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Happy Memorial Day!

Today I’m playing a chord melody arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner on ukulele (scroll down to get the ukulele tab).

Chord melody is a style of playing ukulele where you strum the chords of a song while you simultaneously fingerpick the melody.

As far as chord melody goes, The Star Spangled Banner is an easy song to learn for those who are beyond the basics of picking. Played in the key of C you use a lot of open strings to create a full and resonate sound.

The Star Spangled Banner is the United States national anthem. The lyrics of the song were written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, however, the music was written much earlier in 1773 by John Stafford Smith. Key wrote the poem on September 14, 1814 at age 35-years-old after seeing the British Royal Navy bomb Baltimore Harbor in the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. After looking at the U.S. flag waving above Fort M’Henry in victory, he was inspired to write the poem. It wasn’t until March 3, 1931 that Congress made it the U.S. national anthem by resolution, which was then signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Musically, The Star Spangled Banner has one of the broadest vocal ranges spanning 19 semitones making it one of the hardest songs to sing. Fortunately for us, we can fingerpick the melody and strum the chords of the song without singing! Whew.

The Star Spangled Banner Chord Melody Ukulele Cover

Watch the video to hear me play my chord melody arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner on ukulele. I include a little surprise at the end as well as the sheet music and ukulele tab below the video so you can learn how to play this song.

"The Star Spangled Banner" Fingerpicked in Chord Melody on Ukulele (Happy Memorial Day!) - YouTube

I’ve arranged this song in the key of C major. Download the tab and try your hand at playing this song.

Click here to get the chord melody ukulele tab for The Star Spangled Banner.

Want to Learn More Chord Melody and Fingerpicking?

If this song is too difficult for you to play, or if you’re new to fingerpicking, then, I’m here to help.

In the Fingerpicking Tricks online video lesson course I teach you how to fingerpick the ukulele in multiple styles including chord melody.

With small, easy steps you have what you need to learn how to fingerpick the ukulele.

Right now, the course is closed, but join the waiting list where I’ll be sending out free fingerpicking lessons soon.

Why don’t you join me?

Learn to fingerpick. Take your fingerpicking skills to the next level on the ukulele, learning fingerpicking pieces in four distinct styles.

Learn More

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An exciting way to take your ukulele playing to the next level is to find new ways to play the same chord on ukulele.

Yes, there are often several different ways to play the same chord on ukulele, and I include many of these chord variations in the Ukulele Tricks Chord Library, but you might be wondering why you’d want to find a different way to play a chord on ukulele.

There are many reasons for why you’d find a new way to play the same chord:

  • Make a chord easier to play
  • Add variety to the song you’re playing
  • Find a new sound
  • Blend together with an accompanying ukulele player
  • Voice a melody note in a chord to be the highest note in the chord (for example, like in chord melody)

In this lesson, I introduce you to the world of finding chord variations on ukulele by showing you how to play a C major chord on ukulele in five different ways.

5 Different Ways to Play a C Major Chord Across the Ukulele Fretboard - YouTube

Watch the video to learn the five different ways to play a C major chord on ukulele.

C Major Chord: Variation #1

This is the C major chord you’re probably most familiar with.

To play C Major Chord Variation #1 on ukulele, place the ring finger on the 3rd fret of the bottom A-string. Let the other strings ring open.

C Major Chord: Variation #2

Let’s find new ways to play this common chord.

To play C Major Chord Variation #2 on ukulele, press down or barre the index finger on the bottom two strings at the 3rd fret, place the middle finger on the 4th fret of the C-string, and ring finger on the 5th fret of the top g-string.

C Major Chord: Variation #3

As we find new chord variations, we work our way up the ukulele fretboard. As you go up the fretboard, the notes contained in the chord are notes in a C major chord played at higher octaves giving the chord a different timbre or texture.

To play C Major Chord Variation #3 on ukulele, place the index finger on the 5th fret of the top g-string, ring finger on the 7th fret of the C-string, and little finger on the 7th fret of the bottom A-string. Let the E-string ring open.

C Major Chord: Variation #4

You may recognize the following fretting hand shape from the G chord. Although like a G chord, this is a C chord variation because of its higher position on the ukulele fretboard.

To play C Major Chord Variation #4, place the index finger on the 7th fret of the C-string, ring finger on the 8th fret of the E-string, and middle finger on the 7th fret of the bottom A-string. Let the other string ring open.

C Major Chord: Variation #5

Things are starting to get a little cramped this high up the fretboard!

To play C Major Chord Variation #5, place the middle finger on the 9th fret of the top g-string, index finger on the 8th fret of the E-string, and little finger on the 10th fret of the bottom A-string. Let the C-string ring open.

