How to Play the A Major Chord on Ukulele
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The A major chord (sometimes simply referred to as an “A chord”) is a bright, simple chord that is a useful addition to the repertoire of any ukulele player. This article will break down the specific notes that make up the chord, a common way to play it on ukulele, and some songs that feature the chord prominently.
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Lesson: How to Play the A Major Chord
The A major chord is a triad made up of these three notes:
This triad is formed by taking the root note A, then adding the 3rd (C#) and 5th (E) notes of the A major scale (A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#).
[Embed video: A Open Position (v1)]
How Do You Play the A Major Chord on a Ukulele?
In order to learn the A major chord on ukulele, it’s important to understand where to place your fingers on the fretboard of your instrument to produce the chord. In this lesson, we’ll use charts to provide a visual guide. First, let’s start with an overview of the four ukulele strings and how we’ll reference them:
G = The fourth string (closest to you, looking down at the fretboard)
C = The third string (lowest tone)
E = The second string
A = The first string (and highest-tone string)
Unlike the guitar, where strings are arranged in a descending order, the lowest-toned string on a ukulele is actually its third string.
Here’s a key to better understand notations to play the A chord on our ukulele chord charts. The diagrams represent your ukulele fretboard, and the numbers or icons used show you your finger positions on each fret or how to play a specific string in a version of a chord:
O = A circle above the string means to play that string in an open position
X = An “X” above the strings means you won’t play that string or will mute it when playing
1 = Index finger
2 = Middle finger
3 = Ring finger
4 = Pinky finger
A Major Chord on Ukulele: A Major Open Position (v1)
The A chord can be played in open position on the ukulele, which means you’ll play it with several open strings that don’t require you to press down on any of the frets. In fact, you’ll only need to use two fingers (your index and middle fingers) to press down two different frets for this chord.
To play the A major on your ukulele, start by taking your index finger and pressing down on the 1st fret of the C string. Next, using your middle finger, press down on the 2nd fret of the G string. You won’t use your ring finger or pinky finger at all for this chord shape, so try to keep those fingers tucked away from the fretboard. Make sure that your middle finger arches completely over the C string, so that you can hear both fretted notes clearly and that it doesn’t accidentally mute or dull the sound of any neighboring strings. .
Here are those finger positions, once more:
Index finger: 1st fret of the C (3rd) string
Middle finger: 2nd fret of the G (4th) string
Strum all four strings of the ukulele, including the open E and A strings. As you pick each note individually, do you notice anything about the top and bottom of the chord? Those first and last notes are actually the same note (A).
Songs That Use the A Chord
After you’ve gotten comfortable with placing your fingers on the fretboard to form the A chord and have strummed it a few times, it’s time to put that knowledge to good use. Start playing some songs that use the chord. Not only can you hear how the A major chord works alongside other ukulele chords, but you can learn how to practice transitioning between chords.
Let’s start with a classic soul sing-along: Ben E. King’s hit, “Stand By Me.” In this memorable song, the A major chord acts as the root chord in the progression and is the driving chord that starts each verse. It’s also the chord that each verse resolves back to. This lesson also gives some insight into the rhythmic, muted strumming pattern that is so distinct in the track. The song uses only four different chords that are repeated many times over, so this is a great song for beginners to focus on the chord shapes and work on transitioning quickly between each of them.
For something with a more elaborate chord progression that presents some different challenges, let’s look at a late ‘90s alternative rock hit. Fastball’s “The Way” utilizes a calypso-style strumming pattern for its verses, which weave through a mysterious progression of mostly minor chords. The A major chord in this song doesn’t come in until the beginning of the chorus, where it transports the listener into a new section of the song.
Check out Fender Play Ukulele Lessons
To truly get the hang of the A chord and others on ukulele, you have to spend time. Practicing to get familiar with this chord will make it easier to learn others that use similar shapes. Try learning other major chords like D or G (or some minor chords like F#m or Em), then practice transitioning to them from the A major shape discussed above. Sign up for a free trial of Fender Play to access more detailed tips for perfecting your technique, learn more chords, and figure out how to play them in songs you love.
Before we jump into the chords you should make sure you're learning on a quality instrument. We've got an easy to use guide, to help you find the perfect uke for you in this article. Here are a few products we recommend you add to your gig bag before you rock out on these chords.
