So you’ve just got your new southpaw uke and need some left handed ukulele chords to get you started? You’re in the right place!
In this article we’ll learn how to read ukulele chord diagrams, master some basic left handed ukulele chords, and at the end you’ll find a huge chord chart which you can download or print for your practice room!
Beginner Left Handed Ukulele Basics
If you are brand new to ukulele you might have a few questions before we start to look at these left handed ukulele chords.
For example: How do you tune a lefty ukulele? What size of ukulele do you need? What is the best lefty uke? Do you even need a lefty uke?! What other southpaw ukulele lessons are available?
If these questions apply to you, then please visit my beginner left handed ukulele guide before you delve into these chords!
How To Read Left Handed Ukulele Chord Diagrams
A ukulele chord diagram is comprised of four vertical lines, each representing one of the four strings on the instrument. These lines are set out as if you were holding your uke vertically in front of you, with the fretboard facing you.
Therefore, from right to left, the strings will be G,C, E, and then A. This is standard tuning on a ukulele, and all of the chords in this guide will be in this tuning.
Next up we have the horizontal lines, which represent the frets. The thick orange line at the top of each chart shows the nut, and then the white lines below represent the first, second, third, and fourth frets. All of the left handed ukulele chords on this page can be played within the first four frets.
The orange circles indicate the notes that should be fretted, i.e. where to place your fingers. The numbers inside the circles show which finger should be used to play each note. Your fret-hand fingers are numbered as follows:
- Index Finger : 1
- Middle Finger : 2
- Ring Finger : 3
- Pinky : 4
- Thumb : T (thumb isn’t used in any chord on this page)
You’ll also notice that some chords have one or more ‘O‘ symbols above the nut. This simply means that you should be playing this string ‘Open‘, i.e. play it without fretting any note.
Just to ensure all of this makes sense to you, let’s break down a few example chords.
C Chord – G,C, and E-strings are all played ‘open’. Place your third finger (ring finger) on the 3rd fret of the A-string.
G Chord – G-string is played ‘open’. Place your first finger (index) on the 2nd fret of the C-string. Third finger (ring) on the 3rd fret of the E-string. Second finger (middle) on the 2nd fret of the A-string.
B Chord – Place your third finger (ring) on the 4th fret of the G-string. Second finger (middle) on the 3rd fret of the C-string. Use your first finger (index) to play the 2nd fret on both the E and A-strings. This technique where you play more than one note with a single finger is called ‘barring’.
Got it? Great! Let’s move on.
Basic Left Handed Ukulele Chords For Beginners
So you’re new to ukulele, but don’t know where to start?
Here are four easy chords that once mastered, will let you play literally thousands of songs!
I’m not kidding! The popular tab search engine ‘The Chord Genome Project’ lists a whopping 12,500 songs that you can learn using just these four chords. Click here for that list.
So what are the chords? We’ve got C, G, D, and E minor.
Once you’ve got these down, check the link above and get stuck into some songs!
Three other useful, basic ukulele chords to learn are A minor, E, and F. Mastering these will open up even more songs for you.
You’ll find these three additional chords in the chart below!
Left Handed Ukulele Chords Chart
Hungry for more? Here’s a huge left handed ukulele chord chart featuring 35 useful chords in standard GCEA tuning.
This chart includes major, minor, 7th, major 7th, and minor 7th chords.
Left Handed Ukulele Chord Chart PDF
If you would like, you can also download this chart as a PDF document. Save it to your device and keep it handy, or print it off for your practice room.
Ukulele Chord Tips For Beginners
If you’re new to playing uke (or any fretted instrument!), here are a few tips that will help to ensure that these chords sound correct.
Finger Position. When you are playing these chords, try to keep your fretting fingers as close to the fret as you can. Placing your finger towards the rear of the fret can cause the note to sound slightly out of tune, and can also cause a nasty buzzing noise (fret buzz). Practice slowly and it will soon become a subconscious movement.
Finger Pressure. Pressing down too hard on the string could cause the note to sound sharp, but pressing too lightly could cause the string to buzz. Try to find the lightest possible pressure to get a clean note without the string buzzing.
Pick Each Note. When you first begin to learn these chords, it’s a good idea to pick each string individually. This will let you make sure that you aren’t accidentally muting any of the strings. You might not notice this if you only strum the full chord. If you find that one string is being muted, adjust your finger position until you can clearly hear the note.
Stop If It Hurts. If you’ve never played a stringed instrument before you are probably going to get sore fingertips for a while. This will naturally subside as you develop calluses over the coming days and weeks, but try not to overdo it to begin with.
Keep Tuned Up. This might sound a bit obvious, but always tune your ukulele at the start of every practice session. If the chords don’t sound quite right you could wrongly be blaming it on your fingers when it’s just a simple fix to get in tune. You can find a review of my favorite ukulele tuner in my beginner left handed ukulele guide.
Ukulele Strumming For Beginners
I’ve taught you some useful chords in this article, but how about strumming techniques? What’s the best way to get these chords sounding their best?
For this I recommend checking out the following video by ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro. Here, he will show you some basic ukulele strumming techniques to help get you off on the right foot.
Strumming is an important aspect of ukulele that greatly impacts the sound and feel of a song, so make sure to dedicate some time to this as well.
More Ukulele Lessons
If you’d like to see additional left handed ukulele lessons on LeftyFretz, please send me an email with your suggestions. You can find a link to the contact form in the footer below.
Here’s a fun fact – did you know that every year in February we celebrate National Ukulele Day? Find out more about this special day.