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zztush
03-13-2017, 01:37 AM
The movable chords of ukulele are shown in the bottom diagram of circle of 5th. This circle is made by perfect 5th intervals. Our tuning (GCEA) is optimizes for C. Hence C use open strings at most. Cowboy chords are open chords which use open strings. Movable chords have no open strings. E is same shape as Eb and Db (+ in the figure). Bb is same shape as B (*). Gb and Ab are same shape (&). Hence they called movable chords. There are many other movable chords but they are most important. E and Bb shapes are more important than Gb shape in ukulele and guitar.

https://s15.postimg.org/50rv2iubv/cirlce_of_fifths_sm2.png (https://postimg.org/image/fnlo7y2h3/)image hosting free (https://postimage.org/)

F, C, G, D and A are chowboy chords. And keys of F, C, G, D and A are ukulele's good keys. Guitar is shifted clockwise by perfect 5th interval. C, G, D, A, E are guitar's keys.

zztush
03-13-2017, 11:58 PM
Bb is the movable chord which has its root on 4th string (See the figure below). E has its root on 3rd strings. They are two basic movable chords on ukulele. When we look for the E7 (See the figure below), we can easily get it with the 7th note on 1st string of E. In this manner, we can get any chords from these two movable chords.

https://s2.postimg.org/8k0bvlp6x/combine_images.png (https://postimg.org/image/qmtemtl1h/)image hosting 30 mb (https://postimage.org/)

Key of F, C, G, D and A are ukulele friendly keys. They requires only 4 movable chords (See the figure below). Bb is subdominant of F. Because it is tuned in C (GCEA). B and Bb are weak points of our ukulele. They are below the nut (between the nut and tuners). But B7, Bm7 and Bm are not too difficult.

https://s4.postimg.org/9oslvo1b1/index3.png (https://postimg.org/image/l157dg9zt/)20mb image hosting (https://postimage.org/)

Even if you add E chord, we just have to learn only 5 movable chords and three (B7, Bm7 and Bm) are easy. It is far easier than guitar.

NewfieMom
08-08-2017, 10:42 AM
I sort of understand, but if I want to play B-flat, what, exactly, is the alternative fingering?

I'm not getting that from your post (probably because I don't understand chords and how to get them in different keys all that well).

UkeNukem
08-08-2017, 10:50 AM
As a concept, movable chord forms are an efficient way to learn a lot of chords because once you can play the form and you know which note is the root you just move it up or down to "learn" a bunch of additional chords using that shape.

I've used it on guitar for decades and when I picked up the mandolin last year it helped me progress faster. Give it a try!

Nickie
08-08-2017, 02:46 PM
zztush, thanks for posting this, it could be very helpful!

jackj
08-08-2017, 03:08 PM
Thanks for this very helpful post! It's getting right at what I feel I need to work on most. And when you get time, I would love to see details on what you mention in your last sentence: a pattern for walking a note name up the fretboard. I'm at the point where this all makes sense and I can figure out most any common chord most anywhere up the neck, but only at a glacial speed. Very much want some specific exercises and systems for me to better internalize it and get closer to finding the right chord with the right voicing in the right position all in real time.

maki66
08-08-2017, 04:17 PM
I found this book helpful;

Ukulele Chord Shapes: More Strumming, Less Memorizing
by Brad Bordessa

https://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Chord-Shapes-Strumming-Memorizing/dp/1533350396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502244468&sr=8-1&keywords=ukulele+chord+shapes

Santa
08-08-2017, 04:26 PM
I found this book helpful;

Ukulele Chord Shapes: More Strumming, Less Memorizing
by Brad Bordessa

https://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Chord-Shapes-Strumming-Memorizing/dp/1533350396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502244468&sr=8-1&keywords=ukulele+chord+shapes

Thanks for the link maki66, just ordered a copy.:)

zztush
08-09-2017, 11:07 PM
I sort of understand, but if I want to play B-flat, what, exactly, is the alternative fingering?

Hi, NewfieMom! Thank you for asking. Although Carboy chords take advantage of open strings and easy to play, movable chords are difficult to play. The best alternate of B-flat may be avoiding key of F. The key of F is flat key and difficult to play on guitar and ukulele. Even Paul McCartney avoids key of F in Yesterday on his guitar. Yesterday is key of F but he tunes his guitar two steps down to D (From E) and he plays G instead of F. G is easy to play on guitar and ukulele. We can transpose F key or we can tune two steps down our ukulele.

https://s27.postimg.org/b9zvved1f/combine_images.png (https://postimages.org/)

The difficulty of the Bb comes from the short barre of index finger (green arrow on the figure above). Because the directions of power between index finger (green arrow) and the middle (red arrow) are exactly opposite on Bb, it is hard to play. We should slightly rotate our index finger. Some people bend their index finger (yellow line). It is called banana. I think it is not a good fingering but if it works it is ok.


