Mumford & Sons – The Cave (Tab and Chords)

Mumford & Sons – The Cave (Chords)

So we’re all playing ukulele because of Mumford and Sons. According to the London Evening Standard and STV. Having inspired a ukulele boom is quite an achievement considering:

a) they released their debut album long after the resurgence began;
b) they’re not much known across the pond;
c) they don’t play ukuleles and
d) their big hit is in the key of E guaranteeing annoyed ukers.

Yes, this one is in E. So I’ve taken the usual step of moving it up to F for ease of playing. That means you’ll have to tune down half a step if you want to play along with the original. But it’s a top notch tune so worth the bother.

Twiddly Bits

The Cave (Intro Tab)

Intro and Verse

Even with the tuning down, this one takes a bit of finagling on uke. The picking I use is:

g and C = Thumb
E = Index
A = Middle

Suggested Strumming

All you need here is simple Strum #1 from the Strum Book: all down strums. But in the exciting parts, feel free to throw in any up strums you deem fit.

Chord Inversions

From the D minor chord in the chorus, I like to use these inversions of the chords:

View Comments


  1. Ryan August 24th, 2010 6:34 pm

    I think maybe STV is referring to Noah and the Whale. And London Evening Standard might be somehow referring to the Banjolin Song by Mumford & Sons. But still, both sorely wrong.

    And Mumford and Sons is becoming increasingly more popular in the States, especially in the Midwest. Their shows in Minneapolis sell out almost instantly.

  2. cardboardfrog August 24th, 2010 6:35 pm

    i love this song, regardless of previous uke-lessness.
    Good work mr woodshed!

  3. Ryan August 24th, 2010 6:37 pm

    P.S. Winter Winds is a perfect song for ukulele.

  4. nim August 24th, 2010 7:03 pm

    thank you.

    i’ve almost got the intro down, but i can’t work out the strumming, help please?

  5. Woodshed August 24th, 2010 7:16 pm

    Ryan: I think you might be right about the Noah and the Whale confusion. That would explain the Laura Marling reference (sort of). Confusion reigns.

    cbf: Thanks!

    nim: He’s mostly doing down strums.

  6. SamD August 25th, 2010 9:09 am

    The girl in the STV clip specifically mentions Mumford & Sons…

  7. thehighlandcal August 25th, 2010 10:42 am

    I was thinking that the evening standard was talking about the Banjo which would make sense as the article talked about the banjo.

  8. cardboardfrog August 25th, 2010 11:53 am

    they have played with laura marling on the dharohar project, which is worth checking out on spotify.

  9. Ryan August 25th, 2010 1:30 pm

    Yep, Marcus and Laura are actually dating.

  10. Dominic August 25th, 2010 4:46 pm

    But of course Laura and Charlie Fink (Noah and the Whale) were in a long-term relationship, the break-up of which I believe led to both (the amazing) First Days of Spring album by NatW and to a lesser extent, Marling’s I Speak Because I Can.

  11. BRONSKI86 August 25th, 2010 6:52 pm

    Excellent! I love mumford and sons. So chuffed, I go on ukehunt and I find this! Thanks :)

  12. Julia August 25th, 2010 7:39 pm

    i can´t tell you how much i love you for posting this…
    I´ve seen them last thursday on frequency festival, and it was my favourite gig of the festival although they played at 14.00

  13. Woodshed August 25th, 2010 11:08 pm

    SamD: Yeah, I think the article was mostly just a write up of what she said and some fluff.

    thehighlandcal: The article was talking about the banjolele. It seems like Transport for London have confused the banjo and the banjolele.

    cbf: I’ve been spotifying a lot of the Mumford/Marlin crossover recently.

    Ryan and Dominic: Suddenly I feel like I’m in a copy of Heat magazine.

    BRONSKI86: You’re welcome.

    Julia: And I love you for your kind comment!

  14. Dan August 26th, 2010 11:51 am

    Well, this one’s an absolute gem isn’t it?

    I love a bit of bluegrassy/country/folky stuff, got anything else like this up your sleeve Al?

  15. Woodshed August 26th, 2010 5:45 pm

    Dan: I’ve been thinking about doing some Laura Marlin. On a bluegrass tip, I’ve given in to the inevitable and started working up a (very loose) version of the duel in Deliverance.

  16. Dan August 26th, 2010 11:21 pm

    There was a fairly comprehensive version on the UU forum a while back. I seem to remember it involved a bit of clawhammer, virtually impossible with my nail-bitten stumps.

  17. Dan August 27th, 2010 9:54 am

    By “fairly comprehensive” I don’t mean “there’s no point you doing one”. Just thought I’d make that clear!

  18. Woodshed August 27th, 2010 1:01 pm

    Dan: Yeah, yeah, you’ve made it perfectly clear where your loyalties lie ;)

  19. Dan August 27th, 2010 1:06 pm

    I didn’t get one of their T-shirts did I?

