How to Play Easy and Full-Sounding Ukulele Chord Melody

How to Play Easy and Full-Sounding Ukulele Chord Melody

Would you like to play rich and sonorous music each day?

When I get done with a long day of work, I like to play rich and sonorous music on my ukulele. It relieves stress and helps me regain a sense of well-being and balance. I like playing amazing chord melodies. They are simple and easy to play. When I play them for my students and friends, people always ask, “How can I learn how to do this?”

So, we developed an online course to teach the easy chord melodies that I love to play! The level is intermediate, so if you can read the melody tab and play three-chord songs, you will be able to play these chord melodies. You’ll develop the amazing skill of playing rich and sonorous music on your ukulele.


Here is an example of what the sheet music looks like.

Here is an example of an easy chord melody version of  “Oh, When the Saints.”

The format of the music is easy to follow:

  • The top line of music is the vocal line. That way you can sing and strum a verse easily by reading the lyrics and strumming the chords. There is a suggested strumming pattern, so you know what strumming pattern will work with the song.
  • The second line of music is the chord melody version. Both the sing and strum version and the chord melody are on one page. That way you can sing a couple verses, and then play the chord melody as an instrumental interlude.
  • The melody is notated as single notes underneath the vocal notes.
  • The chords are the vertical stacks of notes that have the squiggly lines next to them. Those lines show that you should strum those chords.

Here is an example of  the various notation styles I use when notating chord melody.

The numbers on the lines of the tab staff give you the melody of the song. The vertical numbers on the tab staff show you how to play the chords. 

Notation Specific to chord melody

I use different playing techniques with both my right and my left hand to play chord melody. In the course there are:

1. Six introductory videos to give folks a chance to understand all the different techniques I use when I play chord melody.

2. At least four different videos for each song: a performance video for both Low G and High G tuning and a lesson video for both the Low G and High G version of the song.

3. A downloadable .pdf of all the sheet music along with written explanations on how to play the songs.

4. A total of over 30 videos that feature closeups of my hands and sheet music pictured in the frame to help you learn better. Check out the video below to see an example.




Enjoy this video showing how to read the notation specific for chord melody.

Act Quickly-The sign-up window is open for 3 weeks!

This year our course will be available for three weeks from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15. I know you will want your copy of this music and the video lessons that explain everything. So, click on the link below to find out more. We will also send your three free goodies:

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll get:

 Goodie #1 C Major Scale Study

Goodie #2 C Major Fingerpicking Study

Goodie #3 Jingle Bells Easy Ukulele Chord Melody


Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today

You can get more practice with ukulele chord melody with these other posts. 

Writing More Readable Ukulele Tab: Evolution of Sakura Chord Melody

Writing More Readable Ukulele Tab: Evolution of Sakura Chord Melody

I want to share about a recent experience on writing more readable ukulele tab.

I really enjoy (and so do many of our fans) playing both the melody and the chords of a song on the ukulele AT THE SAME TIME. This process is called “chord melody.”

When you first start learning chord melody, it seems almost impossible. And, when you go looking for ukulele chord melody arrangements, many of them are difficult. As a ukulele teacher, I enjoy both playing and teaching chord melody arrangements that are accessible.

By accessible, I mean arrangements that use lots of open strings, stay fairly low on the fretboard, and don’t use many barre chords. I love creating such arrangements, because they sound so cool!

The challenge comes in notating the arrangements.

Writing More Readable Ukulele Tab Chord Melody

Recently I posted my arrangement of “Sakura” on Facebook. One eagle-eyed reader pointed out:

“The tab doesn’t match the staff notation and doesn’t have the rhythm.”

I was thrilled to get a response from someone who could challenge me to create something even better. He and I went back and forth about the best way to write out my arrangement of “Sakura”. He went so far as to even create an arrangement with his own software that used the notes I had written, but made everything easier to read.

Let me show you this evolution.

Here’s my first version:

Jenny Peters during RAGBRAI 2019

As you can see, there is no rhythm indicated with the tab notation.

Here is Version 2, inspired by the person who commented on my Facebook post. By researching my music notation software, I was able to add rhythmic notation to the tab staff. The top staff of music remains as a sing-and-strum version of the song.

