Ukulele beginners tips - what do the 4 digit numbers mean for ukulele chords?

12 Jan 2011

Ukulele beginners tips - what do the 4 digit numbers mean for ukulele chords?

A common question that probably confuses absolute ukulele beginners this - what are the four digit numbers that people print when talking about ukulele chords?

Well this is just a simple form of notation for a ukulele chord without drawing a ukulele chord box and showing with a drawing where the fingers go.

It's really very simple and worth understanding as you wont always see the chord boxes when finding songs to play

To help explain, open my UKULELE CHORD CHART PAGE alongside this beginners guide and read on.

Looking at the top chord chart (standard tuning for soprano in GCEA), lets look at the first chord box on the top line, the C chord.  To play that chord, the chord box is showing you the string nearest your face on the far left, and the string nearest the floor on the far right.  We have a spot on the A string (the one nearest the floor) at the third fret position.  This is the only note that is fretted, and the rest are played open. If you strum this you get a C.  Now, without a chord box, how do we express that?  Well the notation in 4 digits is 0003.  A zero means the string is played open, and of course the 3 means you hold that bottom string at the third.

Lets try another one.  Scroll down to the second sheet and find the standard G chord (first one second row down).  The diagram is telling you to play the G string open, the C string at the 2nd fret, the E string at the 3rd fret and the A string at the 2nd fret.   In digit notation, that would be written 0232.  Simple eh?

Have a look at the other chord boxes and see if you can work some others out.  To test you, what do the following digit notations represent (using the soprano GCEA chord charts)


A further signal you may see is where the notation requires you to mute or ignore playing a string.  To play the G chord without hitting that G string, you would write this as X232 (The cross indicating that string is not to be played)

Have fun - and good luck as always.


  1. Hi Barry. On the subject of the chord chart, some of the boxes are shown with "white" dots as well as black dots (an example being Dm7). Do these indicate alternative finger positions? Also some of the more obscure chord boxes have a grey dot as well (such as Aaug). An explanation would be very welcome.

  2. can you a least do a video of you playing the uk


Please leave me a comment!

Help Support Got A Ukulele

Please Help Keep This Site Going!

If you enjoy this blog, donations are welcomed to allow me to invest more time in bringing you ukulele articles. Aside from the Google ads, I don't get paid to write this blog and for reasons of impartiality a not sponsored by brands or stores. Your donations all go back into the site to allow me to keep bringing you reviews, and in the end the ukuleles acquired are given to local schools and charities.