Let’s Simplify the E chord on Ukulele!

Yes, there is an easier way to play E chord on ukulele.

Here’s how to play E chord on ukulele “by the book.” (It's good to know).

It’s not the easiest chord.

In fact, in my real-world classes, it’s the uke chord that causes the most frustration.

Wobbly bent fingers and tears–that's no fun, is it?

Let me show you an easier way to play E chord on ukulele, ok?

(And the good news is, the same strategy works for E-flat and D chords, too).

You can also browse through rest of The Ukulele E Chord Chronicles below:
  • Part I: Why E Chord on Ukulele is so hard: click here
  • Part III: BEST way to make the ukulele E chord: click here
  • Part IV: How to AVOID E chord on ukulele altogether: click here

Here’s the secret:

A standard E chord on ukulele looks like the little diagram there–

E chord on ukulele

Here's the standard E chord. (4442)

(Uke pros use a shorthand to describe this. Going from ceiling to floor across the strings, we can just name the frets that are covered. So this E is: 4442.)

Simplification #1:

Add a high E note. (Illustration below).

Now I already taught you (in how play E on the uke, here) to play the chord with a barre—that is, one finger across the strings. (VERY important).

The trouble is that it’s really hard to barre strings 4, 3, 2, and NOT accidentally close off string 1 as well.

So if you shouldn’t close off string one accidentally…

What if we closed it off on purpose?

Aaaah, now you’re thinking like a devious ukulele player who gets the gigs…

SO:

  1. Go ahead and barre at fret 4. All four strings. (See barring tips at the “how to play E” article, if you need ‘em).
  2. Now, use that mighty little finger of yours and reach aaaall the way to fret 7 on string 1 (closest to the floor). So barre at 4, add fret 7.

E_02That’s an E note, and you’re adding it onto an E chord. It’s easier to make because you don’t have to be fussy about string 1.

And it sounds just fine.

Until…it doesn’t.

Sometimes that high E note will just sound too…high.

Plus it’s slow to get to this shape. You have to go out of your “little box” where chords are comfortable. And that can make the transition awkward and make song sound a little sloppy.

So there’s one more variation that’s my favorite. My go-to ukluele E chord 90% of the time.

For now, give this version a go.

And we’ll talk about “Danno’s Favorite Ukulele E Chord” tomorrow. (It's not a new shape. It's a trick.)

 

What to Read Next:

You can also browse through rest of The Ukulele E Chord Chronicles below:
  • Part I: Why E Chord on Ukulele is so hard: click here
  • Part III: BEST way to make the ukulele E chord: click here
  • Part IV: How to AVOID E chord on ukulele altogether: click here

Would a video help?

I've got a lighting fast video mini-course that will walk you through the whole process.

Click for Details!

For more (lots more!) help and info on Ukulele Chords, jump over to my Ukulele Chords overview page.

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