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Learn To Play Tom Dooley With Ukulele Chords

Aug 17, 2007
This song can be played with two chords on your ukulele. You will learn this song in a few minutes time without the interference of sheet music. Here are the chords!

The first chord we will learn is C-major:

C: 0/4 0/3 0/2 3/1

I have to explain how to read this tablature notation. 3/1 means that you press down the third fret on the first string.

What then is the first string?

The first string is the string nearest the floor when you hold your ukulele the ordinary way.

The first string should be tuned to an A for the chord names to be correct.

The tuning of the ukulele will be:

First string: A
Second string: E
Third string: C
Fourth string: G

The next chord to learn is G7:

G7: 0/4 2/3 1/2 2/1

Now it is time to take a look at the lyrics of the first verse:

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Hang down your head and cry
Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Poor boy, you're bound to die

I will put the chords in parenthesis before the word you shall play the chord or change to a new chord.

Here are the lyrics with the chords attached:

(C)Hang down your head, Tom Dooley

Hang down your head and (G7)cry

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley

Poor boy, you're bound to (C)die

This song was not too hard to play, I guess. With these chords you will start the melody as you sing on the note G. It is on 3/2 on your ukulele but maybe not in the same octave.

Maybe you feel that the song is a little bit low pitched. Some people like to sing in a low key because it can be comfortable if you are not a professional singer.

We will now transpose the whole song to a higher pitch. Let us try the key of F. Here are the chords to use:

F: 2/4 0/0 1/2 0/1

C7: 0/4 0/3 0/2 3/1

The song will start on the note C(0/3)

Here are the song in the key of F:

(F)Hang down your head, Tom Dooley

Hang down your head and (C7)cry

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley

Poor boy, you're bound to (F)die

The hardest thing is not to hold the chords. The difficult part is to change chords without losing the tempo. For example practice strumming four times on C and four times on G7 and start over again. Strum in an even but slow pace trying to change chords without losing tempo.

Another thing that can help you change chords is to use a left hand fingering that will help you shift between the chords smoothly. Here is a suggestion for the chords C and G7:

C: 0/4 0/3 0/2 3/1(ring finger)

G7: 0/4 2/3(middle finger) 1/2(index) 2/1(ring finger)

To change chords from C to G7 just slide your ring finger from fret 3 on the first string to fret 2 and then place the rest of the fingers in place.
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your free ukulele sheet music, ukulele tabs, ebooks, music lessons and read his music blog at Capotasto Music.
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