Browse the Full List of UU Song Tutorials
Print the Lyrics and Chords for "Waiting in Vain" (link)
Download the TAB for all 4 Picking Parts:
Waiting In Vain - Picking 1 (Intro)
Waiting In Vain - Picking 2 (Palm Muted)
Waiting In Vain - Picking 3 (Counter Melody)
Waiting In Vain - Picking 4 (Main Solo)

Hey UUers!

Many of you asking and waiting patiently for another Bob Marley song and this one, well this one my friends, is something very special. It's Bob's ever popular, "Waiting in Vain" - a deceptively simple song that everyone tends to play in the key of G, but the actual recording by Bob Marley and the Wailers is in the key of G#. So, being true music fans, we've brought you the chords, strumming, and (4 different) picking patterns that you can play on this song, so you can level up your ukulele skills, challenge yourself to become a better player, and jam along with the greatest reggae artist of all time.

For the chords, all of them are bar chords, so if you're having trouble holding them, be sure to check out the Uke Minute on How to Hold Bar Chords (& for a really in-depth discussion on how to hold a bar chord, check out Ukulele 101 - Week 7, where Aldrine discusses every possible troubleshooting tip to help you hold those bar chords cleanly).

For the strumming, check out the Uke Minutes episodes on Advanced Reggae Strumming (Part 1 and Part 2) and Hammer-On Chords. And for the picking ... just take it slowly and practice, practice, practice 🙂

For MORE Bob Marley goodness, be sure to check out our lessons for "I Shot The Sheriff," "Guava Jelly," "No Woman No Cry" as a solo ukulele arrangement, and "Jammin" as a Whiteboard Request.

Hope you have a wonderful month, keep strumming that uke of yours and as always, if you have any questions, be sure to let us know!

-UU Staff


  1. Thanks for sharing. This is a great tune. You break it down superbly.
    I shared your post on my Facebook feed giving you and Ukulele Underground a shout out.

    1. Hey Chas,

      Chunks only occur on the down strum. You might be hearing what sounds like a chunk on the up-strum, but it’s Aldrine doing an up-strum while using Left Hand Mutes. He shows you how to use it in the context of Waiting in Vain around 3:50 into the lesson. During the lessons at 7:30, Aldrine does say “up, chunk” while explaining the strumming pattern for the bridge, but he isn’t referring to an “Up-Chunk”, he is saying “up then chunk”. I hope this helps clear somethings up.

      -Kira (UU Staff)

      1. aaaaaah, thank you Kira for the super clear reply.

        You’re right, I thought he was saying “Up-chunk” !

        thanks again.

  2. absolutely love that you’re sharing the ideas you have for free… thank you thank you. my grand-daughter was looking to get more “in tune” to her instrument.

  3. Great job Aldrine. I am having trouble transitioning from the intro notes to the first G#maj7 chord, any suggestions?

  4. From Argentina, i tell you: this is the best and more complete site of ukulele learning! Thanks and aloha!

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