When to Use These C Major Ukulele Chord Variations

You can use any of these C major chord variations in a song where you see a C chord.

For example, if you’re learning a jazzy song, like those in the Jazzy Strummin’ course, you probably want to opt for Variation #2 of the C major chord above to get a nice muted jazzy strum.

But, if you’re playing a chord melody song where the highest melody note is a G note, then, you might want to use Variation #5.

And if you’re playing at your ukulele club with a dozen other ukulele players, instead of playing the same chord variation as your fellow band members, maybe you use Variation #3 to “fill out” the sound and create a nicely blended tone!

Finding chords across the ukulele fretboard is almost limitless. To find more chord variations across the ukulele fretboard, check out the chords in the chord library and scroll through the different variations.

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You finally figure out how to play that one ukulele chord that’s giving you all sorts of trouble, but when you strum:

Bzzt!

No matter what you do, playing the chord sounds like fingernails scraping across a chalkboard.

Is this a problem with how you’re strumming? Is it an issue with your fretting hand? Do you just not have the strength yet to play a chord?

Every ukulele player at some point or another has gone to play a ukulele chord just to have the chord sound out with a dead thud. This is such a common challenge every ukulele player has to overcome. Even advanced ukulele players will encounter this problem and have to find a way to fix it.

Fortunately, most buzzing ukulele chords can be fixed with one easy trick.

One Fast & Easy Way to Fix Buzzing Ukulele Chords - YouTube

Watch the video to learn how to fix your buzzing ukulele chords.

Don’t Forget This Last Buzzing Ukulele Chord Consideration

You can fix ninety-nine percent of buzzing ukulele chords with the above solution, however, there are other factors that can cause your ukulele to buzz on you.

For example, cheaper entry-level ukuleles are infamous for buzzing.

This has to do with the quality of craftsmanship. For example, cheaper ukuleles may have metal frets on the fretboard that are uneven or not properly filed down.

Most ukuleles can be taken to a luthier or local music shop who can often perform a “set up” on your ukulele to fix these frets that are catching on the strings, however, sometimes the cost to perform this service is more than the actual ukulele itself! So it may be in your interest to save up for a higher-quality ukulele.

Lastly, strings can buzz if you strum too hard or with too much tension. If you have a heavy hand, it doesn’t hurt to see what a lighter touch does for your tone and sound.

How to Get a Musical Sound From Your Ukulele

It’s one thing to play the right chords, but it’s another thing to sound musical.

When it comes to your strumming and chord technique, there are a variety of factors that impact how musical you sound:

  • How you strum the strings
  • How you position your fretting hand fingers to prepare for smooth chord changes
  • How you adjust your strumming volume to create dynamics and emotion

If you struggle with strumming the ukulele in a musical-sounding way, there’s no better place to start than the free four-lesson Learn to Play Ukulele Today course where I give you the foundations to make music in a, well, musical-sounding way.

Enter your email address below:

Yes! I want the free Learn To Play Ukulele Today video lesson course.
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I haven’t had this much fun lately learning to play a song as I did learning Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself.

In this heart-felt and soulful tune, you play unexpected chord variations for the verse giving the song it’s signature sound and instant recognition. With a subtle strumming hand slap, you create a percussive rhythm that carries the song’s melody. By the time you get to the chorus, you play the same chords but change the variation to create a fuller sound.

I chose to perform this song on baritone ukulele for two reasons. For one, Love Yourself is played in the key of E, and the key of E is a much more player-friendly key on the baritone ukulele versus a standard-tuned ukulele. And secondly, the baritone’s smooth, mellow sound lends itself well for this particular song’s soulful style.

First, listen to my performance, and then, once you’re ready dive into the ukulele chords for this song below (skip ahead and go right to the chords).

“Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber Baritone Ukulele Cover

Watch the video to hear me play Love Yourself on the baritone ukulele cover and get the baritone ukulele chords on the screen so you can play along with me.

"LOVE YOURSELF" BY JUSTIN BIEBER BARITONE UKULELE COVER & PLAY-ALONG - YouTube

For this song, you’ll want to count out loud as I play along so you can hear what beats the chord changes happen on. It varies throughout the song creating a nice challenge as you’re first learning!

You can also play along with me using your standard-tuned ukulele, but you’ll need to look up the standard ukulele chord diagrams for the chords below in the Ukulele Tricks Chord Library.

Baritone Ukulele Chord Diagrams for “Love Yourself”

Here are the baritone (D-G-B-E) ukulele chord diagrams for the chords I used to play this song.

Verse Chords

For this first set of chords, you use these positions to play the verses, giving the song it’s signature sound.

