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Ukute
12-30-2015, 12:34 AM
Hi everyone!

I've been playing the uke for about two weeks now with no musical background.
One question I've been left with is 'why learn loads of chords?'

Firstly I tried strumming some basic chords (C G Am F) and could appreciate that its fun to strum. But the song was unrecognizable as I can't sing.
So I turned to tab and started finger picking. The end product was more rewarding, but felt that there should be another person playing the chords on top of my melody? Or can you do a bit of both? Is that called a solo piece?

I noticed that some tabs had some strumming in them which included one strum of a chord, which made me think that I'll just play chords by reading tab rather than memorising them.

But apart of me wants to get back to strumming again. I guess I'm just looking for some chords to strum that are pleasing to listen too, maybe I've underestimated what chords can do?

(Also what's the difference when people say their uke is tuned Gcea or GCEA ect?

Sorry if this is in cohesive, just wrote all my thoughts down!

Freeda
12-30-2015, 01:03 AM
Hi everyone!

I've been playing the uke for about two weeks now with no musical background.
One question I've been left with is 'why learn loads of chords?'

Firstly I tried strumming some basic chords (C G Am F) and could appreciate that its fun to strum. But the song was unrecognizable as I can't sing.
So I turned to tab and started finger picking. The end product was more rewarding, but felt that there should be another person playing the chords on top of my melody? Or can you do a bit of both? Is that called a solo piece?

I noticed that some tabs had some strumming in them which included one strum of a chord, which made me think that I'll just play chords by reading tab rather than memorising them.

But apart of me wants to get back to strumming again. I guess I'm just looking for some chords to strum that are pleasing to listen too, maybe I've underestimated what chords can do?

(Also what's the difference when people say their uke is tuned Gcea or GCEA ect?

Sorry if this is in cohesive, just wrote all my thoughts down!

For the bold....That is called chord melody. That's the phrase you'll need to google tutorials and whatnot. Petey Houdini has a good one on YouTube that explains the mechanics of chord melody.

For your last question, it is whether they have a low g or high g strung on their Uke.

DownUpDave
12-30-2015, 01:55 AM
Whether you are strumming or fingerpicking you will need to learn how to form and recognize chords. They are the foundation of making notes on a stringed instrument. If you are going to play baseball you must learn to catch and throw, basic fundimentals.

You do not have to memorize a huge pile of chords, but that will happen naturally over time. As you found out C,F&G sound good together and are very common in a lot of songs. I started out googling "easy ukulele songs" found a few I liked and learned those. Then more and more with more chords, it is a process.

PhilUSAFRet
12-30-2015, 02:33 AM
When interviewed on a tv show I was watching, BB King admitted to not learning chords until he was in his mid-40's (I think). He finally had to do so to facilitate playing with other musicians, but he rarely played them and didn't have a large repertoire of chords he was familiar with.

Croaky Keith
12-30-2015, 02:41 AM
Re entrant tuning (high G) is gCEA, linear tuning (low G) is GCEA.
:cool:

Rllink
12-30-2015, 02:57 AM
For me, it is two things. I don't think you are going to recognize the melody of most songs that you've never heard before just from the chords, so you need to play the chords to songs you know. You say that you don't sing, but you do hear the songs in your head. The other thing is that I don't learn a lot of chords that I don't play. I certainly don't spend time trying to learn chords just for the sake of learning chords. I mostly pick them up as the come along. I've learned a lot of chords over time that way, and without a whole lot of effort

vanflynn
12-30-2015, 02:57 AM
I think what you are talking about is chord progression. Howlin Hobbit has a great primer on it

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1125378/ukulele%20docs/uke_chord_progressions.pdf

enjoy

CasanovaGuy
12-30-2015, 02:59 AM
Yes, you should expand your chord repertoire. I'd say the most important reason for learning chords is that it will help develop your music ear. Of course, there's music theory to explain why notes sound good together and how good-sounding chord progressions are constructed. But, expanding your chord repertoire will give you a general sense of what you should and shouldn't play a lot faster than learning theory.

