Did you just learn the universal C chord? Are you ready to build your ukulele toolkit? If you can play the universal C chord, then you should have no problem playing the Cmaj7 chord on your ukulele. It is definitely the next step as you learn chords in order to play popular songs that you might enjoy. Probably the most fun I have with my ukulele is playing songs and singing to the melody emanating from my sound box! The more chords you learn, the more songs you can play. Not to mention that it will make you an even better musician.
Tuning Your Instrument
One of the first things you need to learn before playing your ukulele at all is tuning your instrument. Just to do this first step, you need to know quite a few bits of information. You will need your ukulele and a tuner. These days you have a lot to choose from, but my favorite tuner is the D’Addario Micro Headstock Clip On Tuner. This compact tuner can be found on the Uke Like the Pros store website. You just clip it on the headstock of your instrument which is the very top part of your ukulele. As you search for the perfect, tuned pitch for each string, the tuner will guide you to the correct pitch for the G-C-E-A strings.
What Are the Names of the Strings? G-C-E-A
In the beginning, tuning may seem like a mystery, but it is fairly easy to master. Ukuleles tend to go out of tune more when you first obtain your instrument, but as you play, the tuning time will become more minimal. Remember the order of the strings: G (the top string closest to your head)-C-E-A.
You need to make sure all four notes are in tune. Start with the G, and work your way down the strings. Simply pluck the string and look for a G note on your tuner. You will have to adjust the peg (by turning it clockwise or counterclockwise) that the string is connected to as you find the correct pitch. Be sure to pluck only one string, or you will not have an accurate tuning session. Knowing your strings is essential to understanding your instrument.
Read more: How to play the Em7 chord on your Ukulele
If you have not learned the universal C chord yet, do not worry. You absolutely can learn the Cmaj7 chord first if that is in a song you wish to play. If you are curious about playing the universal C chord, you can find a tutorial here. You also need to understand the parts of your instrument and the names of the instruments. UkeLikethePros has an extensive cornucopia of ukulele courses that will help you master your instrument. If you become a premium member, you will have access to all the courses. I have taken quite a few, and there is a lot of content for ukulele players including courses for the baritone and guitarlele which I also play!
Fret Board Work
Now that you know the strings on your instrument and have tuned your ukulele, it is time to pay attention to the fret board. On your ukulele, running horizontal to your ukulele’s neck are the frets which make up the fret board. The placement of your fingers on this fret board dictate what chords you will play. Chords are simply pitches played together at once. You will need to understand chord charts, so read on for a primer on reading chord charts.
Reading Chord Charts
Look at the diagram below of the fretboard and chord chart for the Cmaj7 chord.
You will see that you will have three open strings (G-C-E). The three hollow circles you see on the top, show that those are open strings. You will not be pressing down on those strings. You will see a closed circle on the second fret. The second fret is the fret after the top fret (closest to the pegs of your ukulele).
You will see the four, vertical lines on the chord chart which represent your four strings (G-C-E-A). The frets run perpendicular to the vertical lines. Now that you understand chord charts you can move forward with finger placement. Free chord charts are available through the UkeLikethePros website as well.
Finger Placement on the Fret Board
After looking at the chord chart, you will see a number 2 below the closed circle. That means you will use your number 2 finger (your middle finger) to press down on the A string. Look at the diagram below as it shows the number of each finger. All chord charts will tell you what finger to use.
Press down firmly with the tip of your middle finger or second finger on the A string right above the second fret board line. Get that finger right above the horizontal line (between the second and third fret). Do not press on the line, though. You will get a clearer pitch if you follow these steps. You are now ready to strum your Cmaj7 chord!
Probably the most challenging part of playing the ukulele in the beginning for me was strumming properly. Do not worry, though, once you find the right strumming method for you, you will be a pro. It will become automatic. There are many ways to strum. Some people strum with the thumb, and some use their forefinger.
How to Strum
If you have never strum your ukulele, realize that it takes practice as with most things. UkeLikethePros can support you with this journey of learning how to master your instrument. In this video tutorial on strumming, you will see how to strum correctly. I use my forefinger on my right hand for most strumming including island strumming. Everybody is a bit different, though. My sister is double-jointed, so it took her a while to find a comfortable and effective way to strum.
The best thing to shoot for is to learn as many methods as possible because there are different strumming techniques for various songs. Once you place your left middle finger on the second fret as we learned in the previous section, strum the chord. You have just played the Cmaj7 chord!
Keep a Few Things in Mind
When I first started to play the ukulele, I watched this video on the 5 Most Common Mistakes made by beginner ukulele players:
This is an extremely helpful video if you are just starting. It will help you with basic mechanics behind playing the beginning chords like the Cmaj7 chord. Another helpful suggestion is for you to learn as many chords as you can. That will help you play even better as you move forward in your ukulele trek.
There are so many things to learn with this grand instrument –the ukulele. This is just the beginning. Whatever your dreams are, know that they can be realized. Practice is so important, and building a disciplined time for ukulele playing each day can help you reach your goals even faster. In addition to learning so much with the UkeLikethePros, you are automatically a part of the UkeLikethePros nation community.
You learn alongside fellow ukulele players. I seldom watch lives due to work hours, but I enjoy the Q & A session available for replay for premium members. Learning as much as possible will get you where you want to be even faster!