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Open Position Chords FREE LESSON
Published: 2013-11-04 Updated: 2015-02-25 00:00:00 • 4128

Open Position Chords

by Curt Sheller, Curt Sheller Publications

The basic first chords most players learn. There are the chords in the first one, two, three and fours frets of the ukulele and include at least one open string.


The basic first chords most players learn. There are the chords in the first one, two, three and fours frets of the ukulele and include at least one open string.

COpen position chords are the basic, first chords most ukulele players learn. These chords are played in the fret one, two, three and four area of the ukulele and include at least one open string in the chord.

Here is a FREE chart of the Basic Open Position Ukulele Chords in common keys to get you started in C tuning, high or low “G”. For most simple songs the chords all are from the main key and stay in that key.

The basic first chords most players learn. There are the chords in the first one, two, three and fours frets of the ukulele and include at least one open string.

Learning Chords

The The Song Approach is to pick a song that you would like to learn and those are the chords you need to learn. Look them up, ask a friend or take a lesson or two. Then practice away.

A song is like a recipe, it contains ingredients: the chords, lyrics, and melody. The style and arrangement can be like the original recording or your own arrangement.

For basic open position chords in a few common keys, this approach will get you started. Simply memorize the shape and sound of each chord required.

Another approach is to learn the common chords that show up in common keys and songs. This is especially helpful for occasions where you might have never played a particular song before or are reading the chords as you go. This happens a lot at jam sessions, meetup groups and club play-a-longs. Still, just memorize the shape and should of the chord.

All you really need is to know one of each chord you might encounter.

For Folk, Rock, Pop, Country and and Bluegrass common major keys are C, G, D, A, and E.

Common Chords for the Key of C Major and the C Major Scale

The key of C major is one of the most common keys. It’s sometimes called the learning key as it corresponds to the white keys if the piano. It’s a good place to start.

The basic chords are:

  • C major
  • D minor
  • E minor
  • F major
  • G major
  • A minor
  • B diminished

The diminished chord rarely is rarely used and a G7 is substituted for it. A Diminished Seventh chord can also substitute for the diminished chord.

With major chords being the most common chord the “major” part of the chord is typically not said or notated. If you say play a C chord, it’s understood to mean “C Major”. The minor chord type is shortened to “min” or “m”. The diminished notation is shortened to “dim” or a degree sign. Leaving use with an easier to read list.

  • C
  • Dm
  • Em
  • F
  • G
  • Am
  • or Bdim

Any one of the chords can be a seventh chord: C7, D7, E7, F7, G7, A7, and B7. These are 4-part chords containing four notes with no duplicate notes. All but the G7 are chords outside of the key of C major but common.

Here are all the possible open position seventh chords. For the chords that do not have an open position form their basic movable form is shown.

See the Key Signatures series of lessons for the common chords to all 15 major keys.

The second approach, which is almost required with movable form and *jazz* chords is to have a core set of chords and a system for deriving additional chords from those known chords. And, knowing where and how chords are created and used.

End of Lesson

PERMANENT LINK: https://LearningUkulele.com/lessons/open-position-chords

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Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G. Shows natural, sharp and flat notes for the ukulele fingerboard. This tuning can be used on a soprano, concert, tenor and baritone ukuleles.

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Ukulele Chords

This mini (1/2 size) chord book is the perfect size for every ukulele gig bag or case and a great addition to you music book library.

Ukulele Chords covers basic open position and basic movable form chords. From these two chord categories a variety of songs and styles can be played.

Seventh chords, Major Sevenths, Minor Sevenths, Diminished, Augmented chords sus and add chords.

Tunings: C with low or high G - (GCEA or gCEA).

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Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books! — Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the best — Glen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too. — Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent. — fatveg — Portland

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