Ukulele Chords for Beginners


A ukulele is an amazing instrument, it’s small, compact and light too. It’s really portable and can be carried on the go. Strumming and singing along with friends can be great and make you lose track of time. 

If you’re a beginner and you just started playing the ukulele then it might get frustrating at times and make you want to quit, even more so when you see other people or famous musicians play it without breaking a sweat and with so much ease like it’s no big deal. 

But the truth of it is that even they started at the base line and moved up from there, and so can you. So keep on reading this article to learn some of the fundamental basics that are essential for you to master if you want to become a capable and skilled ukulele player.

Tuning your Ukulele

To understand your ukulele, first you need to understand the standard tuning of the instrument. G-C-E-A, that’s the standard tuning of a ukulele, with the G string being the one closest to your chin and A string being the one furthest to you at the very end. 

The strings are counted from the going up from the bottom in a sequential order, meaning, the first string is A, the second string E, third, C and fourth, G.

Tuning your ukulele is a really important step, if it’s not tuned properly the notes you’re playing won’t sound right and you may just end up thinking you’re the one making mistakes and you’re just horrible at this.

Making a habit of tuning your ukulele before starting to play is a great thing, you can easily do it using a tuner online, a tuning app or even an electronic tuner. Soon enough you’ll be able to just do it by ear which is an amazing skill to have.

Basic Ukulele Chords

You eventually need to learn the common ways to play the major, minor and even 7th chords. There’s 36 different fingerings needed to be memorized, so we’re looking at 12 of each. 

Learn to play songs gradually introducing yourself with these chords so you can get to learn the chords as well. There’s no need to be rushing yourself since it is a long process.

You need to learn to play the Major, Minor and 7th chords in order to advance yourself as a ukulele player. If it helps you then print out chord charts and learn your chords from there. It is important to develop muscle memory by visualizing the chords and also by ear if you want to be good and play a smooth uninterrupted song.  


But some of these basic chords are: 

  • C Major: It’s played on the 3rd fret by holding down the A string
  • F Major: Played by holding down the E string in fret 1 and the G string in fret 2. Avoid touching the other strings by arching your fingers or they’ll get muted
  • A Minor: Press down the G string on the second fret
  • G Major: On the second fret, hold down both the C string and the A string with two fingers and on the third fret hold down the E string with another finger
  • A Major: Hold down the C string on the first fret and the G string on the second fret
  • D Major: Hold down the G,C and E strings on the second fret
  • E Minor: Press down A string on the second fret, E string on the third and C on the fourth fret.
  • D Minor: Done by holding down the E string on the first fret and on the second fret hold down C and G strings. 

There’s many more basic, simple and easy chords that you can learn, these are some of the chords you’ll come across often in most of the songs or tunes you play. 

It’s important to remember that some chords have different variations, which basically means that they can also be played with different finger placements.

What is exactly a Chord Chart?

They are essentially a chart or a diagram that have 4 vertical lines on them, each representing a string of the ukulele. The one at the very left, the first, represents the G string and so on. The frets are represented by the horizontal lines, it helps imagining that you’re just looking down on your fretboard from the top. 

You’ll often see bold black dots on the strings of the chart, that means the string needs to be fretted or pressed down by your finger. X means that the string should be muted, not played at all. It can easily be done by touching the string, not fretting it or pressing down on it, simply just touch it with one of the fingers of your fretting hand. 

In most chord guides your index finger is referred to as “Finger 1,” middle is “Finger 2,” ring is your ring finger and “Finger 4” is your pinky.

There are different varieties of chord charts, some of them have more indications than others.

Easiest Chord to play on the Ukulele

This is often asked and it most likely is C6, it’s the same as an Fmaj9 and an Am7. They may sound really over the top but they’re nothing more than just strumming open strings, the GCEA strings. It just means that you essentially get three chords just by strumming the strings of the ukulele without holding any of the strings. 

Final Words

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of things you need to learn as a beginner, but you have to remember that everyone that you see playing professionally started at the basics. Give yourself time, take breaks to build up your muscle memory, practice a lot and soon enough you’ll sound just as good!!

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