If you’re just getting started with playing music, the ukulele is a great instrument to start with. It is highly affordable, accessible and you can make music with the greatest simplicity.
In this article, we will take a look at the basics of how to tune a ukulele and then delve into all the ukulele chords you will need to know to get you started!
Be sure to keep reading if you want to become a ukulele pro!
How To Tune A Ukulele
First and foremost, we should start with understanding how to tune a ukulele. The standard tuning of a ukulele is G-C-E-A, with the string closest to your chin being the G string and the one at the bottom being the A string.
The order of the strings is counted from the bottom going up, which means the A string is the first string, the E string is the second string, the C string is the third string and the G string is the fourth string.
Ukulele Chord Tips & How To Read Ukulele Chord Charts
Ukulele charts are extremely simple and easy to read. They are extremely useful to convey the chord shape to fellow players or looking up chords for a song in a book/online.
A chord chart contains 4 vertical lines. These lines represent the 4 strings from top to bottom. The ukulele charts are mostly displayed with standard tuning. This means the first vertical line is G. The second is C. The third is E and the fourth one is A.
The horizontal lines on the chart represent the division of ‘Frets’. Frets are the spaces in between the horizontal lines, this is where you will put your fingers in order to change the melody.
Finally, there are dots on various boxes with numbers in them. These dots represent the strings and frets to put your fingers on.
Beginner Ukulele Chords
So, we have established the functions of each hand and how to read the chord charts.
Now it’s time to look into basic ukulele chords so you can start playing some actual music. Let’s dive into our easy ukulele chord list!
Major Ukulele Chords
Major chords have been used in countless popular songs. Some of these might be slightly challenging however, a little push might be very helpful for ukulele skills development.
The C chord ukulele is one of the easiest chords on the ukulele. All you need to do is to put your ring finger on the third fret of the last string (A). Play all the 4 strings at the same time while the third fret of A string is pushed down.
The D major chord is also slightly tricky! You need to push the second fret on the G, C and E string (1, 2, 3) at the same time. You should use the middle, ring and little finger for the D major chord.
If you have managed to play C and D major chords, E major should be simple enough for you!
This chord requires 3 fingers, we will avoid the little finger for the E chord ukulele. The index finger will be pushing down the first fret on the G string.
The ring finger should be on the fourth fret of the C string and finally the middle finger on the second fret of the A string.
The F chord ukulele is another simple chord to play.
The middle finger should be on the second fret of the G string and the index finger on the first fret of the E string. It’s a common major chord and gets used a lot in ukulele-based songs!
The G major chord is an important chord to know. You will notice this chord being used in many popular songs.
Generally, this is the first chord guitar players play on the ukulele, as the shape is very similar to the D major guitar chord.
To play the G major, you need an index finger on the second fret of the C string, A ring finger on the third fret of the E string, and middle finger on the second fret of the A string.
A major chord is very similar to an F major chord as it also only requires index and middle fingers.
The middle finger will be pushing down on the second fret of the G string while having the index finger on the first fret of the C string.
This is the final basic major chord and possibly the most challenging one as well. The b chord ukulele requires all the 4 fingers on the fretboard of the ukulele.
The index finger will be pushing the second fret of the E and A string at the same time. While having the middle finger on the third fret of the C string, and the ring finger on the fourth fret of the G string.
Minor Ukulele Chords
Let’s look at some minor chords. They will help you play even more songs and ultimately, help you have more fun!
There are generally 1 or 2 minor chords in ukulele-based songs, so it is a good idea to know and practice them along the major chords.
The first minor chord we will look at is C minor. This chord is similar to the D major chord as it uses 3 fingers and all of them push down on the second frets.
The middle finger on the C string, the ring finger on the E string and the little finger on the A string.
The good part is that you just need to focus on pushing the second fret of the bottom 3 strings.
The Dm chord ukulele is closely related to the F major as it uses the same shape with 1 additional fret.
The index finger should be on the first fret of the E string, the middle finger on the G string second fret and the ring finger on the C string second fret.
Em chord ukulele requires 3 fingers as well.
The index finger on the second fret on the A string, the middle finger on the third fret of the E string and finally, the ring finger on the fourth fret of the C string.
This fm chord ukulele requires a bit of finger stretching. However, popular music doesn’t usually require F minor.
In order to play the F minor chord, the index finger needs to be on the first fret of the G string, so we leave the C string empty. The middle finger on the first fret of the E string and the little finger on the third fret of the A string.
G minor chord requires 3 fingers. This chord is another uncommon chord but is still worth knowing!
The index finger needs to be on the first fret of the A string. The middle finger on the second fret of the C string, and the ring finger on the third fret of the E string.
A minor is a very important chord to know, especially in songs based on the ukulele. This chord is used in conjunction with C major, G major and F major and has been used in countless songs.
It is also as easy as playing the C major chord. All we need to do is put the middle finger on the second fret of the G string. That is it!
B minor is our last beginner ukulele chord. This chord requires only 2 fingers however, the index finger has to push 3 strings at the same time. It is not difficult but this shape requires a bit of practice.
To play, put your ring finger on the fourth fret of the G string while the index finger pushes down on the second fret of C, E and the A string at the same time.
Popular Ukulele Chord Progression – 4 Chord Ukulele Songs
Four-chord progressions are a cyclical way of playing a combination of chords in a repeated fashion. Popular songwriters use tried and tested chord progressions for writing their tunes. Hence why most of the radio hits sound quite similar.
Here are some common chord progressions in the key of C major, which can help you play famous songs. These chord progressions can also be transposed into any key by using music scale formulas.
C Major, A minor, F major, G Major
A minor, F Major, C Major, G Major
C Major, G Major, A minor, F Major
A minor, G Major, E minor, F major
Popular Ukulele Chord Songs
Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Ukulele Chords
C Major, E minor, F Major, C Major
F Major, C Major, G Major, A minor, F Major (Verse/Chorus)
Happy Birthday – Chord Ukulele
D Major, A Major, A Major, D Major
D Major, G Major, D Major, A Major
Riptide – Ukulele Chords
A minor, G Major and C Major (Verse/Chorus)
A minor, G Major, C Major and F major (Bridge)
Blowin’ In The Wind (Bob Dylan)
Chords for the verses: G major, C Major, G major, G major, C major, D major, G major, C major, G major, G major, C major
When you get to “The answer my friend” parts, use these chords: C major, D major, G major, E minor, C major, D major, G major.
22 (Taylor Swift)
These chords just repeat throughout the song: G major, D major, C major, D major.
So Now You Know All Of The Beginner Ukulele Chords
There’s everything you need to know about ukulele and beginner ukulele chords! We’ve gone through all the basic chords you will need, from bm chord ukulele, g chord ukulele and much much more!
We’ve also given you some beginner songs to start with so you can play some tunes for your friends! So whether you’re a musician looking to add another instrument to your arsenal or are looking to start playing, the uke is a great instrument to learn.
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