Browse the Full List of UU Song Tutorials
Print the Chord Sheet for this song: "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" Lyrics and Chord Sheet (link)
Download the TAB for this picking:
"Knockin' on Heaven's Door" Picking TAB (.pdf)
The sun is out and summer is in full swing, so it's time to take your ukulele outside to take in some of the sunshine! This month, we have a brand new lesson that's simple enough to memorize and take with you inside your brain, no screens or paper necessary. It's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan (also popularized by Guns N Roses). For all of you beginners, this one only requires you to know 4 simple chords (G, D, Am, and C), and the picking is pretty simple, but the challenge here will be to nail down the strumming.
The strumming itself isn't really tough at all, but the chord switching during the strumming is what will trip up most people. During the chord progression, you switch to the D chord in between two up strums (not on any of the strums, during the space between them). Check out the tutorial above (the strumming section starts at around 03:28 in the tutorial video), and keep practicing that chord "hammer on" motion really slowly and eventually speed it up. It will take practice, but once you understand the feel of putting down a chord while your hand isn't strumming the strings, this will be a very, very useful thing for you to know how to do. A few of the MANY songs that use this type of chord switching during the strumming include Imagine by John Lennon (check out the comments below the Imagine post for more details on the chord change during the strumming), Seasons of Love from Rent, and Fire and Rain by James Taylor.
Have fun with this song, memorize it really quick, and jam it with all of your uke-playing friends! And if you have any questions or need anything at all, as always, we're here for you. Rock on & keep strummin'