“Shape of You” was released in 2017 as one of the singles from Sheeran’s third album. It became a massive worldwide hit, as well as the most performed song of 2017. It is also the most-streamed song in Spotify’s history, with over 2.9 billion streams. Interestingly, “Shape of You” is an extremely easy song to play, and an ideal choice for anybody that’s just starting out on the ukulele. Without further ado, here’s how to play Shape of You by Ed Sheeran on the ukulele.
Like many great Ed Sheeran songs, “Shape of You” features the same four chords throughout and always in the same order. This fact already makes it a very easy song as there is only one progression from beginning to end. The chords are Am, Dm, F, and G. To play Am, place your middle finger on the fourth string second fret while keeping the other strings open.
For Dm place your index on the second string first fret, middle still on the fourth string second fret, and ring finger on the third string second fret. Next up is the F chord. Place your index on the second string first fret and middle finger on the fourth string second fret. Finally, for the G chord, place your index on the third-string second fret, middle on the first string second fret, and ring on the second string third fret.
The simplest pattern that works for “Shape of You” is simply a downstrum on the downbeat of each chord. This song has a relatively fast tempo and is in 4/4 time signature. Therefore, each chord lasts four beats.
If you want to try a more complex strumming pattern you could do D UDU DU. You can think of this pattern as a build-up from the initial single downstroke pattern. The first beat is just a downstroke, and then you fill in the rest as indicated.
Alternatively, you can try and use both patterns for different sections of the song. Each of them works anywhere and are interchangeable. This is a great chance to use your ear and find out what you like and what sounds good for you.
More strumming patterns
If you’re not a beginner and the previous patterns are really easy, here is another one to give you even more variety for the song sections. Try playing DD U UDU. This pattern works particularly well for the chorus. It gives it movement and creates a nice contrast with either of the two previous patterns.
Learning how to play Shape of You by Ed Sheeran on the ukulele is fun and easy. This is one of the most popular songs of the last decade and a great addition to your repertoire. Additionally, if you are new to the uke, “Shape of You” is a good song to start with, as it is quite easy. Feel free to check out our app: Roadie Coach, available on IOS and Android to help you with everything that relates to the instrument. Have fun!