‘Ukulele tabs are a study in simplicity. With just fours lines and some numbers, anybody – regardless of musical knowledge – can make sense of uke tablature.
A huge advantage that tablature has over standard music notation is that there is very little learning curve. The hardest part of understanding ‘ukulele tabs usually has to do with orientation.
To quickly get started, the main thing you need to know is that the top line of a tab represents the A-string and the bottom line represents the G-string. The C and E-strings sit between. Numbers placed on those lines show which fret to press down and are read left to right. (“0” means open string.)
Anytime you see stacked numbers you should play them simultaneously as a chord.
In each section, the tablature for a song is color-coded by difficulty:
Rock/Pop ‘Ukulele Tabs:
Reggae ‘Ukulele Tabs:
Ken Middleton is as effective an arranger as anybody and has a collection of free bluegrass and Celtic style tabs available. He’s also published a few eBooks of transcriptions.
- † – Tab by Herb Ohta Jr.
- †† – Tab by Jeromy Renynolds
- ‡ – Tab by Glenn Reither
These ‘ukulele tabs are in PDF format created with Guitar Pro, Powertab, or good ol’ Microsoft Word.
Where to Find More Free ‘Ukulele Tabs
That said, there are lots of really great sources of free ‘ukulele tabs out there! My favorites are:
- Dominator’s Ukulele Tabs – Dom was one of the first guys posting note-for-note transcriptions online. Some of his stuff is VERY advanced if you need a challenge. Mostly Hawaiian and popular songs.
- Ukulele Hunt – Al Wood does a good job covering riffs and intros/outros for a lot of pop/punk/rock songs. They usually include video examples/tutorials.
Other Tab Articles/Resources
Here are some links to information regarding how to read tab and other related articles.
Converting guitar and high/low-G tabs to the tuning you play in – How to shift the numbers around so you can play a tab that isn’t necessarily meant for your tuning.
How to Figure Out Songs – Being able to ear out a song is a very valuable skill. Here are some tips for DIY songs.
How to Read Tab – ‘Ukulele tabs aren’t hard to figure out, but you need to know what you’re looking at to make sense of them.
How to Read Tablature – Quick Start Guide – A single-page PDF containing everything you need to know to get started reading tabs.
How to Use Powertab – A walkthrough of manipulating this old open-source tab program to work for ‘ukulele.
Tab Legend – A PDF of common symbols seen in tabs from hammer-ons to trills to bends.
Short ‘ukulele tab snippets, Intros, Ideas – Excerpts from songs that aren’t complete, but worth sharing.
Blank Tab Sheets
Create your own ‘ukulele tabs! Quickly notate the notes to a song, picking part, chord sequence, arpeggio, scale, etc…
Use the standard notation version for relating notes on the fretboard to their pitches as they appear on the staff. Great for notating fingers on tab and note duration on the staff.