If you begin on a cheap uke, you won't sound as good, which can be disheartening. We understand that if you are a beginner ukulele player, it may seem like a better decision for your wallet to not invest in high-quality ukulele. In the end, however, saving a few dollars on a beginner uke may make you more frustrated due to the lack of quality! You may find that you cannot quite hit the correct notes or that it is “always” going out of tune! The last thing you want is to strum a few chords and have to re-tune again. Waste of time! Loss of patience!
Let's get started! We start with our fingers. On the diagram below, you'll see that we have each finger numbered. Use the diagram to easily identify which fingers need to go where on your ukulele strings. We won't be using the thumb, so just remember the digits from 1 to 4.
Where do I put my fingers?
Uke chord charts have four vertical lines that represent the four strings of your ukulele. If you’re familiar with playing guitar, you may notice that reading a uke tab is very similar to reading a guitar tab! The first vertical line on the chart displayed above can be your thickest string, which is usually your G string.
The first string, however, is not always a G string, and it’s also not always your thickest string. A ukulele can be tuned in many different ways such as the re-entrant method. Depending on the tuning that you use, the order of the strings may be different. Because many ukuleles use the re-entrant method, the thickest string is commonly the C string, not the G.
Musician’s Tip: If you are right handed and fingering with your left hand, and playing with G-C-E-A tuning as pictured above, the G-string will be closest to your nose. When you don't hold down on any frets, this plays an G note or an open fret.
Be aware that the chart goes in sequential order starting with G and moving from the C (third string), to the E (second string), and last but not least to the thinnest string: the A (first string).
Re-entrant Tuning Method: Explained!
Although standard ukulele tuning is very popular, so is the re-entrant method. Standard ukulele tuning is very common for soprano, concert, and tenor ukes. In fact, only tenor and baritone ukuleles are not commonly tuned using the re-entrant method.
So, what is the re-entrant tuning method? If you are using re-entrant tuning that means that your strings will not run from low to high. Soprano ukuleles are tuned using the re-entrant method for example. Soprano ukuleles are a popular choice for beginner to amateur ukulele players because it is easy to get used to the size of the soprano ukulele. It is also important for beginners to start to understand chord structure on a soprano ukulele. If you start on a soprano ukulele, you may find that it is not as hard for you to reach new chords.
What do all these symbols mean?
Luckily, these uke chords only have two important symbols. The easiest and most used symbol is the black circle, which means to fret a note. Here, we'll also put the number of the finger which you use.
An open string will be a white circle on a uke chart. The open strings are the notes at the top of the chart, G,C,E,A. A funny way to remember the order is by saying: Get Crazy Every Afternoon. If that's not a life motto, I don't know what is! Having these memorized will help you remember your finger placement.
Understanding Symbols for Ukulele Chords!
You may also need to understand one quick note about ukulele chords! If you are a complete novice it is important to understand that a capital M, means a MAJOR chord, and a lowercase m, means a MINOR chord.
For example, CM means C major. Cm means C minor! We hope that clarifies any confusion before you get started reading about how to play uke chords!
Learning to Play the Easiest Ukulele Chords!
Many people learn ukulele chords in musical groupings that will help them play songs. Although it is your decision in what order to learn the chords, learning them in alphabetical order can be a good way to start. A lot of uke books will teach you chords in the key of C first, and afterward, the books will teach you other keys.
We would like to introduce the first set of uke chords to you in a way that will help you to learn the easiest chords first. Then we will introduce some harder chords a little later. The first chords we are going to explain are C major, C minor, C7, A major, A minor, and A7. Prepare to bask in the glory of the easy C chord, but unfortunately not all the chords are this simple!
To play the C major chord (CM), simply place your ring finger on the A string on the third fret. To play the C minor chord (Cm), stay on the same fret and either use three fingers, or use a barre chord again on the C, E and A strings (the second, third, and fourth strings). This C minor chord is played on the 3rd fret, although there are other versions of the C minor chord that you can learn later! For now, we recommend that if you’re a complete beginner, you try just using three fingers for now and leaving the barre chord for later! Let’s give C7 a try! C7 is another piece of cake! Place your first finger on the first fret of the A string. That’s all!
To master the A major chord, place your index finger (first finger) on the first fret on the C string and your middle finger on the second fret of the G string. Voila! You’ve learned the A chord. A minor looks very similar to the A chord. If your hand is already in the position of an A major chord, you only need to remove your index finger from the first fret. Now you should only have your second finger on the G string on the second fret. That’s A minor!
A7 is also extra easy for you to learn! Just place your first finger on the first fret of the C string. The good news is that you may be able to learn A and C chords pretty quickly, especially if you are already familiar with playing other stringed instruments.
Let’s Learn the Ds, Fs, and Gs!
