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28 December 2011

Ukulele Chords

I got into an interesting discussion earlier this week with Julian Davies of Electric Ukulele Land. The subject was ukuleles and it wasn't long until we were chewing the fat over the various uke models, tunings and chords. I learnt some great stuff! Here are some highlights... with illustrations...

King Uke - Aloha!

Below is a representation of the notes on a guitar fret-board. I've seen similar diagrams being drawn for ukes. What I hadn't realised is that the uke diagram is really only a subset of the guitar diagram. And this is why it is easy to 'jump' between the two instruments; They have the same chord shapes! Personally, I've come to the Uke from the Guitar, but it works both ways.

Ukulele Fret-board with Notes

So, irrespective of which key you choose to tune your uke in (which will be influenced by the type of uke you have), the strings will always be tuned relative to the top 4 strings on a guitar.

Here's another way of thinking about it...

The diagram below shows you how to play a 'C' chord on the guitar with a capo on the 5th fret. Guitarists will instantly recognise this common chord 'shape'. The same diagram also shows you how to play a 'C' chord on a uke. Ukulele players will instantly recognise this common chord 'shape' too! Beautiful!

Is it starting to make sense yet?

Guitar / Ukulele 'C' Chord fingering


  1. I've just started playing ukulele - been playing guitar for a while. Lightbulb moment! Mahalo!

  2. Thank you and a'ole pilikia my anonymous friend

  3. Wow, I'm enlightened - that's opened my eyes and made me realise that I can capo my guitar so I can effectively play alongside my son on the uke!

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