To play the verse E chord on baritone ukulele, place the index finger on the 2nd fret of the top D-string, little finger on the 5th fret of the B-string, and ring finger on the 4th fret of the bottom E-string. Do not let the G-string ring open.

To play the verse B chord on baritone ukulele, place the index finger on the 1st fret of the top D-string, little finger on the 4th fret of the B-string, and index finger on the 2nd fret of the bottom E-string. Do not let the G-string ring open.

To play the verse C#m chord on baritone ukulele, place the index finger on the 1st fret of the top G-string and middle finger on the 2nd fret of the B-string. Let the bottom E-string ring open. Do not let the top D-string ring open.

To play the verse F#m chord on baritone ukulele, place the index finger on the 4th fret of the top D-string, little finger on the 7th fret of the B-string, and ring finger on the 5th fret of the bottom E-string. Do not let the G-string ring open.

Chorus Chords

You use this second set of chord positions to play the pre-choruses and choruses of the song starting at the lyric “My mama don’t like you” and so on.

To play the E chord on baritone ukulele, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top D-string and index finger on the 1st fret of the G-string. Let the bottom two strings ring open.

To play the Bsus chord on baritone ukulele, place the middle finger on the 4th fret of the top D-string and ring finger on the 4th fret of the G-string. Let the bottom two strings ring open.

To play the C#m7 chord on baritone ukulele, place the middle finger on the 6th fret of the top D-string and ring finger on the 6th fret of the G-string. Let the bottom two strings ring open.

To play the A2 chord (sometimes referred to as Aadd9) on baritone ukulele, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top D-string and ring finger on the 2nd fret of the G-string. Let the bottom two strings ring open.

“Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber Ukulele Chords

This song is written and played in the key of E major. If you’re playing on a standard-tuned ukulele, look up the chord diagrams in the Ukulele Tricks Chord Library.


LOVE YOURSELF

            E	       
For all the times that 
    B          C#m
you rain on my parade
	    F#m	  	     
And all the clubs 
	     E        B
you get in using my name
	      E 	      	 
You think you broke my heart, 
	 B		   C#m
oh girl for goodness sake
	      F#m     	
You think I'm crying, 
	    E 	       B
on my own well I ain't

		   E	     B	
And I didn't wanna write a song 
	     	     	
'cause I didn't want 
C#m
anyone thinking I still care
  F#m        E 		      B
I don't but, you still hit my phone up
	      E	       B		
And baby I be movin' on 
		C#m
and I think you should be somethin'
	      F#m 	
I don't wanna hold back, 
E   	          B
maybe you should know that

	      C#m7     A2 		  E
My mama don't like you and she likes everyone
	    C#m7   A2		     E
And I never like to admit that I was wrong
		 C#m7	      A2  
And I've been so caught up in my job, 
	     E   	     Bsus
didn't see what's going on
	  C#m7  A2	   Bsus
And now I know,  I'm better sleeping on my own

	      E           Bsus  C#m7 	     A2
'Cause if you like the way you  look that much
	E		       A2   E
Oh baby you should go and love yourself
	   E		 Bsus	
And if you think that I'm 
   	C#m7	   A2
still holdin' on to somethin'
E		       A2   E
You should go and love yourself

	     E		      B	       C#m
But when you told me that you hated my friends
	 F#m		  E 	      B
The only problem was with you and not them
	  E		   B  		  C#m
And every time you told me my opinion was wrong
	     F#m	    E 		 B
And tried to make me forget where I came from

		   E	     B	
And I didn't wanna write a song 
	     	     	
'cause I didn't want 
C#m
anyone thinking I still care
  F#m        E 		      B
I don't but, you still hit my phone up
	      E	       B		
And baby I be movin' on 
		C#m
and I think you should be somethin'
	      F#m 	
I don't wanna hold back, 
E   	          B
maybe you should know that

	      C#m7     A2 		  E
My mama don't like you and she likes everyone
	    C#m7   A2		     E
And I never like to admit that I was wrong
		 C#m7	      A2  
And I've been so caught up in my job, 
	     E   	     Bsus
didn't see what's going on
	  C#m7  A2	   Bsus
And now I know,  I'm better sleeping on my own

	      E           Bsus  C#m7 	     A2
'Cause if you like the way you  look that much
	E		       A2   E
Oh baby you should go and love yourself
	   E		 Bsus	
And if you think that I'm 
   	C#m7	   A2
still holdin' on to somethin'
E		       A2   E
You should go and love yourself

E  B  C#m  A
E  A  E
E  B  C#m  A
E  A  E

	    E 		   B 		C#m
For all the times that you made me feel small
	  F#m	  	   E	      B
I fell in love, now I feel nothin' at all
	E		 B	     C#m
I never felt so low when I was vulnerable
	F#m		E		 B
Was I a fool to let you break down these walls?


