Higher Ground: A great hymn to practice ukulele

“Higher Ground” is one of my favorite hymns — mostly because of the tempo and ease of three chords.

History of Hymn “Higher Ground”

History of Higher Ground can be found  at Bible Study Charts.  It’s interesting to note “Count Your Blessings” was written by the same person.

Ukulele Tabs for “Higher Ground” hymn

You can purchase the ukulele tabs for Higher Ground as part of Ken Middleton’s ebook, 12 Hymn Tunes for Ukulele.

Ukulele and Native American flute duet for “Higher Ground”: Finger-picking vs. Strumming

Practicing the three chords F, Bb, C7 becomes a joy with this song. It doesn’t seem like practicing at all.

This is a great song for either strumming or finger-picking.  Finger-picking takes a bit more practice but I prefer it with the hymns.  However, if you are performing this song and get nervous with crowds, finger-picking is harder to keep steady.

You can hear the difference it makes to finger-pick your ukulele vs. strumming in this sample. I am using a low g string on a soprano ukulele, but the hymn sounds good on high G or low g.  Download a pdf of  Higher-Ground that contains ukulele chords and Native American flute fingerings.

Chordie: A good resource for Ukulele chords

If you want to change the 3 chords that you use, then you can go to Chordie.  Look on the right side of the page and you can change the key of the song by raising or lowering by your desired number of semitones.  You can select which ukulele tuning you will use – C, D, or baritone.  The chords are shown to you  on Chordie or  you can download a pdf of ukulele chords to print out.

YouTube: “Higher Ground”


Ken Middleton has a ebook of hymns for ukulele if you’re interested.


Nearer My God to Thee: Ukulele Tab

Tab for this version of Nearer My God to Thee 

History of the song

A version of this hymn in C.

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee;
G C G D7 G
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be
Bm Em Bm D7
Near er, my God, to Thee,
G C G D7 G
Nearer, my God, to Thee, near er to Thee.

Though, like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone,
Yet in my dreams I’d be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee.

There let the way appear steps unto heaven;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee.

A good duet and ukulele version below:

Hymns, Church and Stringed Instruments and a contest

It’s been interesting to read how Rev Eliot’s ukulele intentions went this summer.

On Scott’s blog he asked what hymns work best on the ukulele.  My response would be if you can imagine it then it could work on the ukulele.

How you play a hymn — strumming, fingerpicking — will make some difference in the style of the hymn — but that is about preference.  The ukulele is not an instrument where anyone should say, “This song won’t work on the uke.”  Especially if it is a hymn.

I had not heard of a Psalmodikon instrument before (also mentioned by Scott) which has interesting possibilities.

Also, it’s not to late to enter the ukulele contest by UkuleleGodspellcontest.

Here’s one of the entries.


Public Domain Hymns

A list of public domain hymns in the United States from a site on Public Domain Information. The site claims you should find a published copy of the song with a copyright date of 1922 or earlier.

Abide with Me – 1861 – m/ W.H. Monk, w/ H.F. Lytle
All Hail the Power of Jesus Name – m/ Oliver Holden, w/ E. Perronet
Amazing Grace – 1800, John Newton
Ave Maria – 1859, Gounod
Ave Maria – 1826,  Schubert
Blest Be the Tie That Binds – 1845 – m/ Hans G. Naegeli, w/ John Fawcett
Come Thou Almighty King – 1885, m/F. Giardini, w/C.Wesley
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing  – 1885, Wyeth
Crown Him With Many Crowns – m/ G. J. Elvey, w/ M. Bridges
Doxology, The – 1560
Faith of Our Fathers – w/ Frederick W. Farber
God Be With You [Til We Meet Again] – m/ W.G. Tomer, w/ J.E. Rankin
Hallelujah Chorus -1767
He Leadeth Me – 1885,  Bradbury
Holy, Holy Holy – m/ J.B. Dykes, w/ Dr. Heber
I Ain’t Gonna Grieve My Lord No More  – 1865
I Love Thy Kingdom Lord – 1899
Jesus Christ Is Risen Today – m/ Lydia Davidica, w/ Tr. Tate and Brady
Jesus Shall Reign Wheree’er the Sun – m/J. Hatton, w/ Isaac Watts
Jesus! the Very Thought of Thee – 1885,  Dyken
Just As I Am – m/ W.B. Bradbury, w/ C. Elliott
Lead Kindly Light – 1885,  Dykes
Love Will Find a Way Morse – 1890
Mighty Fortress Is Our God, A – 1529 m,w/ Martin Luther
My Faith Looks Up to Thee – m/ Lowell Mason, w/ Ray Palmer
My Jesus as Thou Wilt – 1885, Weber
Near the Cross [Jesus Keep Me] – m/ W.H. Doane, w/ Fanny J. Crosby
Nearer My God to Thee – 1859 – m/ Lowell Mason. w/1841, Sarah F. Adams
Now the Day is Over – 1869, Barnby
Onward Christian Soldiers – m/ Arthur Sullivan, w/ S. Baring-Gould
Praise Him, Praise Him ! [Jesus our Blessed Redeemer] – m/Chester G. Allen, w/ Fanny J. Crosby
Rescue the Perishing – m/ William F. Doane, w. Fanny J. Crosby
Savior, Like A Shephered [Lead Us] – m/ William B. Bradbury, w/ Dorothy A. Thrupp
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus – 1901 – m/ Adam Geibel, w/ George Duffield
This Is My Fatheer’s World, m/ English Melody, w/ 1901 Maltbie D. Babcock
What A Friend [We Have in Jesus] – m/ C.C. Converse, w/ H. Bonar
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross – m/ Lowell Mason, w/ Isaac Watts
Wonderful Words of Life – m,w/ P.P. Bliss