Learn Ukulele Chords and Scales

Learn the Ukulele: Where Should I Fret First? [Wiki] Among the first things beginners learn when beginning to play the ukulele is an alternative way of viewing chords – using dots as frets and numbers within to indicate which finger should fret them: 1 = index finger, 2 = middle finger, 3 = ring finger and 4 = pinky finger.


Scales are groups of notes separated by fixed intervals – for instance, a major scale contains seven notes separated equally by half steps. If you want to improvise music successfully, having an excellent understanding of scales is essential.

Some chord shapes work well on both guitar and ukulele, such as moving up one fourth on an D guitar chord to convert it to an F chord on the ukulele.

Other chords require either a barre or more than one finger to play; for example, C minor requires three fingers on its third fret or bar for example.

Some chord charts outline which fingers to use for fretting by placing numbers inside each dot. A “1” indicates index finger fretting; “2” represents middle finger fretting; and “3” designates ring finger fretting. Over time, you will develop muscle memory so you no longer require consulting the chart when playing chords – saving both time and energy while providing more freedom during improvisational playing sessions.


A chord is a combination of notes played together that can be strung together to produce music, like this D major chord from your ukulele. Chords provide you with the building blocks necessary to compose songs while honing rhythmic and lead playing skills. An excellent place to begin learning chords on your ukulele would be by learning some easy ukulele chords such as this D major, composed of D, F sharp (G#), and A notes.

Ukulele chord charts resemble guitar ones in that they use vertical lines to represent its four strings (G, C, E and A). Chord diagrams also contain dots representing frets where your fingers should rest when playing; usually these dots are numbered 1 through 4, showing which finger to use for fretting each string. Furthermore, some charts include an open chord symbol such as 0 next to certain string names on some charts.

Transferring a guitar chord shape directly onto a ukulele can often prove challenging due to it being tuned a fourth higher; this can result in different strings being affected and may change how your chord sounds altogether.


Chords are collections of notes that create sound together and can elicit different emotional reactions from listeners. Major chords evoke positive and joyful associations while minor ones can feel melancholic or saddening.

Fingering different chords on a ukulele is essential in developing muscle memory and making transitioning between chords simpler. You should also check to ensure you’re not accidentally muzzling strings when playing your chords.

To do so, referring to a ukulele chord diagram is key in finding where your fingers should go; this way you’ll keep track of which string is being compressed down or left open.

Nota Bene: While many guitar chord shapes will work on a ukulele, keep in mind that its pitch is typically tuned a fourth higher. This means the bottom two strings may not sound the same and may need to be taken out from your chord structure for optimal sounding chords on ukuleles.


Tuning the ukulele correctly is of vital importance for players of this instrument, since chords require only a single finger to play them in tune. There are multiple methods available to you for tuning your instrument, with tuners often being the best solution.

If you don’t have access to a tuner, another method for tuning your ukulele may be by ear tuning it yourself. Begin by playing open 4th string followed by third fret 2nd string; each should sound identical and any discrepancies must be adjusted until both sound exactly the same.

Chords are an integral component of music and can add significant depth and dimension to a song. From creating mood or emotion to helping transition between parts of a piece, chords play an integral part. Ukulele chords can be learned quickly; practice regularly and have fun!