	      E           Bsus  C#m7 	     A2
'Cause if you like the way you  look that much
	E		       A2   E
Oh baby you should go and love yourself
	   E		 Bsus	
And if you think that I'm 
   	C#m7	   A2
still holdin' on to somethin'
E		       A2   E
You should go and love yourself

	      E           Bsus  C#m7 	     A2
'Cause if you like the way you  look that much
	E		       A2   E
Oh baby you should go and love yourself
	   E		 Bsus	
And if you think that I'm 
   	C#m7	   A2
still holdin' on to somethin'
E		       A2   E
You should go and love yourself

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Today we’re playing Lady Gaga’s famous song Million Reasons on ukulele.

This emotive and powerful ballad has just four ukulele chords making it a perfect song for beginners to learn on ukulele. With simple down strums in the verse and full-sounding down-up strums in the chorus, you have the ability to make this song sound dynamic and emotional when just played as a solo ukulele player.

I perform this song on baritone ukulele, but you can also perform it on a standard-tuned ukulele without a problem (I include both versions of chords below).

First, listen to my performance, and then, once you’re ready dive into the ukulele chords for this song below (skip ahead and go right to the chords).

“Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga Baritone Ukulele Cover

Watch the video to hear me play Million Reasons on the baritone ukulele cover and get the baritone ukulele chords on the screen so you can play along with me.

"MILLION REASONS" BY LADY GAGA BARITONE UKULELE COVER & PLAY-ALONG - YouTube

In the video above, I chose to transpose and perform Million Reasons in the key of F. Lady Gaga originally recorded this song in the key of C. As a male singer though, I found it easier to sing in the key of F, however, if you’re a female singer, you may wish to play this song in the original key of C. I’ve included both versions below.

You can also play along with me using your standard-tuned ukulele, but you’ll need to look up the standard ukulele chord diagrams for the chords F, Dm, Bb, and C in the Ukulele Tricks Chord Library.

Baritone Ukulele Chord Diagrams for “Million Reasons”

Here are the baritone (D-G-B-E) ukulele chord diagrams for the chords I used to play this song.

To play an F major chord on baritone ukulele, take the index finger and press down or barre the bottom two strings at the first fret, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G-string, and ring finger on the 3rd fret of the top D-string.

To play a Dm chord on baritone ukulele, place the index finger on the 1st fret of the bottom E-string, middle finger on the 2nd fret of the G-string, and ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B-string.

To play a Bb major chord on baritone ukulele, place the middle finger on the 3rd fret of the top D-string, ring finger on the 3rd fret of the G-string, little finger on the 3rd fret of the B-string, and index finger on the 1st fret of the bottom E-string.

In the video, I perform a variation of this finger position where I wrap my thumb around to press down on the 3rd fret of the top D-string and then place my middle finger on the 3rd fret of the G-string, ring finger on the 3rd fret of the B-string, and index finger on the 1st fret of the bottom E-string.

To play a C major chord on baritone ukulele, place your middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top D-string, index finger on the 1st fret of the B-string, and little finger on the 3rd fret of the bottom E-string.

Standard Ukulele Chord Diagrams for “Million Reasons”

Here are the standard-tuned (g-C-E-A) ukulele chord diagrams for the chords I used to play this song.

To play the F major chord, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string and index finger on the 1st fret of the E-string. Let the other strings ring open.

To play the D minor chord, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string, ring finger on the 2nd fret of the C-string, and index finger on the 1st fret of the E-string. Let the other string ring open.

To play the Bb major chord, perform a barre by pressing your index finger on the E-string and bottom-A string on the 1st fret, ring finger on the 3rd fret of the top g-string, and middle finger on the 2nd fret of the C-string.

To play the C major chord, place the ring finger on the 3rd fret of the bottom A-string. Let the other strings ring open.

“Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga Ukulele Chords

The chord chart below matches the chords in the above video in the key of F, but I’ve also included the chords for the original key of C in brackets. For standard-tuned ukuleles, look up the chord diagrams in the chord library.


