Ukulele Video Lessons - A Horse With No Name

By watching these ukulele video lessons, I'll be teaching you how to play "A Horse With No Name". While the lyrics to America's 1972 hit "A Horse with No Name" may be a bit mysterious, it's a very easy song to play on the ukulele. In fact, it only takes three chords to play the entire thing and they're not even hard ones to fret.


A Horse with No Name has three chords. The song's root chord is E minor. From this chord, you'll be transitioning to either D6 or D Major 9, depending upon whether you're moving to the refrain or the verse.

Watch This Ukulele Video Lessons: Horse With No Name

The Verses

Song opens up with an introduction that uses the same structure as the verses. Play E minor and then D6 four times each, two cycles total. On the third repeat, the 1st verse begins with "On the first part of the journey…" The song uses a light strumming style, with plenty of upstrokes, but be sure not to be too harsh with them, as this song does not have a heavy quality to it. Think laid-back, early 70s music and you'll get the right feel.

The Refrain

The refrain "A Horse with No Name" uses two chords, as well, in the above ukulele video lessons. The E minor chord, again, provides the root of the progression. The refrain switches between this chord and D Major 9, which is very easy to transition to. To make this transition, simply remove your first two fingers from the E minor chord and bar the second fret. There are 4 cycles of this progression during the refrain. When the chorus—the "la la" part—kicks in play the cycle 4 more times.

Back to the Verses

Between the refrain and the verses, there are 2 cycles of the E minor to D6 progression. This makes for a total of six cycles through this progression during the transition to the verses and the singing of the verses.


"A Horse with No Name" has a basic pop song structure to it. The introduction establishes the chord progression for the verses and the closest thing the song has to a breakdown—the "la-la" part of the song—uses the same progression as the refrain. The refrain is sung in harmony with different singers on the original recording, but this is not necessary to capture the effect of the song.

Performance Notes

This song should not come off as dark or heavy, though the lyrics are quite surreal. The guitar, as originally played in the song, is strummed very lightly with the upstrokes having none of the snappy effect that one might associate with reggae or more dance-oriented music. The song is played at a moderate pace, with a metronome tempo of 1/4 note=120, or 120 beats per minute. The first part of the verses come in on the last beat of the final D6 chord of the intro progression, so "On the" should be in the last bar of the introduction and "first part of the" should appear on the first bar of the verse structure of the song.

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