Article written by Nicholas - Your Ukulele Teacher

How to play the E chord easily on the ukulele : the complete guide

Playing the E chord on the ukulele can be quite challenging, especially for beginners. Many of my students struggle with it for days or even weeks before getting it right.

But don't worry, I'm here to share some tips and tricks and even some E chord alternatives to make it easier for you.

So, let's dive in and discover the secrets to mastering the dreaded E chord.

What are the different ways to play the E chord on the ukulele?

What are the easier alternative to the E chords?

By the end of the article, you'll find the way to play E chord that best suits you.

E chord made easy!

What are the E chord ukulele tabs? Is there an easy way to play the D chord ukulele? E5 ukulele chord? What does the E look like in a ukulele? How to hold E chord ukulele? Here is the E chord tutorial that will help you!

E chord on the ukulele
E chord on the ukulele: not as easy as A B C

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Choose the one that fit your style

The E chord that fit your style is the one that you will find easier to play.

Tips: Try the easier E7 alternative first

There are many ways to play the E chord. But the most important is for you to find the one that fit your style, the one that is the most easy for you.

Try the first option first, see how it goes for you.

Then the second.

If by the time you have tried to play the first two, and you have tried to play their exercices, you haven't found the E chord that would be the best fit for you, try other ones.

Also, I have a student who have adopted one way of playing the E chord, and as time passed, he switched to another one.

You may want to try the alternatives first, as they are a lot easier, especially E7 ; But also E5.

E chord played "4442": the most used way to play the E chord

OK, here you have the E diagram. (This is like the D chord shifted two fret).

I invite you to try it.

It's like tying knots with your fingers, isn't it?

You achieve this by bending your ring finger to bar the fourth, third and second string on the 4th fret. Plus, use your index finger to press the 2nd fret.

This is how I did it from the first time I played this chord on the ukulele. However, this is hard to do.

You can of course train your finger to get better, but there are other options you may consider to play it differently.

But did you know that you can use other fingers to do this chord? I'll explain three ways to place your fingers.

The most important is to try one or two ways of playing E, and practice slowly a couple of days.
Then choose which one you prefer

Using your index and ring finger

See the numbers in the dots? It's the finger you need to use.

1: index finger

2: middle finger

3: ring finger

4: pinky

So here, you need to use only the ring and the index finger.

To play the E chord with this configuration, you need to use your ring finger as a semi-barred chord: you press on the forth fret with your ring finger on the string 2, 3 and 4 (strings E, C, G), and on the second fret from the first string (the A string).

Playing barred chords are most of the time hard. It's never easy on the first try, but after some regular practice, you can get better at it.

Using your index and ring finger and the pinky

You can see one small difference with the chord diagram of the previous part. On the second string (E string), you press with your pinky.

If you cannot bar all three strings (G, C, E) with your ring finger, you can try to press with your ring finger the two last strings, then press the second string (E) with the pinky.

Using your index, ring finger, the pinky but also the major finger

To press the three last strings, you don't need to bar any string.

This might be easier to do, but it could take a little longer to switch between another chord and this E version.


Change chords

Switch between E and Am slowly - no need to rush.

E Am

Make sure to have a sound you like: play multiple time each chord, then one string after the other.

Shape of E

Switch between the E and Am7 slowly.

E Am7

Isn't Am7 the easiest chord to play on the ukulele? Even your 2 years old kids could play it!

Make sure that when you lift your finger from the E position, you don't go much above the strings, and keep it "hovering".

That way, your hand can "memorize" the position a little bit more each time you practice.

Also, take your left hand completely off the uke, then play back E.

Choosing how you play E is more of a personal preference, as everyone is different.

Wait, what is voicing?

A word about voicing.

You can play the same chords pressing different fret. It's called different voicing.

For instance, E 4442 and the following way to play the E chord are two different voicing.

Once you are familiar to one, you may sometime want

Like each chord, play it, feel it.

Then play slowly, string after string. Is the sound clear for each string? If not, you may want to readjust the position of some fingers.

E chord played 1402 : the second most used way of playing an E chord

This fingering may be the easiest for you. You can try and see for yourself.

E chord played 4447 : another way to play the E chord

It's like the C chord shifted 4 frets.

You remember how you play the C chord? 0003. E is two tones higher-pitch, 4 semi-tones, thus 4 frets higher (4 frets away from the head of the ukulele, closer to its body). Hence 4447.

