grace vanderwall

In this ukulele tutorial, you’ll learn to play Grace VanderWaal’s “I Don’t Know My Name”. Grace VanderWaal became known when she won the TV competition America’s Got Talent in 2016.

The fascinating detail about her victory is that she did it by performing her original songs on the show. That is quite an accomplishment, especially for a show that features creepy magicians, insane jugglers, and other freakish talents. VanderWaal performed “I don’t know my name” in her audition for America’s Got Talent and received immediate praise from the judges. The video of her audition has garnered more than 100 million views. It became one of the most popular YouTube videos in 2016. And she did all of this at the tender age of 12. Without further due, here’s how to play “I Don’t Know My Name” by Grace VanderWall on ukulele.   

Chord progression

“I don’t know my name” is a great song to learn, regardless of your level on the ukulele. It features only four chords: C, F, Am and G. These are all fairly easy chords. Even if you have never played, you should be able to play these chords with just a bit of practice. And today is your lucky day! Besides the chords being easy, “I don’t know my name” has the same progression for most of the song. In other words, you will play the same chords, in the same order for most of the song. It does not get any easier than that! The only part where it changes goes from F, G, Am, G where the lyric goes to “I’m lost trying to get found”.

Finger movement

Your first chord is C. To play it, place your ring finger on the third fret of the first string. Remember that the string closest to your leg is the first string. From there you’re going to the F chord. To play the F, place your middle finger on the fourth string second fret and your index finger on the second string first fret. Easy right? Great! Moving along, now’s the turn of the Am chord. Just lift your index finger and there you have it. I told you this was easy! The last chord is G. Here you are going to place your index finger on the third string second fret. Follow that with the middle finger on the first string second fret and the index finger on the second string third fret. There you have it. That is the entire song.  

Strumming pattern

The strumming pattern for the beginning is down, down, up, up, down, up, also known as an island strum. The following part is a half-full strum, where you reach the bottom two strings and then all four. These are all alternate downstrums. The part of “I’m lost trying to get found” features all downstrums.

If that is too hard at this point, you could also just strum each chord four times downward. Easy peasy! Once you play the first eight chords, you’re going to strum twice as fast. So instead of playing each chord four times, you’ll play them eighth times but in the same time span. 

Grace VanderWall plays “I don’t know my name” with a capo placed on the second fret. If you want to play it just like her, then you need a capo. However, you can also play it without a capo if you wish. Keep in mind that the famous audition video features a shorter version of the song. Just remember to have fun with this song. Also, use the Roadie Coach app on IOS or Android to improve your technique and to increase your uke playing options. Feel free to leave us a comment.