How Guitar Chords Can Be Converted to Ukulele Chords

If you are trying to learn a song with the ukulele but can only discover the guitar chords, this article is for you.

I have been playing the ukulele and guitar for a long time, so I know a thing or two about both instruments.

Anyway, I am here to reveal to you how you can easily convert guitar chords to ukulele chords.

​So whether you are a beginner or intermediate player, you just need to read this.

​Tune your ukulele right

​Even though you have not played the ukulele before, you will find self-explanatory resources online on how to tune the ukulele. Let’s assume you are playing the soprano ukulele.

The standard tuning is GCEA, and in this case, you are tuning from the top. The G string and C string has different thickness level. The former is thinner than the latter.

​Figure 1 – Ukulele Standard Tuning

Figure 1 – Ukulele Standard Tuning

​What I Discovered About the Ukulele Strings

​The ukulele is one of the nicest and comfortable instruments to play. And one thing that amazes me about this tiny little instrument and makes it much easier to play is its string order, which is the GCEA.

It has the same interval as the four thin guitar strings, such as the DGBE which is just up a fourth.

​Note: 

​The distance that exists between four letters apart is called a fourth. You need to count each of the letters plus your starting note ( A to D).

​What this means is that exactly the same chord shapes you use for the guitar can as well be used to make the ukulele chords especially if you transpose that chord up a fourth.

​Take a look at this. To play the basic D chord on the guitar, you just require the four thinnest strings to play this chord. But when you go ahead to play the same shape you did for the guitar on a ukulele, you will get the G chord.

Guitar G major is a uke C major

Let me take you back to when you started learning how to play the G chord on the guitar. In fact, you can also play a very simple version of this on the last four strings on the guitar as well, with the high E string simply fretted at the third fret while the rest strings (D, G, and B) open.

However, if you happen to play the same shape on the ukulele, the C chord is what you will get.

Guitar G major is a uke C Major

Now let us look at the E minor chord. If on the guitar you don’t have the two heavy E and A strings, you can go ahead and play an Em using one finger on the D string on the second fret. The remaining three strings will thus be open.

​If you decide to move the same shape we mentioned above to the ukulele, it is still minor and also, up the fourth from E we have the A (E, F, G, A equals to fourth).

Therefore, what you will get at the end for this ukulele chord is an Am.

Guitar E Minor is a uke A minor

This one is not only limited to just one-finger chords, but on a ukulele, you will find many of them. Get a complete barre chord from the guitar, then, get the first two bass strings out of the chord chart. What you’ll get at the end will be this.

Uke barre major

What we have above is also a major chord shape even on a ukulele. But it can be changed to a minor, 7th, or something else, just the exact way it will be done on a guitar.

​Do not forget to do the root note transposition. For a guitar, an A shape equals a D on a ukulele. B minor also equals to E minor and so on.

​However, one special thing about barre chords is that they can be placed anywhere. let’s take for instance, if you have a major shape at one fret, what you have there is still a major shape at any other.

​Most people who play the guitar normally think about the different barre chord shapes as major, minor, 7ths and so on, and go ahead to place them at any fret they want them to deliver the right chord.

​The thing is those shapes you have on the guitar still work well on the ukulele. The only difference is that everything is moved up the 4th.

Final Word ​

​I hope you have a nice time playing the ukulele. Honestly speaking, I enjoy playing the ukulele a lot. It is such a wonderful instrument to play and offers tons of fun. If you are nursing the idea of playing the ukulele, get the best ukulele for beginners and make some real good music.

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