Maybe easiest to play, if you can bar easily (it depends on the morphology of your finger).

Here is why I wouldn't recommend this chord.

You'll have to shift and move your hand much more to play other chords, when you're playing a song. Beside, as it has a higher pitch, it may not fit with other chords into your song.

Try it to see how it sounds like in your music.

Exercises E 4447

Try it now.

Do each exercise for at least 60 seconds

After you do one exercise, allow your hands to rest for a minute. You don't want to put too much constraint on your hand.

Do the exercises slowly at first, and seek a nice sound.

Then try slightly faster.

Until you get those really locked down.


A <-> E


E <-> G


E <-> F

E chord only with 3 strings

Still not convinced?

There is yet another way to play the E chord.

I don't recommend it, as you'll have to play only three strings - and that prevents you to play many strums with your right hands - or at least, it makes it a little bit more difficult. But for simple rhythms, it'd be a good idea.

To play it, you can pluck with your right hand with the thumb on the fourth string, the index on the second string and the middle finger on the first string.

With the PIMA notation:

Here, the x means that you shouldn't play the string.

PIMA notation

P: right hand's thumb

I: index

M: middle thinger

A: ring finger

Similar chords that sounds OK

Similar chords than the E chord may sound just fine if you replace E with them.

It may work for some music , but may not sound as good in others.

Sometime, it would sound better to play one of these alternative chords than the E chord!

So try them and listen to how then sound for you.

E7: the E seventh

E7 is the seventh counterpart of E.

Seventh chords are the chords I'd definitely advise to play if the major chord is too hard to play. Sometime, quite often, it sounds good too - it could sound even better. It ads up a little spice to the track that I like.

Seventh chords are very often used in rockabilly songs for instance.

E5: power chord

Fifth chords (like E5) are also named power chords.

A bit of music theory

On a musical theory thing, it's like the E string where the third is remove (the G♯). On the second string, instead of pressing the 4th fret and having the G♯ note, we have an open string E.

It consists of the root note (E) and the fifth (B), as well as possibly octaves of those note

How to play E5

To play this chord, you have multiple choice:

Here you use the ring finger and the picky to press on the fourth fret of the G and C strings.

Here, to press on the G and C string, you use the midle finger and the ring finger.

A bit of music history

Power chords are a main part of metal music, as it sounds amazing on an amp with sound distortion and overdrive effects.

It's also very common with heavy metal and punk rock.

Use a capo

If you use a capo, it'll be much easier: you won't have to play the E chord, but the C chord.

There is a whole article on that for you.

You just have to put your capo on the 4th fret, and play a C chord.


Practice the E chord you've chosen every day for at least 5 minutes.

Slowly but surely, your fingers will "know" and get accustomed to the shape. And once it gets used to that shape, it will become like second nature. You won't even think about it anymore when you'll be changing chords.

Other E chords to bring up some exotic flavor

Here are other chords that you can try. I don't think they would replace an E chord, it's fun to try them nevertheless.

Esus2: 4422

Suspended chords are ones that I really love. Esus2 sounds better than Esus4 to me, but then it depends on the chord progression.

Esus4: 4400

E7sus4: 3344

Edim7 : 0101

Eaug: 1003

Em7: 0202

I love this one, it sounds so good, right?

Emaj7: 1302

Kinda hard to play, and sound a little spooky to me.

Em6: 0102

E6: 4444

E9: 1222


Throughout this article, we have explored various ways of playing the E chord, ranging from the widely used to the less conventional approaches.

Additionally, we have discussed alternative options, such as my personal favorite, the E7 chord.

I genuinely hope that you have discovered your own preference when it comes to playing the E chord. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Remember, the key is to try, and practice slowly a couple of days, then see for yourself what you would prefer.

I hope this article has helped you :)

I hope you have a fantastic day.

Feel free to let a comment below.

What's your favorite way to play the E chord?

What's your favorite alternative?

What's your favorite other E chord?

What other chords do you struggle with?

Nicholas, your ukulele teacher

Hey there! Looking for a fun way to strum your way into the world of music?

Well, look no further! I'm Nicholas, your friendly ukulele teacher extraordinaire! With my expertise and a sprinkle of laughter, I'll have you strumming those strings like a pro in no time.

Get ready to unleash your inner musician and embark on a musical journey.

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