How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Musicians have been struggling to play the dreaded ukulele e-chord for years.

In fact, many ukulele players can’t play the e-chord, and choose to avoid songs that include it.

The e-chord is particularly difficult to fret, meaning it requires the hand and fingers being placed in an awkward position. The tricky nature of the ukulele e-chord means that transitions between chords also become more tedious.

How do you play an E chord on a ukulele? Put the index finger on the second fret of the first string, your middle finger on the fourth fret of the fourth string, your ring finger on the fourth fret of the third string, and your pinky on the fourth fret of the second string. This is the correct way to play the e chord on a ukulele.

Ukulele players often find it easier to avoid this chord altogether, or use a similar chord in its place (most commonly the E7 chord).

However, to be a truly well-rounded ukulele player, the ability to play all major chords is essential. Eventually, players become restricted by their avoidance of the e-chord and unable to master their craft.

Thankfully, by following these professional ukulele chord tips, mastering the e-chord is possible for even the most uncertain players. With a little time and practice, this chord begins to blend in with all the others and becomes part of a comprehensive ukulele playing skill set.

Are you ready to do what it takes to overcome the ukulele e-chord? Then let’s dive in!


Traditionally, the e-chord is played by cramming multiple fingers together.

You can see how it was originally meant to be played in the quick YouTube video below.

While this is the authentic way to play a ukulele e-chord, it is also the most difficult way. If you are a ukulele purist, you may prefer to learn the chord this way and master it with extra effort and practice.

However, if you are like many ukulele players, you’ll likely find it easier to play a variation of the e-chord. Most commonly, musicians choose to play the 1402 chord. While this variation is undoubtedly easier than the traditional e-chord on ukulele, it does still require concentration so as not to mute the C-string.

If you are a more advanced ukulele player and are comfortable playing barre chords, another alternative is to play the barred version. Playing barre chords requires additional pressure (since you are holding down multiple strings with one finger), but many ukulele players still prefer this over the awkward finger maneuvering that’s required to play the e-chord the original way.

For a more in-depth lesson on how to play barred ukulele chords, check out this article by Coustii.

By learning your alternatives, you free yourself from a one-size-fits-all solution. Only you know which variation feels best to your playing style, so try each and find the one that works for you.


For several chords (we’re talking about you, G7), your thumb doesn’t have to do much. It just sits there effortlessly behind the neck of your uke. But when playing the ukulele e-chord, this should never be the case.

When playing this chord, you’ll want your thumb to be pressing intentionally on the back of the neck.

The advantage? You get solid coverage without making your more delicate fingers do all the work!

This ukulele e-chord tip is especially helpful when playing the barred version, since your index finger is flatter against the fret. By letting your thumb do the heavy work, your index finger and pinky finger can focus on holding their place.


Believe it or not, the way you angle your left-hand (or the hand creating the chords) can have a significant impact on how difficult or easy it is to play the e-chord.

When most musicians hold their ukulele, their left-hand is facing palm up, with the neck of the ukulele resting on top of the palm. Since this is how the majority of players hold their instrument, they often play chords accordingly, with their hand remaining in relatively the same position.

However, if you change the angle of your left-hand, everything changes! Ukulele player Aaron Keim covers this ukulele tip in this YouTube video. It’s worth a watch!

Try holding your ukulele with your left elbow at a 180-degree angle rather than the usual 90-degree angle (keep your elbow perpendicular to the neck of the guitar).

This angle will make it easier to place your fingers in the tricky required positions for the e-chord.

Remember, the e-chord is a challenge for every ukulele player at some point in the learning process. No matter which way you decide to play this chord, finding the variation that works best for you and allows you to seamlessly transition between chords is all that really matters. When you can effortlessly transition, the music you play will sound more natural and pleasant to the ear.

Soon, you will be playing songs like Killing Me Softly (by Lauren Hill), Hotel California (by The Eagles), Don’t Stop Believin’ (by Journey), and many other classic hits that feature the e-chord.

It is also important to remember that playing the ukulele e-chord can be easier or more difficult depending on the chords that come before and after it. If you are playing a chord before the e-chord that makes it difficult to transition, you may want to play another variation of the first chord that allows you to more easily move to the e-chord after.

Either way, the more you play and experiment, the more you will be able to play all chords and songs with ease.

And of course, if you encounter any other problems while learning ukulele, be sure to revisit our blog for more tips and tricks.

Now that you know how to overcome the e-chord, why not read some of our other articles? Check them out below!

Standard C Tuning

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

The “Standard C” tuning (sometimes referred to as “Re-entrant tuning”) is the most common ukulele tuning for soprano, concert and tenor ukes. Standard C tuning features strings tuned (from fourth to first strings) to G C E A. Guitarists new to the ukulele are in for a surprise, however, as the pitch for the open strings in C tuning does not progress from low to high, as it does in traditional guitar tuning. The lowest string on a ukulele in C tuning is tuned to a high G – the second highest sounding open string.

Because of this unfamiliar tuning, it makes sense not to tune the lowest (fourth) string of the ukulele first, as you would on a guitar. Instead, begin your tuning with the third string of the uke, which is the note C.

If you have access to a piano, find and play the note “middle C”, and tune your ukulele to that. To find the right pitch for this open C string using a guitar, reference the first fret on the second string of any in-tune guitar, and adjust your uke tuning to that note. If you have access to a chromatic tuner, tune the third string on the uke to C. Or, you can simply listen to this recording of an open C string on the ukulele.

Once you’ve got your C string in tune, you can use this note to tune the rest of the instrument. The open second string of a ukulele is E. To tune that string, press and play the fourth fret of the third (C) string on the ukulele, which is note E. Now adjust tuning on the E (second) string until the two notes sound the same.

Using your freshly tuned E string, you can now tune your lowest string – the G string. To do that, hold down and play the third fret of the second (E) string on the ukulele, and tune your open fourth string until the two notes sound the same.

Lastly, tune your first string – the A string – by holding down the second fret of the fourth (G) string. Now, adjust the tuning on the first (A) string until the two notes sound the same. At this point, you should be in tune. To double check your tuning, listen to this recording of all four open strings being played on the ukulele.

D Tuning

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

D tuning on the ukulele used to be an extremely popular tuning method but has recently fallen out of favor in the uke community. D tuning today is most commonly found in England and Canada. The tuning itself is very similar to standard C tuning, except all notes are tuned a whole step (two frets) higher, making the open strings A D F# and B. Let’s walk through the steps required to get your uke into D tuning.

As with standard C tuning, it makes sense not to begin tuning on the lowest (fourth) string of the ukulele, because that isn’t the lowest pitched note on the uke. Instead, begin your tuning with the third string of the ukulele, which is the note D.

If you have access to a piano, find and play the note D one tone above “middle C”, and tune your ukulele to that. To find the right pitch for this open D string using a guitar, reference the third fret on the second string of any in-tune guitar, and adjust your uke tuning to that note.

Once you’ve got your D string in tune, you can use this note to tune the rest of the instrument. The open second string of a ukulele is F#. To tune that string, press and play the fourth fret of the third (D) string on the ukulele, which is note F#. Now adjust tuning on the F# (second) string until the two notes sound the same.

Using your freshly tuned F# string, you can now tune your lowest string – the A string. To do that, hold down and play the third fret of the second (F#) string on the ukulele, and tune your open fourth string until the two notes sound the same.

Lastly, tune your first string – the B string – by holding down the second fret of the fourth (A) string. Now, adjust the tuning on the first (B) string until the two notes sound the same. At this point, you should be in tune.

The e chord is every beginner ukulele player’s nemesis. Players will go to great lengths to avoid playing an E chord on ukulele. It’s not uncommon for people to play an E7 in it’s place or just to transpose a song completely. Check out my guide to helping you get to grips with the e chord…

Can’t I just permanently avoid playing an E chord?

In a word, no. Well technically you could but you shouldn’t. Why place that restriction on yourself? That’s like saying you’re only ever going to play down strums because up strums are a little bit tricky. It’s hugely limiting to you and your ukulele playing. Get to grips with the E chord and you’ll never need to transpose songs or drop in an E7 that might not work anyway.

The good news…

Here comes the good news, just like every chord there are multiple ways to play an E (otherwise known as chord inversions) and some are easier to fret than others. It’s a case of selecting the one that fits into what you’re playing and which chord you’re transitioning from. Here’s 3 of them (there are more though)…

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Looking at the chord boxes above, it’s the first E chord that usually strikes fear into a players heart. Essentially this version of an E is a D chord shifted up 2 frets. I personally almost never play this version of the e chord they way I’ve shown it in the diagram. More often than not I will play this chord with 2 fingers using my third finger to bar strings 2,3 and 4 of fret 4. It takes a little getting used to, and again I would recommend using the 60 second chord changes method daily to get this version down.

The second version of the E chord shown above is quite different and there’s no barring involved (phew). I’m more likely to call on this shape when I’m coming from a chord that shares similar fretting positions. A G chord is a good example, you get to leave your second finger where it was.

Finally, and in my opinion the easiest way to play an E – simply bar all the strings at fret 4 with your first finger and then use your pinky to hold down fret 7 of the A string (help playing barre chords here). If you’re coming from a bar chord then it makes sense to stay with another bar chord and the transition should be relatively easy. The only real issue with this version is that it can sound a little strange if you’ve been playing open chords before it (but try it and see) and it can also be a bit of a jump moving 4 frets higher.

