It is important as a budding musician to learn the easy things first. Not only will you make noticeable progress faster but you'll enjoy the journey too. We would never recommend a beginner to try to play a song with 12 different chords, or ask them to fingerpick, or even to play an advanced strumming pattern. It is setting them up for failure.
We like to teach four chords to start with to start to unlock a lot of popular songs. Once these four are mastered you can start to learn one or two more as they come up in songs. By the time you know 10 chords you'll look like an advanced Luthier to most people!
We recommend you start off with 3 basic chords and add the fourth later. The 3 super simple basic chords are Am, C, F.
Pretty easy right? The C and A minor chords require a single fret to be held down, and the F chord simply requires you to add the 1st fret of the E (2nd) String to the A Minor chord.
The G chord involves 3 fingers, but most players find the chord shape to be simple and easy to learn.
Guitarist will recognize the shape of the G chord as the same as that of a D Major chord on a six-string guitar.
If you want to explore the rest of the Major, Minor and 7th Ukulele chords, there is a full list with diagrams at UkeGuides.
Now that you know the 4 chords you need we want you to remember a few things. When learning a song start by simply strumming 4 downstrokes per bar. If that is too difficult simply play one down strum, but make sure you are tapping your foot to keep time!
Don't have a Ukulele to play yet? Check out our Guide to Great Beginner Ukuleles!
ArtistWorks has an amazing video learning series from Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel that we highly recommend!
Like our list? Did we miss a song that can be played with the four beginner chords we've listed? Please, post below and we'll add to the list!