10 Ways to Play an E Chord on the Ukulele

The E chord – the bete noire of all ukulele players. Trying to cram all your fingers into a tiny space on the fretboard. Impossible. So here are ten possible ways to play the E chord. Try them out and see if you like any of them (I don’t).

1) The Way the Books Tell You
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Index finger – A string 2nd fret
Middle finger – G string 4th fret
Ring finger – C string 4th fret
Little finger – E string 4th fret

Disadvantages: A lot of fingers to fit into a small space.

2) The Double Up
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Index finger – A string 2nd fret
Middle finger – G and C strings 4th fret
Ring finger – E string 4th fret

Disadvantages: Takes some practice to get the hang of.

3) The Treble Up
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Index finger – A string 2nd fret
Ring finger – G, C and E strings 4th fret

Disadvantages: You need to have your ring finger leave the strings at a difficult angle so you can still hear the A string.

4) The G-String Block
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Index finger – A string 2nd fret
Middle finger – Muting the G string (stopping it from sounding by resting against it rather than fretting it)
Ring finger – C string 4th fret
Little finger – E string 4th fret

Or with your thumb.

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5) The Treble Up and Block
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Ring finger – G, C and E strings 4th fret
A string muted with any finger (including the underside of the ring finger).

If you stop the A string ringing in the triple-up, you will still have and E chord as the G string is giving you the same note. You can use individual fingers along with a mute to make this chord.

6) The Fourth Fret Lay-Across
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Index finger – Barre across all strings at the 4th fret.
Little finger – A string 7th fret.

Like a C chord moved up four frets. It’s one of my favourite ways to play it.

Disadvantages: The barre takes some practice. Can be a big jump to and from open chords.

7) The Blocked E7
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Index finger: G string 1st fret
Middle finger: Muting C string
Ring finger: A string 2nd fret
E string open

Like an E7 chord with the middle finger muting the C string rather than fretting it. Or you could use the underside of your index finger to mute the string.

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Disadvantages: Sounds a bit nasty as you have a big ‘thunk’ in the middle of the chord.

8) E5
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Index finger – A string 2nd fret
Ring finger – G string 4th fret
Little finger – C string 4th fret
E string open

Disadvantages: No major third note so it’s not a major chord. In some songs this it doesn’t really matter.

9) Up the Neck
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Index finger: E and A strings 7th fret
Middle finger: C string 8th fret
Ring finger: G string 9th fret

The Bb chord shape moved up the neck.

Disadvantages: A long way to travel if you’re playing open chords.

10) Thumb Lay-Across
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Index finger – A string 2nd fret
Thumb – G, C and E strings 4th fret

Disadvantages: Makes changing to and from other chords difficult. Almost always sounds horrible.

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