Despite its muscular, brash instrumentation and killer riffs, Sweet Home Alabama is a song that works perfectly on the ukulele. Whether you’re looking to play along to the original recording or simply perform the rock ‘n’ roll classic solo, playing Sweet Home Alabama on the uke is incredibly fun.
The song is perfect for beginners to the ukulele to learn, too. With just four simple chords – D, C, G, and F – you know how to play Sweet Home Alabama on ukulele. What’s more, most of the song is based around the same simple chord progression, and it has a fairly laid-back tempo. All of these factors together make Sweet Home Alabama a great song to learn if you’re looking for something to just jam out or relax to.
It might not seem like a natural choice to play a classic rock song on the ukulele, but we feel that learning ‘atypical’ songs on the ukulele is actually a great way to improve your versatility as a musician. You can build listening skills and learn what works and what doesn’t for different types of music on the uke. Doing so is only going to help you have more fun with the instrument and feel more confident in your playing.
Find more easy ukulele songs here >>> 57+ Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners (using basic chords)
The basic ukulele chords used in this song are D, C, G, and F.
Most of Sweet Home Alabama is based around a simple chord progression of D, C, and G. These are relatively simple chords which shouldn’t be too challenging to play. However, G can be a bit tricky for beginners as you need to fret three of the four strings on your uke. This can also make it tough to change to and from G cleanly.
If you’re struggling with this, then practice is key. Try playing through the change slowly to a click track or metronome, and then speed it up once you really start nailing the timing. It’s not the most exciting way to practice an instrument, but it’s often the quickest way to make progress with your playing.
[D] Big [C] wheels keep on [G] turning
[D] Carry me [C] home to see my [G] kin
[D] Singing [C] songs about the [G] south-land
[D] I miss ole’ [C] ‘bamy once [G] again and I think it’s a sin
D, C, G, D, C, G
The chorus to Sweet Home Alabama follows the same progression as the verse.
[D] Sweet [C] home [G] Alabama
[D] Where the [C] skies are so blue
[D] [G] Sweet [C] home [G] Alabama
[D] Lord, I’m [G] coming home to [G] you [F] [C]
Verse – variation
The following verse follows the same progression as the others, apart from a minor variation in the first line:
[D] In [C] Birmingham they love the [G] Gov’nor, boohoohoo [F] [C] [D]
Now we all [C] did what we could do
D C G D C G
D C G D C G F C
The last chorus follows the same progression as the others, apart from two variations between the second and fourth lines:
[G] [F] [C] [D] Sweet [C] home [G] Alabama
[D] Lord, I’m [C] coming home to you [G] [F] [C]
D C G D C G
D C G
D C G D C G
D C G D C G
To play along with Sweet Home Alabama’s ukulele chords, we’ve come up with two different strumming patterns with different levels of difficulty. The first pattern is simpler but aims to capture the overall rhythmic feel that the main guitar riff provides. The second pattern is more complex and ‘groovier.’
The first pattern looks like this:
D U D – D U D –
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
Our second pattern involves chucking, which is denoted by x in the diagram. We feel this really helps the ukulele to stand out in the band setting and is also a great technique to learn in its own right. Sweet Home Alabama is a fairly long song with plenty of sections, so we would recommend that you try shifting between strumming patterns to make the song more interesting to play.
D U x x D U x x
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
While Sweet Home Alabama can work very well on the ukulele, it will take some effort on your part to help the song sound natural – especially if you are planning on playing along to the original recording or with a band. Remember that this is a rock song, and it’s important to play with some attitude and aggression.
Standing out amongst the amplified instruments in the band may also be a challenge with this particular song. This is part of the reason why we developed a strumming pattern so heavy on chucking for Sweet Home Alabama. Even if you aren’t especially comfortable with the technique, we would highly recommend that you practice and try to get your chucking to a place where it feels as natural as regular strumming.
Another thing worth noting is that, if you are planning on playing Sweet Home Alabama with a live band, then you might want to look into plugging your ukulele into an amplifier. It’s usually difficult to compete with a full band on the ukulele, since the other instruments are generally going to be so much bigger than a standard uke.
The following video tutorial is an excellent resource for learning to play Sweet Home Alabama on the ukulele:
Enjoyed this tutorial?
If you enjoyed this song tutorial, you might like messing around with these ukulele songs as well:
- “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith (Am, C, F, G)
- “Let It Be” by the Beatles (C, Am, F, G)
- “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King (C, Am, F, G or G7)
Or, check out our full list of easy ukulele songs for beginners for even more songs to play.