Amanda Palmer – Ukulele Anthem (Chords)

Amanda Palmer – Ukulele Anthem

Quick tip: When a chord diagram has a number in the top right that means it starts at that fret. So in this song the Bb6 is played at the fifth fret: 0565.

I’ve had a bunch of requests for this song which Amanda Palmer has been playing on her mini-tour of the Occupies. Usually when I’ve finished writing up a song I’m very clear on whether I love it or hate. This time I still have no idea. But I’m certain about a few things:

1. It has some great lines in it.
2. Shepherd ‘Obama Hope’ Fairey’s cover art is fantastic.
3. I need to change what I use the term ‘wand of thunder’ to refer to.


For the recorded version, the ukulele is tuned down about half a step to F# B Eb Ab. But she’s using standard tuning in this video.

Suggested Strumming

To get that authentic Amanda Palmer sound really scrape into the strings and keep your arm rod-stiff.

A simple pattern that will keep you going through the song is:

d – d u – u d u

In the verses and choruses, use that twice for the first three chords then once each for G7sus4 and G7.

Buy the MP3 on Bandcamp.

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View Comments


  1. Tess November 8th, 2011 7:24 pm

    ha! maybe you should use it MORE in that context, Woodshed

  2. Woodshed November 8th, 2011 11:29 pm

    Tess: I don’t think I could use it that way any more than I already do.

  3. Ron Hale November 9th, 2011 3:39 am

    A uke in the Hilo category is essential to getting that authentic AFP sound too, Al.
    And, as she shows, you just can’t lead a revolution with a KoAloha, a Kamaka, a Ko’olau, or a Kanile’a.

    Show up at an Occupation Camp with your prized Mya-Moe and you’ll be using it to fight your way back to civilizaton. I hear just this very thing happened to Victoria Vox.

    See, this is where all those Mahalos and Makalas shine. Power to the people’s ukes!

    Hey, would Che play a 5K?

  4. alnapp November 9th, 2011 8:49 am

    Are you undecided on the merits of the song because she uses a pick (Thou shalt not use a pick, p36, the Bible)?

  5. Woodshed November 9th, 2011 10:29 am

    Ron: I’d say it was the exact opposite. Mya-Moe – being hand-made locally by a small business – is much more in keeping with the OWS than the Hilos mass produced in an anonymous Chinese factory and shipped across the world.

    alnapp: No, there are plenty of tracks that use a pick that I enjoy without reservation.

  6. RobNY November 9th, 2011 12:22 pm

    The Feds should use this to make the terrorist talk . Just play it over and over and over again. Especially the nonsensical post amble.

  7. Litt November 9th, 2011 12:37 pm

    Interesting. But that doesn’t make it good.

  8. Jack November 9th, 2011 2:32 pm

    Litt, it doesn’t have to be good. That’s one of the points made in the song. And that’s what makes it great.

  9. lebendestatue November 9th, 2011 6:52 pm

    Woodshed: what about ‘disco stick’…that one doesn’t present a problem?

  10. Litt November 10th, 2011 11:47 am

    Jack, perhaps we can agree to disagree on this.

  11. jcmcgee November 10th, 2011 12:48 pm

    wow…Amanda has discovered Jeff Lewis.

  12. jcmcgee November 10th, 2011 12:52 pm

    She missed a trick with the album art, sticker on the uke could have read:

    “This Machine Kills Little Fascists”

  13. Ambient Doughnut November 10th, 2011 1:52 pm

    No – I kind of want to like her but she can’t really play or sing can she? Just not for me I guess! (I liked Map of Tasmania)

  14. Dean Denham November 11th, 2011 12:17 am

    I think it’s great and will try to get the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective to add it to their set.

  15. Uke Gnome November 13th, 2011 9:05 pm

    It makes me want to just play my ukulele, or do whatever I want, no matter how good or bad I am at it. Therefore, I think the song is awesome.

    The song itself is just the medium for that message anyway. Interesting fact: she crowd sourced the big list at the end via her twitter account.

  16. Kat November 16th, 2011 5:28 am

    This song is what finally spurred me to just go buy a cheap uke after I don’t know how long of occasionally playing around with friends’ ukes or going to the music shop and messing about on them. I already have a feeling it’s going to get more use than my guitar or my banjo or anything else. Ukulele Army? I’m in.

  17. Woodshed November 16th, 2011 9:26 am

    Kat: Glad to hear it inspired you.

  18. Amy November 18th, 2011 7:32 am

    Thanks for putting this one up Woodshed! I am going to play it and sing it loudly for everyone who tells me uke’s are lame.

  19. Woodshed November 18th, 2011 9:10 am

    Amy: You’re welcome.

  20. Courtney November 28th, 2011 12:08 am

    I think it’s amazing. Not only did it inspire me to finally get up at an open mic and perform, but I bought my first ukulele. Guess what will be my first cover?

  21. Woodshed November 28th, 2011 5:52 pm

    Courtney: Have a great time at the open mic. Break a leg!

  22. Ayun Halliday December 8th, 2011 11:46 pm

    Late to the party but loving it! I love her voice, and her attitude and the whole sentiment. I doubt I’ll ever be able to strum so forcefully and for so long, but i don’t give a hell. I’m gonna try anyway!

  23. DukeUke'em December 9th, 2011 3:59 am

    All the live versions of this I’ve heard have been nowhere near as good as her studio cut. I’m new to the ukulele and this is just one of those songs that make me smile.

