It might be surprising for many beginner ukulelists when they know that you can also use guitar chords on a ukulele. However, many ukulelists who know this still don’t know “how to convert guitar chords to ukulele.”
It looks strange how we can play a six-string song on four-stringed equipment. However, let me clarify that playing guitar songs on a ukulele gives a feeling of euphoria that one has never experienced. And that it’s much easier than one might think of it.
If you are a guitar player, all you need is to keep your mind active and remember the uke chords in exchange for the guitar chords. Keep a chord chart and try to memorize the ukulele’s string order.
Convert Guitar Chords to Ukulele
Here in this article, we will discuss how to play ukulele chords on guitar. But before that, we are going to discuss some major differences between a ukulele and a guitar. To know the complete procedure of tuning your guitar with ukulele strings, read the article thoroughly.
Differences Between A Guitar and A Ukulele
Before learning about converting the guitar chords to ukulele, one should know the variations between a guitar and a ukulele chord. The four main differences between a guitar and a ukulele are as follows:
The significant difference between the two is in size, by which you can easily distinguish them with just one look. The Ukulele is smaller in size as compared to the guitar. Though there are large ukuleles ( up to 30 inches), the guitar is significantly larger than the uke.
Due to the difference in size, there is also a variation between a guitar and ukulele chords. The strings also differ in numbers. The ukulele is a four-stringed instrument, while a guitar is a six-string instrument. The material of the strings also varies sometimes.
When it comes to strings, everything is changed. The c string, d string, g string, the high e string, hence every string is tuned differently. Even the basic chords such as the minor chord and the major chord also change when you switch from guitar to uke.
You can also distinguish between the two by just hearing the music and not seeing the instrument at all. The guitar seems like fuller-sounding equipment due to its large body. When you play the same song on both, you will notice that the uke sound is lower in pitch and tune.
Scale Length and Frets
It is clear from the size comparison of both that the guitar would have a larger scale length than the ukulele. Due to the larger scale length, the frets would increase automatically to cover the scale length entirely.
A standard size guitar typically has 20+ frets, while a concert ukulele (standard size) has 15 to 20 frets. The scale length of the guitar varies between 24 to 26 inches. On the other hand, the ukulele has a total scale length of just 15 to 17 inches.
After knowing the guitar and ukulele differences, you can easily understand the conversion of guitar chords to ukulele chords. The procedure is effortless. You just have to keep the focus and not mix the chords as the chord names change in both a guitar and a ukulele.
Let’s dive into the details of converting your guitar to a ukulele. Read thoroughly and enjoy strumming.
Placing A Capo
If you don’t have a ukulele and want to play a ukulele song on a guitar, you can use a capo. It is used to shorten the length of the strings to produce a desired pitch of the sound. Most professional ukulele players use it to change the pitch and sound of the music.
Now place the Capo on the fifth fret of the guitar to equalize the length of the strings with the ukulele. The next step is to reduce the number of strings. For that, you have to ignore the last two strings of the guitar. The first four strings give a sound almost similar to the uke.
Strings On A Guitar
As we know, a guitar has six strings, and a ukulele has four strings. The guitar strings are named E-B-G-D-A-E, while the ukulele strings are named G-C-E-A. Now, which string equals which one? At this spot, many beginners get stuck. So here we have a brief description of it.
Now, for converting the guitar chords to ukulele, just ignore the E and B chords. The remaining four chords are equivalent to the four chords of the ukulele. For example, if you have to play a C chord of ukulele on the guitar, the G chord is equivalent.
Similarly, for a D7 chord of the guitar, you have to strum a G7 chord on the ukulele or vice versa. For a B minor on a guitar, you have the E minor on the ukulele as equivalent. In this way, you can convert all the four strings of the guitar to produce ukulele sounds.
Frequently Asked Questions:
In this section, we will answer a few FAQs to clear your mind further.
Can you use guitar chords for the ukulele?
Of course, it is possible to play guitar chords on the ukulele. In fact, you can use every chord shape on any of the two instruments. However, remember that the guitar has six strings while the ukulele has four strings. Also, the pitch of both instruments is different.
So to play the guitar strings on the ukulele, you can only play the four thinnest strings of the guitar on the uke. On the other hand, to play ukulele chords on the guitar, you have to ignore the thickest strings and strum the remaining four strings for a similar chord shape.
How do you convert guitar chords to ukulele?
To convert the guitar chords to ukulele, you have to use the Capo. Place it on the fifth fret of the guitar to produce a pitch similar to the ukulele. Now on the guitar, you have six strings while the ukulele has four.
So to convert the guitar chords to ukulele, only use the thinnest four strings. For every string of the ukulele, there is a similar chord on the guitar. For example, for a G7 chord of ukulele, you have a D7 chord on the guitar. The C chord on the ukulele equals the G chord on the guitar.
Are guitar chords and ukulele chords the same?
This question is a bit confusing. The four strings of the uke relate with the top four strings of the guitar and produce almost the same sounds. However, some chord shapes give a different sound than that of a similar chord shape of the other instrument.
The reason for this difference is the change in length and material of the strings. The guitar strings are made of steel, while the uke strings are made of nylon or fluorocarbon. The guitar strings are longer than the ukulele strings and hence give a different tune.
Is there any easy trick to convert guitar chords to ukulele chords?
The easiest and simplest trick to convert guitar chords to ukulele is using a capo. Just place it over the fifth fret to lessen the length of the guitar strings. As the ukulele is smaller than the guitar, so are its strings.
As you shorten the guitar’s strings length, the pitch of the sound will also change. And if the length is similar to that of the ukulele, it would definitely give sound like a ukulele.
Many people remain confused about the difference between a guitar chord and a ukulele chord. So here, we gave an overview of both instruments and explained the differences between them. By following the simple steps mentioned above, you can easily play the guitar with the ukulele strings.
If we summarize the above article, the simple thing is to place a capo on the fifth fret of the guitar and start strumming. While converting the guitar to a ukulele, you have to make sure that you play similar chords on it. Also, tune the guitar according to the uke to produce the same sounds.
If you are still stuck somewhere, feel free to ask us in the comment section. Those who are professional ukulele or guitar players are also welcomed to share their experiences in the comments. Hope you understood everything so no one can stop you from being a pro ukulele player.