Almost all music types and genres can be played on the ukulele. Normally, if a tune seems like an easy one to play on a guitar, banjo, or any other stringed instrument, chances are it’s even easier to play on a ukulele.

It’s a bit disheartening that most tabs and chord sheets online are so guitar-oriented, which makes the job of searching for easy ukulele songs pretty difficult for beginners.

Quick Look: Easy Songs for Ukulele

#1 Best Easy Ukulele Song Overall: Somewhere Over the Rainbow


That’s why I’ve decided to share with you some of my favorite simple ukulele tracks, as well as simple guidelines regarding how to play them. Without any further ado, let’s dive straight into this list of easy songs for ukulele.

What Makes a Ukulele Song Easy to Play?

The perception of an easy ukulele song is entirely subjective. Some beginners may struggle if a song has too many chords, while others have a hard time alternating between different strumming patterns.

ukulele song easy to play

However, it’s easy to recognize simple ukulele songs by adhering to the following criteria.

Simple Chords

The chords where fingers overlap are generally much harder to fret than those where your fingers are supposed to fall in line. Additionally, some of the most basic chords don’t require the use of more than three fingers and often include open strings instead of fretted notes.

Repetitive Riffs

As far as the song’s structure is concerned, you shouldn’t pay too much attention to every little detail. If the riffs are repetitive, you’ll be able to learn the song faster. Replaying any riff also serves as a good opportunity to practice while you’re covering the song.

Memorable Melodies

You don’t need to actually learn the melody parts and riffs to learn how to play a song in its entirety. However, if the melody lines are memorable, you’ll be able to navigate the song more easily.

I would also like to add that learning how to play melodies before the chords is my own way of preparing to cover a song, so I recommend trying it out if you’re having difficulties with certain tunes.

Slower or Mid-paced Tempos

Simply put, the slower the song’s tempo is, the easier it is to learn it. Faster songs can tire even the most experienced ukulele players, let alone beginners who are just becoming familiar with the instrument. This is not a rule set in stone, as there are numerous examples of easy upbeat songs, such as Uptown Funk.

Easy Ukulele Chords

Chords can be divided into basic, advanced, and complex, depending on how easy or difficult it is to put your fingers onto the frets that use them. Most musicians, myself included, tend to strum along with random notes as they feel the instrument out, which is the first step in the development of strumming and fretting habits.

easy songs for ukulele

If, for example, you’ve had someone teach you a few licks or show you how some songs are played, you’ll probably find such chords a bit easier simply because you’re at least remotely familiar with them, regardless of their actual complexity.

However, some chords are objectively easier to play than others, and I’ve dedicated this section to some of the simplest ones. Let’s begin.

E Minor

The Em Chord is arguably the easiest chord in the book, mainly because your fingers will fall in line one after another on the ukulele fretboard. It starts off with your index finger pressing on the second fret of the A string. The middle finger should press the third fret on the E string, and your ring finger should press the fourth fret on the C string.

The main reason why I believe the E minor chord should be the first one you learn is that you’ll be able to play hundreds of songs that are in E standard tuning, allowing you to quickly and easily transpose songs written on acoustic guitars to your ukulele.

D Minor

The Dm Chord is as simple as Em Chord, and it will be a very useful tool for you for covering songs that are in D standard tuning. Furthermore, the Em-Dm chord progression is very common, so you’ll also be able to play some of the most basic ukulele songs with these two.

The D minor chord is a small bar chord on the second fret position on C and G strings, and on the first fret of the E string.

A Major

If you’re into happy songs, you’ll want to have the A major chord under your belt. It’s remarkably simple and, in a sense, upgradeable, which means that you can play it in several ways.

The simplest version of the A major chord consists of the second fret position of the G string and the first fret position of the C string. Once you start feeling comfortable with it, you can simply add open E and open A strings to make it sound richer and fuller.

C# Augmented

Fans of jazz music rely on augmented and diminished chords more than most. Despite the fact that it sounds a bit complicated, this particular augmented chord is remarkably easy to play.

Your ring finger should press the second fret on the G string while your middle and index fingers should press the first frets on the C and E strings. It’s not commonly used in pop songs, but it’s very present in classical, jazz, blues, and rock tunes.

F Major

A basic, simple chord that is used in virtually all sub-genres of music is the F major chord. This happy-sounding chord is very easy to fret, and it serves as a building block for slightly more advanced chords, so it’s worth learning how to pull it off.

Basically, your ring finger should press the second fret of the G string, and the C string should be played openly while your index finger should press the first fret on the E string.

See more: Best Beginner Ukulele Books Buyer’s Guide

Easy Ukulele Strumming Patterns

Strumming patterns are meant to provide you with more flexibility, but in truth, some songs are simply too hard to be strummed in a singular way. If you’ve been struggling with learning a certain tune, you may find it much easier if you simply switch over to a different strumming pattern. Here are some of the most popular ones:


Downstrokes are represented with the ↓ mark in chord books and sheet music, and they’re a part of the most traditional strumming technique. Essentially, by strumming down the strings, you’re performing downstrokes.

