Can Guitar Chords Be Used For Ukulele?

Typically, any chord shape you can play on a guitar can also be played on an ukulele; however, the same chord does not produce identical sounds when played by each instrument.

When adapting guitar chord shapes for use on a ukulele, they must be transposed up a fourth and any open strings must either be removed entirely or played as fretted notes.


Nylon strings are modern descendants of traditional gut strings crafted from livestock intestines, producing a warm, mellow sound. Fluorocarbon strings produce similar sounds but with a brighter sound signature; additionally they last longer and can better resist humidity than their nylon counterparts.

When stringing your ukulele again, use a larger “figure-8” knot. This type of knot is easier to manage and keeps the strings in their places – for added ease you could purchase special tuning pegs to help with stringing.

Chord shapes may look the same on both guitar and ukulele, but their sounds differ greatly. A guitar chord is five semitones higher than its equivalent chord on a ukulele; so even when seeing D chord shapes in songs such as one by Michael Jackson or Journey you must “voice” your chord differently on your ukulele to create its correct sound – this process is known as “voicing.”


Guitar players may be used to thinking of barre chord shapes as either major, minor or sevenths and placing them at any fret that produces the appropriate chord; with ukulele this same pattern works, except everything has been moved up one fourth fret.

As is necessary in music, fretting fingers must be properly placed for clear note sounding. Also be wary that any strings meant to remain open are not being muted by overly strident fretting fingers or muted strings that should remain open, which could happen if overly aggressive fretting was attempted.

Keep in mind that ukulele fretboard notes contain half-steps between them while guitar fretboard notes consist of whole steps – this may cause some initial confusion but keep in mind that the chromatic scale loops through all these positions, beginning at different spots and making things simpler later on.


A chord is any grouping of three or more notes played simultaneously at the same time, generally from one of the Major scales (for example a C major chord would contain C, D, E, F and G). There are also minor chords which use similar notes but in different orders and have more muted tones than their major counterparts.

Notes in a scale can either be sharp (# or b). When playing chords containing sharp notes, they need to be played higher while flat notes require playing it lower; and vice versa.

There are certain distinctions between guitar and ukulele chords due to the former having four instead of six strings, thus limiting chord possibilities and tuning methods. Furthermore, some guitar chords cannot be played successfully on an ukulele as there is less space than on a six-string guitar for frets on a four-string ukulele chords.


Ukuleles feature four strings instead of the standard six. This can make chord formation slightly different; to replicate it on ukulele, simply transpose its shape up by one-fourth; for instance, a D chord on guitar would become an E chord since you only have four thinnest strings available to you on this instrument.

Major chords sound uplifting and cheerful, while minor chords tend to sound more melancholic or melancholy due to a lower string’s tendency to sound sharper than its higher string counterpart.

Ukuleles also differ in that their smaller neck makes fretting some strings harder, making more advanced chords challenging at first; however, with proper technique and practice this difficulty will eventually fade as your fingers become more flexible allowing for easier chord playback.