How Many Ukulele Chords are There?

Jan 16 · 4 min read

Welcome to our guide on learning to play ukulele chords! Are you a beginner looking to start strumming your favorite songs on the ukulele? Or perhaps you're a more experienced player looking to expand your chord vocabulary. Whatever your skill level, this guide will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to start playing your favorite songs on the ukulele.

Are you ready to start your ukulele journey? Do you have a ukulele and ready to start?

There are technically 108 different common chords you can play on ukulele. This number is based off of the chord names, not inversions.

A Brief History of the Ukulele

The ukulele, a small four-stringed instrument, has a history that is both unique and varied. The instrument has its roots in Portugal, specifically the Madeira islands, where it was known as the "machete." It was brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants in the late 1800s and quickly gained popularity among the local population. The name "ukulele" means "jumping flea" in Hawaiian, and is said to have been given to the instrument due to the fast and nimble finger movements of its players.

I absolutely love to play my ukulele. It doesn't surprise me that it is so popular! The instrument's rise in popularity can be attributed to several key factors. First, it was relatively cheap and easy to manufacture, making it accessible to a wide range of people. Second, it was small and portable, making it perfect for outdoor performances and gatherings. Finally, its bright and cheerful sound made it a popular choice for parties and celebrations.

The ukulele quickly became an integral part of Hawaiian culture, and was often played at luaus and other traditional gatherings. It was also used as an accompaniment for Hawaiian music, which often featured slack-key guitar and steel guitar. In addition to its popularity in Hawaii, the ukulele also gained a following in the mainland United States. It was particularly popular in the 1910s and 1920s, and was often featured in vaudeville shows and other popular entertainment. If you're interested in learning ukulele you should check out our music lessons in Plymouth and Canton.

However, the ukulele's popularity waned during the Great Depression, and it was not until the 1950s that the instrument saw a resurgence in popularity. This was largely due to the influence of singer-songwriter and ukulele player Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, who helped to reintroduce the instrument to a new generation. In addition, the ukulele's association with Hawaii and tropical paradise helped to make it a popular choice for vacationers and tourists.

Today, the ukulele is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. It is a popular instrument for both children and adults, and is often used in schools as a way to introduce students to music. It is also a popular choice for those looking for a portable and easy-to-play instrument. There are different sizes of ukuleles and it is often used in solo performance as well as part of a group.

In recent years, the ukulele has seen a renewed interest in pop culture, with many musicians and bands incorporating the instrument into their music. The ukulele has even made appearances in popular TV shows and movies, further cementing its place in modern culture. Despite its small size, the ukulele has made a big impact on the world of music and continues to be a beloved instrument for many.


Free Ukulele Chord Chart

If you are interested in learning all your chords on ukulele, check out this free ukulele chord chart!


Jazz Ukulele Players

  1. Roy Smeck

Jazz ukulele players are a unique and talented group of musicians who have taken the small, four-stringed instrument and transformed it into a powerful and versatile instrument capable of playing complex jazz compositions. While the ukulele is often associated with Hawaiian music and folk songs, jazz ukulele players have pushed the boundaries of what is possible with the instrument and have helped to establish it as a legitimate jazz instrument.

One of the earliest and most influential jazz ukulele players was Roy Smeck. Born in 1900, Smeck began playing the ukulele as a child and quickly developed a unique and virtuosic style of playing. He was a skilled fingerstyle player and was known for his ability to play multiple melodies simultaneously. Smeck's performances were a sensation and he was one of the first ukulele players to tour the United States and Europe. He also recorded a number of albums and made numerous appearances in films and on radio and television programs.

  1. Lyle Ritz

Another important figure in the history of jazz ukulele is Lyle Ritz. Ritz was a session musician and played ukulele on many famous recordings, including the theme song to the TV show “Hawaii Five-O” . He was also a skilled jazz arranger, and his arrangements for ukulele and jazz ensemble helped to establish the instrument as a legitimate jazz instrument. He recorded several albums as a leader and collaborated with many jazz greats of his time.

  1. Jake Shimabukuro

In more recent times, Jake Shimabukuro has become one of the most well-known and respected jazz ukulele players. He began playing the ukulele at a young age and quickly developed a unique and virtuosic style of playing. He is known for his ability to play complex and fast runs, and his performances often include elements of rock and funk. Shimabukuro has released a number of albums and has toured extensively, gaining a large following around the world. He has also collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including jazz, classical, and pop musicians.

  1. James Hill

Last but not least, this next ukulele player was the reason I decided to start learning the ukulele! Another notable jazz ukulele players include James Hill, who has a vast experience in different genre such as bluegrass, folk, and classical music in addition to jazz, and Victoria Vox, who is known for her unique vocal and ukulele style that combines folk, pop, and jazz influences.


Jazz ukulele players have helped to establish the instrument as a legitimate jazz instrument and have pushed the boundaries of what is possible with the instrument. They have shown that the ukulele is capable of playing complex and sophisticated music, and have helped to expand the instrument's repertoire. They are also helping to keep the jazz tradition alive by encouraging young musicians to take up the ukulele and explore its potential as a jazz instrument.

Well thank you so much for reading my article all about ukulele chords and famous ukulele players. I hope that chord chart I linked to was useful, it's very important to learn all your chords when you are trying to learn a new chordal instrument.

Happy ukulele playing!

Karen Flores
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