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The ukulele is a wonderful instrument to learn. Deriving from the cavaquinho and the braguinha (two instruments that originated in Portugal), you can recognise its familiar melody in a variety of songs from different genres. Available in four sizes – the tenor, baritone, soprano and concert, it is a unique instrument that once mastered, can create smooth and beautiful melodies. There are many shops internationally that sell ukuleles, offering them in each of the four sizes, in different styles and for different budgets.

But how do you learn to play the ukulele? Well, the first port of call if you want to teach yourself, is to watch online video tutorials. There are a lot out there on the internet (an example is the step by step tutorials given by Musician Authority), with useful diagrams showing you where each of the chords is on the ukulele, knowledgeable teachers that will guide you and they even teach you different exercises that you can do to learn quicker. As with any instrument, however, it will take time and patience to master. But don’t lose hope! You will get there if you have the motivation and you put the effort in.

One of the main reasons why the instrument is so popular is that many people claim that it is easier to learn than the guitar. This may be because it features two fewer strings, it can produce an extraordinary sound and is a lot more budget-friendly than guitars are. The popularity of the ukulele has not dwindled since its creation in 1879. And with many people of different ages around the world now learning the instrument, it is clear that it might never dwindle.


So what are the top seven songs that are ideal for ukulele beginners to learn?


1)  Firstly, Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

A beautiful and harmonic song that carries a tune that is reminiscent of traditional Hawaiian music, it is an ideal melody to learn on the ukulele. Not only does the song fit the sound of the instrument to a tee, but it is an easier song to learn because of the fact that it only uses four chords – C, G, Am and F. Its strumming pattern is upbeat and very simple and it carries a very relaxing rhythm. When you are first starting out and learning the ukulele, it is important to begin with a song that has minimal chords. After you have mastered the most popular chords, you can go on to learn more complex tunes. This pop song, however, is the perfect place to start your ukulele journey.


2)  Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower

Give your ukulele a retro feel with this 1967 classic. The perfect summer song, it is ideal as one of the first songs to learn on your ukulele as it only has three chords to learn – Am, G, F. A simple strumming pattern, it requires minimal movement but will still sound extremely melodic.


3) Vance Joy – Riptide

As soon as this song begins you can undeniably hear the ukulele. A popular choice for many ukulele players, it is perfect for beginners to learn as it once again only carries four chords – Am, C, G and F. The feel-good summer pop song has a fun strumming streak and can be mastered quite quickly due to the simplicity of the chords.


4) Creedence Clearwater Revival – Down on the Corner

Feel like you have been transported back to the year of 1969 with this popular song by the iconic American rock band. Carrying a smooth melody, it only requires three chords – C, F and G. The fact that these notes are located near to each other makes this an easy song for ukulele beginners to learn and can be used to open the gateway of other rock classics that the ukulele has been featured in over the years.


5) Bob Marley – One Love

Feel as if you have drifted off to the breathtaking Caribbean islands with this relaxing song by the late icon Bob Marley. Perfect for reggae enthusiasts, this song is built for the ukulele. Featuring four chords, C, G, F and Am, it will also get you familiar with the way that you will have to strum for other reggae songs.


6) Ed Sheeran – All of the Stars

Featured in the renowned motion picture The Fault in Our Stars, this slow and moving song is a wonderful choice to learn when you are a ukulele beginner as it requires little strumming and will get you familiar with using four of the main chords – C, Am, G and F. There are a variety of tutorials on the internet that you can utilise in order to learn this gentle song, with many featuring diagrams (showing you where to place your fingers on the ukulele) and sheet music to get you used to reading it.


7) Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks

Back onto the more upbeat pop songs, this quirky 2011 hit features four simple chords – G, C, F and Am (which is the same as many of the songs on this list). The simple pattern that it follows throughout makes it easier to play and master, as well as toning the melody down.

So, there you go. There are seven of the most popular ukulele songs that you can learn to help master the extraordinary instrument. The chords listed above may, of course, differ slightly depending on the tutorials that you follow and they are open for interpretation. There are also many more out there that you are perfect to learn when you are first getting familiar with the ukulele. No matter what your favourite genre is, there is a song out there for you to learn. In order to improve with the ukulele, however, it might be a good idea to try and learn songs from a variety of different genres, so that you can get familiar with the different rhythms, melodies and the difference in the chords themselves.


Is just a guy who got tired of bothering his friends talking about music, and decided to create a blog to write about what he loves the most.
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