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Vhern021
08-30-2015, 03:12 PM
Hey all! I've been playing for a while now but I seem to be stuck in the same place that I have been for a couple of months now. How do I go about learning more unconventional chords and shapes that are further up the neck? And wherecan I learn chord construction? I want to be able to arrange songs myself figerstyle with both the vocal melody and rythym parts. Thanks for the help in advance!

Nickie
08-30-2015, 03:22 PM
I've been there too! A lot of it's had to do with my mood, but I feel I'm coming out of it, ever so gradually. I've found the book Ukulele Fretboard Roadmaps to be quite a bit of help.

JustinJ
08-30-2015, 03:44 PM
If you are serious about improving then I find this book excellent. It should meet your needs just fine and it's not very long about 45 pages.

Understanding Ukulele Chords

http://www.amazon.com/Mel-Bay-Understanding-Ukulele-Chords/dp/0786672153/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440985174&sr=8-1&keywords=ukulele+understanding+chords

Working through this book will help you understand ukulele chords and how to make them. It will cut your memory work of the chords down vastly. He also talks about how to do chord melody solos.

The first thing you want to do is start learning the notes on each string. You do not have to learn music notation to learn the chords in the book, but you will need to know the notes on the string.

johnson430
08-30-2015, 03:55 PM
+1 for Understanding Ukulele Chords.

One reviewer on Amazon is spot-on when they titled their review:
You won't need it till you need it...

Luke El U
08-30-2015, 08:18 PM
Buy all those finger style books by King, Nelson, MacKillop, Ho, Mizen, etc. and work through all the pieces. I guarantee you will learn many amazing things which will take you to the next levels.

Learn to play all that stuff beautifully and you will be a MASTER!

CactusWren
08-31-2015, 04:20 AM
Man, ubulele, someone asking the OP's question is going to go through all that? There are so many websites online offering this information for free in a variety of ways. He would have already found it if he were so inclined. Google: ukulele chords. Someone who wanted to take their playing to the next level could easily buy 3 or 4 books full of that sort of information for the cost of a single private lesson.

Ukejenny
08-31-2015, 04:47 AM
When I was ready to move on, I started studying finger style playing, started getting into some jazz, started playing songs that were a little beyond my reach. Then, I learned whatever I needed to learn to be able to get into the song. Stars Fell On Alabama was one of the first songs I started reaching for.

photoshooter
08-31-2015, 04:47 AM
Thanks ubulele!
I'm not the OP but definitely appreciate the effort you put into that response. I cut and pasted it so I can print it out and digest slowly.

Highmiles
08-31-2015, 05:48 AM
Uh oh, too late. I saw Ubulele's post last night , when I was tired. I came back today to really get into it, and it seems to be deleted. I was really exited. Now I'm really bummed out. It sure would have been nice to have that all in one place. Any chance that someone saved it?

CactusWren
08-31-2015, 06:05 AM
Sounds like he got offended by my response. Sorry if anyone feels I did the forum a disservice. My point is simply that someone who is actually going to do the work will find the information. We are swimming in it. You can dump a ton of water on a horse's head... and 1st posters with vague questions rarely even return.

Here is the first page of google responses ("Ukulele chords"). Each of which could give you months or even years' worth of mileage.
http://huimusic.com/basic-ukulele-chord-charts-to-get-you-started/
https://ukutabs.com/top-tabs/99-most-popular-ukulele-songs/all-time/
http://ukuchords.com/ukulele-chord-charts/
http://ukulelehunt.com/tab-chords/
http://www.ukulele-chords.com/
http://www.ukulele.nl/chordfinder/
http://www.ezfolk.com/uke/chords/

Here is a step-by-step method of how to figure out the chords yourself, again first page Google search. The answers are here, for free.
http://liveukulele.com/chords/constructing-ukulele-chords/

This book has the same information ubulele wrote, but in a digestible, visual and usable manner:
http://www.amazon.com/Fretboard-Roadmaps-Ukulele-Essential-Patterns/dp/1423400410

You can buy it used for $3.00. You can spend $11.39 to make sure the author/publisher gets paid a little. Going through this book in itself will take you from beginner to high intermediate. Most private lessons cost $50-60.

A simple search on Youtube or Adrienne's videos will give anyone enough tutorials/information to learn how to play this instrument.

NatalieS
08-31-2015, 06:13 AM
ubulele, please feel free to repost the information you provided. I'd love to look through it.

