What Is a Ukulele Cover?

by Lee Johnson Google
The ukulele is like a small guitar with four strings.

The ukulele is like a small guitar with four strings.

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The ukulele is a four-stringed instrument which was originally made in Hawaii. Playing covers on the ukulele can be an enjoyable way to spend your time, and learning other musicians' songs is even useful if you want to write your own songs. Finding out what a ukulele cover is requires an understanding of the term "cover" and some examples of ukulele covers.

The Ukulele

The ukulele has four strings, which are usually tuned to G, C, E and A. The ukulele can be classified as a stringed instrument, which means that the sound from the instrument is generated from the vibration of the strings. Strings can be altered in pitch by pressing them down at different frets, which alters the vibrating length of the string and thereby causes a change in the pitch. Most ukulele songs are comprised entirely of chords, defined as groups of at least three different notes with a duplicated "root" note.


A musical "cover" can be defined as a version of a song played by someone other than original musician or group. A famous cover is Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," which is a cover of a song of the same name which was written by Leonard Cohen. Cohen wrote the song, but Buckley took the original and added his own spin to it. Artists who cover songs often add their own alterations on to the original track, but this isn't necessary for a song to be called a cover. Anybody who plays a song originally written and performed by somebody else is playing a cover version.

Ukulele Covers

A cover version of a song performed on a ukulele can be termed a "ukulele cover." For most songs to be played on the ukulele, they have to be simplified somewhat, particularly if they're being played by one person, which means that most ukulele covers are only comprised of the chords to the original song. The chords are strummed in either the original or a slightly altered rhythm, and then the vocal is sung over the top.

Famous Ukulele Covers

Many popular ukulele covers exist, but one of the most famous is Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Somewhere over the Rainbow." Other famous ukulele covers include Amanda Palmer from the Dresden Dolls' rendition of "Creep" by Radiohead and Joe Brown's version of "I'll See You in My Dreams" by Gus Kahn and Isham Jones. Many different ukulele covers can be found on video streaming websites such as You Tube, and the simplicity of the ukulele makes covering songs an enjoyable pastime.

About the Author

Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005. His articles have appeared in "Sandman" magazine, the "Crewe Chronicle" and on the website Beyond Hollywood. He is primarily a music journalist but has written on many subjects. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Manchester Metropolitan University.

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