A few months ago, I switched from playing a 3 string to a 4 string.  One of the first things I noticed was a lack of chord charts. Instead of wondering why there wasn't one readily available, this is what I did.

First, I needed a template.  Ukuleles have four strings, so I did a quick Google search for blank chord charts.  After downloading,  I took my well worn Sharpie pen and went to work filling in the blanks.

The result…  The chords I found myself using often (and slightly less often) on my 4 string CBG.

A few notes on this handwritten (with poor penmanship) chart:

1.  This is for a 4 string CBG tuned 1-5-1-3.  In this case, Open G (G-D-G-B)

2.  If the string has an "O" over it, play the string open.  If the string has an "X" over it,  mute the string or skip strumming it entirely.

3.  The B5 is a "cheater" chord.  I wanted something easy to use if I was playing in                                 the key of D and needed the relative minor.  The charm of a 3 string tuned 1-5-1 is there's no 3rd (major or minor).  This is what I adapted and used here.  Think of it as a 1-5-1-1 chord.

4.  The second to last chord is an F# chord.  Sorry for the sloppy penmanship.  I could blame the Sharpie, but a tool is only as good as it's user.  This is played the same as the F chord, but moved up to the 2nd fret position.

5.  The last chord is a modified G chord.  Same rules as above, but moved up to the 3rd fret position.  It's a nice change of pace and has a brighter sound than the open G chord while playing in the key of G.  I find myself using this one quite a bit as of late.

I have found that these work well for me.  Maybe you'll find them useful as well, and maybe you won't.  No rules and whatnot, but I thought I'd share what I use and let you be the judge.

Cheers and rock on!

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Nicely done.    Yup.   I like this tuning a lot.   I mostly use the G,C, D, Em, A and Am.   I do a one finger Em - as you show it but not using the lower spot.   My B7 is skips the big string and frets the 3rd string at the first fret and the second string at the second fret.  

I like the combination of finger chords and slide chords.   

I also like being able to play in the key of C which mostly does not use the big string except for the open G chord.   This tuning combines my two fave 3 string tuinings:  DGB and GDG. 

Bill thank you so much for posting this!

Good job, Bill.

You might find this extremely useful, as well:


All my CBG's are 4 string and tuned like yours except one. For the most part, I have used the low G as a ride open for a droning root note, fretted all the way across with one finger for whole chords, fret the B a whole step down for adding 2nd notes or fret up a whole step for adding 4ths.

Or tune A/D/G/B for doing all those ZZ Top, Rolling Stones and CCR songs. Good for all those Blues shuffles too.

Your chart is good for helping people learn the fretboard. 

I am so grateful for these chord charts.  I have only recently taken up guitar (no cigar box as yet) and have strung it with 4 strings Open G-D-G-B and like you spent a great deal of time hunting for suitable chord charts but unlike you I havent the knowledge to make my own.  So thank you very much :)  I googled suggestions for the "3 most essential chords" and the results came back as G Major, C Major, and D Major but so far I have been unable to identify these on any 4 string chord chart so any help would be greatly appreciated.  All the very best. 


Look up at the chart above. G, C and D are there. They are the same as G major, C major, and D major. Use the Music Theory section on Wikipedia to learn some music theory basics, so you can see 1) how chords are constructed, and 2) what makes a major chord.

Another thing you should do is map your fretboard for your particulr tuning. Then these chord charts will make even more sense, because you'll be able to see how the individual notes hang together to make the various chords. Here's a tutorial on how to map your fretboard:


It also shows you how to translate from 6-string to 3-string tabs.

Good job Bill! This is useful stuff. 

Hello! I have a 3 strings and I am thinking of a 4. My thoughts are that it is possible to play more types of chords and that can be chained more easily and more comfortable. What I say is true?

Thank you very much!!


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