Rllink
08-31-2015, 06:35 AM
Hey all! I've been playing for a while now but I seem to be stuck in the same place that I have been for a couple of months now. How do I go about learning more unconventional chords and shapes that are further up the neck? And wherecan I learn chord construction? I want to be able to arrange songs myself figerstyle with both the vocal melody and rythym parts. Thanks for the help in advance!
For me, when I get stuck like that, I sit back and look at what I've been doing, what direction I was going when I got stuck, then just go a different direction for a while. You can get all the books you can afford, but books won't get you un-stuck. You get un-stuck by freshening up your routine. If you gotta buy books, at least buy something different.

photoshooter
08-31-2015, 07:57 AM
Sounds like he got offended by my response. Sorry if anyone feels I did the forum a disservice. My point is simply that someone who is actually going to do the work will find the information. We are swimming in it. You can dump a ton of water on a horse's head... and 1st posters with vague questions rarely even return.


I don't disagree with anything you wrote but I have a slightly different feeling about it all.

I have Fretboard Roadmaps, Fretboard Toolbox and Brad Bordessa's Chord Shapes books. I love all three of them and refer to them very often along with the wealth of free info on the web. And yet I still cut and pasted ubulele's post. I like getting the same information presented in different ways. It helps me to understand it better.


Posting a question in a forum starts an active dialog among multiple posters which is a lot different than a static source of info. In the end the info may be exactly the same but the dialog part is valuable. The OP can ask specific questions to clarify what is said and can even benefit from responses where specific members don't necessarily share the same viewpoint or present the same info in different ways.

Again, I'm not disagreeing with you. I just feel like there are many sources of information and all of them have value for me.

JustinJ
08-31-2015, 08:24 AM
Personally, I'm not crazy about Ukulele Roadmaps. I think the information could be presented better.


The book I listed Understanding Ukulele Chords does a much better job than roadmaps. http://www.amazon.com/Mel-Bay-Understanding-Ukulele-Chords/dp/0786672153/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441045059&sr=1-1&keywords=understanding+ukulele+chords

Ukulele roadmaps seems to throw everything against the wall and let's see what sticks. Understanding Ukulele chords discusses why you would want to use a 7th chord etc. He also discusses progressions and how they work. It's not an easy book and you have to practice but you will understand when you finish.

The real issue with most people is they are not willing to put the work in to get better. There is also a proper way to practice. You have to work on those things that give you trouble.

You can google proper practice to get more of an idea. I can tell you that with efficient practice you improve much quicker.

Rllink
08-31-2015, 09:14 AM
The real issue with most people is they are not willing to put the work in to get better. There is also a proper way to practice. You have to work on those things that give you trouble.

You can google proper practice to get more of an idea. I can tell you that with efficient practice you improve much quicker.Willing to put the work in to become better in what sense? Proper practice to what end? How do you define and measure improvement? It really depends on what your goals are.

johnson430
08-31-2015, 01:30 PM
Willing to put the work in to become better in what sense? Proper practice to what end? How do you define and measure improvement? It really depends on what your goals are.

I hate to point out the obvious, but you answered all three of your own questions with your last sentence.

Dan Uke
08-31-2015, 02:41 PM
For the VII degree, it should be the diminished triad Bmb5 or the half-diminished seventh Bm7b5 (= BÝ). In reality, these almost always function as rootless forms of the G7 and G9 chords, respectively.

I like the diminished chord and it's easy to play a 7th by moving any finger half step back. That new note is the name of the 7th chord.

JustinJ
08-31-2015, 04:18 PM
Hi Rlink,

Here is a short article on NPR about optimizing your music practice.

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2013/09/03/216906386/10-easy-ways-to-optimize-your-music-practice


If someone is happy playing a couple of chords, I see no problem with that.

If someone wants to keep moving forward then you need to understand how people learn and what types of techniques work. This has been worked over time by many musicians. There are some basics that you can use.


The original poster wanted to do chord solos and melodies. This is a skill that will take a while to develop and also an understanding of what is required. If you will, the building blocks you need. For example, you need an understanding of chords and their inversions. This helps you find chords to use with the melodies.

Also, knowing common chord progression will simplify learning new songs. . You can use the site below to see some common progressions. It's written for guitar but it's the same for ukulele or any instrument. Listen to some of the songs he suggests and play those chords on the uke working out the song on your own. You may be surprised at how many songs you can play. Also, if you are serious, watch a few youtube videos on the circle of 5ths. This will make playing progressions even easier.

