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Ukulele Chords: Learn To Play Chord Progressions In C

Mar 1, 2008
Have you ever tried to play chords on an ukulele? Today I will show you how combine the most common chords to so called chord progressions that sound good.

The names of the chords we will play are dependent upon the tuning of the uke. In this ukulele lesson we will use the common tuning in C. This means that the first string of the ukukule is tuned to A. The first string of your uke is the bottom string when you play.

The second string is tuned to an E, the third string to C and the fourth string to G. All these notes can be found in the middle octave of a piano.

A chord progression consists of a series of chords played in a sequence. We will start with three common chords on ukulele. It will be the C-major chord, the F-major chord and the chord G7:

C: 04 03 02 31

F: 24 03 12 01

G7: 04 23 12 21

Every note to play in the chord is notated with two numbers. The first number tells you which fret to press down and the next number indicates the string. 31 for example means, press down the third fret on the first string. 04 means that you play the open fourth string, that is, without pressing down a fret.

The important skill when playing chords on an ukulele is to be able to change chords smoothly. To make it easier to change between chords i suggest the following:

1. Be careful how you finger the individual chords. For example, I suggest that you use your ring finger to press down the third fret of the chord C-major which will facilitate the movement from C to G7.

2. Take advantage of the fact that many chords share some notes. For example, when moving from F to G7 you can let your index finger remain on the first fret of the second string.

We will start to play an easy progression with the chords C and G7:

C / / / G7 / / / C / / / G7 / / /

To make it simple, strum once on every note name and then once using the same chord on every following slash.

When you move from the C chord to the G7 chord I suggest that you slide your left hand ring finger from the third to the second fret and then just add the index finger on the second string and middle finger on the third string. When you move back to the C chord again you just repeat this sequence the opposite way.

We will now add the F-major chord to make the following chord sequence:

C / / / G7 / / / F / / / G7 / / /

As you probably notice you you have the note 12 in common in the chords F and G7. That means that you can hold your index finger on this note as you change between the two chords making for a smoother chord change.

In the last chord sequence we will add the chord A-minor:

Am: 24 03 02 01

Here you have a very common chord progression:

C / Am / F / G7 / C / Am / F / G7 /

As you can see in this chord sequence you have one note in common in the A-minor chord and the F-major chord. I suggest that you keep your left hand middle finger down on the second fret on the fourth string as you move from Am to F.

As you learn the chords to a song on your ukulele it is very effective to practice the chord changes by concentrating on two chords at a time trying to move as effectively as possible between the chords.
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. He invites you to download your free ukulele tablature at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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