For a long time, we avoided doing a lesson on what can only be called the most iconic recording to come out of Hawaii. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's one take rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ What a Wonderful World" broke down barriers and became embedded in mainstream media. After numerous requests, we decided to give the people what they want. In this very much anticipated whiteboard lesson, Aldrine goes over the chords and teaches you how to play that memorable strumming pattern. Because this song was recorded in a single take and during a moment of inspiration, the chord progressions are fluid and include small deviations. Aldrine walks you through these changes and breaks down the structure of the song. It might take sometime to understand where the pieces fit together, but once you do, you'll be able to play a truly beautiful song that helped to elevate the ukulele to a new level.

Download the Whiteboard (pdf)
Print the Lyrics and Chords for this song
Browse the Full List of UU Song Tutorials

Techniques Used in Lesson:


  1. Thank you very much Aldrine, the best tutorial which I found by googling (although I am a member of UU)

    But I have a question… how should I sing? Just to follow by ear original audition by Iz? I tried for example to find basic rhythm of this song, to tap my foot on the floor while singing, but I am not sure; and I I want to see exact traditional notation for lyrics, to be precise, some words endings go to another measure (I am not sure) that’s why I want to see traditional notation with words; plus it is good exercise for me to learn “sight reading” of music.

    For now, I only rely on my ears and video (audio by Iz) at YouTube.

    Thank you!

  2. For a low-G, can what do you think about using the 4th string G as a base note instead of the C? It seems to work ok.

  3. one question. when you go to pluck the c string with your thumb it looks like you are also plucking the a string with you index finger. What’s that about?

  4. Aloha, I’m looking for a song by Sammy Johnson called “all you have to do is say I love you”
    I sure would like you guys to teach that one.

    Thanks in advance, Ulu

  5. Thanks Aldrine for doing this one! It was my Whiteboard request!! I was able to play this in Oahu for my sister in law’s vow renewals and it was beautiful. I even upgraded to a solid Koa Hawaiian ukulele so now I’m sounding better too.

    1. Wow that’s awesome! We are so happy that you could make your sister in law’s day even more special, and congrats on the ukulele upgrade. Keep strummin’ and thank you for helping us to spread ukulele joy!

      -Kira (& the UU Staff)

  6. ahahhaha…. … I just discovered you on line.. your amazing!!
    I am hoping that Santa will be delivering a ukulele for me this Christmas so I began checking out videos on line..
    I have stopped at yours… you are the best..
    If santa is extra generious , I will be able to purchase your classes.. if not.. I will wait until next year..
    blessings to you.. and mahalo for your the joy and love that shines through you when you play.
    aloha , Mikala

    1. Hey Mikala

      Thanks so much for the kind words. We hope Santa pulls through on that uke for you. Here is a little Christmas cheer from all of us at UU, you can use this “10OFF” discount code when you sign up for UU+. We hope to see you around, we do a weekly Live Jam Session every Friday, it’s a fun way to practice the ukulele and just hang out. Feel free to check it out, and have a Merry Christmas!
      -Kira (& the UU Staff)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *