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Ukulele Chords: Learn To Play White Christmas

Jun 28, 2008
In this ukulele lesson you will learn to read easy tab notation. Even if you cannot read sheet music you will be able to read ukulele chords and melodies with this type of tabs. We will use the Christmas song White Christmas as a learning tool.

In sheet music you will find notes placed in a staff with five lines. The placement of the notes in the staff determines which note it is. However, the sheet music notation does not tell you how to play the note on your instrument, in this case, your ukulele. You will have to learn this by yourself.

Tablature notation, on the other hand, tells you how to place your fingers to play a melody or something else. Ukulele tabs show which frets to press down and which strings to play. As soon as you understand the system you can use it to play melodies and chords on your uke.

You can find a few different types of tablature notation on the Internet. In this lesson you will learn a form of ukulele tabs with numbers telling you which fret and string to play.

I suppose that you have tuned your ukulele in C. This means that you first string, that is the bottom string when you play, is tuned to an A, the second string is an E, the third string a C and the fourth string a G.

In the ukulele tab notation we will use all frets you are to press down on your ukulele is shown by two numbers. The first number tells you which fret to press down, the second number what string to play. Here is an example:

12 01

The first number pair tells you to press down the first fret on the second string. The second pair means that you shall play the first string without pressing down a fret. This is called to play an open string.

It is time to take a closer look at the song we will use to learn tab notation. I will write down the lyrics, one line at a time, and the ukulele chords you can use in the key of C-major:

(C)I'm dreaming of a (Dm)white (G7)Christmas

The song starts on the note 02 which is the note E if you want to sing the song. Here are the chords that I have written in brackets before the syllable where you are to play them:

C: 04 03 02 31

Dm: 24 23 12 01

G7: 04 23 12 21

Here are the next line:

(F)Just like the (Dm)ones I (G7)used to (C)know

The chord F-major can be played as follows:

F: 24 03 12 01

Where the (C)treetops (C7)glisten and (F)children (Fm)listen

The uke chords C7 and F-minor are played like this:

C7: 04 03 02 11

Fm: 14 03 12 31

The chord Fm is a little bit tricky to play. Use your left hand index for string four, your middle finger for string two and your pinkie for the first string.

Here comes the last line of verse one:

To (C)hear (Am)sleigh bells in the (Fm)snow (G7)

The second verse starts with the same melody and the same chords:

(C)I'm dreaming of a (Dm)white (G7)Christmas

(F)With every (Dm)Christmas (G7)card I (C)write

Now comes a different melody and new ukulele chords:

May your (C)days be (C7)merry and (F)bright (Fm)

And may (C)all (C#dim)your (Dm)Christma(G7)ses be (C)white

C#dim can be played:

C#dim: 04 13 02 11

I suggest that you learn the song by memorizing one line at a time. The best way to learn to play the ukulele chords is to practice two adjacent chords at a time. Practice changing between the chords smoothly by strumming once on every chord, repeating the procedure slowly until you can play the chords without looking. Then, move to the next chords!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your free ukulele tabs and uke lessons at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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