King Uke’s quick guide to ‘Ukulele Chords’ for guitarists

We are proud to announce that the invitation we sent out to a friend of ours, King Uke, has been accepted and he has now become our newest staff writer. Welcome aboard, King Uke. In his first article (originally blogged over on his own King Uke’s blog , King Uke talks about a discussion we had, uke tunings and the uke’s relationship with guitar.


I got into an interesting discussion earlier this week with Julian Davies of Electric Ukulele Land. The subject was ukuleles and it wasn’t long until we were chewing the fat over the various uke models, tunings and chords. I learnt some great stuff! Here are some highlights… with illustrations…

King Uke – Aloha!

Below is a representation of the notes on a guitar fret-board. I’ve seen similar diagrams being drawn for ukes. What I hadn’t realised is that the uke diagram is really only a subset of the guitar diagram. And this is why it is easy to ‘jump’ between the two instruments; They have the same chord shapes! Personally, I’ve come to the Uke from the Guitar, but it works both ways.

Ukulele Fret-board with Notes

So, irrespective of which key you choose to tune your uke in (which will be influenced by the type of uke you have), the strings will always be tuned relative to the top 4 strings on a guitar.

Here’s another way of thinking about it…

The diagram below shows you how to play a ‘C’ chord on the guitar with a capo on the 5th fret. Guitarists will instantly recognise this common chord ‘shape’. The same diagram also shows you how to play a ‘C’ chord on a uke. Ukulele players will instantly recognise this common chord ‘shape’ too! Beautiful!

Is it starting to make sense yet?

Guitar / Ukulele ‘C’ Chord fingering

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