BY MUSTAFA KAMALIDDIN

In this ukulele lesson we’ll learn how to play a beginner fingerstyle arrangement of the classic American folk tune “Oh Shenandoah.” For the most part this is a beginner piece, but what good is an arrangement for us if it does not provide any challenge?


Check out more from our Songs For Beginners series here.



This arrangement will feature F, Dm, C, and Bb chords which are typical chords most beginners learn in their first month or two. The trick is to identify them in fingerstyle contexts (especially the Bb chord) and use non-common left-hand fingerings to connect the transitions. We do this to achieve a legato effect where all notes resonate and connect to one another.

Besides the unconventional left-hand fingerings, there is one bar where you have to perform a slide as well as a natural harmonic. Think of this as the “magic trick” of this arrangement. Be sure to practice this part as many times as necessary to perform it flawlessly in the song and truly create a magical moment in this classic tune.

Expect to take a solid 4-week effort on this one. The reward is a famous American folk tune with a magical moment that will impress your audience.


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Mustafa Kamaliddin is a ukulele and guitar teacher specializing in fingerstyle playing. You can see more of his videos in his Ukulele Fingerstyle Basics Course and on his YouTube channel.

Oh Shenandoah Ukulele fingerstyle songs for beginners music notation
book cover for ukulele basics – chords and harmony

Ukulele Basics: Chords and Harmony is a collection of six easy-to-follow but in-depth lessons on the basics of chords and harmony. Instructors and Ukulele magazine contributors Jim D’Ville and Fred Sokolow, as well as the great composer/player Daniel Ho, will guide you through easy chord variations, harnessing the power of certain chords, demystifying the famous Circle of 5ths, and understanding moveable chord shapes.