Mike Moxcey ©2005

Ukulele for Guitarists

Because of the way the Ukulele is tuned, guitarists who can convert the 6-string guitar chords into 4-string chords and can remember the relationships between chords can easily play any of the ukuleles.

For a demonstration, first let's look at some Guitar chords:

and the same chords on the Tenor Guitar/Baritone Uke:

Notice how if I drop the two bass strings of the guitar chords, the chording is exactly the same (which makes sense because the tuning is exactly the same). So any songs I know using G, C and D/D7 on the guitar can be played on the Baritone Uke using exactly the same fingering.

Now the G, C, and D7 chords on the C-tuned or D-tuned Ukulele are completely different, but because the strings are tuned exactly the same relative to each other, I can use the same chord positions to play songs. They'll be in different keys, but as a guitarist, I don't have to learn any new chords.

Here are the similar chords for a C-tuned Uke:

and a D-tuned Uke:

I can think of these chord relationships in either of two ways. I can learn the new names for them in the different tunings and remember the I, IV, V relationship (G,C,D or D,G,A) or I finger the relationship between "G" or "D" chords on a guitar and not think about the different names, merely "remembering that if I "really" would be playing in "C" on the guitar, then I need to play C,F and G7 chords (or whatever the chord progression is.

This explanation makes a whole lot of sense to some people and is totally confusing to others so take what's useful to you from it.

Here are some more chords laid out for the different instruments. Notice how the names change but the shapes stay identical. Using these chords and the ones above allow you to play in several different keys on a variety of ukuleles.

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