  20. Woodshed August 27th, 2010 10:58 pm

    Dan: Fair enough, you’re still officially a friend of the blog then.

    JP: All down strums – about as simple as you can get.

  21. Jess M August 27th, 2010 11:50 pm

    Ahh how had I not noticed before that this was up on Ukulele Hunt?! I am a massive Mumford and Sons fan (even though I’m only 14) and I have been looking for a good version of this and other songs to play on either guitar, mandolin or ukulele, so I will give this a go tomorrow! Thankyou so much for putting this up, I will definitely be checking UH more often for any more Mumford!

  22. Yeahboy August 28th, 2010 9:57 am

    When it says custom tuning does this mean that you have to retune your strings? I play lefty flip and it takes me long enough as it is to figure out which string is which. But Its more than likely that thats just me being stupid and confusing myself.

  23. Woodshed August 28th, 2010 3:04 pm

    Jess: Don’t feel bad, it’s only been up a few days.

    Yeahboy: Yes, it means you retune the strings. But in this case you only have to do it if you want to play along with the original. If you’re entertaining yourself (and don’t mind singing half a step higher) then you can play in standard tuning.

  24. Jess M August 28th, 2010 5:16 pm

    This is so good! Been playing it for only an hour or so and almost mastered it, though I’m not entirely certain of the C chord in the chorus? It just doesn’t sound so similar to the original, but I have no idea what else it could be – I’m no good at identifying chords and stuff. Again, thankyou so much for putting this up! Any chance of any more Mumford and Sons?

  25. Marie August 29th, 2010 10:28 pm

    ug. worst time of year for me to keep up with blogs!! I nearly missed this post :(

    Mumford and Sons are gaining some followers this side- I’ve been really surprised about the number of people who know who they are (I only heard about them about two months ago) mmmm, I’ve been working away while their youtube playlist rolls along in the background.

    Thanks so much for posting this! If you happen to be looking for more to tab, my vote goes for more of these lovelies!

  26. Woodshed August 30th, 2010 10:44 am

    Jess and I do like them, so there’s always a chance of more.

  27. hubert August 30th, 2010 1:13 pm

    Australia is thoroughly aroused by these lads. Seeming little lion man won our biggest best-song-of-the-year competition yesteryear….cheers for the tabs, this site is oh so dandy!

  28. Woodshed September 1st, 2010 9:01 pm

    hubert: I’d heard they were massive over there. You do have good taste.

  29. L.Bo Marie September 21st, 2010 4:54 am

    coming back to this topic… I just watched the season premire of a show out of the US that I think is going to do very very well here (Canada)… pretty much the entire soundtrack to the episode was Mumford and Sons.
    I may have scared the others in the room when the music started… I was that excited.

  30. pretendings September 21st, 2010 6:55 am

    this is amazing! thank you so much. mumford & sons is one of my favorite bands right now.
    any chance i can petition for the tab to Awake My Soul and Little Lion Man?

  31. Woodshed September 21st, 2010 7:54 pm

    L.Bo Marie: You tease. What’s the name of the series?

    pretendings: There’s an outside chance of Lion Man some time.

  32. Marie September 22nd, 2010 4:13 pm

    It was “Lonestar”, a con man wanting to leave the con life. I liked it quite a bit (and I don’t watch much tv) but on reading the wiki article I’m a little worried for it. I hope it gets to go beyond the first episode- first episodes never show fully what a series will mature to.

  33. Nate November 7th, 2010 4:04 am

    here in the states (california)
    me and my brother are the only ones who know and love this band…but Little Lion Man is starting to climb the ranks on VH1

  34. Woodshed November 7th, 2010 1:39 pm

    Nate: Glad to hear they’re starting to get some recognition over there.

  35. Ty December 13th, 2010 6:25 pm

    Dang, nice work on everything. I could listen/play this song over and over and be okay with it. If more Mumford and Sons happen, I wouldn’t hate it.

  36. Woodshed December 13th, 2010 8:12 pm

    Ty: Glad you enjoyed.

  37. killercat December 30th, 2010 10:15 pm

    Love this so so much! Thank you. I’m going to do a ukulele and guitar duet with my friend for this song, now we can both play it.

  38. Woodshed January 1st, 2011 11:52 am

    killercat: You’re welcome. Good luck with the duet.

  39. Kristen January 26th, 2011 11:56 pm

    What’s the fingering pattern that’s used on the verse in the sound clip?

  40. Woodshed January 28th, 2011 10:06 am

    Kristen: Click where it says, “The Cave (Intro Tab)”.

  41. Anika January 29th, 2011 9:49 pm

    can you post the chords to little lion man? its my favourite song, and the other chords i find online just dont fit right :(

  42. Woodshed January 30th, 2011 3:11 pm

    Anika: I like the song so there’s always a chance I’ll do it at some point.

  43. Gilli April 3rd, 2011 7:09 pm

    Hello :) Cheers for these chords, I have been looking for these for AGES and had almost given up hope :/ Um quick question though; I can’t really play Bb, is there anything I can swap it for or do you have any advice on how to play it?!

