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Ukulele Chords For Beginners: Play10+ Songs With Just 4 Chords

Your Ukulele has arrived and you’ve taken it out of its box, ensured it is in tune but now you’re

wondering how long it’s going to be before you can actually play anything and whether you’ll be playing anything that people will know. .  The answer is not long and yes, you and those around you will know what you are playing and it won’t sound half as bad as anyone who has ever witnessed a beginner violin player sounds like.

 

Let’s face it, Mary Had A Little Lamb or She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain isn’t fun and isn’t cool.  I want you to get yourself off to a flying start.  After all, if you play songs that you know and love you are more likely to keep up with the instrument and continue to practice and progress.

 

The truth is that you only need 4 chords to play an absolute tonne of songs from all different genres and ages and this article will teach you 4 ukulele Chords for beginners, give you some songs old and new that you can play with these chords and you will have a merry old time playing to yourself or anyone who cares to listen. I will be covering chords that use one finger, two fingers and finally 3 fingers, but, in the famous words of Douglas Adams DON’T PANIC!!!! It’s really quite easy when you know how.

 

Ukulele Chords For Beginners: How To Hold Your Ukulele

Firstly, before you begin to play, there are a few tips you need to know to ensure that you get the best sound from your Ukulele. This video from Aldrine Guererro at Ukulele Underground Will give you all the information you need.

 

Now you’ve mastered how to hold your Uke, let’s move on. I’m going to assume that for all the chords you’re about to learn you are holding your Ukulele as Aldrine Suggests.

 

Ukulele Chords For Beginners: The C Chord

The C Chord is one of the easiest chords to play on the Ukulele as it only requires you to use one finger. This finger is your ring finger and is placed on the third fret of the A string (String 1 closest to the floor) and all other strings are left open. This means that you do not touch them at all. The C Chord looks like this. Now you try. Strum all the strings from string 4 G String (closest to the ceiling). With This 1 chord, you could technically play songs such as I hear Thunder or Frére Jaque. Not very exciting but it’s a start and with the next chord, you will be half-way to learning an absolute tonne of songs. So if you’re happy with your chord and your sound, let’s move on shall we?

 

Ukulele Chords For Beginners: The A Minor Chord

AM Chord

The A Minor (or AM) chord is almost opposite to the C chord you’ve learned above. You play this chord by placing your first finger on fret 2 of string 4 (The G String or string that’s closest to the ceiling). Here’s what the A Minor Chord Looks like. Strum down from string 4. You will notice that it’s a very sad sound. minor chords often do sound sad whereas the C Chord above (Known as C Major) sounds like a happy chord. Now try practicing changing from C to AM. You will need to learn how to move from and to chords quickly and the more practice you do now the easier it will be when you start to learn some easy songs.

 

Ukulele Chords For Beginners: F Major

F Chord

So, you’ve learned 2 chords and you’ve got them under your belt. Are you now ready to learn F, or F Major to give it it’s proper name. This cord involves 2 fingers and two strings. The strings you will be holding down (fretting) are strings 4 and 2. Place your middle finger on string 4 fret 2 and your first finger on string 2 fret one. Strum down. Continue to strum until you are happy with the fingering and sound. Take your hand off and practice getting back to your F Chord either from a standing start or from your C or AM chords learned above.

 

Ukulele Chords For Beginners The G Chord

G Chord

Now for the final chord in this article. The G Major Chord or simply G. This chord is the hardest chord you will learn in this article but is really easy once you know how, even more so if you have some experience on a guitar. For this chord, you will need your first, middle and ring fingers. Place your first finger on string 3 fret 2, ring finger on string 1 fret2 and your middle finger on string 2 fret 3. Here’s what that looks like. Now strum down. Doesn’t that sound good?

 

So, you’ve learned 4 chords, now what can you play? The truth is you can technically play over 30 songs, Here’s just a few.

The Beetles: Let it be (C AM F and G)

Jason Mraz: I’m Yours (C AM F G)

Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix: All Along The Watch Tower (AM G F)

One Republic: Counting Stars (AM C G F)

Vance Joy: Riptide (AM C G F)

CCR: Down On The Corner (C F G)…and the list goes on.

U2: I still haven’t found what I’m looking for (CF G)

John Denver: Leaving On A Jet Plane (C F G)

 

Conclusion

So, you’ve learned how to hold your Ukulele, 4 chords that appear in a lot of songs and there are some starter songs here to be getting on with. What other songs can you think of that have these chords in them? Do you have any questions? If so, pop them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Kerry

6 Comments

  1. Thanks you for this helpful article! I was given a ukulele as a gift a few years back and never got around to learning how to play much but now I will have to try some of these out!

    • Thank you for your comment Seth. I’m glad to hear my post has prompted you to think about playing. You and your Uke will thank you for it. If i can ever be of any help, please reach out to me.

  2. Great post and your illustrations have made it so simple to understand!
    I have a few friends who are ukulele junkies and now I can join in with them so thank you for this!
    I have seen ukulele players hold their instrument up higher? Is this just personal preference or is there a strategic reason for this?

    • Hi Irma. I’m glad my post has prompted you to think about playing. As for how to hold your Uke, people do hold it higher up their bodies. It may depend uponthe the size of the Ukulele. I have a concert Uke and a Sopranino and I hold my Sopranino higher up because it is about 6 inches smaller than my concert Uke so it would make sense. I would say hold it where you are comfortable. What matters is yu make music. If you find it too uncomfortable, you could also get a strap fitted though you’d need someone to do a little drilling in most cases. If you don’t have a Uke and want some advice on a good starter Uke that wouldn’t cost a bunch let me know.

  3. Hi Kerry!

    I have been interested in playing the ukulele for years now! So happy to have come across your site. It is very informational and I love the pictures.

    Thank you for the lesson in chords!

  4. Hi Katie. Thank you for your comment. the Uke is a fun little instrument and I’m glad my post has prompted you to think about taking it up. Make sure you follow my guidelines on how to choose a Ukulele to ensure you get the one that’s right for you. If I can be of any further assistance then please do not hesitate to contact me.

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