn’t have to be!
One of the best ways to develop your skills, without getting bored, is to learn how to play new songs.
Playing new songs, especially ones you like, will make the learning process a little more exciting.
Today we will share with you what we believe to be some of the best ukulele songs for beginners to learn.
Please know some of these songs will be a bit challenging. But once you learn them, you will feel more confidence in your ability to play the ukulele.
This list of songs will consist of a few classics that we all know and love, as well as a few songs you have probably never heard of.
Rest assured each song on this list is there for a reason. These aren’t just random songs we pulled out the sky.
We chose them because we believe they are the absolute best ukulele songs for beginners.
It All Starts With The Warm Up
Before you can start playing any of these songs, you must first go through a few warm up steps. The first thing you want to do is make sure your ukulele is properly tuned.
Have you ever heard the sound of an out of tune ukulele? If not, lucky you. It's not a sound you want to hear.
When your ukulele is out of tune, it can completely ruin the song you are trying to play. So please, take the time to tune your instrument before you get started.
If any other corrections need to be made, now is the time to make them. If you plan on doing a little singing while you play, go ahead and do a quick warm up routine.
Sing scales to help warm your vocal chords. You can also play scales on your ukulele to get your fingers ready to go.
The purpose of warming up is to get prepared for what you are about to do. If you aren’t sure how to warm up, there are plenty of free guides you can find online.
Ready to discover the best ukulele songs for beginners? Let’s get this party started!
The Best Ukulele Songs For Beginners
Hey, Soul Sister - Train
Let’s start this off with one of our absolute favorite songs to play on the ukulele. Hey, Soul Sister was written and performed by the San Francisco rock band, Train.
The great thing about this song is that it is a very happy and upbeat song. When you listen to it, it makes you smile. It also makes you want to grab the one you love, and just dance.
In the video, one of the band members is actually playing a ukulele. So it's only fitting this song made the list.
Now that we’ve shown how much we love the group Train, let’s talk a little bit more about the song “Hey, Soul Sister”, and why it's such a great song to play on the ukulele.
Let’s start with the strumming pattern. The strumming pattern is very basic which means even a beginner can do it. While there are a few progressions in the song, they aren’t very difficult to catch on to.
As far as lyrics go, they start off pretty high. So if you plan on singing and playing, you will really need to put in the practice.
It will be a little difficult in the beginning, but with enough practice you will get the hang of it.
All Of Me - John Legend
All Of Me is another great song that had to be included on this list. If you know anything about John Legend, you know he is the real deal when it comes to writing and arranging songs.
This particular song may be one of the most challenging songs on this list. The secret is to learn how to arpeggiate the verse. Add that to a decent chord progression, and you will be well on your way.
Once you are done with the first chorus things will get a little easier. This is when you will go into a strumming pattern which will give the song a big energy boost.
If you are able to hit the notes in the right way, you should have no problem with the vocals. The chorus, however, may give you a little trouble as there are some really high notes that you will need to be able to hit with great accuracy.
The good news is you don’t have to sing the notes high if you don’t want to. You can sing them lower if it works better for you.
Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
This song is a masterpiece. The way Israel Kamakawiwo’ole was able to infuse this medley with his own magic, is simply amazing.
No doubt this piece will take a little time to learn. But as you learn it, you will learn many of the basic strumming patterns and chords that are used in a variety of different songs.
The great thing about this song, is though it may take a little time to learn, it is actually one of the easiest songs to play on the ukulele.
Once you’ve mastered this song, be sure to check out more of Israel’s songs. This guy is a genius when it comes to the ukulele.
The A Team - Ed Sheeran
If you don’t know who Ed Sheeran is, I feel sorry for you. This young man has a powerful story and he is now sharing it with his millions of fans all over the world.
The A Team has a lot of chords. More chords than probably any other song on this list. And while that may sound scary, it's not. Most of the chords are simple barre chords.
The great thing about this song is you can control how simple, or complicated, you make it. This is great for players who like to freestyle and add in their own licks from time to time.
Feel free to be as creative as you want with the strumming patterns. Or, if you prefer to keep things simple, stick with the standard ukulele strumming pattern. It's totally up to you how you play it.
Stay focused when playing this song as there are a few places where you will need to dial things down a bit.
I’m Yours - Jason Mraz
I’m Yours is a modern song that must be on any list of ukulele songs. Though the song may sound complicated, it's actually pretty simple to play.
It's the type of song that shows you don’t need to be a ukulele maestro to play something amazing.