Personally, I was taught how to pick first. But the end goal is the same: develop your music ear. Learning chords is so much more applicable, though. Like a song will rarely call for the exact picking for Canon in D. However, say you're trying to learn a song and you're stuck. Once you realize it's in the key of D, you can be like, "hey, some chords that might work are D, A, Bm, F#m, and G because they worked for Canon in D."

Don't underestimate chords. On an ukulele, playing a chord can express up to four times as much as picking a single note ;)

Oh, and here's a shortcut. Start by learning the major and minor chords. The rest are either "shifts" (sus4's, +'s), "add-ons" (6's, add9's), or both. The odd ones are the diminished chords, but they're all just one shape (1212, 2323, 3434, etc.) so easy fo' learn.

sukie
12-30-2015, 03:05 AM
Wait until you realise that even in fingerpicking you fret chord shapes. You pick IN the shapes -- if you get what I mean. That said, no, you don't need to learn every chord. Learn 'em as you need 'em.

Czechmate01
12-30-2015, 03:29 AM
Hi Greetings from Venice Fl , I just joined Ukulele Underground yesterday. I have been playing for only 6 months. You are right without lyrics or singing just strumming chords on the ukulele does not sound like much. I play chord melodies as well because I do not sing, learning chords helps me to play the chord melodies with greater fluidity as the melodies and are built around chords I don't have tons of chords memorized but I have learned many because from the different songs I want to learn, and memorizing them by repeatedly playing them has allowed me to see the relationship between the chords in the progression so I can minimize hand movements and play efficiently. I cant carry a tune by myself, but if there are any ukulele groups near you its fun to play at strum alongs, and I don't mind singing with a group. Ukulele Mike has tons songs youtube that utilizes the basic chords as well as chord melodies. He is fun to play to and I don't mind singing in front of my computer. Cynthia lin also has great videos for beginning ukulele players. If you signed up for UU on the ukulele underground site, there are fantastic beginner videos, I have been happily strumming and reviewing techniques. Happy Strumming.

janeray1940
12-30-2015, 06:28 AM
I think a basic knowledge of chords, particularly moveable/barre chords, is useful, but I really think the answer to your question depends on what you hope to achieve from playing.

You mentioned that you're not a singer - neither am I, so from the start I've been playing fingerstyle uke from tab and standard notation. I don't think there's anything wrong with taking this on from the beginning; I know a lot of people emphasize "memorizing" chords and progressions and the circle of fifths and the like, but in my experience that really is more important if you plan to jam with others or if you want to be able to figure out a song's chord progression by ear. If you're playing alone or in situations where you're using sheet music, a vast knowledge of memorized chords isn't all that necessary, especially if you're familiar with the basic shapes and can play them on sight. I've been playing for a number of years now, and while my "memorized" chord knowledge is probably far below that of most singer/strummers, for what I do I find it far more useful to spend my time working on improving my sight reading.

And I agree completely with Bill1's 3rd point above - if you can find a good teacher, do it!

Picker Jon
12-30-2015, 07:29 AM
No a library of chords is not necessary. A library of tunes is what you should persue. You use a ukulele to play music, edit music, re-arrange music. Chords are just building blocks you will pick up along the way.
You have made a start. There are three ways to go.
1. Spend a few minutes writing down the names of three to five songs or tunes you want to play. Track down these tunes in a format, TAB, audio whatever, that you can follow and learn to play the tunes. Then pick five more. Constantly keep a list of three to five tunes going. When you get the opportuntity play a little concert in two sets of five tunes.
2. Find a method book that appeals to you and follow its instruction. The best long term value will be from a book that starts out teaching you how to sight read music.

I've been doing just this since I got a uke last Christmas. I haven't done a concert but I have a small repertoire of tunes I can play at informal sessions at the pub.

I'd like to understand music better and I'm learning all the time. It's a process and I'm in no rush.

Learn tunes from TAB and you'll automatically learn chords and then you can explore their place in the music.

Ukute
12-30-2015, 08:34 AM
Thank you everyone for your responses and for being so understanding!

