Israel Kamakawiwo’ole/Jason Castro – Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Chords)

Jason Castro/Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Click here for Chords)

I never thought I’d be putting this song on the blog. But, when I realised even Simon Cowell isn’t too hard-hearted and cynical to be won over by a song’s charm, I reconsidered my position. Despite the obligatory American Idol warblings, I thought Jason Castro made a pretty good stab at the song.

His version of the chords are simpler than Brudda IZ’s – particularly since the intro is missed off – which makes it ideal for beginners. The strumming pattern varies throughout the song, but good starting place is:

Down, down (pause)
Up, down, up
Up, down, up
Up, down, up

All that for each chord.

To answer Julie’s question it’s an Oscar Schmidt ukulele. I’d guess it’s an Oscar Schmidt OU5. One thing it’s definitely not is a guitar. Bloody Paula Abdul.

A big thanks to Jeff for alerting me to this performance.

UPDATE: A very IZ-inspired ukulele version turned up on Glee last night. Here’s a video:

View Comments


  1. Talia July 3rd, 2010 7:18 am

    neither of those video links work :[

  2. Mitchell July 30th, 2010 11:40 pm

    IZ was arguably one of the best ukulele players ever.

  3. Mitchell July 30th, 2010 11:43 pm

    But they didn’t put in the intro
    C Em F C F E7 Am F

  4. Sooz October 18th, 2010 2:27 am

    From an absolute beginner – that link doesn’t work, but this one does:

  5. Woodshed October 18th, 2010 6:16 pm

    Sooz: Thanks for the link. Videos of this are forever going up and down.

  6. Stephanie November 30th, 2010 2:31 am

    man no matter how hard I try to play this it still doesn’t work, I just got my uke today
    the Kala KA-S
    can someone please give me a tip or two?
    I’d appreciate it a lot :]

  7. Lucian December 2nd, 2010 5:43 am

    Stephanie, take a look at this video.
    Hope it helps…

  8. john miller January 10th, 2011 8:58 pm

    Hey I just got my first Ukulele. Beyond the excitement of playing an instrument that I can basically take out of the box and have fun with even being a complete beginner to stringed instruments there’s a big bonus on top of that. It’s finding your absolutely amazing and wonderful web site (just by luck). I’m not going to be going any further for quite awhile as it seems like everything I need for now is right here. I just wanted to say thank you, thank you. You really put something special together here. More power (cords) to you!

  9. Woodshed January 16th, 2011 11:20 am

    John: Thanks very much for the kind words. Glad you like the site. And the uke.

  10. Narissa March 8th, 2011 11:38 pm

    Im trying to play this but I dont know how to read the music. Like how do I strum and how long?

  11. Ged June 8th, 2011 8:04 am

    Hi all,
    Doesn’t anyone know the difference
    TABS and Chord charts ? 2 Completely
    different formats.

    Maybe it sounds cooler to says tabs or are
    we dumbing down over time?


  12. Woodshed June 8th, 2011 9:53 am

    Ged: Don’t get me started!

  13. Saint Haze June 22nd, 2011 7:38 am

    both videos are no longer available

  14. Ged June 23rd, 2011 6:47 am

    Hi again,

    The original and STILL the best version is on the IZ site here:

    Hope the WordPress site can cope with the link.

    Cheers, ged

  15. art Crocker July 24th, 2011 1:42 am

    OK, Have been on Maui for a few Months with my uke and I will never bring it again, Only kidding. However it is REALLY humbling when I am playing and it seems that EVERY local that wants to try my ukulele can play SOOO well, OK so I may not be able to fix that. However they will play some kind of cool Hawaiian thing, a little strum and a little picking. Then my turn to play some Hawaiian thing and my Aloha Oe just does not cut it.

    Anyway Al, park in the back of your mind to look for some cool Hawaiian tune. So in the mean time I will try to sneak off the island,

  16. Woodshed July 24th, 2011 8:10 am

    Art: Glad you’re having a great time. I might do a few Hawaiian tunes at some point.

  17. Ken August 11th, 2011 4:45 am

    Hi Im just beginner of ukulele but i played guitar before so i could change chords easily lol. My point is that i cant see the video! for ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ can u fix this? THX

  18. Woodshed August 11th, 2011 11:35 am

    Ken: Thanks for the heads-up. This video is forever getting taken down. I’ve just given up trying to keep up with the changes.

