If you’re searching for ways to finally being able to play the C chord on your Ukulele, that means that you’re in the perfect mindset to start this awesome journey with your new 4 string instrument! So, first of all… Welcome! This is going to be a life changing day, because you’ll understand not only how to play your first chord on the ukulele, but you’ll understand how the chord diagrams work, what those little lines mean, and how you can apply them into your favorite songs.
Understanding the Chord Diagrams
Before getting into the C chord (which is generally the first chord we learn as ukulele students), you first need to know the basics: The ukulele tuning! When you take a look to your ukulele, you’ll see that it has 4 strings, which are tuned in G – C – E – A, as you can see in the following diagram:
The G – C – E – A tuning is commonly known with a phrase “My Dog Has Fleas” and, as you see in the image, every vertical line represents the strings on your ukulele. Understanding this will help you a lot when you start playing the chords. So… my recommendation to you is to memorize this. Grab your ukulele, and play each string while you say its name. It worked for me, and I’m sure it’ll work for you too!
Read more: How to hold your Ukulele?
Your First Chord: The C Chord
Now that you understand the tuning and the string names of your ukulele, it’s time to let the magic happen and turn this information into music. How? By converting single notes into chords. Mind-blowing, huh? Although these words sound weird and confusing, once you get the idea of it, a new and fun world will completely fill your life with music. Let’s go!
In the image you’ll see below there’s the same diagram you just learned with the ukulele strings, but if notice, there’s a little change that makes it completely different: The black dot in the 1st string—the A string—represents one finger of your left hand. The horizontal spaces represent each fret of your ukulele (in this case, the black dot is placed in the 3rd fret of the 1st string), and the numbers under the lines represent which finger of your left hand you’re going to use to play that chord.
The only thing that you need to do to play the C chord, is place your ring finger (3rd finger of your left hand) on the 3rdfret of the 1st string (the A string). Once you place it, you can just strum the 4 strings all together with your thumb or your index finger in one fluid motion. Make sure you get a clean sound on all 4 strings, especially on the 1st string. This can be done by making sure you are pressing down on the string with the tip of your finger and that you are only touching the 1st string.
What? That’s it? Well… Yes! Now you’ve learned to play your first chord on your Ukulele! And hey, this is not a random chord; the C chord is, in fact, the most popular chord because a lot of music we see for the ukulele is written in the key of C. That means that you’ve just learned a very important chord that you’ll play in hundreds and hundreds of songs!
Memorize the ukulele tuning, the parts of the chord diagram, and your first chord. Once you hardwire this into brain, you’ll be able to search for songs, see the chord diagrams that they have, and start playing music with your ukulele. But, first things first: Here’s a list of C chord songs you can play to start the learning process.
- Row, row, row your boat.
- Are you sleeping, brother John?
- Three Blind Mice.
If you’re interested in learning more chords, more techniques, and more songs, check out www.ukelikethepros.com We offer you a bunch of great ukulele content that comes hand-in-hand with an awesome ukulele community—which I’m proud to be a part of—that will support you in this journey. I hope to see you there! When you jump in, make sure to let us know that you are there thanks to this blog, that’ll help us a lot!
Let’s rock that uke!