5 Awesome Metal Riffs to Play on a Ukulele

The ukulele is a surprisingly great instrument to play metal songs on. Despite its small size, depending on what model you use, it packs a powerful punch.

Many metal bands use drop d tuning or go even deeper by adding a 7th string.  So naturally having a ukulele with a low g is going to be helpful here. But, it’s not a necessity by all means.

Here is a list of five awesome metal riffs to play on a the ukulele.

Linkin Park - One Step Closer

This is a sweet and simple little riff that sounds great repeated over and over, much like the actual song. If you want to give it some extra power. You should palm mute the strings for two bars, then unleash the full sound of the strings with it unmuted for the next two bars.


Here is my ukulele medley of the Hybrid Theory album. You can also grab the ukulele tabs for Crawling, A Place For My Head and Papercut here.

System Of A Down - Toxicity

This sounds fantastic on the ukulele as we have lots of open notes. It allows the strings to ring out and sound very full.  The timing can be a little tricky when it comes to final the last part of it. The best way to combat that is to play along to the video below.

A |----------------------------------------------------------------- 
E |---3---3---3---3---3---3---3---3---6---6---6---6---6---6---6---6-
C |-0---0---0---0---0---0---0---0---3---3---3---3---3---3---3---3---
G |-----------------------------------------------------------------

A |-------------------------------------------------
E |---3---3---3-4---4-3---3---6---8---8-6---6-4---3-
C |-0---0---0-----0-----0---3---3---3-----3-----3---
G |-------------------------------------------------

Below is the mash up i made of the full Toxicity album. If you want to learn some more System Of A Down songs on the ukulele you can get the tabs for Prison Song, Needles and Chop Suey in this post.

Rammstein - Ich Will

This is one of the riffs that will require a ukulele with a low G to be effective. If the prospect of using a deep g string on your ukulele is an alien concept to you. I suggest checking out this article by Baz at Got A Ukulele. 


Below is a medley i created for the Mutter album by Rammstein. I also uploaded the tabs for Mein Herz Brenn, Sonne and Freur Frei.

Metallica - Battery

Another band that took over my life in my teens. I remember often seeing this live performance of “For Whom The Bell Tolls” on tv and I would be in awe of it. They played with so much ferocity, the fans looked hypnotised! Then one night after school while in Asda with my mam I walk past the magazine section and saw Metal Hammer. The cover was covered in white graves and a sinister-looking sunset, “the greatest album of all time” the headline read. I got my hands of a copy of the album later that week.

That opening acoustic riff of Battery was an instant winner. I was already loving it and then the distorted guitars come in….Metal Hammer mag was right, this album is amazing!

A|---0--------0--------0--------0---|- E|-3--------3--------3------------3-|- C|-----4--------4--------4-2--------|- G|----------------------------------|-

Korn - Clown

This is some straight up metal chugging on the ukulele. We are playing power chords on the top two strings. Im using a low G ukulele on this one to really give it some punch.


Below is my arrangement of the debut Korn album. You can grab the ukulele tabs for Blind, Ball Tongue and Daddy here. 

bonus lesson

Would an article on metal be complete without mentioning some of the kings of the genre? Slipknots Wait And Bleed sounds delightful on the ukulele. Below is a video tutorial for it. 

Slipknot - Wait And Bleed


Thats just the start of the possibilites of combing metal music with a ukulele. Youtubers like Rob Scallon and Karl Golden do a fantastic job of performing metal songs on a uke. 

You should also check out some tabs that Al from UkeHunt put on his website. 

Slayer – Raining Blood
Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train
Dillinger Escape Plan – Milk Lizard

I cant wait to see your fingers flying up and down the fretboard!

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