In today’s video, let’s jam out the chorus of “Hallelujah” to practice our chord changes and strumming.
I give you four beginner-friendly chords and two strumming pattern options to jam this song in 6/8 time signature. I’ll play a rock-steady rhythm to help you stay on track, so you can play along.
A lot of us can fall into the trap of thinking we need a super fancy, “secret” strumming pattern to play our favorite songs.
But often, less is more.
In the early days of Ukulele Tricks, I covered Leonhard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on ukulele. If you watch my performance, I start off fingerpicking, but later in the song, I switch to strumming. And when I switch to the strumming, I’m keeping it really simple with just down strums played to a count of six.
I happen to like a simple pattern like this for this particular song because it allows the vocal melody to shine through.
However, as you play along with me, you might want to spice things up, which is why you can add in up strums to the pattern, like so.
Be sure to watch the video lesson above to hear exactly how this sounds.
Chords You Need to Know to Play This Jam
The chorus of “Hallelujah” uses just four beginner-friendly chords.
F Major Chord
To play an F major chord, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string and the index finger on the 1st fret of the E-string. Let the C-string and bottom A-string ring open.
To play an Am chord, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string and let the bottom three strings ring open.
C Major Chord
To play a C major chord, place the ring finger on the 3rd fret of the bottom A-string and let the top three strings ring open.
G Major Chord
To play a G major chord, place the index finger on the 2nd fret of the C-string, ring finger on the 3rd fret of the E-string, and middle finger on the 2nd fret of the bottom A-string. Let the top g-string ring open.
Playing the Chord Progression Together
In the jam, I recommend starting off using the simple down strum pattern I presented above.
For this jam, the chorus of “Hallelujah” is an 8-bar chord progression. We’re going to repeat this chorus section over and over again so you can practice your chord changes and strumming. Remember to count out loud as you’re first learning the progression to lock in with those changes!
Another site put out the fingerpicking parts for the first to sections of stairways to heaven and it sounds great. They never put up the last part which is sad as the song is incomplete. It would be great if you could show the whole thing in finger picking. Love your site and lessons.
Hey Rick, send me an email with a link and I’ll take a look and add it to my ideas list.
Many thanks Brett! And may God Bless you.
My pleasure, Quintina! Thank you.
Thanks Brett I’m really enjoying these mini lessons yes I am still practicing this summer but because of COVID our group is not getting together so really enjoy jamming with you keep up the good lessons Bonna
Glad we can jam together, Bonna! Thanks for your comment.
Enjoyed the jam! Figuring out the correct tempo is always a challenge. …either too fast or too slow when playing with a group!
Awesome, Carol! Tempo is always a challenge in any ensemble or band setting. A good band leader or director is important! 🙂
Very nice, Brett. I am a subscriber to your lessons, but I like what you are doing now. It’s not complicated and easy to follow, which is the trademark of a good teacher. I play alone, so it’s nice to jam! Appreciated. Tim Koker.
Thanks, Tim! I really appreciate all your support! I’m glad you’re digging the new lessons. I’ve been trying out some new ideas and it’s been fun!
Great stuff thanks Brett. Kept me on my toes though.
More would be good, say island strum please.
Thanks for your comment, Tony!
These jams are great. They give me a chance to practice some finger picking patterns while trying to keep up with the chord changes. I also studied up on your videos of tricks for playing some of the chords, barre and others, that are difficult for my small arthritic fingers. Thank you!
Fantastic, Jan! Love the idea to practice fingerpicking patterns with these. Glad you’re enjoying the videos!
Hi Brett am a subscriber to your lessons . I really enjoyed the Jam and found it easy to follow. would now really like a lesson /jam to incorporate the finger picking to this amazing song. so that we can follow your cover .
Thanks for your comment, Davo!
I used both strumming patterns, but it took a few tries to switch to the second one.
Good job, Tom! Making the switch can take some practice. Thanks for your comment!
Thanks Brett…..enjoyed the timing counts. I used the up/down pattern plus added some fingerpicking.
Well done, John!
Thanks, once again! We can be at home, playing… feeling…like we are doing ‘OK’, but then….once you get singing and strumming with us, it truly feels like we are ‘getting it’! I love it!
Also, I personally like to play more blues and updated songs in ths future ; ) Keep’em comin’!
Good to know, Dana! And great job. I’m glad to hear you’re feeling that progress. Thanks for your comment! 🙂
I’m really enjoying these jam sessions Brett, thanks so much.
I’d love to be able to play Hallelujah all the way through, and although I have the chords for the whole song, I can’t seem to work out how to manage to synchronise the strumming pattern to the words. It would be great if you could take us through the verse as well as the chorus.
I will keep that in mind for future lesson ideas! One hint that may help is that chord changes in the verse sometimes happen on the 4th beat of the measure where you’re counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. This means chord changes in the verse will primarily happen on the first beat of the measure but sometimes on the fourth beat. Sometimes these mid-measure chord changes can throw people off, so I recommend listening to my old YouTube performance of this song and try to count along while I play to see if you can identify those mid-measure chord changes during the verses. This kind of listening exercise is just as valuable as jamming your ukulele, so I highly recommend giving that a try. I’m glad you’re digging the jams!
Soooooo Good Brett, great teacher and I always feel uplifted after watching your videos (oh and I just adore the tashe!)
Hah, thanks, Sue! Glad you enjoyed this one!
Great work Brett. I would love to learn more riffs and turnarounds on Ukulele. As a teacher myself I appreciate how clear and simple you make your lessons .Keep up the good work. I have joined 4 of your courses and look forward to many more
Thank you for those kind words, Maureen! Glad you enjoyed this video.
Love to play along as it is the only way I can “jam” with anyone else, and Hallelujah is one of my favorites ( although I have been playing it in a c progression – C, Am, F, G that needs the E chord ) so this was really a fun lesson in F! Need to spend more time on my uke around my guitar lessons (just hard to squeeze it all in! ). Uke is just sooooo much fun to play. Great lesson, Brett! ❤️
Aw, I’m glad we could jam together, Rudy! <3
1. I always look out for you videos Brett. One thing I have trouble with is chocking/chucking. Have / could you do a video for that ?
Hey Graham, chnk’ing can be tricky! I dedicate an entire lesson to the “chnk” strum in my course Strumming Tricks, which I highly recommend!