August 27, 2022

17 Ukulele Fingerpicking Songs To Practice

Everyone interested in mastering ukulele fingerpicking knows the importance of getting the best ukulele fingerpicking songs. Little do they know that the struggle is just around the corner.

Out of thousand ukulele songs that have ever been written, only a handful bring no challenge to inexperienced players. 

Connect this fact with how the ukulele music world constantly grows, it’s not hard to tell that the ideal choices can be miles away from you.

If you don’t want to take on that long search, check out our suggestions below.

Here are a few useful tricks to get the hang of ukulele fingerpicking.

The right combo for fingerpicking would be the thumb, index, and middle finger. From the top-to-bottom order, use your thumb to play the first two strings, and let the other two handle the third and fourth strings.

In case working doubles is too much for your thumb, moving your index back one string and leaving the third one for the ring finger is also a feasible option.

The Best Ukulele Fingerpicking Songs

Now, let’s get to know the various songs that will awaken your inner ukulele performer.

Grasp The Basic With ‘Wheels On The Bus’

Don’t bite more than you can chew in your first attempt at ukulele fingerpicking. The series of failures that follow may end up draining your bubbling interest.

Instead, go with children’s songs that are unbelievably simple and rarely have more than three chords. 

Wheels On The Bus can probably be the most beginner-appealing among all those choices since it follows a 2-chord progression and only needs you to play the C and G.

Get Used To The Beat With ‘the Farmer In the Dell”

Pulling yourself through the training phase with only one song to back you up will certainly make room for boredom. 

That’s why you’ll want to throw in another and switch between them to diversify the playing track.

‘The Farmer In The Dell’ has a lot in common with ‘Wheels On The Bus’, given that both use the newbie-friendly C-G pattern. An integral choice to familiarize your nimble fingers with the feeling of the strings and the ukulele!

‘If You Are Happy And You Know It’ – A Song For Family Fun Time

Have you ever heard that sing-along time is a wonderful way to strengthen parents-children bonds?

‘If You Are Happy And You Know It’ – an all-time staple of all children's playlists fits this special time more than anything else.

The song’s chordal pattern is so simple that anyone new can master it after 30 minutes at most. Only D, A, and G repeat themselves all over again to form catchy lyrics.

‘Baby Shark’ – What All Babies Need

It’s a well-established fact that all babies can never get enough of silly music. 

The ‘Baby Shark’ that never stops swimming around parents’ minds is exactly what you need to get them all happy and clappy in joy.

Despite being an 8-chord track, C-G-Em-D-Ab-Db-Eb-Fm, this ukulele fingerpicking song is still as easy as it can get. Only the simple G, C, D, and Em is needed to recreate most of the lyrics. The rest only comes in the brief chorus.

‘Happy Birthday’– You Need It More Than You Think  

For a children song with unchanging lyrics, Happy Birthday has done an excellent job getting itself widely known worldwide. 

Somehow, the unchanging rhythm along with the distinct cheery tone tick all the boxes for celebrating mood.

Giving your friends a special performance of this very song will be a very meaningful way to wish them all the best. 

In fact, you should be doing so this year. The song’s chord progression only follows the basic D-A-D pattern that even beginners can memorize in minutes.

Feel the Positive Vibe With “Shake It Off”

The way Taylor Swift’s agile voice soars may trick you into thinking that her pieces are among the toughest ones to cover using a ukulele. 

But truth be told, she has a long list of songs put together by simple chords that are manageable for newbies.

‘Shake It Off’ should exemplify that. The use of 3 simple chords, Am, C, G, with an occasional D for the choruses, make it one of the most recommended songs for ukulele rookies.

‘War Of Heart’ For Your Moody Moment

Ruelle’s work never ceases to amaze us with how hauntingly beautiful the lyrics and soundtrack can be. War Of Heart is where this especially holds true.

Instead of listening to songs like this on those blue days when you just want to channel bad emotions, why not play one to vent them out even faster?

Constructed from 6 chords in total, yet, this piece is far from complicated. Most of the time, you don’t need to strum anything more than the Am, C, Dm, and F – the four basic chordal pieces. The rest of the pattern, G and E, show themselves only in the chorus or accompaniment.

Surprise Your Audience With ‘Riptide’

Riptide hasn’t been around any longer than a decade, but the uniqueness in the soundtrack and colorful tone can pitch it against those many years its age.

The good news is you can recreate this musical masterpiece using an easy-to-follow chord progression, Am-C-G. 

Pick them properly, perhaps add some of your own adjustments to the mix, and you have got an awesome trick to impress your gang! Their mouth will be on the floor, knowing that you can perform such a popular song like this.

