Ukulele Songs With Just Two Chords

Find out why everyone should play Ukulele songs with just two chords

You might think you need a whole host of chords to be able to start playing your first ukulele song, but in fact there are plenty of Ukulele songs with just two chords that are great for beginners and more advance players too.

Ukulele songs with just two chords Uke University

If you’ve ever looked at a song book of progressive rock or complicated jazz fusion then you’ve probably seen a sea of chords, many of whom only appear in a couple of songs, some of which can’t even be found on online chord dictionaries and a skattering of regular chords thrown in just for good luck. It might almost make you want to give up from the sheer obvious knowledge kassam between where you are now and where you’d need to be to play the song but fear not. Not every song requires diminished chords, in fact there are plenty which you can play on your ukulele with just two common chords (though not jazz fusion pieces unfortunately).


Take the classic “London Bridge is falling down”, there is a version of this song which only requires two chords to play [C and G7], similarly Mary had a little lamb can be played with only two chords as well. [A word of warning, some songs can be simplified to be only two chords, this misses out some chord changes which lead to a change in the quality of the song.]

Obviously learning a song with only two chords is great for a beginner as it means you can focus on getting the limited number of chords right and not have to remember a whole range of chords. It also lets you focus on other aspects of your playing such as strumming, rhythm, muting, and even singing.

Similarly, two chord songs can actually be great for more advanced players. Many masters return to focusing on the very basics and fundermentals of a skill and by using a two chord song it drives you to make the absolute most out of those two chords. Perhaps you want to work out a solo to play over the top? Or change the rhythm at different parts to signal a change.

So two chord songs are brilliant for everyone, beginner and advance players alike.

If you’d like some two chord songs to learn to play, become a member and download 22 ukulele songs for kids FOR FREE today. You’ll get 6 songs which have just 2 chords (as well as many more which just have three chords).

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Learn to Play: Buy the World a Coke

I'd like to buy the world a coke main

Warren buffet is a well known Ukulele fan as well as one of the best investors ever, if not the best (but seriously, the ukulele fan thing is much more important.

So for cokes 100 year anniversary he made a little advert for them.

Ignoring the irony of the out of tune ukulele and singing the line “in perfect harmony” I thought it might be cool to make a little image with the chords and words for this song (after all it’s not that difficult). The issue is…there have been a few versions of the song.

The song was originally written for the classic coke advert “hilltop” advert (see below) with the line “I’d like to buy the world a coke and keep it company”.

However, since then many alternative versions have been recorded as regular singles. As you might expect including the line “buy the world a coke” in a pop single is kind of selling out. Here is a link to some different versions from over the years including the lyrics to the original.

However, these versions have also been versions recorded in different keys which make the chords of Warren Buffets version not accurate for every version…but that’s just the way things are in music. So I decided to use the chords from Warren’s version and some of the lyrics from the Hilltop version. It seemed to make the most sense. You can adapt the key (if you know a bit about music theory) or use the lyrics from other versions if you like. But I hope you enjoy it (just make sure you tune your ukulele).

Buy the world a coke chords ukulele


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How to Master the Tricky E Chord

6 Alternative ways to play the E Major Chord on the Ukulele

There aren’t many more annoying chords to learn when you start out than the E Major chord. Sure some random jazz chord will test your finger dexterity more than the humble E but you won’t come across it nearly half as much. Luckily there are a few tricks to get round the E chords inherit difficulties so you can play it more easily.

How to Master the Tricky E Chord

What is the E chord and What makes it so difficult?

The E major chord played 4442The standard (or at least most common in tutorial books) way to play the E chord (see shape below) can be played in two different ways, each with its own challenges. The first is using four fingers spread across two frets and with three all right next to each other. The causes cramping between the fingers and can be difficult to get good pressure on each string, especially with a thinner necked ukulele. It can also take a while to get four fingers in place and slow down your transitions from other chords.

The second involves barring the strings on the fourth fret except the A string which you press down at the second fret. This requires flexible fingers to put the right pressure on three strings and not mute the A string. Either of these methods will take time and practice to really get right (more so than many other beginner chords)

Luckily, there are some alternative ways to play the E major chord which you may find quicker to change to and easier to get a good sound from with your ukulele. I suggest you experiment and find the most comfortable with you.

Alternative ways to play the E chord


This is my personal favorite alternative but it has its own difficulties. In this case you barre across the strings at the fourth fret using your index or middle finger (as you wish) and then fret the A string on the seventh fret. This is the same as one of the D chord variant shapes. I find it easier to change to and more likely for all the strings to resound well and not be muted. However, if you are not good at barre chords then this will still be difficult for you to play and isn’t ideal for beginners.

E Major 4447


One of the most popular alternatives is the 1402 variant. It doesn’t require any barring and is very similar to the more well known E7 chord. It requires a bit of a stretch with your fingers and you need to be careful not to mute the open C string but other than that, it is a good alternative. Personally, I don’t use this option too much as I find it takes me more time to set my fingers up correctly.