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/learn_thousands_of_songs_by_knowing_these_top_4_ch ord_progressions.html


This is a good book to read if you want to understand how professionals get good at their craft.

http://www.amazon.com/Talent-Overrated-Separates-World-Class-Performers/dp/1591842948/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441072663&sr=1-1&keywords=talent+is+overated

CactusWren
08-31-2015, 06:17 PM
Fretboard Roadmaps is kind of a pedagogical mess. Still, it has the information, pictures--a motivated beginner could use it. I am a guitar player; it seems like the kind of thing a guitar player thinks a ukulele player would know. Movable chords, movable scales, intro to chord melody, a dictionary of "fancy chords". My issue with it is that it is rather generic (does Fred Sokolow even really play the uke?). When to use chords is a matter of style. It's hard to tell a beginner why to use a sixth chord.

I came to the uke as a guitarist, but still found I had to actively learn the fretboard and where to play chords. The way I did it was by intervals.

The 3rd, 2nd, and 1st strings are: C E A

The fifth fret notes are up the interval of a fourth: F A D
The seventh fret notes are up the interval of a fifth: G B E

The different CAGED type barre chords can then be associated with those notes. Once you are solid on these notes/chords, you can fill in the blanks for the rest.

My fingers didn't fit for chords above the seventh fret on my soprano, and my KoAloha only has 12 frets. I am not really wild on chords above the fourth position or so. I don't think they sound very good.

pulelehua
08-31-2015, 09:45 PM
Studying Lyle Ritz's chord solos is useful because it teaches one persons's vocabulary of chord shapes. You're not just given a generic collection of chords, but a combination of chords which someone has spent years putting together in an idiomatic way. I think you then learn a language of music instead of just some ideas, which you might find difficult to apply.

Not that the ideas are bad. I just suspect some people aren't theoretically there yet.

My two pence.

CasanovaGuy
09-01-2015, 01:58 AM
Ahh I play fingerstyle too, so I know the struggle xD

As far as unconventional chords go, there's two types. You have the inversions that aren't covered in chord books (like an x258 for a Dm or a 0077 for a CMA7) and the alphabet soup ones with complicated names (like A#m7b5 and and Dadd9). Learning the inversions would be more useful for fingerstyling because it gives you more range and colorful chords, while the alphabet soup ones aren't really worth learning if your sole goal is to play music. Most people would rather hear you play that awesome-sounding 0607 chord instead of you explaining why that chord is a Emadd9. However, I will say that the major seventh chords, sus4 chords, diminished chords, and add9 chords can make any progression sound awesome.

So how to learn chord inversions? The best way is to experiment and look at some of the great ukulele players for inspiration. Say you want to play an unconventional F chord. All you need to know are the notes that you want to play. Since we're playing an F chord, we need F, A, and C notes on each of the strings. So find the F's, A's, and C's on the fretboard and fret the ones that sound good. Depending on how you want your uke to sound, you might play a 5-5-7-12 chord. I know that Jake Shimabukuro likes to play unconventional F chords with the G string open, like 0013 or 0058.

I hope this helps :D

Rllink
09-01-2015, 02:20 AM
Hi Rlink,

Here is a short article on NPR about optimizing your music practice.

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2013/09/03/216906386/10-easy-ways-to-optimize-your-music-practice


If someone is happy playing a couple of chords, I see no problem with that.

If someone wants to keep moving forward then you need to understand how people learn and what types of techniques work. This has been worked over time by many musicians. There are some basics that you can use.


The original poster wanted to do chord solos and melodies. This is a skill that will take a while to develop and also an understanding of what is required. If you will, the building blocks you need. For example, you need an understanding of chords and their inversions. This helps you find chords to use with the melodies.

Also, knowing common chord progression will simplify learning new songs. . You can use the site below to see some common progressions. It's written for guitar but it's the same for ukulele or any instrument. Listen to some of the songs he suggests and play those chords on the uke working out the song on your own. You may be surprised at how many songs you can play. Also, if you are serious, watch a few youtube videos on the circle of 5ths. This will make playing progressions even easier.

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/learn_thousands_of_songs_by_knowing_these_top_4_ch ord_progressions.html


This is a good book to read if you want to understand how professionals get good at their craft.

http://www.amazon.com/Talent-Overrated-Separates-World-Class-Performers/dp/1591842948/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441072663&sr=1-1&keywords=talent+is+overatedThe OP was pretty specific in regards to where they wanted to go, and I think that your responses are certainly consistent with those goals. I only took exception with your statement,

The real issue with most people is they are not willing to put the work in to get better. There is also a proper way to practice. You have to work on those things that give you trouble. You can google proper practice to get more of an idea. I can tell you that with efficient practice you improve much quicker. And perhaps that discussion is better served in a thread of its own.