Jenny Peters making music on RAGRBRAI 2019

Version 3 has both musical staves with the same notes, but there are no more lyrics. It is an instrumental version only. The notes shown on the music staff are the same as the notes shown in the tab.

So, now my question for you is: which version do you like best, and why? I’d love it if you let me know in the comments below.

We are always looking for ways to make our products better, to help you to have fun learning ukulele YOUR way.  The more we know about what you like the better!

Thanks so much!

Wow, chord melody sounds rich and full, with melody and chords at the same time!

But it’s probably too hard for me. Not true!
In this course you’ll learn easy full-sounding music using techniques you know.

Get your course now

Sakura Easy Ukulele Chord Melody

Sakura Easy Ukulele Chord Melody


Vote for the version you like:

I recently posted an easy chord melody version for Sakura. Chord melody on the ukulele means that you play both the melody and the chords at the same time. It sounds really cool, but has often been reserved for ukulele artists with incredible technique and musical background. I am writing out arrangements that newer ukesters can play, because they are easier.

Your opinion counts

Recently, I got a lot of comments on Facebook about how I could make my versions easier to read. Now I want to know which one you like better, the first or the second.  We are trying to create new and better content, so your opinion matters.

I want your opinion on which version is the most accurate. I also want your opinion on which version looks the least intimidating for learning the song.

Please leave your opinion in the comments below.


Sakura chord Melody version 1: 

This version has the lyrics and a simple sing and strum version on the top staff of music. The chord melody is written out below and has rhythmic stems added to help the player know what to do.

Sakura chord Melody version 2: 

This version has no lyrics. The upper staff is the same as the lower one with all the notes that you play written out.

Jenny and Sakura easy ukulele tutorial

I have always liked Sakura. It reminds me of how much I enjoyed the cherry blossoms on the University of Washington Quad when I was in college. The trees bloomed every Spring there and all the students enjoyed the blossoms. Some of these trees were a gift from the Japanese to the University. 

Sakura is in our newest book, 21 Easy Ukulele Folk SongsIf you would like like to learn a much easier version of this song, check out our easy ukulele tutorial for Sakura below. You can also get a copy of our book to learn this song and other easy folk songs. 

Get the Sheet Music to Sakura in 21 Easy Ukulele Folk Songs!

Do you want to sound convincing on folk songs? You know basic chords and strumming patterns. And you’re interested in folk music. You’d like to take it to the next level.

Get your copy now!

How to Play Sakura – A Ukulele Tutorial

How to Play Sakura – A Ukulele Tutorial


Get a copy of Sakura lyrics and chords sheet here before we head to the ukulele tutorial.

If you would like to learn the melody for solo ukulele, you can also get a copy of the tab sheet here. This would be perfect for ukulele enthusiasts that enjoy playing the instrument but not much into singing.


So let’s now proceed to the Sakura ukulele tutorial and get busy learning the song in time for spring, the cherry blossoms season.

Beginner ukulele learners will be happy to know the song is easy to learn as it has just three chords: Am, Dm and E7. Additionally, it uses all-down strums, four strums per measure. In the video, Jenny sings an English translation of the song and illustrates the chords and strums including a solo melody.


Sakura is a Japanese word which means cherry blossoms. During spring, these stunning sakura appear all over Japan but only lasts for several days. The cherry blossoms appear in Tokyo usually from late March to early April. But in other parts of the country, they come out as early as January.


The Japanese observe a ritual called hanami during the cherry blossom season. Basically, hanami is the Japanese custom of taking time to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of flowers or hana in Japanese. Frequently, these spring flowers are those of the cherry blossoms but there are others such as the plum blossoms.


Consequently, it is expected that these stunning cherry blossoms would inspire songs to be written about them. One of these songs is our featured Japanese folk song entitled “Sakura, Sakura” or simply “Sakura”. While the song’s melody which follows a pentatonic scale has been around since the Japanese Edo period, the lyrics have been added during the Meiji period. “Sakura” has remained popular throughout Japan until modern times. It has also been introduced and became known all around the world.

Sakura is one of the songs in our book “21 Easy Ukulele Folk Songs.”

Do you want to sound convincing on folk songs? You know basic chords and strumming patterns. And you’re interested in folk music. You’d like to take it to the next level.

Get your copy now!