And when you get time, I would love to see details on what you mention in your last sentence: a pattern for walking a note name up the fretboard.

Thank you for asking jackj!

Bb and E are the most important movable chords in ukulele and guitar (F and Bb shape in guitar). We can make 7th, minor and other chords from here. Hence just remember these two chords first. And the root notes (red on Bb and green on E) tell us chord names. When you play and practice them just check the root notes on your board like figure below. Fourth fret of 3rd string (green circle and E on the bottom figure) gives you E chord. Third fret of 4th string (red circle and Bb on the bottom figure) gives you Bb chord.

https://s27.postimg.org/q4ebsbshv/combine_images3.png (https://postimages.org/)

dhbailey
08-09-2017, 11:24 PM
The difficulty of the short barre on the Bb chord can be eliminated by making it a full barre on the 1st fret. This has no effect on the other two strings which are fingered already. And then it's easy to slide the barre up a fret for a B chord, then another fret for a different C chord and so on as far as you want up the neck, up a half-step with each fret. In teaching fretted instruments I find that the image many people have of that short barre on just the first two strings using only the tip of the first finger is much harder than using the whole first finger across all the strings. On the ukulele it's very easy since it's only the first two strings that need the solid bar and using the fleshier part of the index finger close to where it attaches to the hand does a better job of stopping the first two strings. And don't put much stock in how Paul McCartney plays guitar -- yes he's famous and fabulously wealthy but not necessarily the best role model for playing guitar. Blues in Bb is one of the most common Blues for people to jam on, and that includes guitarists, so not everybody follows Sir Paul's avoidance of the F chord, whether F7 or F major.

zztush
08-10-2017, 01:43 AM
Hi, dhbailey. Thank you for reply!


And don't put much stock in how Paul McCartney plays guitar -- yes he's famous and fabulously wealthy but not necessarily the best role model for playing guitar. Blues in Bb is one of the most common Blues for people to jam on, and that includes guitarists, so not everybody follows Sir Paul's avoidance of the F chord, whether F7 or F major.

I am talking about the difficulty of key of F in both ukulele and guitar. In this context, we don't need virtuoso of guitar. And Sir Paul McCartney is not virtuoso in guitar. I play sometimes blues jam in Bb. But it has a reason. Horns like to play flat keys (F, Bb, Eb, Ab, D), and guitarist can play both flat (F, Bb) and sharp keys (C, G, D, A, or E). When I play with horn in blues jam, I play in F or Bb. But when we play without them we play sharp keys with my guitar. I have never played Bb blues jam without horn. Because sharp keys (mostly green in the top figure in this thread) are easy to play chords and scales for my guitar and ukulele.

bighatbulls
08-10-2017, 05:23 AM
I sort of understand, but if I want to play B-flat, what, exactly, is the alternative fingering?

I'm not getting that from your post (probably because I don't understand chords and how to get them in different keys all that well).

Bar the first fret with your index, middle finger 2nd fret 3rd string, ring finger 3rd fret 4th string.

Here is an article about it. http://www.ukuleletricks.com/playing-a-bb-chord-on-ukulele/

maki66
08-10-2017, 05:28 AM
[QUOTE=dhbailey;1987262]The difficulty of the short barre on the Bb chord can be eliminated by making it a full barre on the 1st fret.
[QUOTE]

Yep. Full barre makes the cord relatively easy.

zztush
08-12-2017, 01:38 AM
I sort of understand, but if I want to play B-flat, what, exactly, is the alternative fingering?

I'm not getting that from your post (probably because I don't understand chords and how to get them in different keys all that well).

Alternative fingerings are as follows. X indicates mute. We mute the first strings with index finger. We use only index finger on E with this technique. Index finger holds three strings and mutes the first string. Easy isn't it? There are two Bb notes on Bb and two F notes on E. We don't need both.

https://s12.postimg.org/6gtnmcedp/combine_images.jpg (https://postimages.org/)

This mute technique are often used on guitar. Bb is difficult chord on guitar. People, who can not get F note (on the first string), they just mute it with ring finger. There are many chords which employ this mute technique like Cadd9/G on guitar. Just try it and check the sound. Good luck!

https://s11.postimg.org/p4ua5lt1f/combine_images1.jpg (https://postimages.org/)