If you just started playing ukulele, then you need to know these beginner ukulele chords.
It’s just a matter of time before you’re learning a song with these chords.
Believe it or not, in the free ukulele lesson book Your First Ukulele Lesson and Then Some, I teach you how to play your first songs using just a few of these essential ukulele chords.
In this lesson, learn the ten most important ukulele chords every complete beginner needs to know. It’s not an exaggeration to say these chords are used to play hundreds of songs, so if you know these, you’re well on your way to making music! Watch the video to get tips and tricks on how to play these chords.
Keep reading for the chord diagrams.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #1: C Major
The first chord you need to know is the C major chord.
Major chords are the most common quality of chords and are often associated with a “happy” or “upbeat” mood.
To play a C major chord, place the ring finger on the 3rd fret of the bottom A-string. Let the top three strings ring open.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #2: Am
The next chord is an Am chord, said A minor.
Chord letters followed by a lowercase m are considered minor chords. Minor chords are the second most common chord quality and are often associated with a “sad” mood when compared to a major chord.
To play an Am chord, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string. Let the bottom three strings ring open.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #3: F Major
Next, learn an F major chord.
To play an F major chord, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string and the index finger on the 1st fret of the E-string. Let the other strings ring open.
Pro Tip: When switching from an Am to F chord, keep the position of the Am chord the same and simply place the index finger for the F chord. Always try to find common relationships between chords as a ukulele player.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #4: G Major
Check out the G major chord.
To play a G major chord, place the index finger on the 2nd fret of the C-string, ring finger on the 3rd fret of the E-string, and middle finger on the 2nd fret of the bottom A-string. Let the top g-string ring open.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #5: Dm
Here we have another minor chord – the Dm chord.
To play a Dm chord, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string, ring finger on the 2nd fret of the C-string, and index finger on the 1st fret of the E-string. Let the bottom A-string ring open.
Pro Tip: Make sure the middle finger is laying right on top of the ring finger to fit all your fingers between the frets. Be sure to watch the video above to see an example of what I mean.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #6: A Major
Alright, we’re half way through these ten must-know beginner ukulele chords.
It’s time to learn the A major chord.
To play an A major chord, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string and index finger on the 1st fret of the C-string. Let the bottom two strings ring open.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #7: A7
So far you’ve learned major and minor chords. Now it’s time to learn a dominant seventh chord called A7 – said A seventh or A seven – as indicated by the number 7 that follows the chord letter.
Dominant seventh chords have a country, jazzy, or bluesy sound to them, which gives them character and a distinct sound.
To play an A7 chord, place the index finger on the 1st fret of the C-string. Let the other three strings ring open.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #8: E7
Here’s another dominant seventh chord for you to learn – the E7.
To play an E7 chord, place the index finger on the 1st fret of the top g-string, middle finger on the 2nd fret of the C-string, and ring finger on the 2nd fret of the bottom A-string. Let the E-string ring open.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #9: D Major
Now it’s time to learn the D major chord.
This chord isn’t as easy to play as the previous chords but it’s an essential, must-know chord that is well worth the practice since it shows up in so many popular songs. In the video, I give you a couple variations on how to play this chord depending on your finger flexibility and size.
To play a D major chord, barre or press down the index finger on the top three strings at the 2nd fret, bending the finger back slightly to allow the bottom A-string to ring out.
For me, I find that using the middle finger to barre the top three strings at the 2nd fret is more comfortable, so you may try that instead.
For those with smaller fingers, you may find this last variation to be easier to play, which is performed by placing the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string, ring finger on the 2nd fret of the C-string, and little finger on the 2nd fret of the E-string. Let the bottom A-string ring open.
Pro Tip: Don’t be discouraged if you have to work at this chord. Practice each variation to see which one works best for you. And be sure to watch the video for extra tips and tricks.
Beginner Ukulele Chord #10: D7
For the final must-know ukulele chord, we have the D7 chord.
This chord shape shows up in so many songs on ukulele, so you don’t want to overlook this important chord.
Like the previous chord, the D7 takes practice.
To play a D7 chord, barre or press down all four strings at the 2nd fret with the index finger and place the middle finger on the 3rd fret of the bottom A-string.
Alternatively, you can play the D7 in the easier “Hawaiian D7” variation. To do so, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string and ring finger on the 2nd fret of the E-string. Let the other two strings ring open.
You’ll want to practice both versions of the D7. I highly recommend the barre D7 chord shape since it opens up a world of chords for your ukulele playing if you can master that chord. It’s not that the Hawaiian D7 is a bad chord, but there are some reasons why I’m not the biggest fan of the Hawaiian D7 chord.
Brett although life is very hectic for me now, I hope to be able to use your courses in the near future. Please keep it up.
Always here when you’re ready, Douglas! Thanks for your comment.
I started taking your course about 8 years ago. Soon after, I became very ill and found myself disabled. When I emailed you to tell you that I had to cancel the course your reply was very sweet and kind. That meant a lot to me so I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤.
Wow, Cheryl, thank you for your comment. I wish you all the best!
Brett . . . your invite to learn from these 14 lessons come at the right time . . . I need to improve (right now, I’m on a plateau) – by the way, outstanding marketing!
Glad to hear it’s helpful, Pierre! Thank you for watching.
Good morning Brett,
I’m already signed up in your course for life. What helps me to practice though is getting a lesson on my iPad each morning. In my signed up lessons for life I find it difficult figuring where I left off. Thank-you!
That’s great, Mieke! There is actually a way to see and mark your progress in the Ukulele Tricks Member Area for each course. If you’d like to learn how, send me an email and I can reply back with instructions!
Thanks Brett. I have been neglecting the strumming and fingerpicking courses. This has reminded me to get going with them again.
I’m glad to give ya a little nudge 🙂
The most difficult chords are the D major and the D7 – they require lots and lots of practice – muscle memory in constant motion! Thank you for sharing these must-know strumming chords and at the same time giving us encouragement to keep on practicing!
Indeed, Brigitte! Thanks for watching and for your comment!
Why can’t I print out all the 10 chords complete? It prints the first chord but then
only prints a portion of the next chord. It seems every other chord is chopped in half? Help!
Hi Lee, sorry about the printer troubles! Sometimes printing from a web page is not optimized for printing. I don’t have a worksheet for this specific blog post that you could print unfortunately. What you may try is copying and pasting the contents of this post into your own separate Word document and spacing it out with the appropriate page breaks to ensure none of the chord diagrams are cut off.
Brett, this was an excellent, quick review of the most useful chords for beginners. I have a 6-year-old grandniece that can play a couple songs but is limited to just C, G, and F. Her timing is amazing and I played with her just a week ago and had a blast. My nephew asked if I could send some song ideas to keep her interested and expand her chording. Do you have any classes or ideas of where a young child could learn ukulele? Even some songs (she likes rock/pop). You’ve been a great inspiration to me, maybe you could also be to her. If I could get together with her more often or had a better computer I’d teach her as much as I could, but mainly just be an inspiration of what can be done with a ukulele. The uke has meant so much to me I’d like to pass it on
P.S. Brett – how can I change that awful image left by my name?