Learning your first chords on the ukulele is not only essential, but also quite a pleasure. Why is it quite a pleasure? Because compared to the guitar, you only need one finger for the first two fingerings on the ukulele. And with two or three chords you can already play your first songs.
You can play a variety of songs with the following eight chords. Each fingering is accompanied by an illustration and a picture of the left hand. The illustration shows the neck of the ukulele with its 4 strings. The numbers on the strings indicate which fingers you need to use. The ukulele being played is the Baton Rouge V2 Sun Soprano.
1. C Chord
The C chord is the first chord for which you only need one finger. For this chord, place the ring finger of the left hand on the 1st string in the 3rd fret. We play all the strings for this chord.
2. Am Chord
The second chord for which we only need one finger is the Am chord. We place the middle finger on the 2nd string in the 2nd fret. We play all the strings at this fingering again.
3. A Chord
Let’s increase the difficulty a little and use two fingers. For our third chord, we can leave the middle finger on the 4th string at the level of the 2nd fret and place the index finger on the 3rd string at the level of the 1st fret. And now we play all the strings again and have played the A chord on the ukulele.
4. F Chord
As far as the positions of the fingers are concerned, this chord is very similar to the previous one, namely the A chord. You only have to place the index finger of the 3rd string on the 2nd string. The middle finger remains on the 4th string at the 2nd fret. And here again we play all the strings.
5. G Chord
We increase the level of difficulty a little again by using three fingers for the G chord. The index finger goes on the 3rd string and the middle finger on the 1st string at the level of the second fret. Then the ring finger is placed on the 2nd string at fret 3. You can either play all the strings or just the 1st, 2nd and 3rd strings.
6. D Chord
For the chord D, you really need to practise a little to play this chord correctly. Only the index finger is used, but it must be placed on the first three strings in the 2nd fret without touching the last string. At the beginning, the chord may hurt your finger a little, but this is quite normal. The strength of the fingers is not yet well enough developed and you simply have to practise regularly. Make sure you place your index finger as close to the fret as possible to reduce the force required. For the D chords, also play all the strings.
7. Em Chord
The Em (E minor) is not difficult to play. You place your index finger on the 4th string in the 2nd fret. The middle finger goes on the 3rd string in the 3rd fret and the ring finger is on the 2nd string in the 4th fret. All the strings of the ukulele are strummed again.
8. E Chords
The last chord is the most difficult chord in our selection of basic chords. But it is also a chord that is used very often. With the D chord, you have to press on three strings with one finger. This time it’s your ring finger that has to press down on the first three strings in the 4th fret. In addition, we place the index finger on the 4th string in the 2nd fret.
At first, you should practice the fingerings individually until you can grasp a D-grip or an A-grip quickly and spontaneously. At the beginning you will still be searching for the right positions with your fingers, but after a few days you will notice how you become faster at it to the point that you could play it without looking at your left hand.
If you practice different chords at the same time, you will also practice changing. Changing chords should be the main focus of your learning once you have mastered the chords. Then try changing between different chords, e.g. from G to D and Am, and repeat this sequence. Then vary by adding a different chord to the sequence, e.g. from G to D to Am and C. Finally, you can also replace or add other chords to increase your practice.
Once you’ve mastered this, you’ll be pretty close to being able to play songs on the ukulele. For simple songs such as children’s songs, you often only need two simple chords.