Since this is the most intuitive way to play any stringed instrument, the downstroke strumming technique is not only the most common but also much easier than upstrokes and the alternative strumming technique.


Upstrokes are the opposite of downstrokes. Instead of strumming down the strings, you should strum upwards. Even though this is normally a harder way to strum, certain songs or sections of songs are much easier to play with this technique. Upstrokes are represented with the ↑ mark in chord books and sheet music.

Alternative Strumming

Alternative strumming is equivalent to alternative picking. This technique combines downstrokes and upstrokes and is marked with ↑↓ in chord books, and sheet music.

10 Best Ukulele Songs

As I mentioned above, there are a few things that make certain songs easy to play on a ukulele, including repetitive patterns, simple chords, memorable melodies, and repetition. If you’ve taken a gander at the small guide in the sections above, you should be able to spot easy songs and learn them pretty quickly.

best ukulele songs

Now that we’ve tackled the basics of ukulele music theory, it’s time to dive into the top 10 best easy ukulele songs.

1. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Chords: G, D, Em, C, Cadd9, B7
Strumming pattern: ↓, ↓↑, ↑↓↑
Artist: Israel IZ Kamakawiwo’ole
Genre: Traditional Hawaiian music
Playing style: Fingerstyle

Somewhere Over the Rainbow is the song that made me fall in love with the ukulele. Israel’s soothing voice and joyful playing brought the tender vibes of Hawaiian culture across the globe, my home included.

This song features a simple, repetitive lick containing six partial chords, which makes it an excellent choice for beginners. Furthermore, its tempo is very forgiving to newbies, and the basic chords that form the structure of Somewhere Over the Rainbow are remarkably straightforward and easy to fret.

2. Uptown Funk

Chords: Dm7, G7
Strumming pattern: ↓, ↓, ↓↑↓
Artist: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
Genre: Pop/funk
Playing style: Fingerstyle/picking

Ronson’s Uptown Funk is one of the most commercial pop-funk songs that can be described as complex if we take into account all of the instruments that are present in it. However, the guitar is sitting in the background, and that’s what you should be interested in when covering it on your ukulele.

The main reason why I think this is one of the best easy songs for ukulele is because you only need to know two chords, which are Dm7 and G7, to play it.

Furthermore, it’s very repetitive, and it features a single riff that is constantly built over Bruno’s voice, occasional bass slaps, trumpets, and other elements that you shouldn’t worry about too much when you’re learning it on a ukulele.

3. Drive

Chords: Em, Am, Bm, Am7
Strumming pattern: ↓↑, ↓↑↓, ↓↑↓↑, ↓↑↓↑
Artist: Joe Bonamassa
Genre: Blues
Playing style: Fingerstyle

Joe Bonamassa is one of the most soulful blues guitarists, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that one of his tracks is on the list. Drive is a slow-paced, simple song that focuses on emotions more than various playing techniques.

The original performers play it fingerstyle, although it sounds great when played with a pick too. It features four simple chords and a memorable strumming pattern that follows the song through its entirety.

Drive takes you on a slow, relaxing ride, and its beauty lies in its simplicity. A lot of attention has been paid to details on percussion, backing vocals, lyrics, and the general atmosphere of the song, but the chords and licks by themselves are pretty straightforward.

4. Down in a Hole

Chords: Am, G, D, Dm, C, D5, C5, A5, G5, F5
Strumming pattern: ↓↑↓, ↓, ↑↓, ↓↑↓
Artist: Alice in Chains
Genre: Rock
Playing style: Fingerstyle

Down in a Hole shows us that happy-sounding tunes can be darker and more melancholic than most intentionally sad songs, and writing them is what Alice in Chains excels at. This is the first song on the list that may prove to be a bit of a challenge as far as chord progressions are of concern, but everything else about it is fairly simple and straightforward.

This track is composed of ten riffs, which isn’t much considering that it’s a relatively long song. The riffs are memorable, and you’ll have Layne’s beautiful voice as a constant guidepost, telling you where the song is going to go for as long as you’re concentrating on it.

5. Holy Diver

Chords: Am, B, C, G, F, E
Strumming pattern: ↓, ↓↑↓, ↓↑↓, ↓, ↓, ↓, ↓↑↓, ↓↑↓
Artist: Ronnie James Dio
Genre: Metal
Playing style: Picking

It’s hard to play metal if you’re not into it, regardless of which instrument we’re talking about. The same applies to ukulele, but fortunately, there are a lot of cool-sounding, simple songs that can easily be covered on a ukulele, such as Dio’s Holy Diver.

The hardest thing about Holy Diver if you’re not a metalhead is nailing its galloping strumming pattern. Even though this technique requires a degree of skill and practice, it’s prevalent in the entire metal genre. So, learning Holy Diver will also help you learn a few more songs from similar bands, such as Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, and such.

