Learn to play the Christmas holiday classic, "Sleigh Ride" on Ukulele


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Print the "Sleigh Ride" Ukulele Picking TAB (.pdf)

Play along with the "Sleigh Ride" Ukulele Play-Along with Aldrine and if you need some extra help start with STEP 1 below. This song may be a little bit of a challenge for beginners with a whole bunch of chords, really quick chord changes, and some interesting key changes. But practice everything slow and simple to start and pick up speed and complexity as you progress!

STEP 1 - The Chorus

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling ...
First, you'll need to learn the four chords for the intro and chorus:

F(2010), Dm(2210), Gm(0231), C(0003)

Practice holding each chord and memorize the names of each chord. Next, take a look at the following diagram:

Sleigh Ride chorus chords Box 1: F and Dm, Box 2: Gm and C, Box 3: F and Dm, Box 4: Gm and C

Each box represents 4 beats in the song. With two chords in each box, that means each chord gets two beats. Once you learn the chords and the timing for each chord, play along with the video below:

Notice at the very end of the chorus, the diagram looks like this:

Sleigh Ride Chorus Ending Chords Box 1: F and Dm, Box 2: Gm and C, Box 3: F, Box 4: F

That means that for the last 8 beats, you'll just be holding the F chord. Practice these chords and switching between them. This chord progression happens very quickly and many times throughout the song, so get it down and you'll be golden!

STEP 2 - The Verse

Giddyup, giddyup, giddyup let's go ...
Next you'll need to learn the chords for the verse:

Bm7(2222), E7(1202), A(2100), F#m(2120), Am(2000), D7(2223), G(0232), Em(0432), Gm(0231), C7(0001)

Practice holding each chord and memorize the names of each chord. Next, take a look at the following diagram:


Box 1: Bm7, Box 2: E7, Box 3: A, Box 4: F#m, Box 5: Bm7, Box 6: E7, Box 7: A, Box 8: A
Box 9: Am, Box 10: D7, Box 11: G, Box 12: Em, Box 13: Gm, Box 14: Gm, Box 15: C7 and Gm, Box 16: C7

Each box represents 4 beats in the song. During the verse, it's pretty much 4 beats per chord, except for the very end where it speeds up to go back to the chorus. Learn the chords and timing and try playing along with the video below:

STEP 3 - The Bridge

There's a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray ...
The bridge uses a lot of the same chords from the chorus and verse sections. But there are a few new chords for you to learn:

Cmaj7(0002), Bb(3211), A7(0100), Bbm7(1111), E(4442)

Practice holding each chord and memorize the names of each new chord. Check out the following diagram for the first part of the bridge:


Box 1: Cmaj7, Box 2: Cmaj7, Box 3: Cmaj7, Box 4: Am, Box 5: Am, Box 6: Am, Box 7: Am, Box 8: Dm
Box 9: F, Box 10: Bb and C, Box 11: Am and A7, Box 12: Dm, Box 13: A and Bbm7, Box 14: Bm7 and E, Box 15: A, Box 16: Gm and C

The first half of this first part isn't too bad, but the second half has tons of quick 2 beat chord changes. This will take a lot of time and practice to get down smoothly. The second part of the bridge starts exactly the same and the final line isn't quite as intense as in the first part:


Box 1: Cmaj7, Box 2: Cmaj7, Box 3: Cmaj7, Box 4: Am, Box 5: Am, Box 6: Am, Box 7: Am, Box 8: Dm
Box 9: F, Box 10: Bb and C, Box 11: Am and A7, Box 12: Dm, Box 13: Gm, Box 14: Gm, Box 15: Gm, Box 16: C

Try it out on your own slowly giving each box 4 beats. When you have the format down, try playing along with the video below:

STEP 4 - Extra Rhythm

So far, we've just been using a simple down-up strum for each beat. But if you'd like to fancy up your strum, Aldrine explains what he's doing here:

Feel free to use any strum that feels comfortable to you. As long as you keep up with the beat and hit the chord changes at the right times, you're set! Try playing along with the full speed Play-Along at the top of the page, switching through the chords and adding the rhythm that feels right to you. It may take a few tries to get those chord changes down, but keep it up! It feels amazing when you are finally able to pull it off.

STEP 5 - Picking

Finally, learn the short (but fast) picking that Aldrine does right in the middle of the song. Use the video below to practice at 50% and 70% speed. If you need more help, be sure to download and print the "Sleigh Ride" Ukulele Picking TAB

Once you've got it down, go to the Play-Along video at the top of the page and try to play it at full speed. Congrats, you completed the advanced version of this song. If you made it to this point, awesome job! If you're still working at it, feel free to follow along just up to where you feel comfortable.
Practice what you can and pick it up where you left off next time. And if you have questions or need any help, we're always here for you! Rock on & keep strummin'

Aloha,
-UU Staff

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