Tips & Techniques

Guitar chords on a ukulele

Lesson #198

Video Overview

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Editor’s notes

In this lesson, I’m excited to demonstrate how all of the guitar chord shapes you already know can be used on a ukulele - allowing you to play many of the songs you already know. I’ll explain how this is the case, how to translate 6-string chords on to a 4-string instrument, and talk about some of the differences in pitch you’ll need to understand. If nothing else, I want you to realize that applying your guitar skills to a ukulele is something that’s likely much easier than you ever thought it would be.

Chords by shape

Each chord shape can be used on both instruments (play the thinnest four strings of any guitar chord on the ukulele). You can play any progression of chord “shapes” you know on guitar on a ukulele - and they’ll sound great (though be in a different pitch than the guitar).

Chords by sound

Each chord uses different shapes on guitar vs. ukulele. This requires you to disassociate the shape from the name - since the same shape on guitar makes a different sound on a ukulele.

Common chord progressions

Every key has a I-IV-V (one-four-five) progression, and that progression always sounds pleasing – no matter the key. Here are some of those progressions in some of the more common keys, showing both the ukulele and guitar chord shapes needed. Notice how relationship of the chord shapes remains similar between both instruments.

Good luck!

I hope this was helpful for you. As always, it’s best to see my video lesson for reference. Please let me know what questions you have, and until next time - best of luck!

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