Noah and the Whale – Five Years Time

Noah and the Whale – Five Years Time (Chords)

Sometimes you choose a job, and sometimes a job chooses you. I’m guessing when it came time for the BBC to get a correspondent to follow Greenpeace’s attempts to stop Japanese whale hunting – Jonah found himself in the latter position.

Whether or not their name came from a biblical mix-up, Noah and the Whale are part of the ultra-hip London folk scene and compatriots like Laura Marling (who crops up in this video) and Emmy the Great float in and out of the line-up.

Noah and the Whale’s Five Years Time wins the 2007 ZZ Top Award for Best Three Chord song. It’s dead simple to play. It’s just C – F – G – F all the way through.

By the looks of the Wes Anderson inspired video, they play the G-chord in a slightly more difficult way:

alternative g ukulele chord

But there’s nothing wrong with playing it the easier way.

Suggested by Cheeky Polenta

View Comments


  1. andy July 29th, 2010 10:24 am

    I find the G chord tricky to shift to from F too, so just use a G7 instead, easy ! Still sounds ok to my deaf old lugholes :)

  2. CrazyBlue August 3rd, 2010 4:24 pm

    This is great, I only started learning to play the uke yesterday, and this is a brilliant song to learn as a beginner. Plus great tip Andy about using G7 instead, it makes it much easier to play.

  3. Woodshed August 3rd, 2010 4:35 pm

    andy: Yeah, G7 works perfectly well in this progression.

  4. Woodshed August 3rd, 2010 5:40 pm

    CrazyBlue: Glad you’re off to a good start.

  5. Songs with Chords You Know | Ukulele Hunt August 15th, 2010 6:45 pm

    […] – Your Biggest Fan/Did It Hurt? Noah and the Whale – Five Years Time OK Go – This Too Shall Pass Paolo Nutini – High Hopes SoKo – I Will Never Love […]

  6. Noah August 31st, 2010 1:18 am

    Woodshed, I know this is a very ukulele-unrelated question, but do you know what instrument Laura Marling plays at 1:40 in this video of Noah and the Whale performing 5 Years Time?

  7. Woodshed September 1st, 2010 9:00 pm

    Noah: I think it’s a penny whistle.

  8. Lucy October 9th, 2010 6:18 pm

    I can play all the chords, but how do you strum them to make it sound like the song?

  9. Lizzie December 27th, 2010 3:39 am

    I got a uke for christmas. Not a very good one, but it’ll do for now. I love this site, and this song. Hopefully I’ll be able to play it soon.

  10. Brit December 27th, 2010 9:35 pm

    I found a nice strumming pattern was down up chunk up… little confusing at first but nice sounding.

  11. Woodshed January 1st, 2011 12:32 pm

    Brit: Thanks!

  12. Cathryn January 14th, 2011 10:02 pm

    So easy i cant play to that acctual speed.. haha :P

  13. Woodshed January 16th, 2011 10:37 am

    Cathryn: Nice work!

  14. Megan March 5th, 2011 11:41 am

    What is the strumming pattern?

  15. Woodshed March 6th, 2011 10:54 am

    Megan: Try d u x u.

  16. ronnie April 16th, 2011 7:47 pm

    whats the strumming on this … down up ? and if so how do u do the different strum on the 2nd F i think

  17. Helen May 1st, 2011 3:54 pm

    As mentioned above, down up chunk up for each chord has a really nice sound, and to me sounds most like the song.

  18. Teddy July 8th, 2011 9:46 pm

    Hi, erm, I don’t claim to be actually good at ukulele, and this may sound really obvious, but if you stop fretting the F chord right at the begining of the chunk you get about an extra half a beat to get to the G chord. Just thought it might help everyone who’s having trouble with that transition.>

  19. Woodshed July 9th, 2011 7:58 am

    Teddy: Yeah, you have to change chords after the X I should probably add a proper strum pattern explanation to the post.

  20. follklore August 3rd, 2011 9:14 am

    thank this helped.

    although their name isnt a biblical reference its a movie reference. mix up of ‘squid and the whale’ and the name of the director

  21. Marcos August 4th, 2011 1:02 am

    In the original song, noah and the whale use the G chord you wrote in this very page, isn’t it?

  22. Marcos August 4th, 2011 1:03 am

    P.S: You, your lessons and this page are the best!
    Thank You!

  23. Woodshed August 4th, 2011 7:50 am

    Marcos: Thanks very much! When I’ve seen them play it, they use the version shown in the post. But you can use the version shown in the chart and it will sound exactly the same.

  24. Anika January 18th, 2012 3:53 am

    i love this song! could you maybe try another song by Noah and the Whale, it’s called Mary? i believe it has a ukulele in it! (for request purposes.. armadillo?)

  25. Woodshed January 18th, 2012 6:47 am
  26. Sahds January 18th, 2012 10:50 pm

    Awesomeness. Totally wow’d my mates with this.. thanks!

  27. Woodshed January 20th, 2012 8:57 am

    Sahds: You’re welcome.

  28. Sam May 14th, 2012 9:32 pm

    I am a uke-newbie. I got one about a week ago and its not what i’d call top of the line. I’m kinda struggling with the f to g to f part, because i have long gangly fingers. Im using g7 instead as its much easier for me but its taking an annoyingly long amount of time between f and g. any tips, or just practise?

  29. Woodshed May 16th, 2012 10:44 am

    Sam: Mostly just practice, I’m afraid.

  30. Paddy July 8th, 2012 7:57 am

    Anyone know the solo?

  31. Abbey August 27th, 2012 3:53 pm

    Love the song but what’s the strumming pattern? I can’t get it right :(

  32. Amenah September 29th, 2012 7:42 pm

    I’ve been practicing the down, up, down, chunk strumming pattern all day but once I add the chords in, it doesn’t sound anything like the song. I’ve tuned my ukulele using an electronic tuner that you just clip on, but is there a way to check if I’ve gotten it right? Because I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to sound like this!

  33. Nichola December 12th, 2012 8:32 pm

    Thanks for this! I’m trying to teach myself and everything is co complicated.
    I’ve got the strumming on it’s own it just gets hard when I add the chords. One thing I’m confused about is in the chords it says CFGFx4 So I took that to mean C U DhitU, F U DhitU, G U DhitU which is fine but when it gets to the second line the G and the F get much closer together, on what strums to I change chords?

    I really hope that makes sense… I can do the chords and the strumming but the counting is trowing me off on EVERY song I try :(

  34. Becky January 4th, 2013 7:23 am

    Awesome thanks! Nice easy and sounds great very quickly.
    To Nichola and Abbey – the strumming pattern I’m using (from listening to the youtube video) is down, up, chunk, up. Hope that helps

  35. Eliza March 10th, 2013 7:38 pm

    Hi, so I just got a ukelele and larned all the chords, but i can’t get the sound right. Is there a specific kind of ukelele you need? The one i have right now sounds like a whole octave lower than the song :(

  36. Woodshed March 11th, 2013 7:12 am

    Eliza: Just a standard ukulele. It would sound lower if you had a baritone ukulele. But not an octave lower.

  37. Jillzz September 12th, 2015 7:31 pm

    Whats the strumming pattern?

  38. Jillzz September 12th, 2015 7:34 pm

    And whats the chunk part. Beginner Here :)

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