MILLION REASONS

       F [C]	
You're giving me a million reasons to let you go
       Dm [Am]
You're giving me a million reasons to quit the show
       Bb [F]
You're givin' me a million reasons

Give me a million reasons
C [G]
Givin' me a million reasons

About a million reasons

F [C]
If I had a highway, I would run for the hills
       Dm [Am]
If you could find a dry way, I'd forever be still
	   Bb [F]
But you're giving me a million reasons

Give me a million reasons
C [G]
Givin' me a million reasons

About a million reasons

Bb [F]   F [C]     Dm [Am]
I bow    down to   pray
		  C [G]
I try to make the worst seem better
Bb [F]         F [C]      Dm [Am]
Lord,     show me     the way
                       C [G]
To cut through all his worn out leather
Bb [F]         F [C]   		  Dm [Am]	    C [G]
I've got a     hundred million    reasons to walk  away
    Bb [F]  			      F [C]
But baby, I just need one good one to stay

F [C]
Head stuck in a cycle, I look off and I stare
     Dm [Am]
It's like that I've stopped breathing, but completely aware
	      Bb [F]
'Cause you're giving me a million reasons
Bb [F]
Give me a million reasons
C [G]
Givin' me a million reasons
C [G]
About a million reasons

F [C]
And if you say something that you might even mean
     Dm [Am]
It's hard to even fathom which parts I should believe
	      Bb [F]
'Cause you're giving me a million reasons
Bb [F]
Give me a million reasons
C [G]
Givin' me a million reasons
C [G]
About a million reasons

Bb [F]   F [C]     Dm [Am]
I bow    down to   pray
		  C [G]
I try to make the worst seem better
Bb [F]         F [C]      Dm [Am]
Lord,     show me     the way
                       C [G]
To cut through all his worn out leather
Bb [F]         F [C]   		  Dm [Am]	    C [G]
I've got a     hundred million    reasons to walk  away
    Bb [F]  			      
But baby, I just need one good one to 

Dm [Am]      Bb [F]        F [C]
Sta - a -    a - a - a -   ay
	 C [G]
Baby I'm bleedin', bleedin'
Dm [Am]      Bb [F]        F [C]
Sta - a -    a - a - a -   ay
			   C [G]
Can't you give me what I'm needin', needin'
Bb [F]	   F [C]	  C [G]		   Dm [Am]
Every heartbreak makes it hard to keep the faith
    Bb [F]
But baby, I just need one good one
Bb [F]
Good one, good one, good one, good one, good –

Bb [F]   F [C]     Dm [Am]
I bow    down to   pray
		  C [G]
I try to make the worst seem better
Bb [F]         F [C]      Dm [Am]
Lord,     show me     the way
                       C [G]
To cut through all his worn out leather
Bb [F]         F [C]   		  Dm [Am]	    C [G]
I've got a     hundred million    reasons to walk  away
    Bb [F]  			      
But baby, I just need one good one, good one
Bb [F]
Tell me that you'll be the good one, good one
Bb [F]		      Dm [Am]
Baby, I just need one good one to
Dm [Am]      Bb [F]        F [C]
Sta - a -    a - a - a -   ay

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Learning the notes of the ukulele fretboard takes a lot of discipline and effort, but it’s nothing you can’t accomplish!

In this lesson, you learn the fifth and final position of the C major scale on the ukulele fretboard.

So far we’ve looked at C major scale in four other positions:

You’ll want to learn the other positions first before learning this last position.

Upon completing this lesson, you’ll know the natural notes of the ukulele fretboard (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) and where to find them. With this knowledge, you can eventually go on to learning other scales in other keys, playing solos, finding melodies, coming up with riffs, and more. But first, it all starts with learning and memorizing these C major scale positions.

Learn this fifth and final C major scale position now!

Ukulele Scales: How to Play C Major Scale Position #5 on Ukulele - YouTube

Watch the video to learn the C major scale in position #5 on ukulele and keep reading to discover the scale diagrams and notes in the position.

How to Play a C Major Scale in Position #5 on Ukulele

Let’s first review the other positions you’ve learned:

  • In the first position, you started and ended the scale on a C note – the root note of a C major scale.
  • In the second position, you started and ended the scale on a D note – the second scale degree of a C major scale.
  • In the third position, you started and ended the scale on an F note – the fourth scale degree of a C major scale.
  • In the fourth position, you started and ended the scale on a G note – the fifth scale degree of a C major scale.

In this fifth and final position, you start and end the scale on an A note – the sixth scale degree of a C major scale.

This means even though this scale position starts and ends on an A note, it’s still a C major scale position because it contains all the notes of a C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B).

C Major Scale Position #5 sheet music and ukulele tab

Note: If you’re a keen student, you might notice that the above scale position is also known as A natural minor – the relative minor key to C major.

C major scale in position #5 is trickier than the other positions in that it spans the 9th to 12th frets.

This means if you have a smaller sized ukulele like a soprano or concert you might run out of room for your fingers on these frets! Not to worry because that’s to be expected – just do your best. I find that this fifth scale position is easiest played on a tenor ukulele.

