How to play chords on a Ukulele

By | April 8, 2021


Set your strings. The ukulele has its own string tuning system, which runs: G (bottom string), C (second string from the bottom), E (third string from the bottom) and A (top string). Identifying them is crucial to learning ukulele chords. You must have default settings or chord ‘recipe’ changes.


Find your ukulele chord recipe. Your large chords will, for example, be based on the chord scale’s first, third and fifth notes. You can find comprehensive ukulele chord charts on sites like EZFolk (see Resources below), where you can cut through all the note calculations and view chord patterns for the ukulele, assuming the default setting.


Place the fingers of your left hand on strings according to your chord diagrams or sheet music calculations.


Find a pick or place your hand for chord play. If you do not have a plastic pick, you can prepare to hit the strings with your thumb and forefinger or just brush the strings with your fingers in a ‘raking’ gesture.


Drum all four strings to hear your chord sound. The ukulele as a ‘looser’ string instrument has a wide, lively sound. When you play your chords correctly, the melodic harmony will be obvious to the listener.

The ukulele simple four-string structure means you can create chords with less hand strength than you need on a six- or twelve-string guitar. Here’s how to play the different types of conventional chords on a ukulele.