More options to master the E chord

There are more ways to play an E on ukulele but we’ll stick with those for now. I’d highly recommend getting to grips with each one. Over time you’ll start to find that you develop a feel for which one you should be using in the context of the song that you’re playing. Take a minute every day to work on your e chords – maybe even throw it into your practice routine, you’ll have them mastered in no time!

Extra – the really easy way to play an e chord

How to play an e chord on the ukuleleIf you’ve read this far then congratulations, your reward for reading on is this rather easy way to play an e chord.

Notice it’s the same as the rather difficult way to play an e chord but this time we’re either muting or just not strumming the bottom (A) string. That’s because it’s not necessary.

This is where a bit of chord construction knowledge comes in handy. Fear not though, I’ll save the lesson on chord construction for another day. All you need to know is, a major chord consists of only 3 notes. So that’s all we need.

Ordinarily we fret the A string at fret 2 giving us a B but as we already have a B note fretted on the G string we don’t need to have another in. You can simply leave it out and you’ve still got an E.

This article was co-authored by Jennifer Mueller, JD. Jennifer Mueller is a wikiHow Content Creator. She specializes in reviewing, fact-checking, and evaluating wikiHow’s content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. Jennifer holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006.

This article has been viewed 20,900 times.

The ukulele is a relatively easy instrument to learn, but some chords can be a little more difficult than others. The E chord, in particular, can be a challenging chord to sound clearly – especially for beginners. And yet, it remains a common chord in many popular songs. Luckily, there are several different chord shapes you can try until you find one that’s comfortable for you. [1] X Research source

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Tip: Ukulele chords are also represented as text chords, which each number telling you the number where that string is fretted to make the chord. As a text chord, the standard E chord shape is 4442.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Drawback: You’ll have to press your finger or thumb at an odd angle to keep from muting the A string. If your fingers naturally bend back this way it shouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise, you may have some difficulty, even if you’re normally good at barre chords, because you’re not barring all the strings.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Tip: To mute the string, simply rest your finger or thumb over the string. Don’t place enough pressure to actually fret the string.

There comes a point in a ukulele player’s journey where one must face head on, with courage and bravery, that dreaded and difficult-to-play E major chord on ukulele.

By learning the E chord on ukulele, you unlock a whole new world of playing songs on the ukulele with the most notable song using the E chord being Hey Soul Sister by Train.

Don’t worry because together in this lesson we look at three of the best ways to play the E major chord on ukulele. I provide you with three variations of E major and give you the pros and cons of each, so you can learn how to play the E chord and determine which one is easiest for you.

Watch the video and learn how to play E major on ukulele.

How to Play the E Major Chord on Ukulele: Variation #1

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

To play the E major chord on ukulele in this first variation, place the middle finger at the 4th fret of the top g-string, ring finger at the 4th fret of the C-string, and index finger at the 2nd fret of the bottom A-string. Let the E-string ring open.

How to Play the E Major Chord on Ukulele: Variation #2

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

To play the E major chord on ukulele in this second variation, perform a barre by pressing your index finger on the top g-string, C-string, and E-string on the 4th fret and place the little finger on the 7th fret of the bottom A-string.

How to Play the E Major Chord on Ukulele: Variation #3

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

To play the E major chord on ukulele in this third and most popular variation, perform a barre by pressing your index finger on all four strings on the 2nd fret and perform a barre by pressing your ring finger on the top g-string, C-string, and E-string on the 4th fret.

Be sure to watch the video to get tips for playing this tricky position.

How to Play the E Major Chord on Ukulele: Variation #4

This fourth variation of the E major chord is the same chord as Variation #3 but uses a different fretting hand position.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

To play the E major chord on ukulele in this fourth variation, place the middle finger at the 4th fret of the top g-string, ring finger at the 4th fret of the C-string, little finger at the 4th fret of the E-string, and index finger at the 2nd fret of the bottom A-string.

I recommend using this Variation #4 if you have small hands and fingers, but for those of us with larger hands and fingers (like myself), learning Variation #3 is better.

Was This Chord Too Hard to Learn?

The E major chord on ukulele is infamous for being the hardest chord to play on ukulele.

If you’re a beginner and this was too difficult, don’t be discouraged. I recommend starting with the free ukulele lesson book Your First Ukulele Lesson and Then Some where I teach you easy ukulele chords and how to apply those to strum and play actual songs.

Enter your email address below to grab your free copy:

Yes! I want the free ukulele lesson book Your First Ukulele Lesson and Then Some.

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How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Join over 50,000 people and get our free ukulele lesson book Your First Ukulele Lesson and Then Some. Learn new tricks like:

  • How to properly tune, hold, and strum your ukulele
  • The most essential “must-know” ukulele chords
  • How to play 3 extremely versatile strumming patterns
  • How to play “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad”

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This scale might be a challenge, but it’s essential to any player.

By Ben Nemeroff

The E major chord (sometimes just known as an E chord) is an easy chord for beginners learning to play the ukulele. Learn more about the notes that make up an E major ukulele chord, several different ways to play it, and songs that feature the E major chord.

Lesson: How to Play an E Chord

There are several ways to play an E major chord on the ukulele. We’ll walk you through where to place your fingers on the fretboard of your ukulele and which of the four strings you’ll strum to play different versions of the E chord. We’ll also use ukulele chord charts to help you get a visual representation of where to place your fingers.

  • G = The fourth string
  • C = The third string (lowest tone)
  • E = The second string
  • A = The first string (and highest-tone string)

Unlike the guitar, where strings are in a descending order, the lowest-toned string on a ukulele is actually the third string.

In our chord charts, we’ll also show you where to place your fingers on the frets. Here’s a key to better understand notations to play the e chord on a ukulele chart. The diagrams represent your ukulele fret board 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 mute it when playing
  • 1 = Index finger
  • 2 = Middle finger
  • 3 = Ring finger
  • 4 = Pinky finger

E Chord on Ukulele: E 2nd Position (v1)

One of the easiest ways for beginners to play the E chord on ukulele is the 2nd position. In order to play this version of the chord, you’ll start by placing your index finger on the 2nd fret of the A string. Your middle finger will rest on the 4th fret of the G string, while your ring and pinky fingers will be on the 4th fret of the C and E strings, respectively.

  • Index finger: 2nd fret of the A (1st) string
  • Middle finger: 4th fret of the G (4th) string
  • Ring finger: 4th fret of the C (3rd) string
  • Pinky finger: 4th fret of the E (2nd) string

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

You’ll strum all four strings to play the E major chord in this second position version.

The infamous E chord. There’s no doubt about it, it’s extremely awkward to play on a ukulele. The shape feels unnatural and it hurts your fingers. I have been playing the ukulele for over 7 years and I still struggle with it.

I’m going to show you a much easier way to play it. You only need two fingers for the fretting. It’s not a shortcut and it’s not cheating. If anything it’s going to make you a better player doing it this way.

Stop worrying about the pain in your fingers and keep reading to explore the E chord in more detail.

How to Play An E Chord

The “Correct” Way

To add some context let’s quickly get to grips with the official way to play the E chord. You would use your first finger on the bottom A-string. Then your pinky on the E, ring on the C and lastly your middle finger on the G string.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

The Easy Way

Its time to crawl out the cave you have been hiding in. The E chord has shed its scary skin and been reborn. For this way of playing it, we are only using 2 fingers.

    Barre all the strings on the 4th fret. Place your pinky on the 7th fret of the A string.

If barring chords is a new concept to you, it’s worth checking out this guide on how to play them effectively . The short answer is, you place your first finger across multiple strings.

Put your thumb right in the centre of the neck when playing a barre chord. This is going to spread the pressure evenly. Putting less strain on your other fingers.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

This isn’t the magic bullet that’s going to have you instantly playing E chords on the ukulele. But there are many benefits of doing this way. Let’s take a look at them

The Benefits

This shape is what we call a movable chord. You could do this same shape two frets down and that you create a D Major chord. Interesting to note that if you go down another two frets. You wouldn’t be barring anymore and you are left with a C Major shape.

The biggest benefit would be that it’s going to lower the hurdle. Tackling the E chord can be enough to put some people off playing the uke altogether. As a beginner in something, we are always seeking out the path of least resistance. Overcoming these issues is what gives us more confidence.

Lets Learn A Song

Time to take what we have learnt and apply that to a song. We will be using our new E major chord and the A Major chord.

Rolling Stones – Satisfaction

Moving from the barred chord to the open chord is great practice for strengthening your fingers. For this song all you need to do is switch between the two of them.

So now you have mastered the dreaded E chord. It’s time to play it faster. I spent 20+ hours working on this technique that is guaranteed to increase your speed on the ukulele.

Congratulations! You’ve learned the parts of the ukulele and how to tune it. Now you’re all set to learn how to play some ukulele chords and start playing your favorite songs. Let’s go over some terminology that will help you read ukulele chord diagrams.

The Chording Hand

Each finger on the chording hand, which is usually the left hand, has a label. The thumb is T, the index finger is 1, the middle finger is 2, the ring finger is 3, and the pinky is 4.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

How to Read a Chord Diagram

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

The name of the chord is at the top. The diagram shows the nut across the top, the strings going down and the frets going across. The dots are where you place your fingers. Some diagrams suggest what fingers to use using numbers 1-4, while others only use dots.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Chord diagrams with open circles above the nut indicate open strings. An open string is a string that is played without placing your fingers on any frets.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Playing Your First Chord

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

The chord that most emergent ukulele players learn first is the C chord. Locate the dot and the string where the dot is placed. Note, some diagrams have indicated a suggested finger to use. In this example, the dot is located on the 3rd fret of the 1st string and suggests that the player use finger number 3 on the chording hand.