The next set of easiest chords is D, F, and G! We’ll get to B’s and E’s yet, but now let’s learn F major and F minor.
To hit the F chord, you have to reach over the other strings to fret. Keep the C and A strings open with your first finger on the E string on the first fret and your second finger on the G string on the second fret.
You'll have to do a bit of a stretch to play the F minor (Fm) chord. Your first two fingers stretch between the G and E strings on the first fret, then your ring finger hits the A string on the third fret.
The D chord will use your three fingers sequentially on the second fret of the G, C, and E strings. The Dm chord is very similar to playing the F chord. You just need to add your ring finger (third finger) to the C string on the second fret.
The G chord will use all three fingers placed very close together. It may feel like your hand is going to cramp up, but with practice, your muscles will get used to it. Your first finger will hit the C string on the second fret, your second finger will also be on the second fret, but on the A string. The ring finger is placed on the E string on the third fret.
What About B? How Can I Play the B Chord?
You'll find that B major is a little tricky to play, but luckily you won't have to play it too often. It's important to know how to play B though and have it saved in your back pocket should the opportunity arise.
You'll notice that playing the B chord requires you to use a barre chord! Thankfully, you will not need the B chord in many songs, but it is good to learn anyway. When you play a barre chord you'll use the same finger to fret multiple strings. In other words, when you play a barre chord you have to press down several strings at the same time. Barre chords are usually achieved by laying your index finger flat against the strings. But, unlike the B chord, there are some tricky ones that require other fingers to fret the strings.
To play the B chord, fret the E and A strings on the second fret with your first finger. Place your second finger on the third fret on the C string and also your third finger on the fourth fret on the G string. If the B chord is a little hard for you, try some other chords first and come back to the B chord another day.
Perhaps more important than the B chord is the Bb (B flat) since it appears frequently in folk songs. First, check out the image of the chord below so you have an idea of what it looks like.
To play a Bb you will need to be able to play a partial barre chord. To support your hand, place your thumb on the back of the neck of your uke, and then press down on the last two strings using your index finger on the first fret. Your wrist should be lowered in order for you to reach two of your remaining fingers (your second and third finger) across the fretboard. You will press down on the third fret on the first or ‘G’ string with your third finger. You will also press down on the second fret on the second or ‘C’ string with your second finger.
It’s a little tricky to master this chord, but you’ll need it for many songs, and it is often used for songs on the ukulele in the key of F. If the Bb chord is still troubling you, try learning the Gm7 chord first, which is very similar to a Bb chord. A Gm7 is the same as the Bb flat, expect that you remove your third finger from the first string on the third fret. In a pinch, you can use the Gm7 instead of the Bb until you learn the Bb better!
Mastering the Tricky, but SUPER Important E Chord!
One thing that can help you hit the E chord is by working on your reach and flexibility in your fingers. You can achieve this by including finger exercises in your daily warm up. This will not only increase your finger reach, but allow you to play longer and faster!
When playing the E chord, start with your first finger on the G string on the first fret. Then place your second finger on the A string on the second fret. Your third finger will cross over the strings to hit the C string on the fourth fret. This is not only one way to play the E chord, but it is also the easiest.
The standard, commonly used E chord can look a little different. You may often see the E chord pictured as a barre chord. For example, you may see the following image of an E chord in a song book:
This version of the E barre chord will require you to barre the G, C, and E strings on the fourth fret with one finger and place your first finger on the A chord on the second fret. Alternatively, you can also decide to use all three of your others fingers to hold down each string, rather than playing a barre chord. Although this strategy may work initially, eventually it will be important to learn to play this chord as a barre chord!
There are still other ways to play the E chord, but it is crucial that you learn at least one way to play an E chord if you want to play the ukulele! There’s simply no way to get around it!
How Do I Play Other Minor Chords?
You already know how to play a few easy minor ukulele chords, but there are a few more important minor chords for you to learn! In general, minor chords create softer sounds, whereas major chords sound strong and happy. Don't dismiss the minor chords though. They can add a moody sound to your tunes. Let’s look at Bm, Em, Gm,
Bm is a toughy! You’ll need to use the barre chord we learned in the B chord a few minutes ago. You will barre the C, E, and A strings on the second fret with your first finger. You also need to place your third finger on the 4th fret on the G string! Although this chord is not the first chord you’ll probably learn, you may need it later on!