Pay close to attention to the fretboard scale diagram below to where you assign the fingers of the fretting hand to fret the notes of the scale. The number 1 indicates the index finger, number 2 the middle finger, number 3 the ring finger, and number 4 the little finger.

C Major Scale Position #5 ukulele fretboard diagram

Make a note where the root note of the scale is located – the C note on the 12th fret of the C-string.

Here’s Where You’re Headed Next

With that, you’ve learned the final C major scale position on the ukulele fretboard!

Give yourself a nice pat on the back for all your effort.

If you’ve followed along with me for this C major scale lesson series, then, you’ve successfully learned the natural notes of the ukulele fretboard. Natural notes are the letter notes indicated by the first seven letters of the alphabet A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Now that you know these notes, it’s possible to learn scales in other keys with sharps and flats as well as learn melodies, riffs, and solos.

Learning scales takes hard work and practice to commit all the positions to memory, but what you often find is that from this foundation, these scale positions will “repeat” themselves in other ways, meaning, the hard work and effort you put into learning these positions only helps you as you progress forward.

More on that later.

Until next time, keep up the great work!

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By now you already have C major scale in position #1, position #2, and position #3 under your belt. It’s important you get those positions under your belt before moving forward with the last two positions.

In this lesson, learn how to play C major scale in position #4 on the ukulele.

But first, why all these positions?

Why can’t you just learn one position and call it a day?

For one, by learning the C major scale in all positions across the ukulele fretboard, you learn the natural notes of the fretboard (A, B, C, D, E, F, G). If you know where these important notes are, it’s easier to learn other scales later, especially those with sharps and flats.

Secondly, by learning multiple positions of the C major scale, you make it easier to play certain single-note passages in pieces of music (like those in Fingerpicking Tricks) or solos and riffs (more on that later).

Thirdly, learning the notes of the fretboard can help you build chord variations across the fretboard to find a new sound.

Overall, by learning the C major scale in multiple positions across the fretboard you build an important foundation for understanding your instrument and for soloing later.

Let’s look at this fourth position!

Ukulele Scales: How to Play C Major Scale Position #4 on Ukulele - YouTube

Watch the video to learn the C major scale in position #4 on ukulele and keep reading to discover the scale diagrams and notes in the position.

How to Play a C Major Scale in Position #4 on Ukulele

Let’s do a quick review on the C major scale so far:

  • In the first position, you started and ended the scale on a C note – the root note of a C major scale.
  • In the second position, you started and ended the scale on a D note – the second scale degree of a C major scale.
  • In the third position, you started and ended the scale on an F note – the fourth scale degree of a C major scale.

In this fourth position, you start and end the scale on a G note – the fifth scale degree of a C major scale.

This means even though this scale position starts and ends on an G note, it’s still a C major scale position because it contains all the notes of a C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B).

C Major Scale Position #4 sheet music and ukulele tab

C major scale in position #4 spans the 7th to 10th frets.

For the fretting hand, this means you assign the index finger (represented by the number 1) to the 7th fret, middle finger to the 8th fret (represented by the number 2), ring finger to the 9th fret (represented by the number 3), and little finger to the 10th fret (represented by the number 4).

C Major Scale Position #4 ukulele fretboard diagram

Make a note where the root note of the scale is located – the C note on the 8th fret of the E-string.

You’ve Almost Learned All the Natural Notes on the Ukulele Fretboard

If you’ve been tracking along and have learned the C major scale in the first four positions, then, you’ve almost learned all the natural notes of the ukulele fretboard.

Make it your goal to memorize and learn each of these positions.

It’s hard work to dedicate the discipline required to learn the C major scale. It takes mental effort and physical effort from your fingers to remember where to go. If you put in this work now, you open yourself up to possibilities in the future like:

  • Soloing on the ukulele
  • Figuring out the melodies of songs on the ukulele fretboard
  • Building chord variations across the fretboard
  • Coming up with riffs

And more…

There’s one more position to learn which I’ll have for you next week. Until then, practice these positions as you make your way up the fretboard.

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So far we’ve looked at how to play C major scale in position #1 and position #2 on the ukulele fretboard. If you haven’t already completed those lessons, do that before moving forward!

In this lesson, continue to learn C Major Scale Position #3 on ukulele.

By doing this, you learn the natural notes across the ukulele fretboard (A, B, C, D, E, F, G). If you know these notes, it’s easy to fill in the sharps and flats later. In addition, learning these notes is the basis of playing melodies, solos and riffs on the ukulele.

The C major scale is where it all begins!

Learn how to play Position #3 now.