Looks like the uke comes with good people :-)

I am now going to research chord melody :cool:

Still Water Weapons
12-30-2015, 11:30 AM
Yes, tons of great people on here. When you get stuck, ask and you will get un-stuck.

Chord-Melody is great, you can recognize songs, which was a big help to me. And like someone said above you will be holding a chord and then picking "inside it". I've just recently started doing that and it's been a lot of fun!

sculptor
01-02-2016, 09:11 AM
Helpful and necessary are not the same words and I think asking if they are helpful is more useful.... :)

-- Gary

Inksplosive AL
01-02-2016, 09:47 AM
Pick up uncle rods ukulele bootcamp print it out and learn the pages. I learned the first sheet by heart and some of the second and stopped to learn songs. I really need to get back to learning the 5 sheets of chords in the keys the work in. I find when trying to figure out something I'm hearing if I dont know the chord already I'm hosed.

Play the sheets learn the chords and the songs pop out.


Helpful and necessary are not the same words and I think asking if they are helpful is more useful.... :)

-- Gary

So true! Bushy don't need no chords...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8H-67ILaqc

~peace~

Tootler
01-03-2016, 12:50 PM
I think a basic knowledge of chords, particularly moveable/barre chords, is useful, but I really think the answer to your question depends on what you hope to achieve from playing.

You mentioned that you're not a singer - neither am I, so from the start I've been playing fingerstyle uke from tab and standard notation. I don't think there's anything wrong with taking this on from the beginning; I know a lot of people emphasize "memorizing" chords and progressions and the circle of fifths and the like, but in my experience that really is more important if you plan to jam with others or if you want to be able to figure out a song's chord progression by ear. If you're playing alone or in situations where you're using sheet music, a vast knowledge of memorized chords isn't all that necessary, especially if you're familiar with the basic shapes and can play them on sight. I've been playing for a number of years now, and while my "memorized" chord knowledge is probably far below that of most singer/strummers, for what I do I find it far more useful to spend my time working on improving my sight reading.

And I agree completely with Bill1's 3rd point above - if you can find a good teacher, do it!

I think this is pretty much spot on. If you are not a singer, chords are not your first priority. I am a singer, so for me learning chords was and remains essential. Even if you are not a singer but you are asked to accompany someone else, then you will need to learn chords as they are the basis of most [popular] song accompaniment. This is also the case if you accompany someone playing another instrument.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
01-05-2016, 05:26 AM
Happy New Year!

if you're looking for a link to the Ukulele Boot Camp materials, please
see the links below in my signature :)

keep uke'in',

Rllink
01-05-2016, 06:55 AM
Happy New Year!

if you're looking for a link to the Ukulele Boot Camp materials, please
see the links below in my signature :)

keep uke'in',I would like to know how many people you have pointed in the right direction, and started them off on their ukulele journey. I'm one of them. You do a great service to the ukulele community.

ukulelego
01-05-2016, 12:57 PM
It depends how you're learning them I would say. I don't think you should sit there and learn chords in isolation as it would be a poor way to retain the information. Personally I think it's a good idea to know all the major chords, the minors and the 7th chords but I would use songs to learn them.

JackLuis
01-05-2016, 03:53 PM
+1 on Howling Hobbit's chord progressions. I found it a great help in teaching myself music. I too do not sing well, so seldom sing along, except in my head, which has the necessary acoustics to make it agreeable.

One thing I found is that forming the chords and strumming to the lyric, made my playing sound more like music, also the chords will most often form the notes to the song if you pick the strings separately.

The one thing I find in Uncle Rod's boot camp is the chords he uses are not grouped in progressions, so while teaching the chord forms they do nothing to train the ear in key progressions. If they did it would be very useful. I've only been playing for ~9 months now but found my neighbor, who is a guitarist that I infected with Uke fever and who sings fairly well, has helped me a good deal. We play together about once a week and he's helped me a lot and the fact that he has a good deal of chord/lyric music, which he prints out into practice books has allowedd me to learn many progressions. I can now form an E maj in less than a second! Though I find E7 will generally do the job and is a lot less difficult. ;)