Note: Just like the diagram indicates, the placement of the fingers will be in between the frets and not on the metal frets themselves.

Tips for Better Sounding Chords

If you notice that your chords sound muffled, make sure that your fingers are right behind the frets and not on top of them. It also could be that another finger is touching or muting a string causing the chord to sound muffled. Strum each string to find the muted string. Notice whether or not you may need to apply a little more pressure to the string or use the tips of your fingers to lift part of the finger out of the way to make the chord sound clearer. Lastly, make sure your nails are trimmed because long nails may prevent a player from being able to form chords comfortably.

Essential Chords

Now it’s time to learn some essential chord families, or keys, and some popular songs that use these chords. Learning the chord families below will help you play dozens of songs, and you’ll also find that some keys share some common chords.

The Key of C

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Popular Songs in the Key of C:

“I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – Simon Linda

The Key of G

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Popular Songs in the Key of G:

“Love Me Do” – The Beatles

“Stand By Me” – Ben E. King

“Wagon Wheel” – Darius Rucker

The Key of A

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Popular Songs in the Key of A:

“Three Little Birds” – Bob Marley

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” – John Denver

“Sweet Caroline” – Neil Diamond

“Rockin’ Robin” – Leon Rene

Now that you know how to read a chord diagram, produce a clear sound, and some essential chords, you’re ready to learn some essential strumming patterns that you could use for literally HUNDREDS of songs.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

>>>Learn 7 Essential Ukulele Strumming Pattern


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This is a guest post by Dagan Bernstein.

As your ukulele skills advance, you will encounter chords of increasing difficulty. Here are six tips for when you come across a challenging chord.

Learn all about this subject and more in…

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

With nine hours HD video lessons for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players, Left Hand Technique For Ukulele will teach you how to optimize your movements, articulate your notes, and master the fretboard.

Apply a Different Fingering

Investigate how you can change which fingers go where in a chord. Each person’s hand is different and sometimes the suggested finger placements for a chord don’t work equally well for everybody.

Also, each ukulele has specific structural characteristics that can make a particular combination of fingerings easier to use when making a chord. These can include a thinner or rounder neck, wider fingerboard, as well as more or less radius.

Use an Alternative Chord Shape

Each chord has a number of different places on the neck that it can be formed. These variations are known as inversions – or shapes. Each inversion uses a different combination of notes to create a unique voicing that gives it a higher or lower sound.

Listen to how each chord sounds in the song you are learning to determine if changing the inversion is a possibility. Some alternative chord shapes don’t sound right for a specific song, though usually you can get away with it. Conversely, you might stumble upon a hidden gem that breathes new life into an old favorite.

Play the Chord as a Triad

One of my favorite hacks is just playing a triad. Rather than putting stress on your hand playing all four notes of a difficult chord, only play three of the most essential notes.

Playing a triad might demand some attention to your technique. When playing only three notes, one string will need to be kept quiet. Use a three-finger pluck with your right hand to create a clean articulation of the triad. This may take practice, but will open up new ways to play chords and new tonality to your repertoire. You can also mute the unplayed string with your left hand, touching the string with a leftover or leaned-over finger to keep it from ringing.

Place Your Fingers in the Correct Order

The simple act of mindfully placing your fingers onto the fretboard in the most efficient order possible can help make your life easier. For chords that involve utilizing multiple fingers, there are a variety of ways in which you can add your fingers to the strings. In general, the most efficient approach is to start by fretting with the index finger and working up through your digits, one at a time, to the pinky.

For example, when making an Em chord, start with the index finger on the A-sting, then the middle finger on the E-string, and then finally the ring finger on the C-string.

Disciplined practice will help decrease the delay in forming the chord. Break down the chord into its individual parts and when transitioning to the chord keep your right hand strumming so you donʻt lose the beat.

Practice Muscle Memory Exercises

Complement the above approach by developing your finger’s muscle memory. Repeatedly hammer-on and pull-off of each note in a chord using one finger at a time with the left hand.

For instance, if you want to practice a G major, hold the chord and mash on and off the 2nd fret on the C-string repeatedly with your index finger. Then move on to repeatedly hammering your middle finger on the 2nd fret, A-string. Finish with the last finger in the chord – the ring – on the 3rd fret, E-string.

This simple exercise will develop the individual muscles in the hand. It also helps build connections to your brain that are crucial to forming each shape and allows your fingers to “remember” the chord on their own.

Transpose the song to a different key

A final option is to transpose the song into a new key that uses an inherently easier grouping of chord fingerings. You can avoid a problem chord by changing all the chords of the entire song you are playing.

This is not a fool-proof strategy since avoiding one chord may force you to encounter a new chord that is equally difficult. Most online chord sites like Ultimate Guitar have an automatic chord transposing feature built in. Look for the “transpose” feature that says “-1” or “+1”. This will move the chords of the entire song up or down a half-step at a time.

Keep in mind that dramatic changes in the key can make the song more difficult to sing. In the new key the melody can be too high or too low for the vocal range of the singer. It is best to stay within one or two half steps of the key you typically sing the song in.

Chord Specific Tips

E Major Chord

One of the most common chords in rock-n-roll and blues is E major. Here are some examples of how to use the tips above to make it easier to play.

  • Use a 4447 barre chord fingering in place of the 4442 .
  • Use the triad 442 with the index finger on the A-string, middle finger on the C-string, and ring finger on the E- string. This triad creates a tighter sound that works well for many rock styles.
  • Transpose the chords up a half-step to play the song in the key of F major.

F Major 7

This chord is somewhat infamous for its difficult 2413 fingering. James HiIl dubbed it “the hardest ukulele chord.”

  • Drilling and develop your muscle memory using the hammer-on/pull-off method.
  • Place your fingers on the frets in ascending order while you keep the strum going. If you try to start fretting the chord with your pinky, it will be harder than if you start fretting with your index finger. You can use this method to also fudge the chord into the timing since the first few fingers create an F harmony sound by themselves. In a four beat pattern, as long as you can get to the major seventh note on the C-string by the end of the measure, you will still express the additional jazz tones.
  • Use an alternate 5500 fingering, which is much easier and offers a beautiful voicing that really brings out the delicate tonality of the major seventh chord.

Bb and B Major

As barre chords, these two require strong hand muscles to form cleanly.

  • Practice your muscle memory to build those underused muscles in the hand. Use the “mash the fret method”. For Bb, start with your index finger on the A-string at the first fret and hammer/pull on and off. Repeat for each individual note of the chord.
  • Adjust the barre you are making by moving the index finger towards your body so the softer part of your finger is fretting the notes. This slight adjustment should help make the notes play lederer. A final option is to play a triad on the first three strings.

Final Thoughts

Learning an instrument is a lifetime pursuit. During this process, as you encounter new challenges, you will have to push yourself to adapt and improve.

Keep growing, keep practicing, and keep challenging yourself to learn new chords and fingerings. This will help keep your playing from becoming stagnant and boost your progress as an ukulele player.

Chords are the very foundation of music and we figure, while you’re at home during these weird times, it’s never a bad idea to increase your vocabulary by learning some new charts. We’re offering Ukulele and Guitar chord charts for you to learn and share with us! You can download them by clicking on the charts below…

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

For beginners, these charts probably seem confusing, a whole lot of random lines, dots, and numbers. No need to “fret” we’re here to help!

A guitar chord chart is an image of a fretboard if the guitar was standing vertically and you were looking at it straight on. The vertical lines represent the strings of the guitar. From left to right, the strings (in standard tuning) are low E (6th string), A (5th), D (4th), G (3rd), B (2nd) and high E (1st).

The horizontal lines represent the frets. The dots in the diagram mark where to place your fingers of your fretting hand, with numbers assigned to each finger. Your index finger is 1 and 2 is your middle finger, 3 is the ring finger, and 4 is for your pinky finger. If you ever see a “T” on a chord chard, that indicates to play the note with your thumb.

You might have also noticed Xs and Os on top of the chord chart. The “X” means that you mute the string or don’t play it, while “O” directs you to play that string open, with no fingering on that string.

Ukulele chord charts are similar to guitar, but with less strings (only 4). With your ukulele standing vertically and straight on, just like the guitar chord charts, the strings are illustrated as vertical lines (from left to right G C, E, A string) and the frets are the horizontal lines.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Similarly, each dot represents the placement of your finger. So, how should you place your fingers? You play the C string at the second fret, the E string at the third fret and the A string at the second fret. And the “O” directs you to play that string open, with no fingering on that string. Just like the example above.

Knowing how to properly read a chord chart is a key step in any player’s development. Share your jam sesh on your social channels by tagging Ernie Ball (@ernieball) and using the hashtag (#StayInAndPlay) and we’ll reshare your music on Ernie Ball’s Instagram. We’re all in this together and we encourage you to #StayInAndPlay.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Ernie Ball Gear

Make sure you have the gear you need at home with you so you can #stayinandplay.

Ukulele strings

Ernie Ball ukulele strings are made from 100% nylon monofilament. Our ukulele strings are offered in traditional clear resin for a bright, balanced tone with excellent projection and black resin for a warm, rich tone with percussive attack. Ernie Ball ukulele strings feature ball end construction for easy installation and enhanced tuning stability. Gauges .028, .032, .040, .028

Ukulele Strap

The Ernie Ball ukulele strap is made from comfortable 1” wide black Polypropylene webbing machined stitched to quality black leather ends for excellent strength and longevity. Black injection molded plastic hook allows for tight fit connection to ukulele sound-hole, further enhancing comfort and reliability.

