ukulele alternate tunings

Alternate tunings are a great way to spice up your playing. They can add variety and options when applied.

The guitar has a long tradition of songs with alternate tuning. And with its newfound popularity, the ukulele can also benefit from alternate tunings. It is even easier to work with alternate tunings on the ukulele. This is because it has only four strings. That means that it will take you less time to alternate tune a uke. In theory, it should also be easier to learn new fingerings for these alternate tunings. Here are five ukulele alternate tuning songs to take you to the next level. 

La Bamba

“La Bamba” is a classic that has transcended genres, cultures, and generations. It features only three chords the whole way through. Those chords are C, F, G, G. Simply repeat that progression to play “La Bamba” entirely. his song is in the key of C major, so we are going to use the open C major tuning. Starting with the high string (the one closest to the ground), tune it G C E G. The starting chord is C. Simply strum the uke on all open strings to create a C. For the F, bar the 5th fret. And for the G, bar the 7th fret. That simple!


The smash hit “Despacito” features the chords Cm Ab Eb Bb. Just like “La Bamba” the chord progression never changes. You will play the same chords in the same order all the time. It does not get any easier than that. Here we will be using the C minor alternate tuning. Starting with the high string, tune it G C Eb G. Yor first chord is a C minor. Pluck the uke on open strings to start. Then move on to your Ab (fret 1 for both the first and last string, the other two remain open). Next is your Eb. Simply press the second string on the third fret, while the other three strings remain open. Finally, play the Bb chord (press the first and last string on the third fret, second string on the second fret, and third-string on the first fret).

Jane Says

“Jane Says” is one of the biggest alternative anthems of the early 90s and it increased their appeal massively. The song is still popular today. It features only two chords, A and G and so or this one we are going to use the double G alternate tuning. From hi to low, tune it G D G A. To start, simply bar the second fret on the top three strings and press the fourth fret on the last string. There’s your A chord. For the G, play the top string open and press the last string on the second fret. 

Achy Breaky Heart

This song made Billy Ray Cyrus a star. As a result, it also opened a door for Miley Cyrus. Regardless, it was a massive country hit that is still played today. For instance, oldies stations and playlists still feature it. It has only two chords, C and G. For this one we’re going to tune the uke on G C F G (from high to low).  For the C chord, press the second string on the fourth fret, the third-string on the second fret, and the last string on the fifth fret. 

Blurred Lines

This worldwide hit contains two chords: D and G. For “Blurred Lines” we are going to use the tuning G B D G. Press the first and last string on the second fret to play the D chord. And the second string on the seventh fret. And for the G chord, it’s all open strings. 

Ukulele Alternate Tuning Songs

There is a world of possibilities with open tunings. With practice, you can take your ukulele playing to the next level. There are great tools for learning ukulele today: Our app Roadie Coach is one of them. You can get it for IOS or Android. Feel free to leave us a comment.