Up next we've got Em and Gm. If you’ve already conquered Bm you have nothing to fear from these minor chords! To get the Em chord down, you'll need to use your first three fingers and reach over the strings to fret. Start with your first finger on the A string on the second fret. Your second finger will be E string on the third fret. Lastly, your third finger will be on the C string on the fourth fret.
The Gm chord is played with your first finger on the A string, first fret. Your second finger will be on the C string on the second fret, and the third finger on the E string on the third fret.
How do I play the 7th chords?
The 7th chords add a groovy vibe to your music. They are very common in blues and jazz songs and are indicated by the number 7 after the letter name. You can add a little soul to your tunes with these 7th chords! The 7th chords are relatively easy to learn. You’ve already had a brief intro to 7 chords when you learned A7 and C7 in the beginning of the article!
The B7 chord is a little more complicated than A7 or C7. Use a barre chord on the G, E, and A strings on the second fret. Then add your middle finger on the C string, third fret.
D7 is somewhat similar to B7. You'll use another barre chord on the G, C, and E strings on the second fret with the first finger. Then add your middle finger down on the A string on the third fret and you've got it!
We are onto the last three ukulele chords for beginners that we will cover. F7 is going to be one of the most difficult chords, but you've come this far, so we know that you can do it! Add a little extra practice to these three and you'll be rocking it! F7 is just like the F chord we learned earlier, but you'll add your third finger on the C string on the third fret.
Hit the E7 chord with your first finger on the G string on the first fret. Your second and third fingers will both be on the second fret, but on the C and A strings, respectively.
Last but not least, G7! Place your first finger on the E string on the first fret. Your second finger will reach over the E and A strings to the C string. Place your second finger on the second fret. Also, your third finger will be on the second fret as well but on the A string.
Ukulele Chord Progressions
Of course, if you’re a musician already, you may know that some chords just sound better together than others! For example, Am, C, Dm, and A7, which are all chords you’ve learned in this brief how-to article can be played together. Try also A, D, and E7 together. If you know what chords go together you can start to create your own songs, and not just play the songs of others. A sign of a true musician is one who can compose and create their own music!
Another set of chords that will blend well together is Em, G, C, and D. These chords are excellent together on both the ukulele and the guitar! Or try B7, Em, Cm, and G together! As you play more on the uke, you’ll learn to develop your own style!!!
If you’re a beginner to the uke, don’t forget to take your time. Don’t stress yourself out on becoming a world-renown ukulele musician overnight. You also need patience to build muscle memory.
To help you to get started try learning chords transitions between G and C. When you are playing a G chord, press your fingers firmly on the strings. Try practicing moving your ring finger (third finger) from the third string on the third fret, back one string to the fourth string (A string) on the third fret. You will need just this one movement and just this finger to transition to a C chord. Next you need to hover your other two remaining fingers above their original positions from your G chord. Congratulations you’ve just learned how to change from a G to a C chord!
Next you need to hover your other two remaining fingers above their original positions from your G chord. Congratulations you’ve just learned how to change from a G to a C chord!
Confused? Take a look at the two chords one more time:
Let’s try to learn one more! G to F! If you are trying to move to an F chord from a G chord, your index finger (first finger) will need to move to your third string (the E string). Then your middle finger moves up to the first string (G string) on the second fret. Lastly you will need to hover your remaining finger (third finger) that you haven’t moved, which you do not need for the F Chord.
There you have it! You can now play the beginner and a few other intermediate ukulele chords. You also have the tools to start making your own music and begin learning chord transitions too! You are on your way to mastery! Keep up the hard work and bookmark this page so that you can return to it when you need a refresher.
Tips for Beginners
- Invest in a top quality ukulele. Cheap ones will be difficult to keep in tune and won't hold up with regular wear and tear.
- Always make sure your instrument is in tune. It will be impossible to sound amazing if you're off key.
- Learn how to read uke tabs.
- Spend some time learning basic strumming patterns.
- Take your time while learning. If you try to hurry through it, you could be memorizing things incorrectly.
- Have fun! It may be hard to motivate yourself to practice if you don't enjoy playing the ukulele. Try learning your favorite songs.
Best Chord Sites for Ukulele in
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If youre starting to learn the ukulele (which we named one of our easiest instruments to learn), youre going to soon hit a point where you want to play some songs that youre familiar with. Thats when youre going to need to find the chords to the song you want to play.
Whats a Chord?
A chord is a set of three or more notes played together to produce the desired sound. Using chords you can play any popular song, its just a matter of finding out which chords to play and in what order. Below is a chord chart showing some of the most common chords youll run into, with the right-most string being the bottom string on the ukulele when youre looking down on it from a playing position.
