Easy ukulele song for an absolute beginner?
February 17, 2015 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Looking for an easy song to learn on the ukulele. I love old jazz and swing from the 20s-40s so I'm especially looking for suggestions from that genre if possible!

I'm an absolute beginner but my boyfriend has offered to teach me the ukulele so I'm looking for song suggestions for our lessons. I'm asking here because I'm not sure I would be able to pick something on my own that I both like and is definitely considered "easy"...and also since his musical tastes vary from mine so the song I'm looking for might not already be in his arsenal.

Thanks for your help!
posted by Shadow Boxer to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Doctor Uke will have something in the right genre for you. If you go to the categories page, you'll find songs by date range (e.g. 1920s, 1930s, 1940s).

There is also a beginners area if you're starting out.
posted by gox3r at 12:50 PM on February 17, 2015

“Tonight You Belong To Me” is a cute little ditty from 1926. You might recognize it from The Jerk or from Eddie Vedder and Cat Power. The chords are simple and you can find many tutorial videos to help you get the strumming down.
posted by mbrubeck at 2:31 PM on February 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I add another enthusiastic vote for Dr. Uke. And, here's Amanda Palmer's "Ukelele Anthem" to serve as further inspiration.
posted by MACTdaddy at 2:37 PM on February 17, 2015

Best answer: Since Dr. Uke has been covered, I'll add something I saw elsewhere today: Jim Carey’s Ukulele Songbook 2015. A 1000 page PDF of songs with ukulele chords.
posted by fings at 7:58 PM on February 17, 2015

Best answer: I came in to say Doctor Uke. However, even though it's my favorite ukulele resource, I think some of his arrangements might not be quite right to start off with. Especially if you are drawn to jazz, you may find yourself mired in diminished 7ths and funky barre cords. I know he has some easy pieces in there but it could take a bit of digging.

For a first song to learn, I'd look for something in C with 2 or 3 chords. Ukulele hunt has songs categorized by difficulty; I've linked the easy songs.

The uke is a wonderful instrument, have fun!
posted by bunderful at 8:04 PM on February 17, 2015

And after posting that I noticed, for the very first time, that Doctor Uke lists beginner-appropriate songs with an asterisk and also has a beginner's section that someone else already linked.

Man, I'm lame.

You might take a look at "You are my sunshine," or "Yes, sir, that's my baby."
posted by bunderful at 8:29 PM on February 17, 2015

Amazing Grace, three chords.

On YouTube is Ukulele Mike, who will have you playing it - badly, if I'm the gauge - in an hour. But you'll be playing!! Then you can play it fast or slow, whatever.

He has the chords and lyrics on the screen. Goes over it a million times. He's the greatest! You'll be ready for that Meatball/Smokey song in a couple days.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 8:55 PM on February 17, 2015

As a recent rank beginner, I think a lot of the Doctor Uke songs are too hard. I recommend that pretty much everyone start with "This Land is Your Land," with just C, F, and G7. (The Doctor Uke arrangement contains an Am and a C7 I think you can skip.) Knowing C, F, and G7 are a solid beginning for future play.

I personally have found the most to play from Jumpin' Jim's Camp Ukukele, a totally cheesy collection of mostly familiar songs.

“Tonight You Belong To Me” is a cute little ditty from 1926.

Respectfully, this is way too hard for a beginner.
posted by purpleclover at 10:22 PM on February 17, 2015

Best answer: "Five Foot Two" is a pretty easy tune from that era. Five chords, only one of them requiring practice (a D7 barre chord). It's in the Dr. Uke book.
posted by Gilbert at 6:50 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!! I marked a few as best answers but with only one lesson under my belt I haven't gotten a chance to try everyone's suggestions...I did start learning "Five Foot Two" as Gilbert suggested, which was just the type of song I was looking for. It's not super easy though so I might try something similar based on other suggestions here.
posted by Shadow Boxer at 6:52 AM on February 23, 2015

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