The ukulele is a great instrument to use as you sing your songs. It is also fun to use for strumming chords. In this article, we'll learn some common chords and patterns in the key of C. We'll use an easy ukulele tab notation so it won;t be necessary to read music. Tablature or tab notation shows you by numbers what strings to play and what frets to press down.
The most obvious ukulele chord in the key of C is of course the C-major chord. Let's take a look at it...
0/4 0/3 0/2 3/1
The digit before the slash indicates which fret to press down and the one after the slash what string to play. In other words 3/1 means: Press down the third fret on string one.
String one is the string with the highest pitch, the string nearest the floor when you hold your instrument the ordinary way. In order for my descriptions of the chords to be applicable to your ukulele it is to be tuned the ordinary way with the first string to an A.
Let's Learn to Play an F Chord
2/4 0/3 1/2 0/1
The best way to practice ukulele chords is to play them in a progression so you have to change chords. That is the difficult part of playing chords so we will start with a chord progression with the chords you have learned so far:
C / / / F / / / C / / / F / / /
An easy way to explain the previous notation is that you strum the C chord once when the C letter occurs and continue to strum the chord once for every slash that follows. In other words, strum four times on the C chord, four times on the F chord and then repeat the sequence.
The important thing is to strum with your right hand evenly not slowing down as you change chords. If you find this too difficult you can practice changing chords by strumming once on the chord C, then changing to F and strum once on that chord and continue changing chords strumming once on the chords.
You have to do this slowly at first so you don't make a lot of mistakes. Making too many mistakes pressing down the chords will tend to slow down your progression by confusing your muscle memory.
Our Next Chord Will be G7
0/4 2/3 1/2 2/1
Here's a progression with these three chords:
C / / / F / / / G7 / / / C / / /
The Next Chord We'll Need is A Minor
2/4 0/3 0/2 0/1
The following chord progression can be used to play the first part of the old pop evergreen Diana with Paul Anka:
C / / / Am / / / F / / / G7 / / /
What about the fingers to use on your left hand?
The fingers on the left hand are usually numbered the following way:
- Index: 1
- Middle finger: 2
- Ring finger: 3
- Pinky: 4
The G7 chord fingering can be notated like this beginning with the fourth string:
0 2 1 3
The other chords as follows:
C: 0 0 0 3
F: 2 0 1 0
E: 2 0 0 0
The ordinary G chord can also be used in the key of C. It looks like this:
0/4 2/3 3/2 2/1 and the fingering like this 0 1 3 2
Here is a progression involving the G chord:
C / / / G / / / F / / / G / / /
Feel free to experiment and come up with your own combinations of chords. At the same time, you'll learn to change chords and develop your ear and your musical abilities.
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