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Most Popular Ukulele Chords
Luckily for use ukulele players, many of the most popular ukulele chords are also the easiest to play! They are C, D, G, and F chords. A and Am and also very popular and should also be mastered quickly.
Many songs can be played with just those chords above. You should always try to practice and learn new chords to expand your musical expertise, of course.
The Best 4 Ukulele Chord Sites
In years past, finding ukulele chords online was hit or miss. Over the past few years, however, ukulele chords have become much more common. Lets take a look at some of the sites that have the best inventory of songs for you to choose from.
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Ukulele Hunt is dedicated to ukulele chords alone, so its often your best bet for high-quality song chords that will sound great. The downside is that most of their songs are geared towards more advanced players, so beginners may struggle with most of their selection.
Check out all of their chords here. Many of them include an audio clip to give you an example for the strum pattern or any finger-picking sections. The chords and lyrics are usually given in a PDF format, which can be useful if youre looking to print.
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UkuTabs is another ukulele-specific website, but it differs from Ukulele Hunt quite a bit. UkuTabs doesnt go as deep into song explanation, but it does have a much wider library of songs. It also features some great interactive features like hovering over a chord to see a chord chart, an auto-scroll feature that will scroll the page as you play along, as well as a transposer.
The transposer will adjust the chords to a different key. Transposing chords can be extremely useful if the key that the chords are given in are outside of your preferred vocal range, or if you simply want to adjust the key to make the song easier to play.
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Chordie is a massive online database of songs that has a very clean interface. A chord chart specific to the song will display on the side, as well as a chord transposer. Chordie is a great spot to check in case the first two sites come up empty for your desired song.
e-chords boasts more than a million songs in its database, and most have ukulele tabs. Hovering or clicking on the chord name above the lyrics will bring up a helpful diagram which shows you the chord chart. One downside it e-chords is you cant transpose the chords unless you pay for a membership, limiting its usefulness. For how many songs they have, you may still find it useful though.
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Author: Musical Pros
Top 13 Ukulele Chords(A Beginner's Guide To Ukulele Chords)
If you’re new to ukulele and are wondering where to start, then you can begin with these easy chords! On this page we’ve chosen to break down the top 13 ukulele chords. By learning these basic chords you’ll be able to play many awesome songs on your ukulele in no time.
TIP: Try to play on the fingertips as much as possible to avoid muting the other strings, to get a clear sound.
A Quick Guide To Uke Chord Charts
Before you get started learning the chords, you’ll need to understand how a ukulele chord chart works. Here are the four things you need to know to read a chord chart:
1. A chord chart is designed to illustrate the first five frets of a ukulele, with the vertical lines being the strings and the horizontal lines being the frets. You can see these labeled on a real ukulele in the image above.
2. The four strings, from left to right, are G, C, E, and A, also shown above.
3. The solid circles you'll see in the images below represent where you position your fingers on the strings.
4. Also below, if you see an open circle at the top of the chart, then this represents an open string, so you don’t put any fingers on this string.
And that’s it! Now, onto the chords
C Major Ukulele Chord
The C major chord is super simple as it only requires one finger. Remember, that the open circles represent open strings, so no fingers are needed on the G, C, or E string. Place your third (ring) finger on the A string at the 3rd fret. Your hand should look similar to the photo below.
A Major Ukulele Chord
Once you’ve mastered the C major chord, give the A major chord a go, which uses two fingers. Place your first (index) finger on the 1st fret of the C string and your second (middle) finger on the 2nd fret of the G string. And that’s your A major chord!
A Minor Ukulele Chord
Now let’s try out the A minor chord, which is pretty similar to the A major chord, just one finger less. Place your first finger on the 2nd fret of the G string.
G Major Ukulele Chord
Next, we’ll take a look at the G major chord, which is a little trickier because it uses three fingers. Place your first finger on the 2nd fret of the C string, your second finger on the 2nd fret of the A string, and your third finger on the 3rd fret of the E string. This finger positioning might feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but the more you play, the more you’ll get used to it.
F Major Ukulele Chord
Let’s try out the F major chord. Place your first finger on the 1st fret of the E string, and your second finger on the 2nd fret of the G string. Done!
D Major Ukulele Chord
The D major chord uses three fingers all positioned on the 2nd fret. Place your first finger on the G string, your second finger on the C string, and your third finger on the E string.
This chord can feel crowded with 3 fingers on the same fret, especially for those playing a concert or soprano sized Ukulele. Feel free to experiment with different options, like a barre, which you will learn about below. As long as the G, C, and E strings are being pressed, and the A string is left open, do what feels best for you.