Electric Guitar strings

Ernie Ball offers over 200 choices of electric guitar strings, in a diverse selection of materials, string gauges, and styles. Our electric guitar strings come in a variety of high-quality materials including M-steel, cobalt, nickel, stainless steel, titanium, and bronze. Our guitar string sets are available for 6-string, 7-string, 8-string, 9-string, 10-string, and 12-string guitars.

Acoustic Guitar strings

Ernie Ball acoustic guitar strings offer musicians the power to handpick the sound of their music. Acoustic guitar strings influence the overall sound and tonality because there are no pickups or amplifiers to interfere. Just pure music.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Are you wanting to learn to play the ukulele, but don’t know where to begin? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve broken down how to play ukulele chords into an easy digestible format. Learn a section at a time, or sit down and pull up a chair to memorize the whole enchilada.

Where do I begin?

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!

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Image courtesy of Amazon

Next, make sure your ukulele is tuned properly. The Intellitouch PT10c Mini Clip on Tuner, makes it easy to tune your uke wherever you are. It’s small, easy to fit in your bag and the screen’s color system makes it easy to tune your instrument. The notes and chords will sound horrible if your uke isn’t tuned correctly. You can follow this guide to tuning your ukulele. A quick and simple trick is to get an electronic tuner and check before you start playing.

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.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

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.​​

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

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 3 rd 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.

How to hold a Ukulele

There is no right or wrong way to hold a Ukulele. How you choose to hold your Ukulele will depend on a number of things. Whether you are sitting or standing, your build, what size Ukulele you play, and even what you are wearing. For example: if you are wearing a tee shirt and sitting down it will be easier than if you are standing outdoors wearing a thick coat. You may prefer to use a strap which can help especially if you are standing. Experiment to see what works best for you, but make sure the position you choose allows you to play in a relaxed manner. If you experience tension or stress while playing try another position.

Tuning a Ukulele

As a beginner, tuning a ukulele is best done with a clip on tuner. These are easy to use, cheap and readily available. Get into the habit of tuning your Ukulele each time you play, that way your ear will become accustomed to how it should sound when it is tuned correctly. Don’t get used to playing an instrument that is out of tune.

Clip on tuners often have the letters U, G, V, B, C showing on the display. These are presets that can be selected.

U – Ukulele. Will only tune notes: G, C, E, A, (Ukulele tuning)
G – Guitar. Will only tune notes: E, A, D, G, B, E (Guitar tuning)
V – Violin. Will only tune notes: G, D, A, E (Violin tuning)
B – Bass. Will only tune notes: E, A, D, G (Bass tuning)
C – Chromatic. Will tune all notes in the music scale.

Course: Barre Chords and Fingerpicking

Skill Level: Beginner Lessons

Instructor: Aldrine Guerrero

Lesson Description

The most common way to hold the chord is to have your ring finger bend backwards and hold the top 3 strings on the 4th fret with one finger. For some people, this position is no problem, as their fingers naturally bend that way. Unfortunately for many of us, our fingers just don’t bend this way. If you are younger, it is possible to train your fingers over time with stretching to train your finger to bend just enough to clear the strings. For those who are a bit older, if the bend in your finger does not come naturally, you can also hold the chord using all your fingers, with your pointer finger barring the 2nd fret, and the rest of your fingers holding the three strings on the fourth fret. This position is harder to switch in and out of, but if your finger just doesn’t bend backwards, this may be the best way to achieve a clean E chord.

If you are UU+ member, you can login and get access to two additional videos to help you practice the stretching exercises to help you play the E chord.

BONUS practice exercises for UU+ Members! (To sign up for UU+ today, CLICK HERE)
How to play an e chord on the ukulele
A finger stretching exercise to help your fingers bend correctly to hold the E Chord

By Ukulenny

We’ve all heard buzzes, clicks, and wrong sounding notes while strumming through our favorite songs. In this beginner ukulele lesson we’re going to do some troubleshooting to find out where these may be popping up in your playing and try to eliminate them as much as possible. We will start by slowing your practice down a bit and then trying these tips to improve the sound of your chords on ukulele. Check out the video above to see and hear demonstrations of the suggestions mentioned here.

Troubleshooting Chords

  • Play one soft strum on each chord, listening for the chord to sustain and ring out clearly
  • Play each individual note to ensure that no notes are being missed or muted
  • Make sure your fingers are “tall” enough to clear the other strings
  • Check the finger placement of each note to ensure each finger is centered or closer to the fret “the sweet spot”

Now let’s take a look at some common things to check out when playing basic chords like F, G7, E7 and B7. This includes tips for playing barre chords, which will make the B7 sound cleaner and make it easier to play.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

F Chord

  • Check middle finger to make sure it’s “tall,” standing on “tippy toes,” and not touching the C string
  • Check index finger placement to make sure it’s in the middle or closer to the fret line (not closer to the nut!)
  • Use knuckles to squeeze!

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

G7 Chord

  • Use the same index finger technique for the E string 1st fret
  • Put the middle finger and ring finger in the “sweet spot, close to the fret
  • Turn your wrist towards the headstock so your fingers can reach the 2nd fret

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

E7 Chord

  • Use the same index finger technique for the G string 1st fret
  • The middle finger and ring finger are in the same place as G7
  • Practice the transition between E7 and G7, maintaining good finger position

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

B7 Chord

  • Practice barring the 2nd fret with your index finger, then adding on each additional finger for more weight
  • Position your finger towards the fret line (away from the nut)
  • Use the bony edge of your finger (whichever side feels more comfortable)
  • Try to shift the hand up or down to avoid the knuckle grooves!

Tip for Holding Barre Chords

  • A good exercise is to hold a barre chord at each fret and play it all the way up and down the neck. Notice that it’s easier to squeeze the higher frets.
  • Try releasing your hand and placing it again to get a better grip on the chord

Lenny San Jose, AKA Ukulenny, is a musician and educator based in Oakland, CA. You can find him on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram under the handle @ukulenny.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

The Ukulele Owner’s Manual is the book that belongs in every ukulele player’s instrument case. Each chapter was written by the experts and performers at Ukulele Magazine, with topics ranging from commonsense instrument care to fixing rattles and buzzes to a pictorial history of the instrument. Book owners can also download how-to videos with step-by-step guidance on common set-up and maintenance topics.

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

Hello Ukulelians, Here we are brought to you the Ukulele chords complete guide with explanation and playing pattern. Also here we are sharing Basic information about every ukulele chord. Hope you’ll enjoy…

Table of Contents

What we learn?

In this Article, we learn following things:

  • What is Chords?
  • Type of Chords
  • All Ukulele Major and Minor Chords
  • Explanation of how to play chords?

What is Chords?

Chords are the very basic of Ukulele playing. If you are a beginner on ukulele and you dont know anything about it. then first thing which you have to learn is “Chords”

So here main question is what is chords?

If we define it in simple way then we can say “Chord means combination of notes” It can be three or more notes. You just have to combine it together with certain way.

Just remember, chords consist of 3 different notes.

Types of Ukulele Chords

Now its time to learn about types of ukulele chords. here we are made this simple for you and divide it in two parts.

Basic Ukulele Chords and Advance Ukulele Chords. Its also have some sub types. Lets see

Basic Ukulele Chords:

  • Basic Major Chords
  • Basic Minor Chords

Advance Ukulele Chords:

  • Advance Simple Chords
  • Advance Major Chords
  • Advance Minor Chords

Basic Ukulele Chords:

Basic Major Ukulele Chords

1. C Chord / C Major Chord / C Ukulele Chord:

How to play an e chord on the ukulele

C major is a 1st major basic ukulele chord and its very simple chord to play. You just need 1 note to hold down with your first finger. And strum all the strings at a time.

So lets see how to play it step by step.

How To Play C Major Ukulele Chord?

  • Hold the ukulele properly.
  • Press 1st string with first finger on 2nd fret of ukulele.
  • Strum all the strings at a time.
  • make sure all the strings will strum together.

Note: If your chord sound is not come out clearly then you have to check your hold strings. At beginner level you cant press it properly. After practicing, you can play properly.


New member
  • Sep 21, 2010
  • #1
  • clayton56

    New member
    • Sep 21, 2010
  • #2
  • Ha! You can’t. For those that don’t know, the note after the slash means you play that note in the bass. So for G/A, you play a G chord but you play an A in the bass.

    Generally those are seen when a bass line is intended. You’ll see G, G/A, G/B, then C. Or something. Well, you just hold the G chord and create a bass line of G, A, B, and end with C. Easy on piano, possible on guitar, but not possible on a uke.

    What you can do is include those notes in your chord, but not in the bass, since you don’t have any bass. So the G would become a G9 (a G chord with an A in it). The C example you have would stay a C, because the E is already in the chord. Sometimes you can replicate that run within chords, but not in the bass. That will mean you’re not clashing with the others, but again you can’t play bass without bass strings.

    Just gesture to your acoustic bass player to do the run while you hold G7 and take all the credit.


    New member
    • Sep 21, 2010
  • #3
  • Ukulele JJ

    Super Moderator
    • Sep 21, 2010
  • #4
  • Well, to be picky, the note under the “slash” doesn’t have to necessarily be in the bass register. It just has to be the lowest note being played.

    Case in point, the normal F chord that everybody plays (2010) is really an F/C, because the lowest note is the C string. The normal G chord (0232) is really a G/D. Normal A is really A/C#. You’re actually playing a lot more slash chords than you probably realized!

