How to Pick Good Songs for Beginner Ukulele Players
I recently came across a list of the top 10 good songs for beginner ukulele players, perhaps you’ve seen something like it. I was looking for ideas of songs to play with my Wife as she is just starting out and I wanted some inspiration. Songs that she might like but were also easy to play. The problem was, this list was not good for real beginners. It was good for people who’d been playing for a little bit of time already or knew how to play another instrument. It had songs with five or more chords or songs with very difficult (i.e. barre) chords in them.
I imagine many beginners come across well meaning lists like this and get put off learning the Ukulele. “If I can’t even play these beginner songs,” they think, “I’ll never be able to play more advanced songs.”
These well meaning writers can end up destroying people’s hope of playing the Ukulele and it really doesn’t have to be that way. Luckily there are some really simple principles you can use to identify good songs to start learning as a beginning Ukulele player.
When you first start, three chords MAX
One of biggest problems people face early on is remembering which chord is which and where your fingers need to go for each chord. If you are trying to play songs with four or more chords then you’re giving yourself a much tougher job. There are plenty of Ukulele songs that use only two chords (in fact, if you sign up as a member of Ukulele Academy, you can download a 2 chord song book for free.) but three chords is also achievable.
No barre Chords, only simple shapes
Not all chords are of equal simplicity. Barre chords — chords where you hold down more than one string with a single finger — are notoriously hard, but even when it comes to regular chords, shapes like C and Am are far easier to play than D or G, as you need to hold down fewer strings which aren’t cramped together. Good songs for beginner ukulele players should have chords which only require one or two fingers to play, not three or four.
Simple strumming patterns
Heavily syncopated rhythms can sound great but are a nightmare if you are starting out. Instead a simple, regular rhythm will allow you to focus more on your strumming technique and the chords that you need to change to. This is key ingredient in good songs for beginner ukulele players as it lets you focus on fewer things.
Use what you know
Once you’ve developed a bit of a foundation and can easily make a C chord shape from memory, you can start finding more advanced songs. It’s much easier to play a four chord song that has one new chord than one with three new chords. Try and find songs which add one or two new chord shapes until you’ve learned all the basic major and minor chords. Once you can make all these chords shapes easily, you’re ready to move beyond beginner songs.
Get going with these good songs for beginner ukulele players
If you need some Good simple songs that are great for beginner ukulele players, sign up as a member of the Ukulele Academy today. You’ll get instant access to the two chord song book, with a selection of simple two chord songs and a chord chart reference to help you learn your first simple chords.