D Minor Ukulele Chord
The D minor chord is similar to the F major chord with an additional finger. Place your first finger on the 1st fret of the E string, your second finger on the 2nd fret of the G string, and your third finger on the 2nd fret of the C string.
E Minor Ukulele Chord
If you’ve mastered all the chords so far, E minor won’t be tricky at all. Place your first finger on the 2nd fret of the A string, your second finger on the 3rd fret of the E string, and your third finger on the 4th fret of the C string.
Tip: Remember to keep your fingers arched high to avoid fretting other strings.
B Major Ukulele Chord
Now, we’re going to move onto some more challenging chords, starting with B major. A B major chord uses what’s called a barre chord. A barre chord is where you use one finger to hold down two or more strings at the same time. To play a B major chord, take your index finger and hold down the 2nd fret on both the E and A strings. Then place your second finger on the 3rd fret of the C string, and your third finger on the 4th fret of the G string.
Tip: When playing a barre chord, place your thumb on the back of the ukulele neck to help you apply more pressure.
This might take a bit of practice, but mastering the barre chord will help you with lots of different chords in the future!
Bb/A# (B flat/A sharp) Ukulele Chord
Once you’ve got the B major chord down, have a go at the B flat chord. Take your first finger and barre the E and A strings at the 1st fret, then place your second finger on the 2nd fret of the C string, and your third finger on the 3rd fret of the G string.
D7 Ukulele Chord
D7 is a 7th chord. Not sure what a 7th chord is? Well, 7th chords are a combo of a triad with the addition of another note. Let’s start with learning D7, which also uses a barre chord. Use your first finger to barre the G, C and E strings at the 2nd fret, then place your second finger on the 3rd fret of the A string. Again, this chord might take a bit of practice, but remember to take your time!
Alternative D7 Chord: Place your first finger on the 2nd fret of the G string. Your second (middle) finger also goes on the 2nd fret, but on the E string. The C and A strings should be left open.
G7 Ukulele Chord
G7 is bit simpler than D7. To play a G7 chord, place your first finger on the 1st fret of the E string, your second finger on the 2nd fret of the C string, and your third finger on the 2nd fret of the A string. And you’ve got it!
E7 Ukulele Chord
Finally, we’re going to end with an E7 chord. Place your first finger on the 1st fret of the G string, your second finger on the 2nd fret of the C string, and your third finger on the 2nd fret of the A string.
Tip: Remember to play with the tips of your fingers. Arching your fingers more can help avoid muting the E string.
TIP: Notice the similarities between chords like F and A and try to switch between chords with as little movement as possible.
By practicing these basic chords, you’ll be well equipped to start learning more complex chords and chord progressions, as well as using them to jam along to your favorite songs.
Remember to take your time and have fun!
Chord uke a on
9 Ukulele Chords You Should Know
Playing a C major chord on ukulele is a snap - simply hold down the third fret on the first string and strum away on all four strings. Typically, this note is played with the third (ring) finger.
Note that instructions in this feature assume the ukulele has been tuned to "standard C" tuning - G C E A. For more info on tuning, read how to tune your ukulele.
Recognize this chord shape? If you play guitar, you will it is a D major chord shape. Because of the uke tuning, however, this translates to a G major chord. Put your first (index) finger on the second fret of the third string, your third (ring) finger on the third fret of the second string, and your second (middle) finger on the second fret of the first string. Strum all four strings.
The F major chord is a much simpler chord to play on the uke than it is on guitar. Place your second finger on the second fret of the fourth string, your first finger on the first fret of the second string, and strum all four strings.
Another simple to play chord - to play an A minor on the ukulele, you simply need to hold down the second fret of the fourth string and strum all four strings. This note is typically played with the second (middle) finger.
To play E minor on the ukulele, place your first (index) finger on the second fret of the first string. Next, put your second (middle) finger on the third fret of the second string. Lastly, place your third (ring) finger on the fourth fret of the third string. Strum all four strings.
Guitar players will recognize the D minor chord shape on the ukulele - it's the same fingering as an A minor chord on guitar. Place your second (middle) finger on the second fret of the fourth string. Now, put your third (ring) finger on the second fret of the third string. Lastly, place your first (index) finger on the first fret of the second string. Strum all four strings. Note that switching the second and third fingers when playing this shape is common.
To play A major on the ukulele, place your second (middle) finger on the second fret of the fourth string. Next, put your first (index) finger on the first fret of the third string. Strum all four strings on the uke and you're playing an A major chord.
