Train – Hey Soul Sister (Chords)


Train – Hey Soul Sister (Chords)

Yes, I’ve finally caved. The endless requests, the hundreds of people turning up at the site looking for it, Ritek making me feel guilty about it, ukulele-tabs.com getting ganked. And then there’s the sensible part of me that thinks, “It’s only a damn song. If people just want to play it, why are you being such a dick?” My stated aim is to, “make sure everyone who wants to play an instrument does.” So until I amend it to, “make sure everyone who wants to play an instrument does – unless I think they have terrible taste,” here it is.

I have to admit, despite it having some of the most appalling lyrics I’ve ever heard, I did catch myself humming the tune on a number of occasions.

Judging by the video, he has the G and A strings switched round. So the B chord is actually being played 2324, the C#m 4446, A chord 0102 and E is 2444. The only advantage I can see with this is that the E chord is a lot easier to play. But I’ve written the chords up in standard tuning since I guess that’s what most of you will be using.

Suggested Strumming

The main pattern is:

d – d – – u d u

Play that twice for each chord in the verse. The only exception is on the lines that finish with a quick A – B change where you play the pattern once for each chord.

In the chorus, play the pattern twice on A and once on B. Then two down strums each for the E and B.

In the Key of F

The chords are in the uke-unfriendly key of E which is a sure sign it was written on guitar and hastily transferred to uke when they heard the bandwagon rolling into town.

A simpler set of chords to use would be in F:


Train – Hey Soul Sister (in F)(Chords)

Tune your uke down half a step to B-tuning if you want to play in the same key as the original.

In the Key-na Grannis

For her version of the song Kina Grannis uses the D chord shapes and is also in B-tuning.


Hey Soul Sister (in D)

Next week, Justin Bieber and High School Musical.

View Comments

74 Comments

  1. Kyle December 11th, 2010 3:59 pm

    The chord progression is a lot easier in D-Tuning. For me at least, just thought I’d share cause I’ve been into the D-Tuning since I started getting back into the uke lately and this song was hard to get used to playing before.

  2. Al Barcelon December 11th, 2010 7:45 pm

    Fouled around with transposing Soul Sister ’cause I couldn’t sing it in “E”. So I brought it down to “C”. And, the progressions in “C” are very easy on the left hand. I was wondering if you could throw together the “What a Wonderful World” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” medley by that Hawaiian guy Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. I always wanted to play that one too. I have an album of his with some traditional island songs and some original compositions. His songs aren’t very challenging and the chords might be fun to learn.

  3. Jim December 28th, 2010 10:01 pm

    Wow, he is struggling to sing in that falsetto. It’s amazing what the studio did for that guys voice.

  4. mac daddy January 11th, 2011 1:05 am

    just got a uke a week ago.learning much from all,thkx.how do i B tune??????

  5. J-Hob January 11th, 2011 10:22 am

    This song is listed as one of only three ‘rock’ songs listed in the top 100 singles sales for 2010. The fact that it is even listed as rock makes me despair.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/jan/10/rock-n-roll-read-last-rites

  6. RedCrayon January 24th, 2011 6:14 pm

    Thanks for the chords!! Got a uke for Christmas and I’m loving it! Although I have to admit a cringed a bit when I listened to the acoustic live version of Hey Soul Sister.

  7. mouse February 11th, 2011 1:29 pm

    bieber hatetrain aside, if you actually figured out + shared chords for his Baby song, that would be cool.

  8. Kieran March 7th, 2011 5:57 pm

    It sounds very accurate if you the play the E as such:

    A|2
    E|0
    C|4
    G|4

    Also it makes the E a whole load easier :D

  9. Gnarlywhale March 31st, 2011 5:19 am

    I didn’t know Howie Mandel was in train.

  10. Kris September 7th, 2011 4:13 am

    I’m a beginning uke player and think your site is great!

    Question about the end of the chorus, after he sings “Tonight,” and then the uke continues…is this played one strum pattern or two?

  11. Heed September 8th, 2011 11:42 pm

    Thanks for posting this song. I know a lot of people have been ragging on it, but god forbid we should actually learn something popular on our ukes.

    My question is about the chord voicings. How can I get my voicings to sound more similar to the video without changing the tuning of my uke? Or is that impossible? The progression just doesn’t sound right to me.

