Learn Chord Melody for Ukulele with Marcy Marxer

Learn Chord Melody for Ukulele with Marcy Marxer

Playing chord melody arrangements on ukulele is not very common, even though it’s so easy to learn and sounds so great! It can transform even the most simple of tunes into beautiful engaging arrangements.

In these free ukulele lessons for beginners, Marcy Marxer will teach you a very versatile vocabulary of major and dominant chord voicings designed to highlight the melodies of any of the songs you already play, or would like to learn. Check out the full Chord Melody for Uke course for more!

C Major Chord Scale – Demonstration

The lowest C chord position we have is open C. Open C gives us a root on the first string or “on top”.

The next C chord position gives us an alternate fingering with the root on top, but it’s a closed chord. The frets we’re playing are, from the 4th string to the first: 5, 4, 3, 3 and the notes on the 1st and second strings are played with a small barre. Keep holding this position down to add the 2nd note of the C scale, which is a D note. Play the D with your pinky.

Let’s move on to the next position, which gives us a C chord with the 3rd on top. We can use an open 4th string or G because G is the 5th note of the G scale. The frets we’re playing are now 0 (open), 7, 8, 7. Play this position with three fingers and also get used to it using a barre across the first 3 strings at the 7th fret and your 2nd finger on the C note on the second string 8th fret. Both fingerings are handy.

We’ll also look at the alternate fingering for the 3rd, 4th and 5th positions. Instead of playing the C chord with the 3rd on top with 3 fingers, play it with two fingers. Use your first finger as a barre across three strings and use your second finger to add the root note on the second string. Add your ring finger to play the 4th note of the scale and again, playing the 5th note with your pinky.

Get comfortable with these fingerings and move on to the next lesson!

C Major Chord Scale – Practice Session

Download the tab and notation for this uke chord melody lesson on TrueFire.

The C major chord scale playalong. We’ll play slowly up and down the scale 3 times. Here we go.

Chord Melody Song Arrangement – Are You Sleeping in C: Overview

The first chorded melody style song we’re going to play is “Are You Sleeping” or “Frère Jacques” in the key of C. This song only has one chord so it’s a great way to get started with chorded melody.

There’s a sequence to learning chorded melody: First, choose a song and learn the chords. That’s easy with “Are You Sleeping”. There’s only one chord and we already know it’s a C. Then, we find the melody. To find the melody, play the first chord of the song and find the first note. In this song, that is a C note or the root of the C scale. Now find the next couple of notes by using your knowledge of scales.

Let’s play it together. Don’t worry about fingering. Play with one finger. Play slowly. Once we’ve played through the melody, it’s time to add the chords. That’s easy since they’re all C. Now we add the chord positions that have the melody notes on top. Here we go. Start with the root, add the 2, 3, root. 1, 2, 3, 1. Go to the position with the 3rd on top and play 3, 4, 5, 3, 4, 5. Change to the alternate fingering with the 5th on top and play 5, 6, 5 change to the C Chord with the 3rd on top and play 4, 3, drop to the root. And repeat 5, 6, 5, 4, 3, 1. Hold that root position and play root, 5 below the root with a rest stroke, root. And repeat root, 5 below the root, 1. 1, 5 below, 1.

Play through this lesson as many times as you like and move on to the playalong.

Chord Melody Song Arrangement – Are You Sleeping in C: Playalong

Download the tab and notation for this uke chord melody lesson on TrueFire.

“Are You Sleeping” playalong: Play slowly with me and our friend the metronome. We’ll play through the song 3 times. Here we go. Chorded melody only gets better from here. Move on to the next lesson for a song with two chords. That’s twice as many.

F7 Chord Scale – Demonstration

The F7 chord scale: Hold down the F7 chord in 1st position. The frets are 2, 3, 1, 3. The b7 note is Eb, which is one whole-step below the root. In this position, we can play strings 2, 3 and 4 and use a rest stroke to let the root note ring just like we did with the F major chord. Add the 2 or G two frets up. The 3 is open on the 1st string. Play the 4 by using a small barre at the first fret. Play the F7 with the 5th on top. Go to the position that adds the 6th note. The frets are x, 3, 5, 5. An optional fingering would be frets 2, 3, 5, 5. This fingering gives us two A notes in the same octave on the 4th and 2nd strings. We don’t really need two, so I usually stick with the three note version. Do what seems best for you.

From the 6th on top, we go to the F7 with the b7 on top. The F7 with the root on top will be two frets up from there. The barre is on the 8th fret. Add the 2, Go to the position we used before for F7 with the 3rd on top, and slide your pinky up one fret to add the 4th note of the scale. Going back down: 4, 3, 2, 1, b7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1. Play through this lesson as many times as you like and move on to the playalong.

F7 Chord Scale – Practice Session

Download the tab and notation for this uke chord melody lesson on TrueFire.

We’ll talk through the F7 chord scale the first time through, and then play it through two more times: Root, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7, root, 2, 3, 4. And back down, 4, 3, 2, 1, b7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 or root.

Chord Melody Song Arrangement – The Saints in C: Overview

“When the Saints Go Marching In” is a happy song often played by New Orleans jazz bands at funerals. Luckily, it works well at jam sessions of many genres. It works well on the ukulele, too. Enjoy!

Chord Melody Song Arrangement – The Saints in C: Playalong

Download the tab, notation and jam track for this uke chord melody lesson on TrueFire.

It’s time to join the band and play “When the Saints Go Marching In”. Remember that you can speed up or slow down the practice session by using the TrueFire software included in this course.


Dig these free ukulele lessons for beginners? Check out the full Chord Melody for Uke course for more!