Guitarists will recognize this shape as an A major chord on the guitar, but on the ukulele, the same chord shape produces a different chord. Place your first (index) finger on the second fret of the fourth string. Next, place your second (middle) finger on the second fret of the third string. Lastly, put your third (ring) finger on the second fret of the second string. Strum all four strings and you are playing a D major chord.
To play an E major chord on the ukulele, start by placing your second (middle) finger on the fourth fret of the fourth string. Next, place your third (ring) finger on the fourth fret of the third string. Now, put your fourth (ring) finger on the fourth fret of the second string. Lastly, place your first (index) finger on the second fret of the first string. Strum all four strings and you are playing an E minor chord.
Basic Ukulele Chords For Beginners
Shorthand chord naming
Aside from chord diagrams, another popular way to learn the finger placement chords is to know their shorthand. Remember that the vertical lines on a chord diagram represents the ukulele’s four strings, G-C-E-A? And that a 0 on top of the diagram means an open, or unfretted string? Those principles are used in shorthand chord names.
Let’s take for example the C chord. As a review, this is made by putting your ring finger on the first, or the A string at the third fret. In shorthand the C chord would be This means that strings G, C and E are not fretted, but A is fretted at fret 3.
Another example is the C7 chord, which you make by putting your finger on the bottom or the A string at the first fret. In shorthand, C7 would then be Since it’s at the first fret, you would hardly need to use your middle, ring or pinky finger there, and it would be natural to use the index finger for fretting.
Other examples of shorthand chord names: A is , G7 is and A7 is
Shorthand chord names are a good way to remember where a chord is fretted but you still have to determine which finger to use for fretting. Don’t worry this will be easy enough to work out once you know how to make chords.
Ukulele playing tips for beginners
- Take your time, don’t rush!
In each of your playing goals playing faster, learning new chords, composing a simple melody have patience with yourself and don’t rush. Muscle memory takes time to develop, especially in beginners hold an instrument for the first time. It’s normal and don’t be too hard on yourself when you feel like you’re not making any progress.
To track your progress and motivate you to keep playing, keep a daily practice log. Write down what you’ve accomplished for the day, say practicing chord transitions (moving from one chord to the next) between the C and F chord. If you can, record a video of yourself playing every day. We’re sure that your Day 30 video will show your improved your skills since Day 1.
Recording a video of yourself playing can also help you observe yourself and see what you’re doing wrong so you can make improvements.
- Maintain good form and posture.
Make sure you are sitting comfortably when practicing and you’re not slouching. Good posture also prevents unnecessary strain in your muscles and joints.
- Use a metronome.
Practice chords using a metronome (a physical one, an online metronome or a mobile app). Start with a slow pace then increase the speed or tempo steadily as you become more adept at playing chords.
For instance, play the F chord at 65 beats per minute (BPM) for 1 minute, then take second break, then play the chord again. Repeat this twice before moving to the next chord. After playing the chords for 65 BPM, increase the tempo to 70 BPM, then 75 BPM, and so on. If the song your want to learn plays at 85 BPM, start with a slower pace and build up until you are playing the song at 85 BPM.
- Anticipate the next chord.
When you’re learning to play a song, it helps to listen closely so you can hear where the chord changes happen. When making chord transitions, it would help if you anticipate the next chord and prepare your fingers by hovering them over the strings they should fret.
Let’s take for example the C chord. When you play it, only your ring finger is fretting, leaving your index and middle fingers free. When you need to transition to an F chord from a C chord, you can prepare your index and middle fingers by hovering them over the strings they need to fret (E string at the first fret, G string at the second fret). This way, your fingers don’t have to travel far when you change chords.
- Do finger exercises.
If it’s your first time playing a string instrument, making the chords may feel awkward or uncomfortable to your fingers. To help you get used to playing, include finger exercises as part of your daily practice to increase the reach of your fingers and let you play faster and longer.
- Learn different strumming patterns.
Ukulele strumming patterns consist of various combinations of up strums and down strums. Strumming is another aspect of ukulele playing that can impact the sound and feel of a song, so practice different strumming patterns too. This is one example of a strumming pattern (D stands for down strum, U stands for up strum): D, D-U-D, D-U-D, D-U-D, D-U-D, D-U-D, D-U
Remember to strum with your wrist and not with your arm because moving your arm up and down repeatedly will tire you out quickly. It’s all in the wrist!
- Take breaks and allow yourself to develop muscle memory.