  24. asteadyrain January 13th, 2012 10:21 am

    I’m glad other people have divided opinions on Amanda Palmer too. She has quite a stage presence, but whenever she plays the uke, it sounds like she’s murdering it…

  25. niki January 19th, 2012 6:27 pm

    this song is why i bought a uke.

    flew up to seattle for 24 hours just to see her (and neil gaiman) live; flew back to sf in love.

  26. jake November 10th, 2012 12:44 pm

    I also took up the Ukulele after hearing this song.

  27. Prenna December 2nd, 2012 2:56 pm

    Have to admit it, Amanda is the reason I’ve bought a uke. It was Ukulele Anthem and seeing her do a cover of Nick Cave’s The Ship Song (, which I’ll learn to play one day, that convinced me.

  28. Woodshed December 3rd, 2012 10:43 am

    Prenna: Thanks for the link. Hadn’t seen her do that song.

  29. Amy December 29th, 2012 5:58 am

    @Ron Hale: Actually, there is video on YouTube of Amanda Palmer playing the anthem on a KoAloha; pick and all. She manages to make a KoAloha sound pretty crappy :D I love her, though!

  30. Arlo James Barnes January 28th, 2013 8:03 am

    >She manages to make a KoAloha sound pretty crappy

    Oh man! I just had an idea for a reality TV show. Of course there will be snarky characterization of the contestants and the judges like all reality shows, where the judges are arrogant and the contestants are spunky, but anyway the gimmick is having the judges guess the make and model of a ukulele while hearing it played blindfolded by the contestants, obfuscated by the song choices and the different playing styles. Upon reflection, it would probably only be watchable for one episode.

  31. Rory March 29th, 2013 7:47 pm

    I have a fever of 101 so I spent the day learning how to play this while singing in my horribly ill voice. Such a better passtime than watching reality TV. Thanks for making my day better.


  32. Woodshed March 30th, 2013 7:49 am

    Rory: Get well soon!

  33. david powell May 16th, 2013 9:39 pm

    Just heard this on the ukulele mixtape you very kindly shared this morning, and I instantly fell in love with the random, empowering and inspiring lyrics, not to mention the heartfelt and slightly deranged abandon with which the singer sings.

    Perhaps not one to share at the school ukulele club just yet.
    Thanks again for your uke site Mr. Shed.

  34. Woodshed May 17th, 2013 1:50 pm

    David: I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  35. Tina June 19th, 2013 3:29 pm

    yup. this is what convinced me to finally buy a uke. i grew up a woodwind player and was always absolutely positive i could never play a string instrument… now i play the ukulele almost daily, and have a freaking blast doing it. thank you for this!!

  36. Woodshed June 20th, 2013 11:13 am

    Tina: You’re welcome! Good luck with the playing.

  37. Buddy December 31st, 2013 7:35 pm

    So glad to find this. I’m a rank beginner, haven’t even gotten the uke from UPS yet. But I don’t want to start with Oh Susanna and I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. :-) Glad to have something colorful and challenging.

  38. Woodshed January 1st, 2014 8:32 am

    Buddy: Hope you enjoy your uke when it turns up!

  39. Dinis May 19th, 2014 1:49 am

    Hi Woodshed.

    Just got an ukulele and your site has been an awesome resource!

    So, this was actually the first song I tried to play (I know, what a cliché). This coming from a total newbie, but isn’t the strumming on the original d-ud-udu? I tried with your suggested d-du-udu but it just doesn’t sound right.

  40. Woodshed May 19th, 2014 6:08 am

    Dinis: I’d still recommend playing it the other way. It’s easier to keep the groove.

  41. Aaron October 17th, 2014 8:27 am

    Thank you Woodshed! I love this song.
    It’s a slap in the face to the elitist folks who whine about other people enjoying music that’s not up to their standards.

  42. Woodshed October 17th, 2014 8:58 am

    Aaron: You’re welcome! Sometimes I do that so I can’t complain.

  43. Ingrid August 14th, 2015 6:28 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve just discovered Amanda Palmer and this song thanks to your ‘So you’ve just got your first ukulele’. I’ve been playing the ukulele for a month and all I want to do now is practise this song as loud as I can and sing at the top of my voice. I want to make the walls proud! I’ll start now!

  44. Woodshed August 14th, 2015 7:48 pm

    Ingrid: Thanks so much! That’s great to hear. Happy practicing!

  45. Valerie October 11th, 2015 7:49 pm

    I love Amanda Palmer so much! She is such an amazing piano player which is why I love that she is only so-so on ukulele. It reminds me that there is not just two camps of people, those who are musically talented and those who are not. I love music but had felt like I was relegated to the second camp. Ultimately the most important thing about any kind of art is that you love making it and not giving too much of a fuck what anyone else thinks. Thanks for putting this up!

  46. Woodshed October 12th, 2015 6:23 pm

    Valerie: That’s a great way to think about it!

  47. Molly April 5th, 2016 10:43 pm

    This song got me to finally learn to sing and play at the same time. Not that I do either very well, but I took from it the light-hearted self confidence to try. Also, I’ve been practicing daily since learning the lyric advising not to do so, hehe.

  48. Woodshed April 7th, 2016 9:14 am

    Molly: Haha! I practice daily too. I won’t tell her if you don’t!

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