Learn to play "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett

Browse the Full List of UU Song Tutorials
Download the Picking TABS for "Margaritaville":
Download the Picking TAB (.pdf)
Print the Lyrics and Chords for "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett (link)

Play along with the ukulele cover of "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett. This song is pretty simple, just follow the chords and the basic rhythm to play along. If you need some extra help learning this song, start with STEP 1 below.

We've actually covered this song in the past as a Whiteboard Request Lesson, but this time we made a couple of changes. We added a fun picking solo along with that iconic picking riff, and we implemented rolls instead of chunks in the strumming. If you still can't get enough Margaritaville, join us on Aloha Friday Jams where we play this song as our guilty pleasure.

STEP 1 - The Chords

Here are all the chords you'll need to play along with the song:

A(2100), D(2220), D7(2020), G(0232)

Practice holding each chord and memorize the names of each chord. When you can see the name of the chord and instantly know how to hold it, you're ready to move on.

STEP 2 - Chord Switching

Now that you can hold all of the chords and know them by name, you need to be able to switch chords smoothly. For the most part, these chord switches are pretty simple. There is one part of the song where you transition from D to A to G relatively quickly, but it's very doable. Take a little extra time working on that transition, and do your best to play along with the chord switching video below. Switch to the next chord right on time along with Aldrine.

Once you can hold the chords, switch between them, and play them at the right times, you can already play the song! Go back to the Play-Along video at the top of the page and play through the whole song, holding the chords and strumming them at the right times when they change. You've just played the beginner version of this song.

STEP 3 - The Strumming

Now that you're able to switch to all of the right chords at the right time, you can focus on your strumming hand. Lightly mute your strings and practice strumming along with the video. Aldrine starts off with simple down strums and gets progressively harder, adding in up strums and accents. If at any point the strumming becomes too difficult, just keep strumming the last rhythm you felt comfortable with. When you're ready, you can retry this video and work on the next rhythm until that becomes natural to you.

Once you've conquered the last rhythm on the previous video, you're ready to start adding in rolls. It can be a tricky technique to master, so don't be discouraged it if doesn't just roll off your fingers from the start. Strum along with the video and roll when the blue light gets bigger.

Once you can play along with the basic strumming or even more complex strumming for the song, you can now add another piece to the puzzle! Go back to the Play-Along video at the top of the page and play through the whole song, switching through the chords and playing the strumming rhythm that you learned.

STEP 4 - The Picking

You can play the chords and you can play the rhythm, now let's work on some picking. The picking for this song is a simple harmony riff. Download the . Play along with the video below trying your best to match the notes and rhythm.

Once you've got that riff down, it's time to tackle the picking solo. The solo builds off of the riff that you just learned. It also uses a tiny bit of fingerpicking and a small slide to add some extra oomph. Then play along with the video below, working on matching your notes and rhythm.

And that's it! Once you can play all the way through the chords, rhythm, and picking videos, test your skills by playing along with the Play-Along video at the top of the page. If you're a beginner tackling one of your first songs, congratulations! It may have taken a lot of work, but you just mastered a classic song that everyone will want to sing along with. If you have any questions, we're always here for you. Keep having fun and keep strummin!


  1. it’ great way to learn to pick the picking section. I am still trying to get it….. not that easy…….
    but practice is the answer…. LOL

  2. yes……I still having a hard time playing in the key of
    D. The Key of C….I as wondering if the picking part would be the same as in the Key of D ?
    my voice is in the Key o C.

  3. Awesome lesson presentation! You guys are always stepping up your game!!!! This is a song I have known for a while but can’t wait to add some of the new picking techniques you teach here.

Leave a Reply

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