Allow your brain and finger muscles time to record your motor activity and make it easier for you to come back to the movement easily without that much conscious effort. This goes not only for making chords but for strumming as well.
- Hum the lyrics or melody.
If you’re learning to play a song, it would be helpful to hum along while practicing. This will help improve your strumming and keep the right timing while allowing you to get used to using your vocals. As you get better you’re in tune, on time and can transition between chords easily, you can move on to singing the lyrics while playing effortlessly!
- Stay loose.
Another thing to love about the ukulele is that it gives off a relaxed and chill vibe. It doesn’t feel like a “formal” instrument like the harp or the cello. So when playing the ukulele, it’s best to stay loose and relaxed, not only in your fingers, wrists and arms but your entire body, especially your shoulders and your back. You can maintain good posture without holding yourself too stiffly, which can result in you getting tired quickly.
- Never stop learning!
Watch ukulele videos, listen to different music genres, play along with ukulele music, discover alternate fingerings all of these contribute to you becoming a better ukulele player. Don’t stop with with just the basics; let your motivation drive you to learn more about playing the ukulele. Jam with your friends, try to compose your own song (or even a simple melody) do whatever makes you motivated to learn and simply keep going!
I Wont Back Down - Tom Petty, Johnny Cash - Ukulele Tutorial
Easy practice songs for beginners
Here are some of the easiest ukulele songs for beginners. These songs use the chords we’ve listed above. Remember to start slow and have fun!
Songs using the ukulele chords G, D and C
Blowin’ In The Wind (Bob Dylan)
Chords for the verses: G C G G C D G C G G C D
When you get to “The answer my friend” parts, use these chords: C D G Em C D G
22 (Taylor Swift)
These chords just repeat throughout the song: G D C D
Songs using the ukulele chords G, D, Em and C
Someone Like You (Adele)
Chords for the verses, choruses and the bridge: G D- Em C
Chords for the pre-chorus: D C D C D
Tougher Than The Rest (Bruce Springsteen)
Chords for the verses: G C D C G D
Chords for the bridge: Em C G C D G Em C G C G D G
I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty)
Chords for the verses: Em D G Em D G Em D C Em D G
Chords for the choruses: C D C D C D Em D G Em D G
Once you’ve got those songs down, you can try your hand at playing other beginner-friendly songs. There are plenty of ukulele tabs for these and other songs online simply do a search to find your favorites!
- Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole)
- I’m Yours (Jason Mraz)
- Let It Be (The Beatles)
- I Do/Falling For You (Colbie Caillat)
- Stay (Rihanna)
- Save Tonight (Eagle Eye Cherry)
- Hey Soul Sister (Train)
- Just The Way Your Are (Bruno Mars)
- Tears In Heaven (Eric Clapton)
- Don’t Stop Believing (Journey)
- Leaving On A Jet Plane (John Denver)
We hope our ukulele chord explanation for beginners helped out. All thats left to do is for you to pull out your uke and get practicing. Practice does make perfect after all!
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A Ukulele Chord
Played '' on the soprano - Standard Tuning (GCEA). Alternative name: Amajor.
View this chord in: G-Tuning (DGBE)D-Tuning (ADF#B)Slack-Key Tuning (GCEG)
Don't know how to read a chord? Read this first.
When playing A major, place your index finger at the first fret of the C string and your middle finger on the second fret of the G string. Keep your top finger joints perpendicular to the string so the other parts of your fingers or palm do not mute or interfere with the E and A strings. Keep the fingers arched and strum every string making sure each one plays clearly.
- Type : triad (major)
- Intervals :A (T), Db (3M), E (5J),
- Formula : 1 3 5
- Alternative notation : 2 1 0 0
- Tuning : Standard Tuning (GCEA)
Alternative A positions
We have 4 other positions for this uke chord.
Scales related to this chord
Selection of famous scales you can play on a A chord to improvise great solos on your Uke.
- Scales that fit:A Major, D Major, E Major, D Melodic minor, E Melodic minor, Db Harmonic minor, D Harmonic minor, B Natural minor, Db Natural minor, Gb Natural minor, Gb Blues, A Major pentatonic, Gb Minor pentatonic, A Overtone, G Overtone, Db Altered, Eb Altered, C Altered bb7, Db Altered bb7, Db Super locrian, Eb Super locrian, C Ultralocrian, Db Ultralocrian, D Hawaiian, E Hawaiian,
Create your own A ukulele chord pattern using the notes of the A arpeggio / intervals on the fretboard :
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