Counting Stars Ukulele Chords by OneRepublic

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One of the big superhits from the past few years, “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic actually follows a very simple chord progression that should be manageable for most beginning ukulele players.

One of my favorite parts of this song is the use of dynamics. From one part to the next there is lots of variation in instrumentation density and volume.

Be sure not to use the same strum at the same volume the whole way through. The magic is where a change of pace grabs your attention. Listen to the recording for ideas of where to leave space and stop playing for emphasis.

I decided to keep these chords as simple as possible in the easy key of Am. But if you need to look up how to play some of them, you can use these chord charts.

Strumming Pattern

“Counting Stars” is a pop song. As such, it’s got a great groove and simple chords that are easy to play.

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However, pinning down how to strum the song on your uke is tricky. The instrumentation leans heavily on the bass, drums, and keyboard sounds so there isn’t any kind of “official” strumming pattern.

But there are several ways you can adapt the song for playing on the uke and I’ll share three here. How you feel the song’s groove might change how much each resonates with you so try them all.

Four on the floor

The first variation is the most simple and is what I would recommend to a beginning player. “Four on the floor” just means that you play on every beat – where you’d clap.

For this strum just use all downstrums and follow the timing of the kick drum (the low drum) like it plays starting at 0:23.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D   D   D

Once you have a feel for the timing, you can extend this four on the floor strum all the way throughout the song, no matter what the recorded instrumentation does.


This strum just doubles the four on floor version. Instead of playing on every beat, you play twice per beat:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

You can play upstrums in between if you want, but continuing to use all downstrums will fit the feel of the song a little bit better. It’s a little more punk than a down, up strum.

Ska beat

The last way you could strum “Counting Stars” on your ukulele follows the guitar picking part (or it might be a keyboard – I can’t tell). This plays a boom-chick pattern, but to be most effective on an ukulele, I would just play the “chick” part.

All you need to do for this is play a strum on the off beat:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
  D   D   D   D

You can use either down or up strums. For more on this strum check out my lesson on reggae strums here.

Picking Intro

The guitar intro can be approximated by playing this picking pattern for each chord:

A |--------0-----|
E |--------0-----|
C |-----0-----0--|
G |--2-----------|

Use your thumb to pick the top two strings and then pluck up with your index and middle fingers for the pair of notes on the E and A-strings, returning back to the thumb for the last pick.

A low-G string will make the part sound most like a guitar, but a high-g will be fine too. It’s the same note either way, the difference is just which octave the note is in. One is higher, one is lower.

Repeat this right hand pattern twice for each chord. Like this:

   Am                         C
A |--------0-----------0-----|--------3-----------3-----|
E |--------0-----------0-----|--------0-----------0-----|
C |-----0-----0-----0-----0--|-----0-----0-----0-----0--|
G |--2-----------2-----------|--0-----------0-----------|

   G                          F
A |--------2-----------2-----|--------0-----------0-----|
E |--------3-----------3-----|--------1-----------1-----|
C |-----2-----2-----2-----2--|-----0-----0-----0-----0--|
G |--0-----------0-----------|--2-----------2-----------|
The original OneRepublic recording is in the key of C#m so if you want to play along, either transpose or use a capo on the 4th fret. Or you can use an app like Anytune to shift the pitch of the recording to match the chords that are shown here.
native by onerepublic coverCounting Stars ukulele chords
One Republic

Chords and lyrics removed due to copyright concerns. Find an alternative sheet here.

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