6. Stayin’ Alive

Chords: Em, A, D, Bm7
Strumming pattern: ↓, ↓↑↓, ↓↑↓
Artist: Bee Gees
Genre: Disco
Playing style: Fingerstyle/picking

Stayin’ Alive is arguably the most popular disco song of all time, and not many people have tried to cover it on a ukulele, mainly because it features a wide variety of instruments.

However, if we take out the strings and trumpets, Stayin’ Alive is a simple, basic song that is characterized by the frequent repetition of riffs, super-simple chords, and a moderate tempo. One thing is certain, though, you’ll definitely surprise people if you start playing it on any instrument, especially ukulele.

7. Fred Bear

Chords: A, F, B
Strumming pattern: ↓, ↑↓, ↓↑, ↓, ↑↓, ↓↑
Artist: Ted Nugent
Genre: Southern rock/psychedelic rock
Playing style: Fingerstyle

Southern rock has many names, including psychedelic rock and acid rock. It emerged during the hippie era, and the vast majority of artists who’ve found themselves in this genre have also found a strong connection to the earth and the world surrounding us.

If this musical style rocks your boat, I warmly suggest Ted Nugent’s Fred Bear, which features only three chords, a very simple strumming pattern, and absolutely massive arena rock licks and riffs. Aside from being downright basic in terms of complexity, I recommend it because it sounds absolutely awesome on a ukulele.

8. Sky Is Crying

Chords: Em7, Am7, Bm7
Strumming pattern: ↓, ↑↓, ↑↓, ↑↓, ↑↓
Artist: Stevie Ray Vaughan
Genre: Blues
Playing style: Fingerstyle

Legendary players such as Stevie Ray Vaughan spiced up the blues with a bit of rock and country, making it more approachable for beginners and intermediate players.

The Sky is Crying is, first and foremost, a beautiful, emotional song. The most surprising thing about this tune is that it can be played with only three chords.

9. In Hell I’ll Be in Good Company

Chords: Gm, Cm, D7
Strumming pattern: ↓,↑↓↑, ↓,↑↓↑, ↓,↑↓↑, ↓, ↑
Artist: The Dead South
Genre: Bluegrass
Playing style: Fingerstyle

The Dead South is a Canadian band that seamlessly combines raw skill and musicianship with uplifting, happy-sounding songs with fairly grim themes and lyrics. In Hell I’ll Be in Good Company is one of my favorite bluegrass tunes, and the first thing that caught my ears was its simplicity.

It’s catchy, it sounds great, and it’s very simple. All you need to do is memorize the relatively counter-intuitive bridges and passes, but other than that, you just need to learn three chords and you’re set to go.

10. Shesmovedon

Chords: Em9, G, D, D#aug, Em, Cadd9, G/B, A7, G6, B7/D#
Strumming pattern: ↓, ↓↑, ↑, ↓↓,↑,↑↓
Artist: Porcupine Tree
Genre: Alternative rock/progressive
Playing style: Picking

Porcupine Tree’s Shesmovedon is one of their simpler songs, which contains repetitive verses and choruses. Even though you’ll need to memorize quite a few riffs, this beautiful-sounding song is mainly supposed to be played with single-note playing techniques.

Types of Ukulele Music

Songs that were composed on a guitar or any other similar stringed instrument can be transposed and played on any ukulele. This applies to most music genres, excluding certain styles of electronic and experimental music.

types of ukulele music

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular types of ukulele music.


The ukulele originated in Hawaii, so it may be a bit more accurate to label traditional ukulele music as Hawaiian folk music. As this instrument gained in popularity, artists from all around the world started composing ukulele pieces, contributing to the catalog of traditional ukulele genres.


Pop songs heavily rely on front-and-center vocals, keyboards, drum machines, basses, and guitars. Due to their commercial nature, most pop songs are simple, so they’re an obvious choice for people who want to cover easy songs for ukulele.


The slow, emotional music style that is the blues is perfect for beginner ukulele players. Most blues songs feature simple licks and offer the perfect opportunity to learn more about single-note playing techniques, as well as beginner and intermediate chord play.


Although jazz is considered as one of the more complex music styles, some jazz songs are tailor-made for ukuleles. You’ll get to practice different chords than you would usually play, diminished and augmented chords in particular.


Rock and metal music styles rely heavily on distorted electric guitars, big amplifiers, and guitar pedal effects. However, a good portion of rock songs can be played on a ukulele, although your resourcefulness will be tested if you aren’t familiar with the basics of music theory.


Bluegrass is sometimes confused with country music, but it’s distinctly different as it doesn’t involve electric instruments, but relies on acoustic stringed guitars, basses, and occasional percussion.

Review This Post

In Conclusion

Let’s wrap up my review of the best easy songs for ukulele with a few parting words of advice. My first tip for you is to not rush the learning process. Take your time and listen to the songs you want to play over and over before you grab your uke to cover it.

Secondly, strip the songs into smaller sections, and learn individual parts before you piece them together. This is an excellent way to learn harder, more advanced songs too.

Finally, don’t feel discouraged if you don’t manage to pull it off in the first try. Even the most seasoned veterans sometimes need some time to learn a song, so just take it easy and slow, and you should be fine.