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14 Love Songs That Sound Great on the Ukulele

Kennedi Brown has written fiction under a pen name for years now. She plays the ukulele and writes songs no one will ever hear (hopefully).

14-love-songs-that-sound-great-on-the-ukulele

Whether you've found your soulmate, are just crushing on someone, or simply enjoy the spirit of the season (meaning chocolate and strawberry flavored EVERYTHING), you'll find a song here you can strum out on your ukulele. I've made sure every entry is perfectly playable on the ukulele. Maybe not beginner-level easy, but they at least don't have any chords that are perfectly understandable on guitar but impossible on ukulele if you don't know how to enlist the help of your toes.

Lookin' at you, Fmaj7.

I tried to find some love songs that you don't normally see show up on lists like these, even if they are well known tracks. You can find the chords to every song on this list on Ukutabs, but if there's a pretty good Youtube tutorial available that helped me personally I'll link it, too.

1. "I'm Yours"—Jason Mraz (Am, C, D7, G, F)

This is a song I'm sure almost everyone has probably heard, and one that's an obvious choice for playing on the ukulele when you listen to the swing of the music. It works with the standard D-DU-UD strumming pattern that most people learn first, making it a great choice for beginners. The pattern in the tutorial I found below works well too, and is even easier.

2. "The Only Exception"—Paramore (Am, C, Cmaj7, F, G, Dm, D)

When my no-rythm-having self first got the hang of the D-dudu strumming pattern, The Only Exception was my favorite song for showing it off. I love Paramore, this isn't your typical ukulele song, and Cma7 is such a simple chord to play but sounds so much fancier than your garden variety C chord. If someone isn't watching your finger work they'd think you were are master.

Not that you aren't, of course.

3. "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You"—Elvis Presley (Bm, A, B7, D, Db7, Em, G, Gbm)

Come on, you know you saw this one coming. This Elvis Presley classic sounds like it was made for the ukulele. For proof, look no further than the popular (and admittedly easier to play) version by Twenty One Pilots that's been at the top of uke love songs since the day it was released. You can use a classic swing strum (DD-UU), or the also classic island strum (D-DU-UDU), but I personally feel the swing strum sounds better with the frequent chord changes.

4. "Bleeding Love"—Leona Lewis (Bb, C, Dm, and F)

I never see Bleeding Love show up when people are recommended good love songs for the ukulele, which is a shame, because it's a very pretty song with relatively easy chords that works with a wide range of strumming patterns. I personally love to just pick over the chords by picking the A string first and then just stepping down to the G string for a lovely, stripped down sound that really lets the lyrics shine.

5. "Lucky Ones"—Lana del Rey (Am, C, Dm, F, and G)

Lana del Rey is a surprising artist to include on a list like this. As much as I love her music, it isn't often that she sings love songs appropriate for singing to someone that you're still in a relationship with. Also, pop music tends towards chords that are a nightmare to play on the ukulele. I personally blame the piano. You compare four strings to all of the keys on a piano and it's no wonder some of the more jazzy chords work better on the latter.

6. "My Funny Valentine"—Ella Fitzgerald (Am, Dm, F, Gm, E7,C, G7)

Other versions of this adorable Valentine's Day classic are less than simple, especially for the uke, but Ella Fitzgerald's version is perfectly playable. I'd recommend you watch who you play it for though, considering lyrics like "Your looks are laughable, unphotographable" and "Is your figure less than Greek? Is your mouth a little weak?"

I mean, I'd probably find it romantic, sure. But not everyone will.

7. "La Vie en Rose"—Edith Piaf (A, D, C, D7, Em, Dsus4, G, Gmaj7)

I'm sure you've heard La Vie en Rose from How I Met Your Mother, even if you haven't seen the episode. Like several other oldies songs on this list, you can play La Vie en Rose with a simple swing strum and it'll sound as fantastic as any more fancy strumming pattern. While I never got into How I Met Your Mother myself, I can appreciate a shoutout to the ukulele in whatever form it takes, especially if the audience is as big as a primetime television show.

8. "You and I"—Ingrid Michealson (Am, C, D, E, F, and G)

Yes, you saw that correctly. That is an E chord in a song on a list of songs that are supposed to be fairly simple to play on the ukulele. If you've tried memorizing chords for any length of time, you probably know that the E chord is a sin against humanity. Not to worry. The chords page on Ukutabs says that you can play You and I with the G chord replacing the E. I tried it myself and found it worked just fine, which is great, because the song itself is very sweet.

9. "Settle Down"—Kimbra (Am, Am7, Em, Dm, and C)

I'll be honest. Outside of her duet with Gotye (Somebody That I Used to Know) that blew up a few years back, this is the only other Kimbra song I know. It works for the ukulele because it's a very percussive song, making strumming easy to figure out. The chords don't change at all during the verses, making it a perfect song for a beginner.

10. "Cecilia and the Satellite"—Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness (Am, C, F, and G)

Ah, yet another entry for the list that was played nearly everywhere a few years ago and then faded into obscurity. Cecilia and the Satellite makes use of your basic Am, C, F, and G chords, but I would argue that the simple chord progression helps the lyrics shine even brighter. Cecelia, like many other easy four chords songs, is also great for learning to pick over chords if you want to get into that, and I highly recommend it. Stripping down the accompaniment and just picking can add a whole new layer of beauty to a song with great lyrics.

11. "Fly Me to the Moon"—Frank Sinatra (Am, A7, Am7, C7, C, Cmaj7, Dm, E7, Em, Em7, F, G7)

Ah, oldies. Will you ever not sound good on the ukulele?

I mean, maybe. I can't say I've tried playing every old song to test it out, but I've tried enough to know that most of them sound good. This version of Frank Sinatra's famous single may have quite a few chords, as a lot of big band numbers do, but they're all very simple to play and the quick chord changes are good for practice.

12. "Earth Angel"—The Penguins (C, G, Am, Em, D)

This one's another swing strum song. Not only does it sound lovely, it's also fairly simple if you're still trying to improve your rhythm. If you're more interested in getting the hang of picking, I like to pluch the G, C, E, A, and then C string again once per chord. You can repeat this pattern throughout the whole song without changing anything.

13. "Sea of Love"—Phil Phillips (A7, B7, C, D, D7, and G)

The B7 chord in Sea of Love is the only one that might give you some trouble. Sure, it's showed up in other songs on the list, but the difference is that it's the only difficult chord in this song. I know a most people barre the second fret and put their middle finger on the third fret of the C string, I'll admit to playing it by making some sort of claw abomination with my hand and putting a separate finger on each string. I know, I know. That sounds like a needlessly complicated way to play an intermediate chord. But for some reason that's where my fingers want to go, so if you think it might help to try it out that way, I say go for it.

14. "I'm a Believer"—The Monkees (C, D, F, and G)

I'll admit wholeheartedly that I thought this song was an original by Aerosmith and not a cover for most of my childhood. Yes, Shrek is to blame. I'm not ashamed of my dark past. I own it.

Anyways, I'm a Believer works great with an island strum, making it incredibly beginner friendly. I don't know if the Aerosmith version has the same chords, but I can imagine the strumming would at least be the same for both versions.

So, there you have it! Fourteen love songs to play this Valentines Day, or any day of the year. Below I've linked Ukutabs and Ultimate Guitar, websites where you can find chord sheets for all of these songs. I've also linked a couple of tutorials I found useful myself when learning a couple of songs on the list. Happy playing!

Links to Help You Learn to Play

Comments

daniella on November 25, 2019:

i love this song

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