Watch the video to learn the C major scale in position #3 on ukulele and keep reading to discover the scale diagrams and notes in the position.

How to Play a C Major Scale in Position #3 on Ukulele

In the first position, the scale started and ended on a C note – the root note of the C major scale.

In the second position, the scale started and ended on a D note – the second scale degree in a C major scale.

For this third position, you continue with the theme of working up the fretboard and start and end the scale on the F note – the fourth scale degree. This means even though this scale position starts and ends on an F note, it’s still a C major scale position because it contains all the notes of a C major scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B).

C Major Scale Position #3 sheet music and ukulele tab

C major scale in position #3 spans the 5th to 8th frets.

For the fretting hand, this means you assign the index finger (represented by the number 1) to the 5th fret, middle finger to the 6th fret (represented by the number 2), ring finger to the 7th fret (represented by the number 3), and little finger to the 8th fret (represented by the number 4).

C Major Scale Position #3 ukulele fretboard diagram

Pay specific to attention to where the root note of the scale falls – the C note on the 8th fret of the E-string.

Why Learning Scale Positions is so Important

Learning the ukulele fretboard has to start somewhere and this is where it all begins.

When you understand scales, you can do things like:

  • Figure out how to fingerpick the melody of a song on the fretboard
  • Discover how to build chords across the fretboard
  • Explore how to riff and improvise solos across the fretboard (like in the blues or jazz)

All of these things don’t happen at once but you’re taking the essential important steps to move towards these.

Learning scales requires a lot of hard work and effort with memorizing these positions and committing them to muscle memory. This is first required before you do those things above. Remember these scale positions require lots of repetition to become a part of your playing.

In fact, make the positions you’ve learned so far a regular part of your practice warm up each day. In a week, you’ll be surprised at how well you can navigate between the positions across the fretboard!

There’s still two more C major scale positions to learn. I’ll post those next week.

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Last week we looked at how to play a C Major Scale in Position #1 on ukulele. Today we continue on and learn C Major Scale in Position #2 farther up the fretboard (there are a total of five positions).

By learning the notes of C major scale in all positions, you learn all natural notes on the ukulele fretboard (A, B, C, D, E, F, G), or any note that is not an accidental (sharp or flat). When you learn all the natural notes, it’s easy to figure out where the other notes are later.

Learning the C major scale is the foundation of learning the notes of the ukulele fretboard and opens up future possibilities like:

  • How to fingerpick the melody of a song on the fretboard
  • How to build chords across the fretboard
  • How to riff and improvise solos across the fretboard (like in the blues or jazz)

Let’s learn Position #2 now.

Ukulele Scales: How to Play C Major Scale Position #2 on Ukulele - YouTube

Watch the video to learn the C major scale in position #2 on ukulele and keep reading to discover the scale diagrams and notes in the position.

How to Play a C Major Scale in Position #2 on Ukulele

You’ll remember from learning C major scale position #1 that the beginning note of the scale was a ‘C’ note or the root note of the scale. Even more so, the end note of the scale was also a ‘C’ note but played an octave higher.

This produced an ascending and descending major scale sound.

But for position #2, the starting and end note of the scale is a ‘D’ note or the second scale degree in a C major scale.

C Major Scale Position #2 sheet music and ukulele tab

This means the scale position starts and ends on a D note giving it a different sound that doesn’t quite sound like a normal ascending and descending major scale.

This can throw a lot of beginners off.

This is why it’s important to know that even though this scale position starts and ends on a ‘D’ note, this is still considered a C major scale position because it contains all notes found in a C major scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B.

And where Position #1 spanned frets 1 to 3 on the fretboard, Position #2 spans frets 2 to 5 on the fretboard.

C Major Scale Position #2 ukulele fretboard diagram

For the fretting hand, this means you assign the index finger (represented by the number 1) to the 2nd fret, middle finger to the 3rd fret (represented by the number 2), ring finger to the 4th fret (represented by the number 3), and little finger to the 5th fret (represented by the number 4).

In every scale position, you should always know where the root note of the scale is. This is because the scale always wants to resolve back to the root note. When it comes to soloing later on, knowing where the root note of the scale is key. Because this is a C major scale, the root note is the C note. In the above fretboard scale diagram the “filled in” dark circle on the 3rd fret of the bottom A-string indicates the root note of the scale – the C note.

How Learning Scales Helps You Solo

If you’ve followed along with me through this lesson and the previous lesson and learned these positions, give yourself a pat on the back!

Learning scales across the ukulele fretboard is not easy.

Mentally, it’s a challenge to remember all the notes. Physically, it’s a challenge for the fretting hand to know which finger to use to fret which note of the scale position.

