“Stay With Me” is one of the songs that truly put Sam Smith on the map. A dramatic ballad, the piece showcases Smith’s tremendous, rich vocal performance and is still the singer’s most successful single to date. Despite the complex and compelling arrangement, “Stay With Me” is actually only based around four simple chords.
If you’ve been looking for a “Stay With Me” ukulele tutorial, then you’ve come to the right place. We feel that this majestic piece of music translates very well to the uke, and this article walks you through “Stay with Me’s” ukulele chords, as well as some possible strumming patterns for performing the song.
“Stay With Me” Ukulele Chords
As discussed above, “Stay With Me” is composed of four simple ukulele chords: Am, C, F, and G.
All of these chords are fairly easy to play on the ukulele, too. While G can trip some people up, due to it having something of an awkward shape, none of the chords in this song require barring or any other advanced techniques.
Still, if you are struggling with the G chord in “Stay With Me”, we would recommend that you focus on practicing that chord shape before trying to play through the whole chord progression, or play along to the original recording. Doing so will make the song as a whole easier to tackle, and will help you play more accurately, too.
[Am] [F] [C]
[Am] [F] [C]
The verses of “Stay With Me” feature the same chord progression as the intro to the song. Note that Smith’s vocal performance is really meant to be the focus of the piece, too. When playing along to the recording, try to adjust your performance so that you complement the singing, without competing with it.
We feel that something of a minimalistic approach works best when playing along to “Stay With Me”. When you are playing, make it count by really attacking each strum, but then allow there to be some silence or space between each chord. This is the best way to really honor the feeling and atmosphere that the original recording captures.
[Am] Guess it’s true, I’m not [F] good at a [C] one-night stand
[Am] But I still need [F] love, ‘cause I’m just a [C] man
[Am] These nights never [F] seem to go to [C] plan
[Am] I don’t want you to [F] leave, will you [C] hold my hand?
The chorus of “Stay With Me” is made up of the same chord progression as the intro and verses, with the introduction of a G chord in the last line of the chorus. Still, the timing on the chord changes is slightly different, so do be mindful of this when playing along to the song.
Won’t you [Am] stay [F] with [C] me?
‘Cause you’re [Am] all [F] I [C] need
This ain’t [Am] love, it’s [F] clear to [C] see
But [G] darling, [Am] stay [F] with [C] me
As discussed above, we feel the best way to capture the spirit of the original recording when playing “Stay With Me” on the ukulele is by taking a somewhat minimalistic approach. As such, the strumming patterns we have devised for our “Stay With Me” ukulele tutorial are somewhat simple and involve a decent amount of resting.
If you would like, you could find some strumming patterns for the song that are more active and involve some more playing. This can be a good way to make songs a little bit more challenging to play along to. However, we would also stress that an important part of learning to play an instrument is restraint, as well as understanding when less might be more!
Strumming Pattern #1
This pattern is the simplest of the ones featured in this tutorial. You simply play a chord on each downbeat in the bar. To some, this may sound overly simplistic, but we feel that this pattern is enough to give the ukulele an active role in the performance without detracting in any way from the vocals.
D – D – D – D – –
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
Strumming Pattern #2
This second strumming pattern is only slightly more complex. It’s fairly similar to the first one, with an added strum on one of the upbeats. This minor difference does give this particular strumming pattern somewhat of a driving feel.
D – D U D – D
1 & 2 & 3 & 4
Tips on Playing Along to “Stay with Me”
If you listen to the chorus of “Stay With Me”, you’ll notice that the chords change when Sam Smith sings ‘stay with me.’ Mimicking this by playing along to these changes on the ukulele is a great way to make your performance sound very authentic and true to the original recording.
We also feel that it’s important to note that “Stay With Me” is a fairly slow song. For some beginners, slower tempos can make it tricky to play along to a given song accurately and in good time. If this is something that you’re struggling with, then we would highly recommend that you practice with a metronome.
A metronome can help you establish a very solid sense of time and timekeeping in music. This definitely translates to your playing in general, and is a step that too many skip when starting out learning a new instrument or music theory. It may seem cumbersome, but it is definitely worth it!
If you would like more tips on playing “Stay With Me” on ukulele, here is a handy video tutorial:
Enjoyed this tutorial?
If you enjoyed this song tutorial, you might like messing around with these ukulele songs as well:
- “Counting Stars” by One Republic (Am, C, G, F)
- “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars (C, Am, F)
- “Someone Like You” by Adele (C, G, Am, F)
Or, check out our full list of easy ukulele songs for beginners for even more songs to play.