The Emajor chord played 1402


A quite rare alternative is to play 4402, this is similar to the regular version of E but with an open E string. This means your four strings are playing B-E-E-B in effect playing just two notes but with four strings and usually ever so slightly out of tune from each other. It makes a cool drone like effect.

This is also easier on the fingers with less cramping up as you only have two fingers on the fourth fret.

The E major chord played 4402


In this method you simply do not play the G String on your Ukulele but still keep the typical shape on the other strings. This has the advantage of using few fingers, saving you time when applying them to the fret board and reducing the likelihood of one being incorrectly placed, and causes less cramping on the fret board. However, it can be tricky to not play the high g string especially when you start out (a way round this is to “mute” the string by placing a finger or thumb gently on it with not enough pressure to fret it, but enough to stop it vibrating.)

The E major chord played x442


The “A” chord shape can also be used to create an E chord much higher on the neck. This can be done by barring the neck at the Seventh fret or by using individual fingers for each of the strings. This version of E will sound much brighter and higher than other mentioned methods because all the notes are higher.

The E major chord played 9877

Using E7

In some cases using a 7th chord will work as a replacement for the major chord (and likewise with using a minor 7th instead of a minor chord) however this is not a universal truth and it will affect the mood for certain. The fingering of the 7th is much easier than the conventional E major chord and is worth trying.

The downsides of alternative methods of playing

Of course, there are downsides of these alternative methods of playing the E chord as eluded to above. The open E string can cause some dissonance with the C string at the fourth fret if they are slightly out of tune from each other. This can cause a nice effect but sometimes it just sounds wrong. Playing 4447 introduces a higher note in the chord which changes the character of the chord and can make it sound brighter than a standard E chord. And finally some of these chords are more difficult to change to from other different chords.

However, when all is said and done, there is no harm in trying out some variants and seeing which option you find the best and easiest to use.

What chords do you find difficult to play and have you found any shortcuts?

4 Surprising Tricks To Learn New Ukulele Chords Quicker

Learning a new chord on the ukulele can be a painful experience. After first seeing your new chord, you’ll often find yourself looking it up for months before you can recall it at will. But luckily there are four simple and surprising tricks you can use to learn new ukulele chords quicker.

Let me know if this is familiar, your learning a new chord, at first it’s almost impossible to get your fingers into the right positions and once they are you hear a dull sound from muted strings. After a while you can hold the chord down but every time you have to spend a while remember exactly which chord it is and where your fingers need to go on the fretboard. And don’t even get started about the excruciating pauses between chords when you try to switch between them.

The good news is that you aren’t alone (it happens to everyone) and the even better news is that there are four simple tricks you can use to help you progress through those uncomfortable stages quicker and reach a proficiency where you can seamlessly switch between a string of obscure chords.

1. Learn at the right time

Did you know that your mind remembers technical physical skills better when you practice late at night? It’s true, practicing just before you go to bed will help you learn a technical skill much better than practicing first thing in the morning. Another good reason to practice just before you go to bed (rather than watching TV or staying up all night on the computer) is because looking at a screen (with its bright blue light) makes it harder to get to sleep. If you get away from the screen and practice at night, you’ll speed up your learning and get a better nights sleep. Win Win.

2. Lift your fingers on and off the fret board

When you come across a new chord, get your fingers into the right position and then gentle lift your fingers off and reapply them to the correct positions again. This is practicing the movements that you have to make with your fingers to get them into the right position rather than practicing just the chord IN the right position. This will help you speed up your transitions between chords. This also helps you to teach your fingers how to move correctly and builds up their dexterity. This is really important if the Ukulele is your first instrument as they won’t be that efficient. However, just be careful to insure that you are putting your fingers on correctly, strum a chord each time to make sure that you are correctly applying your fingers.

3. Practice common transitions

Moving from some chords to others are more difficult that others. In some cases you just have to add one extra finger on, no problem. With others you have to take every finger off and then reapply them in a different order. By practicing common transitions you can help yourself get better at the chord transitions which actually happen in songs.

A good tip is to download our list of Ukulele key charts. These show you the chords which are most likely to be used in the same songs. Try changing between these chord patterns and you’re off to a winner.

4. Practice with things you like

Here’s a big secret about motivation, there are two types of motivation. Extrinsic, where you do things for the benefits you get for doing them (for example you study for the exam so you get a promotion and pay rise at work). The second is Intrinsic motivation where you do things for the value of doing it (for example you cook because you enjoy the process of mixing ingredients and experimenting with flavours).

Of course, many activities have elements of one or the other but studies have shown that intrinsic motivation (where you play ukulele for the pure joy of playing it) is more motivating than extrinsic.

The practical application of this is that if you have to learn songs that you don’t really like, your not going to be that motivated (and may lose motivation). BUT if you learn songs which you love to play then your motivation is going to grow and make practicing feel like a lot more fun and less like work.

Get learning!

Learning chords takes time, even with these tricks, but at least with these four tricks you can make sure that you learn quicker and can get better at playing songs. In no time you’ll be seamlessly transitioning between chords and if you learn the most frequently occurring chords first, then you’ll be sure to maximise the effectiveness of your learning.

What chords do you have difficulty playing?