Be patient with yourself and know that it takes time.

You’re probably wondering how learning scales like this equals you riffing and soloing across the fretboard.

After learning these five C major scale positions, we will look at riffing and soloing, but for now, it starts here with the goal of:

  1. Learning the natural notes of the ukulele fretboard. If you know where the natural notes are, it’s easy to “fill in” the sharps and flats later.
  2. Remember the fretting hand finger positions for each position. These positions repeat across different keys so building this muscle memory is key.
  3. Hearing and listening to the small differences in sound between each position. This ear knowledge is later used for super advanced jazz modal theory and soloing.

Trust the process of learning these scales. The work you put into learning and memorizing these positions will give you a strong upper hand in understanding the ukulele fretboard.

It all starts here!

Keep up the good effort and I’ll see you in the next lesson.

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There are often several different ways to play the same ukulele chord.

In fact, you can search for many of these ukulele chord variations in the Ukulele Tricks Chord Library.

A perfect example of this is the easy-to-play Hawaiian D7 ukulele chord versus the more difficult standard D7 barre chord.

When you play a different variation of a ukulele chord, it’s still the same chord because it has the same notes contained in the chord, but those notes are often rearranged in a different order or in a different octave.

Some variations are easier to play than others.

And some variations create a different timbre or texture to the chord (bright vs. mellow).

But some variations are more preferable than others in certain circumstances.

In this lesson, let’s compare the Hawaiian D7 ukulele chord and the D7 barre chord and figure out which one is the best to use.

How to Play the Easy Hawaiian D7 Ukulele Chord

To play the Hawaiian D7 ukulele chord, place the index finger on the 2nd fret of the top g-string and the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the E-string. Let the other two strings ring open.

As many new ukulele players find, this is the easiest way to play a D7 chord on ukulele.

From the top g-string to the bottom A-string, this chord has the following notes which are found in a D7 chord (D-F#-A-C):

A-C-F#-A

Keep those notes in mind because you’ll use this knowledge to compare with the standard D7 barre chord.

How to Play the Standard D7 Barre Ukulele Chord

To play the standard D7 barre ukulele chord, take the index finger and barre or press down on all four strings at the 2nd fret. Place the middle finger on the 3rd fret of the bottom A-string.

This version of D7 is harder to play but is well worth the practice (you’ll see why in a minute).

From the top g-string to the bottom A-string, this chord has the following notes which are found in a D7 chord (D-F#-A-C):

A-D-F#-C

Now, let’s compare these two chords and figure out which one is better to use.

Why the Standard D7 Barre Ukulele Chord is the Better Chord to Play

You’re playing a song and you come across a D7 chord.

Which chord variation do you play?

I always recommend to beginner students in the Strumming Tricks online lesson course to stick with the standard D7 barre ukulele chord. Yes, even though it’s harder to play.

But why?

If you remember, the easier-to-play Hawaiian D7 chord has the following notes in the chord:

A-C-F#-A

What do you notice about that arrangement of notes?

I notice two things:

  1. The Hawaiian D7 chord does not have all the notes in a D7 chord. This variation is missing the root note of the chord – a D note!
  2. The “seventh” note of the D7 chord is placed as the lowest note in the chord. Notice how the “seventh” note, or the “C” note, is played on the open C-string, making it the lowest note that rings out in the chord.

Because the Hawaiian D7 chord is missing the root note of the chord and because the seventh note is the lowest note in the chord, this variation is not always suitable for most songs.

The easier-to-play Hawaiian D7 chord variation is best used in songs played in the key of C major.

This is because of that low open C-string note that rings out through the chord. In songs where the key is in C, meaning the root note or “home base” is a C note, this Hawaiian D7 variation has a pleasing sound and works great.

But where things get a little “wonky” is when you try to apply the Hawaiian D7 variation to songs that are not in the key of C. For example, if you played the Hawaiian D7 variation in a song like Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane the chord can sound “off” and like it doesn’t fit with the song.

This is why I always recommend beginners to go the extra mile and learn how to play that standard D7 barre chord.

Yes, it’s more challenging to learn and to play, but you can be sure whenever you come across a D7 chord in a song that it will always work and sound amazing.

If you struggle with barre chords like D7, you definitely want to watch this video lesson.

One Last Note About the Hawaiian D7 Chord

If you’re more advanced and familiar with music theory, you might be tracking along and thinking:

“Wait a minute! The Hawaiian D7 chord is actually an F# diminished chord!”

You are right.

This position contains the notes F#-A-C which are the three notes in an F# diminished triad.

This is yet another reason why the standard D7 barre chord should be your chord of choice for the majority of songs you play.

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