For the most part, this song is pretty basic. The chord progression is similar to that of a modern pop song. It's also a really great song to sing along to.
Since the strumming pattern is simple, it leaves the door open for improvisation. Don’t be afraid to try different things and make the song your own.
Creep - Radiohead
As soon as you play this song, you will realize it was made to be played on the ukulele.
The chord progression is a little tricky, and it can be difficult to sing along to. But the emotion you will feel when singing this song will literally blow your mind.
Creep is a song that you can easily make your own. While there is a pattern you can follow, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
If you want to make the song a bit brighter, raise the tonality. Want to take the song to a different level? All you need to do is arpeggiate the intro chords.
Doing so will set the tone for the rest of the song.
Can’t Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley
I think it's safe to say we all love Elvis. And this song is what we would call an instant classic. It is one of the greatest ukulele songs of all time.
The great thing about this song is that it is a very versatile piece. You can either stick with the basics and play the chord progression as is, or you can mix things up a bit.
If it was up to us, we would start with the basic chord progression and keep the strumming pattern simple.
Once we have tackled keeping the rhythm, we would change up the strumming pattern and play it in a way that is more like the original song.
As you get better, you can add in a few licks to spice things up.
If you have a special someone, this is a great song to play for them. It is guaranteed to bring a smile to their face.
Hello - Adele
When Hello by Adele hit the airwaves, it immediately caught fire. It wasn’t long before fans started doing their own renditions on various instruments. And yes, the ukulele was one of those instruments.
Hello is actually a great fit for the ukulele. Adele’s vocals are what ultimately make this song so powerful. So truth be told, it's a great fit for any instrument.
The strumming pattern for this song is very straightforward. This makes it an easy song to learn.
You can easily make this song your own by changing up the strumming pattern. For example, if you want to give it more of a pop feel, just play the pattern faster. Or, if you want it to sound more like a ballad, just slow it down a bit.
No matter how you sing this song, it will more than likely sound amazing.
And if you can manage to pull off the vocals even as half as good as Adele, you will no doubt garner a lot of attention.
Trouble - Never Shout Never
Most of the songs on this list fall into one of two categories. They are either very basic, or somewhat challenging.
Trouble is a little different. When we say it's simple, we really mean it's simple. The chords and strumming patterns are some of the simplest you will ever play.
However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to learn by playing this song. When it comes to singing and playing, this song is easily one of the more challenging.
There are a lot of changes in this song that can throw you off if you aren’t ready for them. For example, the changes in tempo will often go against the rhythm of the song.
Trying to keep up with these changes while playing and singing is very difficult. Once you figure out though, it will be very gratifying.
For best results, we recommend starting slow, and sticking with the basics. Don’t ignore the basics just because the song is simple.
The intro is one chord played four times per bar. Later on in the song, that single chord will grow into a more sophisticated strumming pattern.
Focus on getting the rhythm of the song first. After you have the rhythm down, you can then introduce the singing.
Be prepared to work on this for a few weeks. You should also be prepared to stretch the limits of your vocal capabilities.
Trust us, this simple song will test your patience.
Blank Space - Taylor Swift
Bet you never thought this song would be on this list. Well neither did we. But truth be told, it is a really great song to play on the ukulele.
Taylor Swift is a very talented artist. And when it comes to turning simple chord progressions into catchy tunes, no one does it better.
Blank Space is a pretty easy song to play on the ukulele. It is also a very popular song played on the ukulele.
The interesting thing about this song is its versatility. How you sing it will determine the feelings that come across.
For example, if you want a happy go lucky feel, you can sing it more upbeat. If you want it to be more blue, you can sing it in a more somber way. No matter how you choose to sing, the song will always sound great.
When most people start playing this song, they stick with the standard ukulele strumming pattern. However, you are free to play around with the pattern if so choose.
This song is actually a blank canvas that allows you to infuse your own style into it. Don’t be afraid to make it your own.
Riptide - Vance Joy
If you’re into the more modern tunes, you will absolutely love playing Riptide on your ukulele. While it is a very straightforward tune, there are a few parts that can be a bit challenging.
Overall, however, the chords and progressions are fairly simple.
The strumming pattern is similar to a classic Spanish guitar. The quick changes from chord to chord will push you. You have to be quick if you want it to sound the right way.
Your current skill level will determine how challenging this song is for you. If you are a complete beginner, take it easy when you are first starting to learn the song. It may take a few weeks, but you will eventually be able to play the song in its original form.
