Ukulele tabs are the easiest way to learn to pick a song. With just fours lines and some numbers, anybody – even if you don’t read standard notation – can make sense of uke tablature.
Below is a large collection of free ukulele tabs for a number of different skills and styles. They are all created (and in a couple cases, vetted) by me with an eye for detail and accuracy.
Rock/Pop Ukulele Tabs:
These songs can often be found elsewhere, transcribed for guitar, but not necessarily arranged or tabbed for ukulele. My uke-specific interpretations follow.
The songs found here mostly feature ukulele as the lead instrument. As such, most tunes are from Hawaiʻi-based artists I grew up listening to and emulating.
To me, these are Hawaiian ukulele “standards,” if not by song then by style. If you want to study the Hawaiian sound, this is the section for you.
General purpose Hawaiian songs with lyrics are filed here.
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.
Ukulele tabs marked with “lead sheet” are Guitar Pro transcriptions of the melody, words (if applicable), and chords.
Fingerstyle “solo arrangement” tabs shown below include the melody interlaced with the chords, intended to be played by a single player and imply harmony and lead simultaneously.
These are my own interpretations, not necessarily a transcription of a specific performance. I try to keep them as simple as possible because I feel that it’s easier to add your own flavor than to sift through someone else’s style.
“Note-for-note transcriptions” are ukulele tabs of a specific recording and transcribed as accurately as possible.
What is an Ukulele Tab?
Tablature (or “tab” for short) is a simple system of notating music. It uses numbers on lines to represent the frets and strings of an ukulele.
The main advantage of a tab over a piece of standard music notation is that there is very little learning curve. If you can count you can play from a tab.
Each tab system is made up of four horizontal lines:
A |-------------------| E |-------------------| C |-------------------| G |-------------------|
As you can see by the string names on each line, the top line represents the A-string and the bottom line represents the G-string. The C and E-strings sit between.
Numbers placed on the lines show which fret to press down and are read left to right. (“0” means open string.)
A |--------0--| E |------0----| C |----0------| G |--0--------|
This shows the open strings being plucked one at a time from the top string down.
A |--3-5-7-3--| E |-----------| C |-----------| G |-----------|
The above example is all played on the A-string: 3rd fret, 5th fret, 7th fret, 3rd fret.
Anytime you see numbers stacked vertically you should play them simultaneously as a chord. Here’s a C:
A |--3--| E |--0--| C |--0--| G |--0--|
For much more, check out this guide to reading tab for better understanding the lines, numbers, and symbols.
Where to Find More Ukulele Tabs
Some of the best transcriptions you can find anywhere are from Dominator. We’ve been working together to create a current index for his excellent work here:
While you can find almost any popular song on these sites, be aware that the quality of these tabs vary with the skill of the transcriber. Especially on Ultimate-Guitar, the star rating system can help you find the most accurate version.
That said, there are lots of really great sources of free ukulele tabs out there!
My other favorites for top-notch transcriptions are:
- Ukeeducation.org – A large collection of simple chord melodies.
- 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.
If you have some cash to spend on buying a book of uke tabs, there are more options every day.
Since licensing popular music is a huge pain in the neck for small operations, you’re probably going to find most books of mainstream tablature printed by a major publishing house. Hal Leonard has put the most effort into expanding their ukulele lineup (and includes transcriptions for Jake Shimabukuro’s latest albums), but Alfred also has some options.
Independent artists are also publishing some of their work. Daniel Ho has a couple books of tablature and Daniel Ward has Arpeggio Meditations For Ukulele.
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 Ukulele Tabs – Ukulele tabs aren’t hard to figure out, but you need to know what you’re looking at to make sense of them.
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.