Characterized by its driving, upbeat instrumental and soaring chorus, “Just the Way You Are” is a stunning love song based around only three chords. As one of Bruno Mars’ biggest hits, the piece is a great showcase of his songwriting and impressive singing abilities.
If you’re looking for a simple, easily recognizable song to learn on the ukulele, then you can’t go wrong with “Just the Way You Are”. The fact that you only need three chords to play the song means you’ll have it nailed in no time!
Find more easy ukulele songs here >>> 57+ Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners (using basic chords)
“Just the Way You Are” Ukulele Chords
“Just the Way You Are” consists of the following chords: C, Am, and F.
Both the verses and chorus of “Just the Way You Are” follow the same chord progression, though the timing is different. The fact that “Just the Way You Are’s” ukulele chords are so simple and straightforward means that it shouldn’t take you much time to learn the chord progression of the song, so you can focus on your timing and strumming instead.
Practicing along to a metronome will help you get the timing perfect before you attempt to play along to the original song.
[C] [Am] [F] [C]
[C] [Am] [F] [C]
The verses in “Just the Way You Are” use the same chord progression as the intro.
[C] Oh, her eyes, her eyes, make the stars look like they’re not shining
[Am] Her hair, her hair, falls perfectly without her trying
[F] She’s so beautiful, and I tell her every [C] day
Yeah, I [C] know, I know, when I compliment her she won’t believe me
[Am] And it’s so, it’s so sad to think she don’t see what I see
[F] But every time she asks me do I look away, I [C] say
[C] [Am] [F] [C]
While the chorus in “Just the Way You Are” uses the same chord progression as the intro and verses, the timing is slightly different. So, be careful that you’re changing chords at the right spot; they cycle much more quickly in the chorus than they do in the verses.
[C] When I see your face, there’s not a [Am] thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re [F] amazing, just the way you [C] are
And when you [C] smile, the whole world [Am] stops and stares for a while
‘Cause girl you’re [F] amazing, just the way you [C] are, yeah
[C] [Am] [F] [C]
The way you [C] are, the way you [Am] are
Girl you’re [F] amazing, just the way you [C] are
One of the great things about learning how to play “Just the Way You Are” on ukulele is realizing just how versatile the song is. The song’s deceptively simple harmony is actually the backing for some fairly complex instrumentation, and there are a lot of different ways you can make the song work on the uke.
The instrumentation really evolves throughout the song, which we feel is important to reflect when you play along on the ukulele. So, we’ve come up with a couple of different strumming patterns that you can try out and see if you like. One is simpler and involves percussion, while the other is busier but more rhythmically straightforward.
If you’re new to the ukulele, then these strumming patterns might seem a bit intimidating. Still, we’d encourage you to try both and see if you can pull them off. If you’re struggling with either of them, then we recommend practicing them at a slower tempo and working your way up to the speed of the original recording
Strumming Pattern #1 – Percussive
This strumming pattern does require you to tap on the body of your ukulele. If you’re new to the instrument then that might seem a bit strange or feel foreign, but it’s actually a relatively common technique on the ukulele and guitar. It’s a very convenient and straightforward way for you to add some percussive element to your playing, without needing to bring other musicians in.
It can feel a bit awkward transitioning between tapping the face of the uke and strumming the strings, especially if the song has a faster tempo. But, as always, practice makes perfect. We feel putting in the time to get this technique is definitely worthwhile, as it’s something you can apply to many songs on the ukulele once you feel comfortable with it.
Note that in the following pattern, ‘T’ stands for tap (this is when you tap the body of the ukulele).
D – – T D – T –
1 & 2 & 3 4 &
Strumming Pattern #2 – Straight Strumming
This second strumming pattern is rhythmically simpler, and just involves strumming on both the beat and the offbeat. We feel this can give your performance an overall light, breezy feel, but it’s important not to dig in too hard when playing. Because this strumming pattern is fairly busy, it can sound very crowded and slightly aggressive if played with too much attack.
D U D U D U D U
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
If you’re looking for a video tutorial for “Just the Way You Are”, we recommend this one:
Enjoyed this tutorial?
If you enjoyed this song tutorial, you might like messing around with these ukulele songs as well:
- “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz (C, G, Am, F)
- “Riptide” by Vance Joy (Am, C, G, F)
- “Let It Be” by The Beatles (C, Am, F, G)
Or, check out our full list of easy ukulele songs for beginners for even more songs to play.