The first chords I’ve started with when I was in the early stages of learning the ukulele were: Am, C, G and F. With these four chords I could already play quite a lot of songs! And I’ve been playing those for several weeks resulting in the ability to switch very quickly between them. After a while though I was looking for other songs and steadily built my personal “chord database” of chords that I can play. These included: Em, D, Dm, Bm, A, Cm and a few more. Whenever I saw a song with an E chord in it I would skip it, but I couldn’t keep ignoring it. It really is a chord that you should learn at one time or another. So how did I learn it?
Most of the times when you are looking up ukulele chords you’ll find the E shape like it’s displayed at the left. This one is also listed in the UkuChords Chord Library. This is the one most widely known and is generally taken as the standard shape for the E chord. This is however very difficult to play, especially for someone who is just starting out. You play it with the first finger on the A string second fret and then your other fingers on the fourth fret strings G C E or barre the three strings with one finger (even your thumb can be used). Unless you have some guitar background, this is very difficult to execute properly.
When you look at the E chord in the UkuChords Chord Library you will however also find another shape. This is my favorite shape (for the E chord) and is the one that I always use. It sounds very clear (no barring) and allows for quick changing between chords. It is the one displayed on the left (G string first fret, C string fourth fret, open E string, A string second fret – 1402).
Another suggestion to play the E chord was recently send in by Bill. He suggest to play it as “4402” and you can see the chord diagram on the left. This is basically an E5 chord and it won’t always fit in the song that you are playing, but you can always give it a try.
It will take quite a lot of practice but it will be very rewarding once you’ve mastered it since it is quite a popular chord and used in tons of well known songs. Another popular shape is 4447 — barre the fourth fret and use your pinky to press the A string on the seventh fret.
I suggest you that you pick one shape and play it few minutes everyday. After a few days try switching to another chord and back to the E. If you are really (but really) struggling you can try to replace the E chord with an Em or E7. I do not recommend it, but it can be helpful if you really want to play a certain song at the beginning stages.
Good luck! Hopefully you've enjoyed reading this guide. Any remarks, questions or suggestion? Use the contact form to let me know what they are!