One Day by Matisyahu is a member of the “one” club of ukulele reggae songs – simple, four-chord reggae songs that are easy to play on the ukulele.
One Day, One Love, One Drop, etc… Matisyahu delivers an upbeat smash hit here and as predicted, the One Day ukulele chords are simple and fun to play.
I first heard this song covered by Barry Flanagan from Hapa, but shortly after saw a beautiful video that featured the original. The gifts of kindness and true potential of people portrayed stuck with me and I finally took the time to get familiar with the words. It’s now one of my favorite songs to sing and teach.
Here’s a lesson video I made geared toward the beginning ukulele player, but One Day would be a great addition to anybody’s performing or teaching repertoire.
One Day Ukulele Strum
Matisyahu uses a strong four-on-the-floor pulse in this song. You can hear it in the recording if you listening for the string section. They play a chug, chug, chug rhythm.
You can copy this by playing a brisk downstrum that gives four counts per chord. Follow the high-hat on the drum kit to lock into this groove.
It would count like this:
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 C G Am F Sometimes I lay under the moon and thank God I'm breathing
On solo ukulele, I feel like this rhythm is a bit overkill/busy and instead tend to interpret it in a more ballad-y way. Usually I cut my counting in half and only play two strums per chord.
This gives you more time to think about the changes if you are still a beginner searching for an easier version of the song. It also allows the song to flow more. By cutting the strum rhythm in half, you create a back and forth sway.
The melody and words remain at the same speed, just the rhythm per chord is halved:
1 (2) 3 (4) 1 (2) 3 (4) 1 (2) 3 (4) 1 (2) 3 (4) C G Am F Sometimes I lay under the moon and thank God I'm breathing
Another variation on this slower strum is the D D DU strum. It fits into the same amount of space as the four strum or two strum counts, but sort of combines the two.
The first two strums are the same as the two-count, but at the very end you add a down-up.
1 2 3 4 D D DU
As with most strums, it’s best if you keep your hand bobbing up and down with the time of the song – even if you aren’t playing the strings!
One Day uses a repeating chord progression which makes it easy to play without singing. Just play:
C//// G//// Am//// F////
The slashes represent four counts for each chord.
The chord diagrams look like this:
One Day Ukulele Chords
Chords and lyrics removed due to copyright concerns. Find an alternative version here.