Learn to play "Get Up Stand Up" Ukulele Version by Bob Marley
One. Chord. Song. They said it couldn't be done. A one-chord song on ukulele that is actually ... FUN? INTERESTING? EXCITING? RELEVANT to today's social and cultural climate?
We had our doubts as well, but finally the impossible has been achieved. With the help of our amazingly talented friend Keola "Olamon" Akau, we bring you "Get Up Stand Up" by Bob Marley and the Wailers. The song itself is simple enough for beginners to pick up and for the intermediate player it's a fantastic bar chord / pinky mute / reggae strum practice that will help develop and sharpen your more advanced ukulele skills.
Click on the Play Along video above to see the fabled one-chord song in all of its glory and if you need a little help learning this on your ukulele, start with STEP 1 below:
STEP 1 - Chords
Well, technically Chord. The only chord you'll need is a Cm7.
So you won't have to worry about switching chords or moving into different positions. However, Cm7 is a bar chord, which will require proper finger positioning. Here are the top tips on How to Hold a Bar Chord:
1. Position your finger closer to the fret wire(the one closer to the body of the ukulele). Keeping your barring finger close to the higher fret wire requires less pressure to get a clean sound.
2. Keep your main knuckle off of the fretboard.The very tip of your finger should be in line with the G string so that your main knuckle is off the fretboard. Having the knuckle off the fretboard helps keep your bar chord buzz-free.
3. Position your thumb pointed toward the headstockon the back side of the neck. This results in a more comfortable, natural hand position.
Watch the video below where Aldrine explains these pointers in a little more detail:
Every player's barring finger is a little different, so it will take some experimenting with placement in order to create a clean sound when you strum through. Once you find the placement that works for you, practice by letting go of the chord completely and placing your finger back on the fret, exactly like you had it before. Eventually, you'll be able to get back to that bar chord placement with your eyes closed and after that, you won't be afraid of bar chords ever again.
Head up to the top of the page and play along with the Play Along video. Just hold the chord and strum down every time the Cm7 lights up in blue over the lyrics. Great job, you just played the super beginner version of the song!
When you feel pretty comfortable with the chord, move on to Step 2.
STEP 2 - Rhythm
Start off with a simple "down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up" strum (4 beats, a "down, up" on each beat). After that try accenting, or strumming slightly louder, on beats 2 and 4. Once you can play this steadily, you can play along with the whole song already!
To get even closer to the reggae rhythm of the song here are three things you can do:
1. Only press down on the chord on Beats 2 & 4Release the pressure on the chord to mute the strings. Continue to strum steadily as you have been, but press down so the chord can be heard only on beats 2 and 4.
2. Use the Pinky Mute.Use your pinky (and the rest of your fretting hand fingers) to mute the strings while you strum. Release the mute and press down on your chord only on beats 2 and 4. This produces a cleaner percussive sound and short, accented strums.
3. Strum using both pointer and thumb together and roll on beats 2 & 4Use the nail of your pointer finger for the down strum and the nail of your thumb on the up strum. Let your pinky, ring, middle, and pointer fingers fan out over the strings in a roll to exaggerate beats 2 and 4.
For more help with these extra rhythm techniques, check out the video below:
Practice these techniques using this practice video:
TIP: If the practice video is a little too fast, click the gear icon in the lower right corner of the video player. You can select 0.75x or 0.5x speed to slow down the practice.
When you can play the rhythm pretty easily, play along with the Play-Along at the top of the page. Awesome, you just played the intermediate version of this song!
So that is the "Get Up Stand Up" ukulele tutorial. One chord, a simple reggae rhythm, endless possibilities. It really is amazing how Bob Marley was able to create so much using so little. Have fun with this one and for more Bob Marley songs on ukulele, check out our tutorials for:
And as always, if you have any questions or need help with your playing, be sure to Contact us! UU is always here to help you out. For our American uke players, it's November - please be sure to vote and have your voice heard! Have a great one UUers, keep strummin'