  19. Howard September 13th, 2011 11:24 am
  20. Woodshed September 16th, 2011 8:11 pm

    Howard: Thanks very much for the link.

  21. Alex December 8th, 2011 6:54 pm

    Both of the videos are unavailable…maybe post a new one?
    im trying to teach my self to play, and i find watching videos helps =]

  22. andrew December 29th, 2011 11:17 am

    I am 33 and got my first uke for Christmas. I love it. Most everyone I hang out with plays guitar. In three days time I have been able to learn three songs. This site has helped a lot. Keep strumming.

  23. Woodshed December 30th, 2011 2:31 pm

    andrew: Thanks! Glad you’re finding it useful.

  24. Salma June 13th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Hi there, I just uploaded this video on Youtube of the song on the ukulele, check it out!

  25. Woodshed June 18th, 2012 10:56 am

    Salma: Nice work!

  26. Boshoff June 23rd, 2012 1:37 pm

    The videos dont seem to be working?

  27. Woodshed June 25th, 2012 11:10 am

    Boshoff: They’re forever being taken down. I’ve given up on this song.

  28. Shanley October 13th, 2012 12:43 pm

    Would like to know if you do have the chords for (lenka) Im just a little girl bit in the cught? I wish could have one. Thank you much!

  29. Ernest Parco December 8th, 2012 1:43 pm

    Hi Woodshed. Can you tell me the what is the strumming pattern? How many beats per measure? Thank you.

  30. Julie January 5th, 2013 2:38 am

    Thank you for your wonderful site.

  31. Woodshed January 5th, 2013 11:12 am

    Julie: Thanks very much!

  32. Emma March 8th, 2013 9:11 am

    Would you happen to know anywhere I can get the picking for this song? I have a beautiful version here

  33. Woodshed March 8th, 2013 9:49 am

    Emma: There’s a really good version in Mark Nelson’s fingerpicking book.

  34. monika April 12th, 2013 9:47 am

    hi all this PDF is good but the vidios dont work it woulkd be helkpfull if they did worl

  35. Pandas April 28th, 2013 3:46 pm

    The videos were taken down T_T

  36. Laura July 17th, 2013 2:13 am
  37. Woodshed July 17th, 2013 8:25 am

    Laura: Thanks for the link.

  38. Guest October 20th, 2013 6:08 pm

    Is the ukulele in the strumming pattern sample an Oscar Schmidt OU5? I really like the sound of whatever it is.

  39. A123 October 21st, 2013 2:03 am

    Is the ukulele in the strum pattern sample a Oscar Schimdt OU5? I really like the sound of it and would like to know what it is.

  40. Woodshed October 21st, 2013 1:53 pm

    Guest/A123: I can’t remember for sure what I used. Most likely it’s an Ohana TK-35G.

  41. A123 October 24th, 2013 2:40 am

    Thank you Woodshed.

  42. Woodshed October 24th, 2013 7:56 am

    A123: You’re welcome!

  43. Martipora November 28th, 2013 12:35 pm

    What is the strumming pattern on the verse, or is it the same throughout the whole song? Yup, I’m pretty new! And thanks for this awesome website, it helps a lot!

  44. Grantober October 29th, 2014 1:40 am

    Thanks for the awesome chord chart and strumming pattern, I had this song aced within twenty minutes keep up the good work woodshed!

  45. Woodshed October 29th, 2014 12:42 pm

    Grantober: Thanks very much!

  46. Gael Guerard November 10th, 2014 3:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m new to the ukulele and it’s fun learning with songs I like! Thanks!

  47. Woodshed November 11th, 2014 10:10 am

    Gael: You’re very welcome!

  48. tjvonp April 12th, 2015 8:55 pm

    I thought to myself a few minutes ago, “Oh, man, I’ve had a uke for years. It’s probably about time I learn Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I wonder if UkeHunt has it.” And you delivered! Not only that, but this looks like the most commented on post I’ve ever seen on your site!

    Thanks for the chords, Woodshed!

  49. Woodshed April 13th, 2015 11:53 am

    tjvonp: I think it’s one of the most commented chord posts. There are some other posts that have it beaten though!

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