Captain America
09-01-2015, 03:28 AM
Man, ubulele, someone asking the OP's question is going to go through all that? There are so many websites online offering this information for free in a variety of ways. He would have already found it if he were so inclined. Google: ukulele chords. Someone who wanted to take their playing to the next level could easily buy 3 or 4 books full of that sort of information for the cost of a single private lesson.

good points, but it's often tough to locate good stuff on the web, versus crap or misinformation, imho. A book consolidates good information and sticks it all in your hand; uke books are pretty cheap after all.

Captain America
09-01-2015, 03:51 AM
Personally, I'm not crazy about Ukulele Roadmaps. I think the information could be presented better.


The book I listed Understanding Ukulele Chords does a much better job than roadmaps. http://www.amazon.com/Mel-Bay-Understanding-Ukulele-Chords/dp/0786672153/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1441045059&sr=1-1&keywords=understanding+ukulele+chords

Ukulele roadmaps seems to throw everything against the wall and let's see what sticks. Understanding Ukulele chords discusses why you would want to use a 7th chord etc. He also discusses progressions and how they work. It's not an easy book and you have to practice but you will understand when you finish.

The real issue with most people is they are not willing to put the work in to get better. There is also a proper way to practice. You have to work on those things that give you trouble.

You can google proper practice to get more of an idea. I can tell you that with efficient practice you improve much quicker.

I'm a uke player who's definitely intermediate and uke roadmaps hits me about the same way. . .

I agree with this poster's concern about practice. In my experience, it's tough to force yourself to do new, complicated things. (I can surely get myself out of a warm bed, early in the morning, during the winter; or slop out a latrine: I can handle the simple unpleasant stuff). For some it really is a kind of laziness or sloth. For others, it can be very difficult to make progress unless you know the particular steps to take (I suppose this even happens socially with new large laws!) (I know when I was learning tennis, it vastly helped to get a clear sense of proper stroke form/production. . . and then repetition against a brick wall for hours. I needed to know the full stroke, start to end, in order to then practice it). With uke playing, it's good to know what you're aiming at, in order to shoot the ball.

imho, there's a difference between playing and practicing. We uke players often, usually, are playing for just ourselves. . . but this isn't practice; it's just fun. Practice is a conscious decision to employ new skills, to develop them.

here's a hint: it can be tough to fit things into our schedules. .. people have a rough time finding a half hour or fifteen minutes for daily prayer, or time to run a couple of miles each day, or time to read, or time to have regular meals. You really need to locate a definite time each day for the new thing, or it just won't develop into a habit. In my case, I run and pray in the morning. I read at the end of the day.

Set aside a definite time for uke playing, a time and a place where you won't have interruptions.

Rllink
09-01-2015, 04:23 AM
imho, there's a difference between playing and practicing. We uke players often, usually, are playing for just ourselves. . . but this isn't practice; it's just fun. Practice is a conscious decision to employ new skills, to develop them.
I'm going to have to take exception to that statement too, Captain. I believe there is merit to developing skills, but I do not believe that developing skills should be our only goal. I find that a very narrow approach. But again, this is a whole different discussion, so maybe we need another thread to explore it. I'll start one in a little while. As far as finding time to "practice", regardless of how you define it, I can see where it would be problematic for a lot of people. I am so blessed to have discovered the ukulele at a time in my life where I have more time than money, and my kids are grown and gone. So sitting on my deck, playing my uke, is pretty much time that I'm not out spending money, which in itself make the experience even better..

JustinJ
09-01-2015, 04:42 AM
Rlink,

I do not think it is 100 percent one or the other. You have to enjoy playing and practicing. There is nothing wrong with kicking back and playing the uke. I do it everyday. I also practice everyday. They are two different things.

I like the distinction the Captain draws between playing and practicing. I think this is important distinction. How many people equate practicing with playing?

There are people who are lazy and expect to get good without the work. You see them in sports and other places. There usually the one that says, "that person is just talented or gifted" .
I've had the chance in my life to be around successful people, who have excelled in their fields. It was not talent alone but hard work that brought them success.


There are people who want to improve and are not lazy but they approach learning wrong. They do not make progress because they do understand how to get better at something.

Rllink
09-01-2015, 05:43 AM
JustinJ, I am going to start a new thread. Let's continue the discussion but let's not drift this one. I feel like you addressed the OP well, but I disagree with you in this aspect, the playing vs. practice. I do not recognize the distinction so clearly. I would add, that not only have I too had the chance to be around successful people, who have excelled in their fields, I am myself retired now, was successful, excelled in my field, and all as a result of my hard work. So I think that I might have some insight that is at least worth thinking about and discussing.