Suggested: How To Fingerpick Ukulele - All Things Beginners Should Know

Enjoy The Heart-Melting Melody Of ‘Marry Me’

Songs carrying this title come in a flood these days, but this piece from Meghan Trainor grabs our attention with how pleasing it sounds. 

Plus, it’s one among the rare ukulele songs with over 5 chords manageable even for a new player.

To recreate this lovely hit using your ukulele, your only job is to pick the C-G-F chords for the most part. Some more complex parts will have you move your fingers across the Am, Dm, Em, E7, and G7 as well.

But don’t think of this as a challenge since none of them needs more than three fingers, and the transition is simple enough for you not to feel overwhelmed.

‘You Said You'd Grow Old With Me’ For A Rainy Afternoon

This one-time superhit from Michael Schulte is a perfect choice for days when the rain shows no sign of letting up since its bittersweet track fits the ambiance well. 

The combination of simple chords that make no trouble for fingerpicking gives all the more reason to practice it. All you need is to pick the Am, F, C, and G.

This song is on the fast-paced side, but the position to place your fingers is easy to memorize, so you will have a hassle-free practicing time.

Haleakala Hula – The Beauty Of Hawaiian Music

Island music is an art in its own form to whoever knows how to enjoy it right. 

The uplifting tune, soothing vibe, and manageable chordal structure make the genre even greater for ukulele rookies.

Haleakala Hula, a lovely song revolving around Maui’s highest mountain, is the most obvious example. You only have to pick the C, F, G, and G7 – the standard newbie-friendly package – to capture its cheery tune.

Suggested: Best DIY Ukulele Kit To Build On Your Own

Calm Your Mind With ‘Island Style’

‘Island Style’ might be among the lesser-known songs, but its peaceful tune and easy-to-follow chord progression make an ideal choice for ukulele trainees.

Only the G7, C, F, and G7 are involved in the piece, and the first three of them are simple chords that all new players first learn about. The song’s mellow vibe, coupled with its slow pace, leaves a nice soothing effect as well.

‘I’m Yours’ – Yeah, The Spotlight Is All Yours Now

For a legendary megahit that has been on top for over a decade, ‘I’m Yours’ has a ridiculously simple chord chart that proves no challenge for newbies.

The song is created by 5 chords in total, Am, C, D7, F, and G, none of which requires players to follow a complex pattern to pick. Put in some practice, and you’ll be able to blow the sock out of your audience after one single gig.

Show Your Amazing Fingerpicking Skill With ‘Amazing Grace’

If you plan to learn the ukulele version of gospel, how about getting started with ‘Amazing Grace’?

The song itself might appear complex at first with how the tracks seem to stretch and blend into each other. But when performing with a ukulele, you need no more than the C, D, and G chords to get most of them right.

Some parts of the chorus might require the combination of Am7 and D7. This is actually good news since they’re simple enough to let you diversify the song without putting in any effort.

Get Lost In The Pleasing Tune of ‘Lost Boy’

Another bittersweet song that deserves to be on your ukulele playlist if you happen to be a fan of sweeping romance.

The chordal structure required to fully recreate this beautiful track using your instrument consists of only the simple Em, C, G, D, and Am. That being said, for the most part, you need nothing but the first three.

Read more: How to Hold An Ukulele Properly

The Oldie-Goldie ‘You Belong With Me’

Taylor Swift may have graduated from the tender country song, but she has left behind a fortune appreciated by music lovers, including us ukulele players.

When fingerpicking this song, all you need is the G, D, Am, and C chords to put everything together. This surprisingly simplistic chordal arrangement allows you to master the love song’s beautiful track in no time.

Level Up Your Skills With ‘Don’t Smile At Me’

‘Don’t Smile At Me’ by Billie Eilish is probably trickier than most songs up there, for you have to move your fingers to several places across the fretboard to play it right.

Nevertheless, it’s not as complex as you expect a mainstream pop song to be, and works well for practicing purposes once you have somewhat moved past the newbie phase.

If this helps, all the actions mostly take place on the C, Am, F, and G. Only when it reaches the chorus will you have to strum the more advanced chords, E and Fm.

Read More: Top 15 Ukulele Worship Songs

Closing Thought

Whether it is to indulge in your personal hobby or to surprise your buddies at a certain party, the songs on this list are going to be of great help.

It’s worth noting that not all popular ukulele fingerpicking songs are simple enough for you to master. Settling down with the wrong one can drain your energy and kill all your interest.

If you have no idea what and where to look for, just stick to our selections.

Article written by Julia
Hi, I'm Julia. I love playing the ukulele and blogging about it. I started playing the ukulele a few years ago and haven't stopped since! I've also been blogging about my experience learning to play the uke for other beginners like myself. It's been a fun way to share my journey and help others learn too.
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