    Sometimes it’s just not practical to actually put that note on the bottom. The “lowest” G/B you can play, for example, is 12-11-10-10 (or maybe 7-X-7-10), which probably isn’t going to work in a lot of situations. As Clayton pointed out, you can always just stick that bottom note somewhere other than the bottom.

    Here’s the trick though: Sometimes the bottom note is already in the chord to begin with. The C major chord has the notes C, E, and G. So when you’re faced with a C/E, and you decide to put the E somewhere other than the bottom. well, it’s already there. You don’t have to do anything, and can ignore the bottom of the slash.

    But the G major chord doesn’t have an A note in it. Clayton’s right that, if you want it in there, you’ll have to add it to the chord yourself. Here’s one way: 0230


    New member
    • Sep 21, 2010
  • #5
  • clayton56

    New member
    • Sep 21, 2010
  • #6
  • I believe these systems are there to quickly tell the pianist which inversion of a chord to play without using notation. They usually pop up only where it’s important, such as a chromatic run, or special harmony is desired.

    That’s also the case with 9th, 11th and 13th chords, which are specifically supposed to be played an octave up. For example a G6 contains an E, (GDBE) but in the same octave. A 13th also contains an E (GDBE), but with the E an octave higher. And, G/E contains an E, but an octave lower (EGDB). So the arranger can specify where he wants the E to fall just by using chord symbols.

    I used to play jazz chords on the banjo, and you had to do a lot of choosing what to leave out when you saw a fancy chord symbol. Usually there’s a melody note involved and it usually works well to include the melody note in the chord if it’s not in there already. If your chord is a G, and the melody note is an A, playing a G9 will give you both. A true 9th chord includes the flatted 7th, so the notes to play would be GDBFA, which is one more note than you have on a uke or banjo. So you try it a few ways and decide what to leave out.

    One thing I used to do is play two chords per measure instead of one. The second chord would hit some of the notes left out of the first. So, the first chord would be GBFG and the second DBFA. That would give me the seventh, ninth, and even a little movement in the “bass” by switching low notes between the root and fifth.

    A little off topic I guess but you guys got me started.

    The E chord – the bete noire of all ukulele players. Trying to cram all your fingers into a tiny space on the fretboard. Impossible. So here are ten possible ways to play the E chord. Try them out and see if you like any of them (I don’t).

    1) The Way the Books Tell You
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Index finger – A string 2nd fret
    Middle finger – G string 4th fret
    Ring finger – C string 4th fret
    Little finger – E string 4th fret

    Disadvantages: A lot of fingers to fit into a small space.

    2) The Double Up
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Index finger – A string 2nd fret
    Middle finger – G and C strings 4th fret
    Ring finger – E string 4th fret

    Disadvantages: Takes some practice to get the hang of.

    3) The Treble Up
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Index finger – A string 2nd fret
    Ring finger – G, C and E strings 4th fret

    Disadvantages: You need to have your ring finger leave the strings at a difficult angle so you can still hear the A string.

    4) The G-String Block
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Index finger – A string 2nd fret
    Middle finger – Muting the G string (stopping it from sounding by resting against it rather than fretting it)
    Ring finger – C string 4th fret
    Little finger – E string 4th fret

    Or with your thumb.

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    5) The Treble Up and Block
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Ring finger – G, C and E strings 4th fret
    A string muted with any finger (including the underside of the ring finger).

    If you stop the A string ringing in the triple-up, you will still have and E chord as the G string is giving you the same note. You can use individual fingers along with a mute to make this chord.

    6) The Fourth Fret Lay-Across
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Index finger – Barre across all strings at the 4th fret.
    Little finger – A string 7th fret.

    Like a C chord moved up four frets. It’s one of my favourite ways to play it.

    Disadvantages: The barre takes some practice. Can be a big jump to and from open chords.

    7) The Blocked E7
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Index finger: G string 1st fret
    Middle finger: Muting C string
    Ring finger: A string 2nd fret
    E string open

    Like an E7 chord with the middle finger muting the C string rather than fretting it. Or you could use the underside of your index finger to mute the string.

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Disadvantages: Sounds a bit nasty as you have a big ‘thunk’ in the middle of the chord.

    8) E5
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Index finger – A string 2nd fret
    Ring finger – G string 4th fret
    Little finger – C string 4th fret
    E string open

    Disadvantages: No major third note so it’s not a major chord. In some songs this it doesn’t really matter.

    9) Up the Neck
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Index finger: E and A strings 7th fret
    Middle finger: C string 8th fret
    Ring finger: G string 9th fret

    The Bb chord shape moved up the neck.

    Disadvantages: A long way to travel if you’re playing open chords.

    10) Thumb Lay-Across
    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Index finger – A string 2nd fret
    Thumb – G, C and E strings 4th fret

    Disadvantages: Makes changing to and from other chords difficult. Almost always sounds horrible.

    Yes! You can learn how to play ukulele.

    All you need is the right steps. With these free lessons, discover how easy it is to learn and make sure you get started on the right note.

    Are you new to playing ukulele?

    Hi, I’m Brett McQueen, the founder of Ukulele Tricks and author of Ukulele Exercises For Dummies. And I’m going to show you how to play ukulele… even if you’ve never played an instrument in your life.

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    You can learn to play ukulele, even if you’ve never played an instrument in your life, but you can’t do it alone.

    I’m here to help by giving you the best lessons that have helped over 50,000 ukulele players learn to make music for the time.

    On this page, you’ll find:

    Where to Start If You’re a Brand New Ukulele Player

    The fastest and easiest way to learn how to play ukulele is with the right steps.

    Get started on the right note and get the free ukulele lesson book Your First Ukulele Lesson and Then Some where you learn to play your first songs on the ukulele with small, easy steps.

    In the lessons, you’ll pick up some new tricks like:

    • How to properly tune, hold, and strum your ukulele
    • The most essential “must-know” ukulele chords
    • How to play 3 extremely versatile strumming patterns
    • How to play “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad”

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    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    “Thank you so much for these wonderful lessons. I have been inseparable from my (new to me) ukulele and am beyond thrilled that these lessons are allowing me to learn how to properly play it. I can tell that this relationship with my ukulele is going to be a lifelong bond. I can’t wait until I am experienced enough to play and sing songs to my 3 children. They have, thankfully, been enjoying the (nearly nonstop) strumming and lovely sounds being produced by my beloved new little friend. And that is thanks to you.”

    – Lydia C., Student

    If you’re not ready to join me there, then, scroll down for more ukulele lessons from the Ukulele Tricks blog below to see all you can learn.

    Introductory Lessons

    Start here if you’re a beginner ukulele player.

    Chords & Strumming Lessons

    Discover how to make chords easier to play and how to strum the ukulele.

    Playalong Lessons

    I teach you the chords and strumming and set down a steady rhythm so you can playalong with me to practice your changes.

    Fingerpicking Lessons

    Figure out how to begin to fingerpick the ukulele.

    Music Theory Lessons

    Uncover music theory on ukulele.

    Scales Lessons

    Explore the notes of ukulele fretboard and see how to play scales.

    Please start by learning the C major scale first.

    Performance & Practice Tips

    Get tips and tricks for practicing and performing.

    Christmas Song Lessons

    Learn how to play Christmas songs in multiple styles on the ukulele.

    Last updated on April 29, 2022.

    Start Here

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

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    Perfect for beginners. Become proficient in strumming, rhythm and chord changes on the ukulele, improving your skills while learning actual songs.

    For players beyond the basics. Take your fingerpicking skills to the next level on the ukulele, learning fingerpicking pieces in four distinct styles.


    Written by Brett McQueen, founder of


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    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Try googling ‘famous ukulele players‘ and you’ll see there is some really amazing talent out there.

    Fancy trying to learn to play the uke yourself? Excellent idea!

    Many people think they’ve left it too late to learn an instrument. How wrong they are! The ukulele (or ‘uke’) is one of the easiest instruments to learn, whatever your age.

    In this easy-to-follow guide, we’re going to lay out the steps to become a ukulele player in record speed.

    We’ll walk you through the basics of learning ukulele, from choosing and tuning your first ukulele to learning how to strum a one chord song.

    Sound good? Great, let’s crack on then.

    Table of Contents

    Get a Ukulele

    The most important thing is to – surprise, surprise – get a ukulele!

    It doesn’t need to be a new ukulele. Whether you borrow one from a friend or buy a new one, it doesn’t really matter. If you do borrow one, just make sure it’s in good condition and has a fresh set of strings on it. There’s nothing more detrimental to your success than a shoddy-sounding first ukulele!

    Ukuleles come in four flavors.

    • The soprano is the smallest and great for that authentic, uke sound. Because of their size, they’re also great for children.
    • The next size up is the concert uke, then the tenor uke which both offer better resonance and projection, not to mention longer scale lengths and more frets (which can help if you have large hands, although the soprano can still be played by large hands).
    • Finally, the baritone ukulele is the largest size and is tuned the same as the top four strings of the guitar (which incidentally makes it easier for guitarists to pick up).


    Next, you need to get your ukulele in tune. With only four strings, it slightly more straightforward than the guitar.

    All the types of uke we mentioned are typically tuned to GCEA (known as ‘standard reentrant tuning’). The first (nearest the floor as you hold the uke) is the A note, the second the E note, the third the C note, the 4th string the G note.

    One thing that throws beginners off is that G on the fourth string is actually tuned higher than the C and E strings, which is partly what gives the uke its characteristic sound (this is what the ‘reentrant’ refers to).

