If you’re just getting started with learning your chords on the ukulele, then Am is a great place to begin your journey. Even as a beginner, you should be able to pick up and play this chord without too much trouble.
And since there are many songs in the keys of C and Am, you’ll find plenty of occasions on which to apply this chord to your playing too.
In this guide, we’ll show you, step by step, how to play Am on the ukulele.
How To Play The Am Chord
Hopefully, by now, you know that there are four strings on the ukulele, and that by pressing down on different frets, you can access different notes.
Well, the reason I bring this up is because the Am chord only requires one finger to play.
Simply place your middle finger on the second fret of the fourth (G) string (that turns it into an A note), and the fretting part is done.
This means the remaining strings – the first (A), second (E), and third (C) strings, should be kept open. Open notes are always part of open chords, after all, and Am is an open chord (more on this in a moment).
One thing you need to keep in mind is the muting of notes. All notes are meant to ring out clearly when picking / strumming the Am chord, and it’s very easy to mute notes with your middle finger without intending to.
The most likely note to be muted (accidentally) is the third string, but if you aren’t arching / curling your finger enough, you can end up muting the second and first strings as well.
If in doubt, pick out the notes individually to ensure there are no muted notes. If there are, address the problem area. Chances are you need to arch your middle finger more.
Spend plenty of time practicing transitioning in and out of Am, because it is the best way to reinforce the chord shape and let your muscle memory take over.
Are There Other Ways To Play Am?
As with just about any chord on the ukulele, there are many ways to play Am. There are two-finger, three-finger, four-finger, and even barred versions you may tackle later in your journey.
We’ve only covered one variation here, but if you’d like to go deeper, there are more challenges awaiting you.
What Is The Am (A Minor) Chord?
The Am chord, summarily, is a one-finger open minor chord consisting of the notes A, C, and E.
Open chords always include open strings and Am is certainly no exception. The first, second, and third strings, specifically, are meant to be left open when playing the chord.
Minor chords are different from major chords in that, while major chords sound cheery and happy, minor chords can sound dark and sad, sometimes incomplete. But depending on the chord progression and order in which chords are played, even minor chords can sound happy.
The Am chord is most used in songs with the key signature Am or its relative major, C. This makes Am, C, F, and G the most common chords to be played together (in different orders), though Am does appear in other key signatures as well.
We’ll be looking at several songs that feature Am in the section that follows.
What Songs Use The Am Chord?
There are so many great songs – classic and modern – that are in the key of Am. Given that it’s kind of a “default” key – the first key piano players and many other instrumentalists learn – this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
Here we’ll look at several songs you can begin learning right now.
“Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.
R.E.M.’s trademark “Losing My Religion” is an early 90s alt-rock staple. Whether at the local pub or karaoke bar, you probably won’t find too many people who don’t remember – and still enjoy – this folky number about losing one’s temper.
The video version is great, because in addition to strumming, it includes the trademark mandolin hook. If this seems intimidating at first, don’t worry – it’s not that hard! Practice slowly and work your way up the speed.
“Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
Arguably one of the best songs of all time, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” was written in the key of Am. It’s a bit of a project to learn the whole thing, but if you’re up for the task, then it’s a great song to sink your teeth into. You will learn a lot in the process!
If you’re interested in learning not just the chords but the fingerpicking that made “Stairway” so memorable, then follow along with the video version found above. Sure, it’s a bit of a marathon session, but would you expect any less from one of the best songs ever written?
“One” by U2
U2’s “One” is one of their more mainstream ballads, featuring a simple chord progression.
It could be why the song ended up resonating so much with their audiences, but it’s a considerable departure from their earlier efforts, which had more of an atmospheric, ethereal quality. While it’s not completely missing here, it’s no “Where The Streets Have No Name.”
Still, a good song is a good song, and this may well be one of the easiest to learn in this guide. The video tutorial will walk you through the chord shapes as well as the strumming pattern, so you should have everything you need to master this one.
Am Ukulele Chord, Final Thoughts
They say, “practice makes perfect.” I don’t know how true that is, but what is true is that practice will lead to improvement and make you better at your craft.
So, even if you can’t figure out how to play all the songs mentioned here, take your time, and keep at it. Repetition is your friend when it comes to learning how to play anything.
Most of all, don’t forget to enjoy the process. Everything worthwhile takes effort, but you will find that it’s worth it!