Ukulele for Novices: Essential Songs for Beginners

by Madonna

Learning a new musical instrument can be a thrilling endeavor. However, for beginners, knowing where to commence can be quite daunting. Fear not! This compilation of introductory songs is ideal for those venturing into the world of ukulele. Let’s explore some timeless classics that are perfect for ukulele novices.

Ukulele for Beginners: Valuable Tunes to Master

The ukulele serves as an ideal gateway to the world of musical instruments. It is simple, affordable, and most importantly, fun!


In this guide, we will delve into a selection of delightful songs that are fundamental for anyone on their ukulele journey. Whether you are just starting out or have yet to attend your first lesson, we have got you covered.


“Zombie” – The Cranberries

First on our list is this ’90s grunge hit by The Cranberries. What makes this song an excellent choice for ukulele beginners?


Fortunately, there are just four chords in this song, and on the ukulele, they are Em, C, G & D. By starting with this song, you will become acquainted with some fundamental chords, laying the groundwork for your musical journey.

Moreover, “Zombie” features dynamic changes, allowing you to play loudly in some sections and softly in others. You can achieve this by either strumming one chord per bar as whole notes or strumming crotchets, which equates to four strums per bar.

“Brown Eyed Girl” – Van Morrison

Next up, we have this karaoke favorite, “Brown Eyed Girl.” While it boasts a demanding guitar intro, it is a fantastic track for ukulele beginners.

Similarly, the song employs a basic set of chords throughout. However, the chord progression varies between the verses and choruses. This song is a great opportunity to hone your chord-switching skills, helping you become more adept at changing chords based on the song’s section.

“Hey There Delilah” – Plain White T’s

Third on our list is this mid-2000s hit. Although not particularly rock and roll, “Hey There Delilah” is a song that will undoubtedly stick in your head for the rest of the day!

While this tune introduces some new chords, it also offers an opportunity to focus on your right-hand technique—a frequently overlooked aspect of ukulele playing. On each chord of the progression, you’ll want to pluck the root note before strumming the chord. This technique, when applied to each chord, helps you capture the essence of the song.

“Riptide” – Vance Joy

Concluding our list of valuable songs for ukulele beginners is the modern cult classic, “Riptide.”

“Riptide” has been an earworm for a decade and remains a favorite among ukulele novices. With just four chords, you’ll be jamming to this tune in no time.

For this song, the strumming pattern is DD, UDU (down, down, up, up, down, up), which repeats throughout. It might be a bit perplexing initially, but mastering this pattern will enhance your right-hand dexterity and improve your overall ukulele playing skills.


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