    To tune the strings, use one of the many online tuning apps or use a clip-on tuner. It will take ages to begin with, but bear with it. You’ll get quicker in time, and learning this important skill is what all ukulele players need to master.

    Hold Your Ukulele Correctly

    Another fundamental thing is learning how to hold the ukulele correctly, which a lot of beginner ukulele players get wrong. If you’ve ever held a guitar, you’ll be tempted to hold the ukulele the same way. Don’t. It won’t work.

    The uke isn’t meant to sit on your lap. Try it. It’s not very comfortable.

    Here’s what you do:

    Hold the lower bout of the ukulele against your body with your right arm (for a right-handed person…if you’re left-handed then the other way). The neck of the ukulele should then sit in the palm of your left hand. Hold the neck, but not too tight.

    When you get it right, it’s actually really comfortable and lets you play effortlessly stood up, sat down, you name it.

    Learn Chords

    So we’ve got the fundamentals down. Now it’s time to learn a ukulele chord or two.

    The first chord that beginners should learn is the C chord as it’s so darn easy (literally one note!). Playing ukulele shouldn’t be this easy!

    Take a look at the image below. This is called a chord box, which is a graphic representation of the first few frets of the ukulele. The great thing about chord boxes is they show you where to put your fingers (think of them like a sat nav for playing the ukulele).

    Left hand fingers:

    • Index finger = 1
    • Middle finger = 2
    • Third / Ring finger = 3
    • Pinky = 4

    The vertical lines are the strings (see the string names at the top) and the lines running perpendicular are the frets.

    To play a C chord, you press down on the A string at the third fret.

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Notice at the bottom of the chord shape you see the numbers 3? This refers to which finger you should play the note with. So in this case, it’s suggesting you should play it with your middle finger (but that’s entirely up to you).

    It’s tempting to learn more chord shapes. But resist it for now. Learn to strum this one chord first.

    Learn Basic Strumming Patterns

    Timing is everything in music, and getting a simple rhythm going is way more important than learning a ton of chords.

    So with that one C chord, let’s learn some ukulele strumming.

    We’re going to start with a simple strumming pattern, a D D D D pattern (D = down). So strum down to a count of four. 1234, 1234, 1234, etc.

    To strum, simply use the forefinger on your strumming hand and brush it across the strings.

    Ok, let’s try a simple, one chord song.

    Play along with me:

    Row, Row, Row Your Boat

    If you’re a guitarist, you may be tempted to try using a pick. To begin with, don’t. Of course, later down the track you can start using a plectrum (use a hard one in that case) but to begin with, your fingertips are just fine.

    Next Steps…

    Congratulations, you are now a ukulele player!

    Now it’s just a case of taking your skills and learning more chords. Start with the basic ones such as F major chord, G major chord, and A minor chord. With the C you’ve just learned, plus these three, you can play hundreds of simple songs.

    In time, you will want to learn barre chords and try different strumming patterns too. There’s a growing number of ukulele lessons on our category page for this kind of thing.

    Well done, you’ve made the first step. Learning to play any instrument is hugely rewarding, and you’ll surprise yourself just how quickly you progress in the early stages.

    It’s now time to inflict your newfound talent on your loved ones!

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Table of Contents


    There is no birthday party without this song. This one simply lifts the spirit and signifies the arrival of the birthday cake. No matter if you are a kid or a grown-up when this song comes on, you will definitively crack a smile.

    For the party to be even sweeter and more cheerful, if the song is accompanied with an instrument – well then it is a real party. Especially if that instrument is a ukulele, then you can bring to this birthday dear surprise!

    In our case, we will try to explain how you can play the Happy Birthday tune on your ukulele and make everybody stand up and clap to its melody! Such songs have a tendency to bring up the whole company and everybody to sing along.

    Unfortunately, we do not have the first-ever person who sung this song, but we know that it is created by two American sisters, Patty and Mildred J. Hill back in 1893. There were huge disputes happening in regards to this song, but after long years of battling in court, finally, this tune is recognized as a song that is of the public domain in both the United States and the European Union.

    Still, the ownership of this song is unclear and public TV and radio houses are doubtful to perform this tune and they stay away from it from public performances and remakes.

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Rhythm and Strum for Happy Birthday


    The rhythm of this tune is pretty simple because we already listened to this tune a bunch of times. Although it sounds pretty simple, actually the time signature of this song is 3/4.

    What does this mean?

    This means that instead of counting up to four for a regular 4/4 note time signature, you will need to count one beat shorter and go for 1,2,3 – 1,2,3 – and so on.

    Once you got your ukulele in your hands and start learning this song, you will find it very simple to do it, because it will naturally drive you to do it that way. We believe that you will be able to master this song in one sitting and be ready for your next birthday.


    In regards to playing with strums in this song, the easiest way to do it is to strum down all the chords of it. With the chord tabs that we have below, you will be able to easily follow and learn this four-line song.

    Over some time of playing this way, you will notice that you are able to add variations in the strumming and actually insert some playfulness to it if you do the strumming this way:

    Down – Up – Up
    Down – Up – Up

    This is what we actually meant by the 3/4 rhythm and with this pattern, you will be able to master this time signature and actually play this tune the right way. You will notice that this way of performing gives a feeling like you are playing a waltz. Imagine that in your head and you will see what we mean.

    Chord Variation

    For the variation we are going to present to you in this article, we decided to go with the easiest combination of chords that you can play to create this song.

    The chord selection that the Happy Birthday to You have are:

    A, D, and G chord.

    All three chords we have listed here are really simple to play and if you decide to go with their first root position, you will stay at the same spot on the fretboard, you just need to press different notes.

    Here you can check how to play these ukulele chords:

    A Chord, D Chord, and G Chord.

    We already created full guides on how to play these chords and several other variations to them. Check these out and maybe you will find easier versions of these ukulele chords to play and perform the Happy Birthday tune.

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Below we will show you the tablature and a version with chords that you can go over and learn how to play Happy Birthday on ukulele:

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    Conclusion on How to Play Happy Birthday on Ukulele

    So that would basically be it. This song is a really simple one and you will have no issues mastering it in no time. The important thing is the will to learn and you will have this banging on the next birthday without any hesitations.

    If you are uncertain of some stuff, you can always check other variations of chords online or watch some videos for an easier explanation, but we believe that we delivered a short and clear explanation and enough data to improve yourself in how to nail this easy tune on your ukulele. Also, if you are looking for a guide on buying your first or next ukulele, here is our suggestion for every buyer.

    Happy Birthday is one of these songs that you will master fast and this can be the door-opener to many other songs and music to play on the ukulele. The melody is happy and the world is a better place thanks to such songs.

    In the video below, you will be able to find another variation of this tune. Again, this version requires you to play three chords and in this case, you will need to press F and C7 and also you need to use Bb or B Flat. You can play the video and try to score this easy song along with the teacher. This is a quality one!

    Ukulele Chord Chart: All The Chords You Need to Play Popular Songs

    How to play an e chord on the ukuleleIf you’re looking for an easy introduction to music, the ukulele is a phenomenal place to start. This amazing instrument manages to be strikingly versatile despite being incredibly easy to play. When you sit down to memorize a simple ukulele chord chart, you’ll be able to learn what you need to know to be able to play adaptations of your favorite songs. We’re going to walk you through some basic and not-so-basic chords that you’ll find in popular songs, but first let’s talk a little bit about some ukulele background and fundamentals.

    The Ukulele’s History

    The ukulele started showing up on the world’s musical stage in the 19th century when it was introduced by Hawaiian and Portuguese immigrants. It’s a small guitar-like adaptation of an instrument called a machete (not the sword type of machete used to slash through jungles) that gained prominence when it made its way to the United States during the 20th century.

    Uke Tuning

    Ukuleles, or ukes, feature four strings: G-C-E-A. Our favorite acronym to help us remember uke strings is “Greedy Cats Eat Avocados,” but feel free to create your own. Something seasoned musicians might find odd about the uke is that its bottom G string is tuned an octave higher than expected. This might seem counter-intuitive to guitarists and other string players, but it’s a special tuning that’s designed to help produce simple chords with only four strings.

    Tips For Purchasing Your First Ukulele

    If you’re considering buying a uke for the first time, it’s a good idea to do some serious research into finding out which ukuleles are worth purchasing and which ones are not before you make any final decisions. If you stumble across a $25 uke on Amazon with a 5-star rating, don’t believe what you see. The most important question you should ask when buying a uke is if the instrument you’re considering buying can stay in tune. Purchasing a cheap knockoff will just leave you frustrated. If possible, check out some ukuleles from a local music store so you can hold and play a few different ukes before making a decision.

    Circle Of 5ths

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele

    To help teach you chords, we’re going to show you a ukulele chord chart that follows the pattern of the chords you see in the circle of fifths. This chart is a visual aid that describes how accidentals, or sharps and flats, are added to each key signature in music. The key of C major at the top of the circle has no sharps or flats. All of the keys you see here are major ones, but each key comes with its own parallel minor which is found a minor 3rd (3 half-steps) lower than the major. For example, C major’s parallel minor key is A minor. Feel free to skip ahead to the ukulele chord chart at the end of the article if you don’t need a music theory explanation of chords.

    Most of the basic chords you’ll find in songs adapted for the ukulele are found on the right side of the circle in the keys of C,G, and D. We’ll show you how to play the chords found in those key signatures, but first let’s talk a little bit about how to build chords and how keys work in music.

    Building Chords With Music Theory

    There are three types of basic chords found in major and minor keys: major, minor, and diminished. In music theory, we can build chords and scales by following simple formulas based around the half-steps (one half-step = one ukulele fret) we find on not just the uke but many other instruments. These chords are built off of the root, which is the note name of the chord.