As far as singing goes, you may have a hard time keeping up. Vance Joy is an unbelievable vocalist who is not afraid to show off his skills.
We will be honest, you probably won’t be able to sing the song in the way he does. But you can still do a beautiful rendition by dropping it down a few octaves.
Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
Whether you go to church or not, there is a good chance you have heard this song at some point in your life.
It is a classic that has been sung by people all over the world. And while it has been remade several times, there is nothing quite like the original.
Some believe playing Hallelujah on the ukulele takes away from the true energy and meaning of the song.
This belief, however, is completely wrong. Playing this song on the ukulele gives it a vibe you won’t be able to mimic with other instruments.
The sound of the ukulele actually makes the song sound very angelic. It reaches your soul in a way few instruments can. Pair that with great vocals, and Leonard Cohen fans will fall in love with you.
There are two things that make this one of the best ukulele songs for beginners. The first is the rhythm of the song, and the second is the accentuating of certain chords.
The beginning of the song is very slow and soft. But the intensity slowly picks up as you move into other parts of the song.
The volume of this song goes up in a linear fashion. It is this that makes the song so unique, and so soothing to the soul.
It is also something that makes the song a little tricky to play.
Raising the volume in a linear fashion is not as easy and effortless as Cohen makes it. It actually takes a lot of practice to get it just right.
When you first try to do it, you will no doubt be all over the place. You will notice you raise the intensity in the wrong places, or that you stay low when you should go high.
Don’t let this discourage you. Just keep practicing and you will get better. It takes time to develop certain skills.
The good news is, once you develop the skills to play Hallelujah on the ukulele, you can take those same skills and use them to play other songs.
La Vie En Rose - Edith Piaf
La Vie En Rose is an iconic song. It is one of those songs that has been interpreted on most of the popular instruments out there.
It is also one of the greatest ballads ever written. If by chance you have never heard it, I encourage you to go listen to it immediately after reading this article. You are sure to love it.
The main reason we put this song on our list is because it is such an amazing ballad. Ballads are the types of songs that sound absolutely amazing when being played on a ukulele.
The great thing about La Vie En Rose is that it can easily be adapted to any playing style, or any singing style.
Want to perform it like Edith Piaf? While that’s very possible, it will require you to reach some really high notes.
Keep in mind Edith is a legend. And while imitation is the greatest form of flattery, there is nothing wrong with making the song your own.
It's a lot easier to perform the song in a way that is more suitable for the ukulele. The standard ukulele strumming pattern works great with this song.
However, you can make changes to the strumming pattern to make it something you actually like, and are more comfortable playing.
If you are the type of person who enjoys experimenting, consider arpeggiating the chords. You can even speed up the pace at which you play the song.
How you experiment with the song is ultimately up to you. Don’t be afraid to let your creativity shine through.
Another interesting thing about this song, is that it can sound sad on the ukulele. Which by the way is something very rare.
If you slow down the pace of song, and break the chords down to a few simple notes, the song will sound very sad and blue.
We don’t recommend you do that, unless of course you want to.
Our Final Thoughts
And there you have it, 13 of the best ukulele songs for beginners. We included several old school classics such as La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, and Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley.
We also included more modern songs such as Blank Space by Taylor Swift, Hello by Adele, Hey, Soul Sister by Train, and All Of Me by John Legend.
The goal was to give you a good mix of the old and the new, and to show you what is truly possible with the ukulele.
We want you to get out of your comfort zone, and learn new tunes that you might not have otherwise thought of.
While many of these tunes are very challenging, all of them give way for improvisation. That means you have the freedom to make each of these songs your own.
As the player, you can adapt each of these songs to your current skill level and playing style. As you get better, you can take things up a notch.
Please don’t overlook the warm up tips we mentioned at the beginning of the article. Properly preparing in advance will give you the best chance of success, no matter what song you choose to learn how to play.
The one thing we hope you take from this article is the importance of having fun. Why play the ukulele if you aren’t having fun doing so?
As you learn new songs, you will no doubt get a little frustrated. This is natural and to be expected. The key is to not let it stop you.
When you feel like it's becoming overwhelming, stop and take a break. When you’re ready to play again, grab your ukulele and start practicing.
It sounds simple, because it is simple. There is no need to force yourself to keep practicing when you don’t feel like it.
While there are hundreds of great ukulele songs for beginners, the 13 songs on this list provide you with a great place to start.
Now go forth and entertain your family and friends.