Happy Helpful Guide to the Ukulele – Step 9: New Chords

Wow, we are already on Step 9! Now that we’ve addressed strumming, it’s time to get back to learning chords. In this video, you’ll learn more complicated chords necessary for a variety of songs. After this step, the hope is that players will be able to tackle and switch between any chords they find.

Now that you have conquered the G and G7, you are ready to look up and learn other chords to allow you to explore more songs and also play the same songs in different keys.

transposition and singing

  • Transposing, or transposition, is another way of playing and singing in different keys.
  • Transposing is basically taking the same sequence of chords and shifting them higher or lower so that the entire song goes higher or lower in pitch.
  • If you’re able to sing in tune, you will find that some pitches are easier (more relaxing) to reach than others. It’s important to play a song with the chords that enable your voice to find its most comfortable vocal range.

To expand your vocabulary of chords, look for the chord diagrams shown in song sheets of songs you know well and look up the chord diagrams on chord charts (also known as chord tables).

D chord

  1. The D chord requires putting all three fingers on the sound fret
  2. Start by putting your index finger on the G-string second fret. Follow this with your middle finger. And then your ring finger.
  3. Because you have more than two fingers on the same fret, you will need to tilt your left hand to create space for all three fingers to fit on that fret
  4. As usual

D chord ukulele

barre chord

The D7 chord is also called a barre chord because the most popular fingering requires putting your left index finger across the entire second fret and your ring finger on the 3rd fret of the 1st or A-string. There is a shortcut, however. It’s called the Hawaiian D7 or fake D7, represented by 2020. Try the next exercise to acquaint yourself with these three chords: D, Hawaiian D7, and the regular or real D7.

exercise 28: D and D7 chords

Count 1, 2, 3, 4. Apply the strum patterns you know.

ukulele chord charts

exercise 29: E7 and F#m chords

  • F#m is pronounced “F sharp minor”
  • E7 and F#m chords look similar to the G7 chord. While at it, learn the D minor chord which requires you to tilt your hand to tuck your ring finger last.
  •  Practice the chords in adjacent pairs, four counts each, e.g. G7 – E7- G7- E7 until you can switch without looking at your left hand.
  • After pairwise practice, try  three different chords in the order shown. Eventually play the entire sequence from left to right and right to left.

ukulele chord chart

exercise 30: chord pairings and two chord songs

Try the songs in the previous exercises, substituting the following sets of chords listed in the rows beneath. Can you find the first note of
each song?

ukulele chords

There are several easy chords that look alike, so it’s worth practising them.

exercise 31: E minor and B7 chords

Practice switching back and forth. These 2 chords are used in the popular song “Havana” sang by Camila Cabello.

ukulele e minor chord

exercise 32: three and four chord songs

The chart below shows common chord sequences. The chords indicated in bold text are quite challenging at this time, so you will need to look them up (in appendix C).

ukulele chords

You are now ready to play most of the songs listed in the appendix.

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