    Major Chords: Root + Major 3rd (4 half-steps above root) + Perfect 5th (7 half-steps above root)

    These chords sound full and complete and are found virtually everywhere in music.

    Minor Chords: Root + Minor 3rd (3 half-steps above root) + Perfect 5th (7 steps above root)

    Minor chords sound “sad” to most people, though they’re used in for many different purposes within music.

    Diminished Chords: Root + Minor 3rd + Tritone (6 half-steps above root)

    These chords sound tense and extremely dissonant. They convey a wide range of emotions in music including fear, doom, and longing.

    Roman Numerals

    In major and minor keys, chords are assigned to each note from the scale of those keys. The chords are either major, minor, or diminished. The great news here is that these assigned chords never change. We use a simple system of Roman Numerals to describe the way chords operate in keys. This is what the Roman Numerals look like for the chords of major keys:


    The larger Roman Numerals represent major chords, while the smaller ones represent minor chords. The 7th chord at the end with the circle represents a diminished chord. Here’s what natural minor keys look like:


    Roman Numeral analysis is meant to help musicians understand the relationships between chords, and we recommend using this system to get a better understanding of the songs you’re trying to play.

    Chord Charts

    Now that you have a good idea of how chords work within keys, we’re going to show you how to play the chords of some basic major and minor keys featured in popular songs. Try memorizing each key by focusing on transitioning from chord to chord while playing to a set rhythm. Focus on one ukulele chord chart at a time and speed up as you get better with the transitions.

    Playing ukulele is all about the songs.

    Here’s a selection of some of our favorite songs to play on the ukulele. Select a song title to get the chords and a video.

    Are you new to playing ukulele?

    The fastest and easiest way to learn how to play ukulele is with the right steps. Get started on the right note and get the free 45-page ukulele lesson book Your First Ukulele Lesson and then Some where you learn your first songs on the ukulele with small easy steps.

    You can learn to play ukulele… even if you’ve never played an instrument in your life.

    Beginner Songs

    If you’re new to playing ukulele, then, start out with these beginner ukulele songs.

    Intermediate Songs

    If you’re beyond the basics, then, try your hand at mastering these intermediate ukulele songs.

    Chord Melody Songs

    Have you always wanted to play ukulele as a solo instrument? Learn how to play these ukulele chord melody songs with the sheet music and ukulele tabs included.

    Christmas & Holiday Songs

    There’s no time like the holidays to bust out your ukulele with family and friends. Learn how to play these holiday and Christmas ukulele songs.

    Fingerpicking Songs

    Get your fingers moving and pick these fingerpicking ukulele songs.

    Learn More Songs With Online Ukulele Lessons

    One of the best ways to learn to play songs is with step-by-step, easy-to-follow video lessons.

    Ukulele Tricks’ online lesson courses help you learn to play the ukulele while playing actual beautiful-sounding songs.

    Perfect for beginners. Become proficient in strumming, rhythm and chord changes on the ukulele, improving your skills while learning actual songs.

    For players beyond the basics. Take your fingerpicking skills to the next level on the ukulele, learning fingerpicking pieces in four distinct styles.

    Last updated on April 12, 2022.


    Well-known member
    • Jan 11, 2022
  • #1
  • jtsteam

    Half Uke Half Biscuit
    • Jan 12, 2022
  • #2
  • Active member
    • Jan 12, 2022
  • #3
  • + generally means augmented – raise the 5th so you have E G# B# : 1003

    Chord notation – Wikipedia

    Active member
    • Jan 12, 2022
  • #4
  • Darn it! I need to type faster!

    How to play an e chord on the ukulele


    Well-known member
    • Jan 12, 2022
  • #5
  • LorenFL

    Active member
    • Jan 12, 2022
  • #6
  • As noted, a “+” usually indicated “augmented”.

    I keep this tab open in my browser always. Good for answering questions like this, and “discovering” lots of other things.

    Ukulele Chords


    Well-known member
    • Jan 12, 2022
  • #7
  • VintageGibson

    • Jan 13, 2022
  • #8
  • ripock

    Well-known member
    • Jan 13, 2022
  • #9
  • ripock

    Well-known member
    • Jan 13, 2022
  • #10
  • I played around and made some awesome progress. None of it is revolutionary; I merely had never thought about it before.

    We all know the diagonal Δ7 shape. For example FΔ7 is 10 9 8 7. All you do is lower the C string a fret to 10 8 8 7 and you have the one augmented shape. Then to play any augmented chord you just move the shape until your target note is covered by one of your fingers and you have your augmented chord in the key you want.

    It is completely the same as a °7. If you want to play a F#°7, you just move the shape around until one of the four fingers is covering the F#.

    I realize the Ubulele basically said this up above, but it didn’t really sink in until I actually tinkered around and did it for myself. Now it is ingrained in my fingers and mind.


    Well-known member
    • Jan 13, 2022
  • #11
  • Nickie

    Well-known member
    • Jan 14, 2022
  • #12
  • Nickie

    Well-known member
    • Jan 14, 2022
  • #13
  • As noted, a “+” usually indicated “augmented”.

    I keep this tab open in my browser always. Good for answering questions like this, and “discovering” lots of other things.

    Ukulele Chords


    Well-known member
    • Jan 29, 2022
  • #14
  • I have been having a lot of fun with the augmented chords. Once it sank into my head that there’s only one shape, I adjusted my mind and technique (I always play triads as triads) and I’ve been using them. perhaps too much. It is like starting with the harmonica. When you first get the harmonica, you overblow/bend everything. It isn’t ’til later that discretion is learnt.


    UU VIP
    • Jan 29, 2022
  • #15
  • ripock

    Well-known member
    • Jan 30, 2022
  • #16
  • i forgot to mention what I’m doing with the auggies. I don’t think I am using them like I am supposed to–merely because that’s not what’s in my head. I have been using them:

    1. as a replacement for a dom7 chord for making a slightly more sassy progression
    2. as a hiccup or a variation. E.g., Em – E+ Em. Or Em, E+, and then move on
    3. as a chord to play over the Enigmatic scale. I use the Enigmatic because it has a 5+; I tried using scales I already knew, but taking the 5 out of the scale was screwing with my head.

    In general, I found that the aug in both linear and re-entrant voicings worked well with the aforementioned Enigmatic scale and with minor pentatonics. With modes of the harmonic minor there was a clash of sounds. Of course, if you play it twice, then the clash is intentional. But if you’re just improvising, it doesn’t sound quite right.

    Ukulele tablature (also known as “tab”) is an easy and fast way to write out songs for stringed instruments. Here’s a complete guide on how to read tabs for the ukulele.

    Due to its simple nature, learning how to read ukulele tab is very straightforward and once you get the concept you can progress quickly.

    The disadvantage to reading music via tab is that you cannot express timing values with it. So while you can play a piece you’ve never heard before by looking at piano sheet music, you can’t do the same with tab.

    If you don’t know the song it’s going to be frustrating to try and learn it this way. To make things easy on yourself, employ the “hum it” rule: if you can hum the tune then you can learn from the tab, if not, don’t try.

    How to Read Ukulele Tabs: Understanding the System

    Ukulele tab looks like this:

    The Strings:

    The four horizontal lines on a bar of tab represent the four strings of an ukulele.

    The G-string is on the bottom and the A-string is on the top.

    To visualize it better, imagine you set your ukulele down flat on a table, strings facing up and headstock to your left. If you hold the tab on top of the fretboard in this way, the strings will match. G is closest to you, A is furthest away.

    The Frets

    Tab is read left to right. Anytime you see a number it means “pick this fret.” Which string line the number is one tells you what string to play the fret on.

    The tab below tells you to pick the 3rd fret on the A-string one time:

    This next tab tells you to play the 10th fret on the C-string one time:

    Here you would play the 3rd fret, E-string once and then the 5th fret, A-string once:

    If you want to show two notes picked in a row you would repeat the fret number. This means pick the 3rd fret, E-string two times:

    Here’s a C major scale in reverse:

    Showing Chords

    If there are more than one fret number in a vertical line, play the notes simultaneously. This is how you’d write a chord:

    Or you could show three notes played simultaneously:

    Bar Lines

    Oftentimes it’s nice to break a tab into pieces via vertical bar lines like this:

    Since tab can’t show timing, it’s sometimes hard to place these precisely enough to stand in for traditional measure lines.

    Instead these are often just used for a bit of separation between parts.


    The above examples are created in text. You can do the same yourself using a monospace font (I like Courier New).

    But the tab-reading concepts you’ve learned can also be applied to fancier presentations like you’ll find on my page of Guitar Pro-made ukulele tabs.

    With this high-end format it is possible to show the timing of notes via combo standard notation/tablature layouts, more precise articulations, rhythm slashes, and more.

    All in all, it’s a much more professional looking tab. But because of the extra details, it is more tedious to make these tabs and thus, are harder to find.

    Notating Articulations

    Since single picked notes are rarely the only thing you find in music, here is a breakdown of how to read all the additional symbols you might find when reading ukulele tabs.

    Multiple examples are shown separated by a bar-line.

    “h” – Hammer-on

    Use an “h” to show where a hammer-on connects two notes.

    “p” – Pull-off

    This is used to connect two notes like this:

    and means you pull-off from one to the other.

    “/” or “\” – Slide

    Move from the first note to the second note via a slide.

    “b” – Bend and “r” – Release

    Bend the string up so that it equals the pitch of the second note shown.

