Having difficulties reading chord diagrams/charts? Read this complete guide to understand them!
When you are just starting out with the ukulele it can be quite overwhelming when looking at all the different chords and their shapes. They are quite intuitive to understand, but some symbols may need some explaining. Once you know how the chord diagrams “work” you will be glad seeing them on song pages, because it will really help you speed up learning a song.
The UkuTabs chord diagrams are quite easy to understand and I’ve made to be as simple as possible. You should imagine watching at an ukulele in front of you and you are looking at the fretboard with the headstock at the top. The strings are illustrated as vertical lines (from left to right G C E A string) and the frets are the horizontal lines.
All the different chord shapes are represented by dots. Each dot represents the placement of your finger. In the example on the left you can see a G chord. So how should you place your fingers? You play the C string at the second fret, the E string at the third fret and the A string at the second fret. That little circle (o) at the top of the G string means that you have to play that string open (i.e. not place a finger on it).
This is a basic chord diagram and most of time you will see diagrams like this. There are however a few symbols that need some explaining.
Higher Up The Fretboard
Sometimes you will see numbers at the sides of diagrams. These refer to a certain fret number, because sometimes a chord is played higher up the fretboard (if nothing is displayed it means frets 1 -> 4 are shown). In the example on the left the A string is played at the sixth fret, C string at the fifth fret and the G string at the third fret.
When you see a little “x” at the top of a string it means you should not play that string at all. In other words, you have to mute it. You can do this be resting one or more of your fretting fingers on the string without actually fretting it. An example is shown at the left (same example as in “Higher Up The Fretboard”).
Sometimes in the notes of a song or when you are talking with people about chords you won’t see chord diagrams, but only four simple numbers. For example, when you see “0232″ it represents a G chord. So the four numbers refer to each string of the ukulele (order: GCEA). This is incredibly useful to quickly tell someone how to play a certain chord. The second example in this guide would be: 35×6.
You can find the complate UkuChords chord charts for soprano, concert and tenor sized ukuleles right here. It features all the main chord diagrams and you can either download a print-friendly pdf or a “poster” like chart.
Hopefully you've enjoyed reading this guide. Any remarks, questions or suggestion? Use the contact form to let me know what they are!