Simple music theory for uke players

All Along The Watchtower Ukulele Chords By Bob Dylan

Jump to chords

All Along The Watchtower is a simple song on the ukulele that would be a great first look at the sound of a minor key for a beginner.

I’m partial to Jimi Hendrix’s version of the song – probably one of the best covers ever – but since Dylan wrote it we’ll put his name in the credits.

Play it like Jimi

If you want to play All Along The Watchtower on your ukulele in the style of Hendrix, the chords will be in the key of C minor. Just move what’s written down a half step from C#m, B, A to Cm, Bb, Ab.

Here’s the intro picking (low-G string for the low notes):

A |--------------------------------------
E |----6-8-8b10-8b10-8b10-10r8-6---------
C |-/5---------------------------7-5-5-5-
G |--------------------------------------
A |------------------------------------
E |---------------------------------/8-
C |----3-5-5b7r-5b7-7r5-3---7h9p7------
G |-/5--------------------5-------8----

Then the bridge/break is just chords with some decoration notes on top:

A |-3-3-5p3-x-|-1-1-3p1-x-|-----------------
E |-3-3-3---x-|-1-1-1---x-|-4-4-2-2-4-4-2-2-
C |-3-3-3---x-|-2-2-2---x-|-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-
G |-5-5-5---x-|-3-3-3---x-|-5-4-5-5-5-5-5-5-

The Chords

All Along the Watchtower is a song with a repetitive chord pattern. This makes it super easy to play without needing to sing the words (and allows you to play without needing to look at a sheet).

The progression for Bob Dylan’s version is:

C#m//// B//// A//// B////

The slashes represent counts. So in this case each chord gets four counts – or one bar each.

Here are the fingering shapes for each ukulele chord:

c#m ukulele chord diagram

C#m

B ukulele chord diagram

B

A ukulele chord diagram

A

The progression for Jimi’s version simply moves each chord down a half step – or one fret:

Cm//// Bb//// Ab//// Bb////

Those chords look like this:

cm ukulele chord diagram

Cm

Bb ukulele chord diagram

Bb

Ab ukulele chord diagram

Ab

Choose which key you want to play in and then I recommend looking at the lyrics here instead of at a full blown song chart.

By focusing on the chords and their timing first and placing the words on top of them, you can often find a more musical groove. This helps you avoid “playing with your eyes.”

Here are some tips on singing and playing at the same time.

allalongAll Along The Watchtower ukulele chords
Bob Dylan
John Wesley Harding

Chords and lyrics removed due to copyright concerns. You can find an alternative sheet here.