The following is a collection of songs that can be played on the ukulele with just 2 chords.
Two-chord songs are great for beginners because they allow the uke player to learn an entire song very quickly and easily.
I’ll try to include a mix of different music genres, some more modern pop songs, and other traditional songs, and everything in between.
Though for 2-chords the selection is mostly limited to children’s songs.
Take a look at the contents and see if any of the songs pique your interest.
- “Clementine” in C Major
- “You Never Can Tell” in C Major
- “Ring Around the Rosie” in F Major
- “Uptown Funk”
- “Skip to My Lou” in C Major
- “Lady in Black” Key of A Minor
- “Itsy, Bitsy Spider” in D Major
- “Jambalaya” in D Major
- “Jambalaya” in C Major
- “My Sweet Ukulele” in C Major
- “Three Blind Mice” in C Major
- “Horse with No Name” in E Minor
- “Rockabye Baby” in G Major
- “Mary Had a Little Lamb” in F Major
- “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in C Major
- 2-Chord R&B Slow Jam Progression
- Why do so many 2-chord ukulele songs use I and V chords?
- Why are so many of these songs children’s songs?
“Clementine” in C Major
This version of “Clementine” only uses the chords C and G7 (I and V7 in C major).
Here are the chord shapes for GCEA ukulele.
“You Never Can Tell” in C Major
“You Never Can Tell” is a rock and roll song that was released in 1964 by Chuck Berry.
It’s in the key of C major and uses the chords C and G (I and V).
The ukulele chords can be seen at the start of the video.
“Ring Around the Rosie” in F Major
The chords used in this version are F and C7 (I and V7 in F Major.)
Here the the chords for a GCEA tuned ukulele.
“Uptown Funk” was released in 2014 by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.
This is one example of a Pop song adapted to ukulele with only 2 chords.
This version uses the chords G7 and Dm. You can see the shapes at the beginning.
“Skip to My Lou” in C Major
“Skip to my Lou” is a folk/dance song written in the 1840’s.
In its time, it was a popular song that was played to a dance game in which the dancers would swap partners.
The chords for this C major version are C and G7 (I and V7).
Here’s the shapes for ukulele in GCEA tuning.
“Lady in Black” Key of A Minor
“Lady in Black” was release in 1971 by the rock band Uriah Heep.
In the beginning of the video, the finger shapes for the ukulele (GCEA) are shown.
“Itsy, Bitsy Spider” in D Major
Here’s an arrangement of the classic children’s song “Itsy, Bitsy Spider” with just 2 chords.
You can ignore all the music notation and just focus on the chords and lyrics.
The Chords uses are D and A7. Here they are for a GCEA-tuned ukulele.
“Jambalaya” in D Major
“Jambalaya” was release in 1952 by country singer Hank Williams.
This song is also available in C Major below.
The GCEA ukulele chord shapes are shown at the beginning of the video.
“Jambalaya” in C Major
This is a different version of the same song above in the key of C major instead of D major.
The chords for GCEA ukulele are shown in the video.
“My Sweet Ukulele” in C Major
Here’s a custom song written for the sole purpose of being a super easy 2-chord song for beginners using only 1 finger.
Chords used are C and Am.
She throws in some F chords too, which I suppose is cheating.
“Three Blind Mice” in C Major
This song was used as the ending theme by the Three Stooges.
The arrangement has only 2 chords, C and G7.
You can ignore the music notation and just pay attention to the chords and lyrics.
Here are the shapes for these chords for GCEA ukulele.
“Horse with No Name” in E Minor
“Horse with No Name” was released in 1971 by the folk rock band America.
It’s in the key of E minor, which is not super common (good for variety).
You’ll find the ukulele chords at the start of the video.
“Rockabye Baby” in G Major
The classic lullaby arranged with only 2 chords.
Again you can ignore the music notation and just focus on the chords and lyrics if necessary.
Don’t fall asleep while you’re playing.
The chords used are G and D7 (I and V7 in G major). Here are the chord shapes for GCEA ukulele.
“Mary Had a Little Lamb” in F Major
The traditional children’s song played on the uke with only 2 chords (F and C7).
The ukulele in the video appears to be a tenor tuned to high G (GCEA) tuning.
“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in C Major
This spiritual was first published in 1927, and became a hit in the late 1950’s.
It uses a simple I and V chord progression.
The chord shapes are shown in the tutorial.
2-Chord R&B Slow Jam Progression
This is more just a general 2-chord ukulele progression/trick than an actual song.
It can be used in many different ways all the way up the fretboard in any key.
Using this method can give your ukulele playing a funky sound and you can improvise your own lyrics and melody to accompany it.
Why do so many 2-chord ukulele songs use I and V chords?
Have you noticed a pattern that so many songs with only two chords use I and V chords?
(C and G in C major, F and C in F major, G and D in G major, etc.)
First of all, this is because the I chord is the root of the key, so it’s expected to be used in pretty much every chord progression in that key (unless a musician is deliberately trying to avoid convention).
Now for the V chord, it’s is what’s known as the dominant.
Of all the 6 non-root chords within a given key (ii, iii IV, V, vi, viidim), it is the one that most leads the ear back to the root chord (I).
Because of this, you can create more interesting and complete sounding music with these two chords than with say I and ii, or I and IV progressions.
The I-V7 progressions are just slightly more complex versions of this same concept.
The V7 chord is just the V chord with it’s minor 7th added on.
This minor 7th is the note just below the root of the I chord, which makes the V7 chord sound like it’s leading into the I chord even more.
Why are so many of these songs children’s songs?
Unfortunately, simple chord progressions lend themselves to simple melodies and generally more simple sounding music.
And children’s songs generally use simple sounding music.
Once you move up to 3 chord progressions, much more interesting music is possible.