  44. Woodshed April 4th, 2011 4:01 pm

    Gilli: You could take your finger off the A-string so you get 3210 and it’ll work ok.

  45. Dan April 9th, 2011 8:57 pm

    Thanks Woodshed, this is an awesome piece!!
    I have 2 questions though;

    #1 There is a measure right between the first chorus and the instrumental “Dm F x2…” that is finger picked (or plucked? … I just started the ukulele a week ago so I don’t really know the lingo.) Do you know the tabs for that measure?

    #2 And on an unrelated subject, I would love to see some you do some chords for the band Needtobreathe. Some song suggestions; The Outsiders, Girl Named Tennessee, Washed by the Water.

    Thanks again for the chords/tabs/entire website.

  46. Nicholas May 8th, 2011 8:28 pm

    Is there an easier variation to the Bb?

  47. miguel May 12th, 2011 8:09 pm

    what a hell is I can’t hunder stand this I woud rather the site it is a lot better

  48. Louise July 11th, 2011 5:34 pm

    Mumford and Sons new song ‘Home’ is beautiful and would sound great on a uke – could you possibly work out the music for it? Thank you this website is proving very helpful for me – a total beginner!

  49. Woodshed July 14th, 2011 7:22 am

    Louise: I may do that sometime – although I haven’t heard an official version of it yet so I might wait for that.

  50. Harry July 28th, 2011 7:05 pm

    Im not clear on what tuning the ukelele has to be in to play this. If you could enlighten me that would be much appreciated dude

  51. Woodshed July 28th, 2011 8:50 pm

    Harry: If you want to play along with the record, you need to tune down a fret.

  52. Harry July 30th, 2011 10:36 am

    Got it. Thanks alot mate this great

  53. Zephyrine August 18th, 2011 2:56 am

    This song is pretty fabulous, but I have a totally off-topic question: have you ever thought to put any of Villager’s songs to uke, especially The Pact (I’ll be Your Fever)? With maybe some helpful strumming pattern hints? Check em out! Thanks woodshed, you’re my hero ^_^

  54. Woodshed August 18th, 2011 7:11 am

    Zephyrine: No! Must admit, never heard of them.

  55. alow August 26th, 2011 11:29 pm

    at 2:10 in the cave theres a uke i think

  56. Woodshed August 26th, 2011 11:46 pm

    alow: I don’t think so, I’m afraid.

  57. robert September 5th, 2011 5:55 am

    please do “dust bowl dance”, many thanks

  58. o doggy dog September 20th, 2011 5:18 pm

    totally awsome tab

  59. Jess - yeah what an unimaginativename October 9th, 2011 10:46 am

    Ah, love you man for showing me this song!!! I always get baffled by all the comments from uke players yet I’ve never actually met a ukulele player in person… but I do hate social interaction and people bug me in general so maybe thats why. Anywhoo… great song and I just got back from Noah and whale Concert- no uke’s used and finding this song cheered me up from my post gig blues thanks :)

  60. Matt November 16th, 2011 3:16 am

    Hi, i was wondering if someone could help me with the strumming. I realize he uses mostly down strums, but is that a down strum for every time the chord is mentioned? or is there something more?

  61. Keelan November 19th, 2011 9:56 pm

    I Never Understood Why You Play This Song All Over The Fret Board


    Try That

  62. Keelan November 19th, 2011 10:12 pm
  63. Woodshed November 19th, 2011 10:42 pm

    Keelan: I arranged it that way because it sounds better.

  64. Patrick February 15th, 2012 10:38 pm

    August 24th, 2010 6:37 pm
    P.S. Winter Winds is a perfect song for ukulele.

    Yea it is. Can’t find tabs for it. Any suggestions? Love these tabs

  65. Katy July 11th, 2012 6:10 pm

    The chord pdf won’t load but the tab one will, help? is it just my computer being a pain or is anyone else having problems?

    It was brilliant though when it was working! And I think I have mastered the intro :P xXx

  66. Woodshed July 11th, 2012 10:54 pm

    Katy: Sorry about that. It seems to be working fine for me now.

  67. Ivan August 21st, 2012 11:34 am

    thx a lot for the chords! i am so gad i found this website!
    uker from ukraine waves hi to yall:)

  68. Ivan August 21st, 2012 11:44 am


  69. Woodshed August 22nd, 2012 9:26 am

    Hi, Ivan and all Ukrainian ukers!

  70. Joey Drake January 14th, 2014 4:44 pm

    Hey! On the pdf it says that the tuning should be G# B D# F#. If you just tuned your uke down a half step wouldn’t it be G# D# B F# or F# B D# G# if you started from the top?

  71. Joey Drake January 14th, 2014 5:32 pm

    Never mind! I take that back! I was reading the tuning in the wrong order. Sorry about that!

  72. Woodshed January 15th, 2014 8:27 pm

    Joey Drake: No problem. Took me a while to figure out what was going on!

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