View Full Version : Help me out, please

Toos Kansloos
06-08-2009, 12:11 PM

This is my first post on this forum! I am a teenager from the Netherlands (Holland) and I play the ukulele since april this year. Before that I played the guitar (I still do).

Wel, that was a little introduction...

I like to write poetry. Since I play the ukulele, I got into songwriting. The lyrics are not a problem, my imagination is huge. But I always have problems with the chords. I just don't get how people can make a melody with chords that fit together. Is it have to do with scales? Can someone explain that for me, or is there a site on the web who teaches this?

I really want to learn it, that would be sooo groovyyyy. I don't know if somebody already asked a question like this... I'm not good with forums..

And sorry for my bad English, I'm to cool for school. :rock:

Ukulele Jim
06-08-2009, 12:13 PM
My advice would be to learn how to play songs you like. Get used to how chords fit together in those songs, get a feel for what chords work together and how the songs are constructed. Learn enough songs and eventually you'll get the hang of how they should feel. It takes time.

Toos Kansloos
06-08-2009, 12:27 PM
He! Thank you for you quick answer!

I play the guitar for 2 years now, and I play EVERY day. I've played a lot of songs and I know a lot of chords (also on the ukulele). But still I seem to have no imagination for chord progessions... its frustrated. And If I have the feeling that when I made a good sounding chord progression, feels good. I realise that I stole it from an artist... :o

Ukulele Jim
06-08-2009, 12:30 PM
To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic. -Picasso

06-08-2009, 01:21 PM
Have a look at this
Very useful episode of Uke Minutes where Aldrine explains about chords that sound good together

06-08-2009, 01:54 PM
The classic answer to this problem is simply to find a song you like, copy the chord progression, and write your own tune and words to fit. It has been done many times before. Many, many popular songs have exactly the same sequence of chords.

Take "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" by Neil Sedaka for example. Quite a number of songs fit those chords. Sedaka was not the first to use them!

John Colter (Ukantor)

06-11-2009, 06:55 AM
Yep - using an existing song as a "frame" to hang your new creation on is pretty common. Just make sure your melody is not the same and you'll be fine.

Chord progressions are not protected by copyright laws, melodies can be.

06-12-2009, 09:33 AM
Expanding a bit on what others have already said...

Many, many songs are written around just two or three basic chord progressions. For a beginning songwriter those chords progressions could be a great place to start.

A couple of very common ones are what are called the 1, 4, 5 (also called I, IV, V) chord progression and the 1, 6m 4, 5 (or I, vi, IV V) progression.

There are countless melody possibilities that will work over these and there is no shame in basing a song around a classic formula, especially when you're starting out.

The keys of C and G work well on uke, so here are those progressions in those keys:

The 1, 4, 5

In C Maj = the chords of C, F, G
In G Maj = the chords of G, C, D

Songs that use this progression, or variations on it, include:
'Louie Louie', 'Like a Rolling Stone' (chorus), 'La Bamba' and any 12-bar blues.

The 1, 6m, 4, 5

In C Maj = the chords of C, Am, F, G
In G Maj = the chords of G, Em, C, D

Examples of songs that use this one:
'YMCA', 'Runaround Sue', 'Mr Bass Man', 'Every Breath You Take'