Basic Ukulele Chords And How To Read Them

If you are new to the ukulele it can be quite overwhelming, especially if it’s your first instrument ever. Difficult chord diagrams, painful fingers and saw hands after constant strumming. In this article, I am going to show you some basic ukulele chords and how to read them for when you go on to learn more advanced chords.


  • How To Read Chords Charts
  • Some Basic Major Chords
  • And Some Minor Chords

Basic ukulele Chords And How To Read Them

Although chord charts may look difficult to understand, they are quite simply telling you where to put your fingers. So with that in mind lets look at some and make sense of them.

basic ukulele chordsThis is the G Major Chord and below I will explain what each part of the diagram is.

The long vertical lines are the strings of the ukulele, starting with the g-string on the far left, then the C, E and moving on to the A-string on the far right.

Thin horizontal lines represent the frets. The spaces in-between the metal lines on the ukulele fretboard.

The dots show you where to put your fingers. For example, if a dot is on the far left line between the first and second line, you need to hold down the g-string at the second fret. The dots always appear on a vertical line and between the horizontal lines.

The zeroes at the top are strings means you don’t put your fingers anywhere and just play them open.

The numbers at the bottom tell you which finger to use to fret that particular string:

1 = Index finger
2 = Middle finger
3 = Ring finger
4 = Little finger


Here are 3 of the most common major chords you will play on the ukulele. You would be surprised at just how many songs you can play with these chords. Scroll down to the bottom to find some.

These diagrams are like mirror images of the ukulele so you just need to mimic what you see.

basic ukulele chords

It may take a while for your fingers to get used to these shapes but keep practising and they will become second nature.


As well as major chords, we have the minor chords. Minor chords tend to give songs a more intimate feel, while major chords are more uptempo and happy. The ones that are most important to learn when you are just starting out are Am, Dm and Em.

basic ukulele chords

You might want to try and switch between the minor and major chords. An easy one to start with would be C to Am. They both only require one finger so its very easy to change. Then move on to the F and Dm. These are very similar shapes so the movement is manageable.

Now you know some basic ukulele chords, why not learn how to read ukulele TABs. This means you will be able to play riffs, solos and fingerpicking. If you already know how to read tabs, head over to the songs section of this website and go wild!