    You can also release a bend down to its starting point by adding an “r” to the equation:

    Vary the pitch of the note with the vibrato technique.

    “()” – Ghost Note (parenthesis)

    Play very softly.

    “<>” – Harmonic (chevrons)

    Chime a natural harmonic at the fret shown in angle brackets.

    Artificial Harmonic

    Fret the first note shown then chime an artificial harmonic over the fret shown in brackets.

    Note Duration in Text Tab

    Sometimes people who want to express the timing for a song will put special notation on top of the text ukulele tab to show note duration.

    This notation is closely based around the way timing is written for standard sheet music. So in addition to learning the symbols below, you must also be familiar with traditional piano-style music notation.

    Duration Legend

    (Shown above each fret number.)

    • W – whole note
    • H – half note
    • Q – quarter note
    • E – 8th note
    • S – 16th note
    • T – 32nd note
    • X – 64th note
    • a – acciaccatura
    • + – note tied to previous
    • . – dotted note
    • .. – double dotted note
    • Lowercase letters are played staccato
    • Irregular groupings are notated above the duration line
    • Rests are shown above an empty space

    There are ways to notate more complex parts, but at a certain point, ask yourself, “Should I just be using Musescore instead?” To me, this style sort of defeats the point of a simple text tab.

    For example, here’s the intro to “Black Magic Woman” by Santana:


    New member
    • May 20, 2010
  • #1
  • I have a great book of jazz standards that has guitar chords annotated on the music.

    I know i can slowly convert guitar chords (alpha numeric) to Uke chords to the right key, but is there a conversion ruler or circle or chart that i can download to make the job quicker and easier please?


    Active member
    • May 20, 2010
  • #2
  • Dibblet

    • May 20, 2010
  • #3
  • cletus

    New member
    • May 20, 2010
  • #4
  • Ukulele JJ

    Super Moderator
    • May 20, 2010
  • #5
  • Yeah, I’m kind of confused about the original question too.

    If the chart has a guitar chord of C, just play a C chord on the uke. No muss, no fuss.

    Ignore any chord diagrams and just read the chord names.


    New member
    • May 20, 2010
  • #6
  • Brido

    New member
    • May 22, 2010
  • #7
  • It seems to me the problem is that the written guitar chord on the sheet music would be in the wrong key for the music, should I play it on my uke. Since posting this and having a look around and received personal emails, I need to move the chords five frets up (?) then I will have the correct chord. (Am I right?)
    Today I am making the chord wheel as I think this is the answer. One person suggested that this was the relationship:
    UKE D E F G A B C

    Though the wheel is not finished yet I have just played with it and it looks as though this will do the job.

    Unless I have got it wrong I would like to thank you for your help.


    New member
    • May 22, 2010
  • #8
  • ichadwick

    Active member
    • May 22, 2010
  • #9
  • See my post above for the link. That’s what my chord transposition wheel is for. You can put one ring on A and the other on D and Bob’s your uncle! All the rest line up. But you can also use it to change keys. Say a song is in C and you want it in F, just align the outer ring’s C with the inner ring’s F and you can see how the C key’s chords translate into F.

    So I hsve one already made – all you need to do is print it on cardstock, cut it out, fasten the inner wheel over the outer and you have one!

    It’s also a circle of fourths/fifths wheel for those of you who understand that aspect of music.

    Ukulele JJ

    Super Moderator
    • May 22, 2010
  • #10
  • You’re wrong and you’re right at the same time.

    Jazz chords are typically written in the correct key for the song. When I say “written,” I’m talking about the actual name of the chord. Cmaj7 or G7(b9) or whatever. That is the same name, no matter what instrument you decide to play the chord on–guitar, uke, piano, Chapman Stick, accordion, xylophone, etc.

    So if you see the chord “Cmaj7” you would play a Cmaj7 on your uke (0002 is one possible way). No transposing is required. You do not need to change that chord to any other chord. It’s still a Cmaj7 chord.

    Now, because a guitar has more strings, and since those strings are tuned differently, the way you play that chord is going to be completely different. So if you see any additional notation on your sheet music that tells you how to play the chord (such as a chord diagram box, or written tablature), then that is for guitar only and should be completely ignored by you, since you are not playing guitar.

    It’s true that there is a pitch relationship between guitar and uke. That might tempt you to try to get the ukulele chord positions by taking top four strings of a guitar chord diagram and moving it down several frets. I would recommend against this! For one, unless the chord diagram is entirely at the fifth fret or higher, you simply cannot move it down far enough. Two, you’ll be missing two strings anyway, and those strings might have some important notes that you shouldn’t get rid of. That is, the top four strings of a jazzy guitar chord might not effectively convey the entire chord, in the way that a proper ukulele version of the chord would.

    The solution is to use a good chart of chord diagrams that is designed specifically for the ukulele. A lot of chord charts you find on the internet tend to have basic chords only. The Mel Bay ukulele chord book is nice. An there have been some interactive websites mentioned here already that will show you tons of crazy chords. Alternatively, you can learn a tiny bit of music theory and just figure out how to play all these chords on your own.

    To summarize: Ignore the guitar chord diagram. Refer just to the chord name. Ignore the guitar chord diagram. If you don’t now how to play the chord, look it up in a ukulele-specific reference. Ignore the guitar chord diagram.

    Did I mention that you should ignore the guitar chord diagram?

    After dipping your toe in ukulele learning, you’ll find some of the chords are pretty tough to ace. Even years of practice won’t help you much in mastering them. Thanks to the legendary musicians who’ve discovered some worthy alternative to those hard to make ukulele chords.

    So, today we will introduce you to those easy alternative ukulele chords to uplift your ukulele expertise. From today onwards, no chords would be a nightmare to you anymore. For your convenience, we have added the original ways VS the alternative techniques in the following so that you can compare the difference on the spot. Excited? So, giddy up and browse down to find all of it at a glance.

    Original E Chord on Ukulele

    Speaking of the trickiest chord, the E chord comes first in all consideration! It requires a pretty awkward fretting position that gives a hard time even to the ukulele experts. Whether you are a newbie to the ukulele world or have practiced this chord E several times, we suggest you try it first before jumping to its alternative. So, here’s the fretting position of the E chord for you.

    To start, first, decide your fretting hand and strumming hand, and then hold your ukulele accordingly keeping the headstock facing the ceiling and the body facing the ground. Make sure not to hold it straight, carry it diagonally instead. Once, you’re comfortable with it, put your index fingertip on the 2nd fret of the A string. Then, place the tip of your middle finger on the 4th fret of the G string. Secure the loop and then put your ring and pinky fingertip on the 4th fret of the E string and the A string respectively.

    With this, you are done making the original E chord, now try strumming a bit to check whether it’s too difficult for you to hold or not. If you think you can be accustomed to this with ample practice, then you’re good to go with this. Because, performing with the original techniques is always the best decision. However, if you find this really awful and want to skip it totally, then follow the alternative technique that we have mentioned in the following.

    Alternative E Chord on Ukulele

    To lessen the difficulty level of the original E chord, many alternatives have been crafted till today. Evaluating all of them we have picked up the easiest possible option for our readers. So, to try out this variation on your ukulele first of course hold your ukulele comfortably. When you’re good, then perform a barre on the 4th fret of the strings E, C, and G with your index finger.

    Following that, put the tip of your pinky finger on the 7th fret of the A string. Upon placing both of the fingers make sure they are planted tight and remain unmoving. This fretting placement will get you almost the similar tunes of the original E chord without having to feel much pressure on your hand. So, try this out, and if the tunes sound good to you, then master the posture to nail the songs that include this chord.

    Original B Chord on Ukulele

    After E, another hard to fret chord is the Bb chord. So, we have also decided to make this one again a bit easier for you with an improved alternative. Before jumping to the alternative, let us first present to you the original techniques so that you can differ the variances easily. To being, as always decide the fretting hand and strumming hand, and then upon deciding hold your ukulele comfortably.

    Now, start the chord making by carrying out a barre on the 1st fret of the strings A and E with your index finger. Ensure your barre is tight outright and then press the tip of your middle finger on the 3rd fret of the C string followed by putting the ring fingertip on the 4th fret of the G string. Visually, it will look like a downward staircase.

    A fact about the B chord is that performing barre in one finger while keeping circle loops on the others is not at all a plain sail. Yet, we recommend you to try this out, who knows you might find this easy? Otherwise, if you find this way too tedious for you then no worries, we have got you an alternative solution down below.

    Alternative B Chord on Ukulele

    The alternatives of the B chord aren’t much of different from the original one, yet they fetch a certain amount of ease of holding. One alternative is instead of barring over the bottom strings (A, and E string) only, expand the barre to all the strings. Means, on the 1st fret press over all the strings together with your index finger. The next steps are alike the original version, meaning press the middle fingertip of your fretting hand on the 3rd fret of the C string. And, to complete it, press the ring fingertip on the 4th fret of the G string.

    Here, you can lay down your index finger quite comfortably which ultimately makes the whole process a little handy. On the other hand, when you apparently want to skip the hurdle of carrying out a barre, then you can replace your index finger on the top of the 1st fret of the E string, keeping the A string totally free. Both the options work quite well, so try them on your ukulele, and whichever suits you best opt for that one.

    Final Thoughts

    If you’re aiming to open the doors of new tunes for your ukulele, you can’t really avoid learning any chords no matter how hard it is! Many ukulelists complain that they struggle to make some of the chords, especially the chords E and Bb. So, here we are with some easy to fret alternative ukulele chords to make your ukulele tuning easier than you think!