Ukulele Music and Chords

Chord charts depicting your ukulele are composed of vertical lines representing its four strings: G, C, E and A. Horizontal lines represent frets while dots or numbers indicate where your fingers should be placed on the fretboard to produce particular chords.

A solid circle represents strings that should be played open (i.e. not fretted), whereas hollow circles represent those which need to be barred with fingers.

How to Play

Fingerpicking is an excellent way to start playing ukulele, as it is gentler on your fingers and provides you with a deeper experience of the instrument – connecting you more closely to its strings and their vibrations when they vibrate. Utilizing your picking hand as you pluck notes also allows for great rhythm practice as well as transitions between chords; eventually it may even lead to advanced techniques like Travis picking (created by country musician Merle Travis).

As a beginner ukulele player, it’s wise to focus on chords first. Chords form the core of harmony and will be present whenever playing an instrument containing harmony – so once they’re learnt it allows you to play almost any song on your uke.

As you learn songs, it’s essential to keep in mind that the tempo varies from section to section – an especially challenging part for beginners, yet necessary in crafting the sound of any song. When starting off slowly and increasing tempo as muscle memory takes place.

Strumming patterns can be one of the more challenging parts of learning to play a song. Start off with simple down-up patterns before progressing to more complex ones as your confidence increases. Also pay attention to what beat is being played while strumming along.

No matter if you use standard musical staff notation or tab format, each measure begins with a number that indicates how many beats there are in that measure. A symbol resembling a letter “C” with two half notes per measure known as cut time will often appear during fast songs; most commonly found ukulele music will usually use 4/4 time notation; but you may see other forms as you explore various songs.


Chords are the backbone of ukulele songs. Once you learn some chords, strumming becomes effortless. Strumming involves pluckeding all four strings simultaneously with one hand while using another as your strumming hand (typically either your right- or left-hand depending on handedness) to support and balance your instrument while pressing against its fretboard with fingers that curl round inward to press against its frets.

A ukulele chord chart is a small grid that visually depicts its strings and frets. A thick line at the top marked with stands for the nut where strings are held while vertical lines represent each string (4 through 1) from left to right. Thin horizontal lines called frets with black dots representing numbers inside indicate where to place your fingers for creating specific chords; circles above frets indicate open strings which can be played without pressing it down for natural harmonic sounds.

Music notation (commonly referred to as tablature) is another means of notating ukulele music and chords. Although more complex than chord charts, once you understand how it works you will be able to perform many popular ukulele songs with it.

Musical notation is written in a standardised format that’s easily understandable by musicians, such as ukulele chord charts. Standard notation also used by guitarists and other fretted instruments is commonly employed when notating music for fretted instruments like the guitar and mandolin. When writing pieces of music using standard musical notation such as that used for ukulele chord charts; first number at beginning indicating how many beats there are in each measure (4/4 for instance), with second number written as a rhythmic value telling how many beats per measure is represented by one quarter note in 4/4 time while fast tempo tunes often employ cut time (two half notes per bar) symbols used when notating fast tempo pieces of music.

As a beginner, it’s advisable to learn popular 3-chord ukulele songs that are easy to learn. Once this step has been accomplished, move onto learning 4- and 5-chord tunes which may also prove popular but are simpler for beginning players.


Ukulele scales form the backbone for learning songs and improvising on the instrument, making ukulele an invaluable learning resource. When first starting out on your uke, practicing scales as much as chords will be essential in mastering it fully. As fretboard is quite complex, this may take some time. There are various resources to assist this process such as UkeBuddy’s free bundle that contains 14 scale charts for easy reference.

Another crucial part of learning music is understanding standard notation. At first glance, its five-line staff and string of letters may seem more like less than musical symbols than musical ones, but those willing to invest the time into understanding them may discover they contain a wealth of musical information. One thing to keep in mind when studying standard notation is that each piece typically follows a particular key: for instance C consists of seven pitches that span an octave; these intervals (distance between individual pitches) identify that particular key.

Most pieces of music are written using a specific rhythmic pattern. The top number indicates how many beats there are in one bar, while the bottom number indicates the value of each beat (four quarter notes per measure is known as 4/4). A symbol with a cross through it called cut time signifies two half notes to one bar – perfect for faster tempos!

Next, it is essential that you comprehend that musical scales consist of whole and half steps. The major scale is an example of this principle with seven pitches that make up its basic form; all other scales derive from this base such as minor scale and pentatonic scale found on ukulele fretboards.

Once you’ve mastered these fundamental scales, you can begin exploring more unique melodies. For instance, blues scales are created from minor pentatonic scales by adding an chromatic flat fifth note – giving it that unique sound familiar in many genres of music.


There are various tuning schemes for ukuleles, with standard G-C-E-A being the most commonly used one. This tuning works great with many songs and serves as the foundation of all other chords played on ukulele. Before venturing off into other tunes it’s wise to become familiar with this tuning first.

Tuning a ukulele requires starting with the C string and making sure it is in tune (using either a tuner or playing middle C on piano). Once this step has been accomplished, adjust all other strings until they sound identical to it and repeat this procedure for each string until your instrument has perfect harmony.

Tuning of a ukulele is essential in creating the sound you’re after; its tuning can determine both tone and quality of sound. Due to their tendency for tuning issues, it’s wise to either learn how to tune it yourself or trust someone else with doing so for you.

Most ukuleles feature tuning pegs (or machine heads) located on their headstock near where the neck meets fretboard. Tuning pegs feature small knobs you can rotate to alter string pitch; typically one per string; also commonly referred to as tuning knobs or tuners.

Ukuleles are constructed out of wood and carefully inspected throughout production to ensure an instrument of the highest quality. Their shape is cut using bookmatching – an age-old technique which involves cutting each block of wood in such a way as to form an aesthetically pleasing pattern with each cut piece of wood.

Standard musical notation and tablature for the ukulele are intended to work together so you can read rhythmic information from one source while fretting finger positions can be read from the other. Chord diagrams, similar to those seen on guitar fretboards with lines representing each string and dots for finger placements are often included alongside notations as supplementary materials.

As you start playing ukulele, using a chord chart may help you find the appropriate fingerings. These charts typically come printed out on paper with dark horizontal and four vertical lines representing the nut as well as frets representing frets; every dot on this chart corresponds with one note on your ukulele.