Mastering the E chord in Ukulele (Beginner’s Guide)

With only four strings, the ukulele has gained popularity as an easy instrument among the players. While you can play a couple of chords with only one finger, there are some chords which need require more effort. The E chord particularly seems to be a tough one to carry out, especially if are a beginner. 

Well reputed as a challenging chord, you need to shed a little sweat for the E chord to sound smoothly. But it is important to learn the chord since it is common in most of the popular songs. There is, however, nothing to be worried about since there are several different chord shapes which can be tried out until a learner finds the method that serves their comfort. 

Today, we bring to you 2 different methods with a step by step guideline how you can easily master the E chord. Your days of struggling over this chord has come to an end. It is time you try out these methods and see which one works for you.

Method 1: 

Ukulele chords are commonly recognized by text chords, where each number represents a number where a string is fretted to create the chord. The standard shape of E chord is 4442 as the text chord. This method will teach you how to play the standard E chord in just three steps.

Step 1: Try the traditional chord shape’

It is recommend to check if the traditional chord shape is possible for you to make. Alternatives may not come as clean as the traditional chord, hence, see if playing the E chord in the traditional way suits you before you go for alternatives. You can easily pull it off if you can place your index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string. Your middle finger should be on the 4th fret of the G string, ring finger on the 4th fret of the C string, and your little finger on the 4th fret of the E string. The traditional chord shape can be harder for people with larger hands. That is because, a number of fingers need to be crammed into a small place to play this chord shape. This issue can make it quite impossible for people with larger hands to play the E chord smoothly. 

Step 2: ‘Try barring the 4th fret strings with one finger’

Regardless of the size of your hands, the traditional chord shape can still be made if your proficiency with barre chords is strong enough. Any finger that you feel the most comfortable to barre the G, C and E strings is good to be used. If you can do that, try placing another finger on the 2nd fret of the A string. This barre chord is easier for those who have experience with guitars, as barre chords are common while playing the guitar. Even if you do not have any guitar background, you can attain this technique with practice. 

If barring the strings with only one finger gets challenging for you, you can try doing it with your thumb as well. Getting the strings to sound clean, however, can be difficult with the thumb. Along with issues with unclear sound, transitioning to other chords will also be hard if you use your thumb. Your finger or thumb need to be pressed at an odd angle so that the A string does not get muted by it. You are at an advantage in this case, if your fingers can bend back naturally. If that is not the case, some difficulties may arise with barring the strings even if you are usually good with barring the chords. 

Step 3: ‘Try playing both G and C strings with middle finger’

This can be a good option if your fingers aren’t strong enough to barre the 3 strings. However, this method does take some practice.

Getting 3 fingers to press the G, C and E strings at the same time can stand a little problematic since this needs fitting three fingers in a small space. If that is the case for you, there is an alternate way of doing it. You can try to fret the G and C strings on the 4th fret using your middle finger. After that, try fretting the E string on the 4th fret using your ring finger. You can get your index finger to fret the A string on the 2nd fret. 

This technique is a good option for those who struggle to barre the three strings with their fingers. This method can be tough in the beginning, but it is not impossible to achieve a certain amount of regular practice. 

Method 2:

Unlike the first method which highlighted only the traditional chord shape, the second method focuses on using different chord shapes.

Step 1: ‘Try muting the G string and play the x442 method’

 The great thing about this shape is that it the nearest to the standard E chord shape while it uses fewer fingers. To ace this shape, all you have to do is put your index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string, ring finger on the 4th fret of the C string, and little finger on the 4th fret of the E string. 

This version of the E chord does not require the G string at all. But it can be worrisome for the beginners to avoid the G string during strumming. You can mute the string with your middle finger or thumb to prevent it from making a sound. 

In short, the trick is to simply rest your finger or thumb over the string in order to mute the string. However, you should avoid putting too much pressure while fretting the string. 

Step 2: ‘For those who’re good with barring- Try playing the 4447 variant’

This method is the easiest way to play the E chord for those who are good with barring. You have to barre all the strings on the 4th fret with either your index finger or middle finger in order to play this variant. But difficulties may arise during transitioning between open chords.


The E chord often comes off as a difficult chord to play on a ukulele. But you no longer have to worry about it, because if one method gets tough on you, you can go for other methods that suit your comfort. 

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