    Thanks for your uke-ism!!!

  12. Tamagotchi October 18th, 2011 11:49 am

    Why can’t he sing in a lower key??? What is stopping him??? Frustrating. Thanks for the chords anyway!

  13. Theodore December 23rd, 2011 8:01 am

    Hi, as so many others have said, I love the site. I thought I might chime in on this seemingly endless thread, too.

    Sometime between Harry Potter and Twilight, or Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it occurred to me that by limiting my experience to that which I find fulfilling and valid (which in my case is usually baroque masterworks, or renaissance lithography), I miss that which is actually capturing the collective imagination. The “next big thing” is popular, and often not terribly sophisticated. But it somehow speaks to the human experience, which is the hallmark of artistic endeavor.

    This song, like almost all pop music, is about infatuation and sexual attraction. It’s playful and open, and it’s really not such bad lyric poetry in a contemporary vein. In fact it’s a recast of “Marry Me” (also by this band), and is more cunningly written. My girlfriend, whom I sometimes characterized as having awful taste, I admit, called this music, “The (perfect iteration) of that moment when you see someone and fall instantly in love with them.” You know, when you see someone walking down the street, and you stare, with your jaw dangling. It’s not in my idiom – I’ve never called anyone “soul sister” in my life – but the language remains consistent with itself, it’s not obscene, and it has a certain charm.

    And what do I know anyway? I watched a dozen videos of this band performing this song in a number of venues, trying to figure out what the ukulelist was fingering, and I think these guys have a blast doing what they’re doing. That’s a kind of honesty, too. So it’s not Homer, or Milton, or even Bob Dylan (who butchered language on more than one occasion). Most things aren’t.

  14. D.D. Manhattanio January 19th, 2012 8:30 pm

    Found this site a few days ago and had a uke for just over a year and think it’s incredible (even though I can’t play it). Grateful that you grated your teeth and posted this song. I like it but then again there’s people out there who like Bob Dylan and I think he’s shit.

    Thanks anywho!

  15. Woodshed January 20th, 2012 8:56 am

    D.D. Manhattanio: Thanks. Although if you think Dylan is shit I’m questioning your taste!

  16. hippowong March 24th, 2012 6:08 pm

    Why is this song so hard to sing and strum at the same time. It’s driving me crazy. The rhythm of the lyrics don’t seem to fit naturally with the rhythm of the song. I’ve seen tutorials saying the strum is DDU UDU but here its D D UDU. Either one I can’t get the singing and the strumming together. =(

  17. Aj May 2nd, 2012 4:09 am

    Hello guys!
    Do you happen to know if that Ukulele is Soprano or is it Tenor?
    Also I imagine there’s some serious Ukulele lovers around this website (probably most of you) so I would appreciate if you know the reference of that Ukulele as well…

    I’m going to get a Ukulele and start doing some demos so I would appreciate your help!

    Thank you!
    @aj_ontheroad

  18. Ike May 2nd, 2012 9:33 am

    The lyrics might not be brilliant, but they make at least as much sense as IZ’s mangled versions of Over the Rainbow (note: NOT Somewhere Over the Rainbow) and What a Wonderful World.

  19. Woodshed May 16th, 2012 11:23 am

    Aj: It’s a Fender tenor.

  20. Jonã May 17th, 2012 8:53 pm

    I prefer playing this song in C, is better to sing and better to play.

  21. The groove August 2nd, 2012 5:35 pm

    The reason this song is so hated is because of the lyrics. The vocal melody and the uke playing are pretty cool! I mean the like ” You’re so gangsta, i’m so thug” may be the worst line I’ve ever heard in a pop song. It dosn’t matter how popular it is the lyrics are damn awful.

  22. Rosemary September 24th, 2012 12:51 am

    Wow.

    His voice reminds me of the time I got a fly stuck in my room. It was about as smart as the lyrics.

    Catchy song though.

  23. Ruthie November 19th, 2012 1:04 pm

    My friend wants me to learn this song so I can accompany his singing. If I am too lazy to retune can I just capo this on the first fret and use the last version?

  24. Woodshed November 20th, 2012 10:52 am

    Ruthie: Capo on the second fret if you want it in the same key as the original. But you don’t need a capo if your friend is happy singing it in the key of D.

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