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remy
06-14-2008, 11:08 AM
I'm trying to translate some guitar music to the uke, and there are two things that I just can't figure out!

First, what does it mean when there are two chords together, separated by a slash? For instance, it might say:

Bb/C or F/A

Should I play one chord and then the other, or what?

Second, what does "sus" mean? For instance Dsus4...

NukeDOC
06-14-2008, 11:40 AM
when you see a slash between the letters it is when there is a bass note that might not be in line with the actual chord being played. a common one is C/G. for the uke, since most of the notes are higher, trying to play a bass note isnt going to be as dramatic as say on a piano or guitar, where the is more lower range. so you would just play it as a C chord. if your uke is tuned with a low G, then it would be played:
3
0
0
0
since the lowest string is already a G note. but with re-entrant tuning, you can always just get away with playing the chord on the left like you would normally play it.

on a guitar, you would just play the C chord making sure that the lowest note is a G. on a piano, you could play an octave of G notes with your left hand while playing the C chord on your right hand.

a more difficult one would be a C/F. on a piano this would be easy, but on a stringed instrument, it makes it a little more difficult. like i said, you can always just get away with playing only the main chord (C in this case). but on a guitar, you would need to reach over with your thumb to depress the first fret on the low E string to make it an F while playing the regular C chord. on an ukulele, you would need to find where the F note on your 3rd string and depress that while somehow positioning the rest of your fingers on C,E,and G notes (a C chord) on the other three strings. this is a little worthless, because at that level you are already going be beyond the first 5 frets, and even though the lowest note is an F, it defeats the purpose of trying to get a bass note out of it.

so you just gotta see what you can do with each one. use the ones that will sound good, improvise with the ones that arent practical enough for the trouble.

"sus" chords are not something im comfortable explaining. i can play some of them, but they still confuse me on how they should be played. so ill let someone else explain that one.

Spindlegear
06-14-2008, 11:40 AM
First, what does it mean when there are two chords together, separated by a slash? For instance, it might say:

Bb/C or F/A

Should I play one chord and then the other, or what?

Second, what does "sus" mean? For instance Dsus4...


remy,

A letter after a slash indicates which note is in the bass (ie: the lowest note). So, Bb/C means a Bb Major chord played with a C added on the bottom. (C does not naturally occur in that chord.) F/A means an F major chord with A as its lowest note. On ukulele, it can be tricky to change which note is in the bass because of the limited range of the instrument. (We call these changes 'inversions' of a chord.) If you were playing with people in a band, the bass player would play that slashed bass note and you wouldn't need to worry about it. If you can do this solo, the more power to you, but just playing the first chord letter will usually sound fine. If not, tweak it until it does :)

Dsus4: Chords are built of three notes, usually, that are stacked on top of each other. The notes in a D chord are D F# A. The 'sus4' means to raise that middle note (which we call the 'third' of the chord) up by one semitone (one fret). So Dsus4 becomes D G A. I'm sure there are other, more detailed descriptions of what this does posted elsewhere on the net, so maybe someone else can give us a link.

Hope this helps!

Boozelele
06-15-2008, 09:27 AM
Dsus4 is arguably the most common sus4 chord in guitar music. As said before a sus4 chord means "suspended 4th" you are raising the third note of the chord one half step. I dont want to get too detailed here. But remember that the Uke is tuned like a guitar, only higher. So if you play a G chord on your uke, this is the same fingering as a D on the guitar. Now take your little finger and place it on the highest string on the third fret while still holding the G chord. Most of the time when this chord is used, the little finger is added after the chord is played and pulled-off before the chord ends. That is a Gsus4. (and would have been a Dsus4 on a guitar). The problem lies in transposing from the guitar...because if you want it to still be a Dsus4 on the uke, you will need to hold a D chord on the second fret, and then add your little finger to the second string on the third fret...it becomes a little more difficult. I hope this helps.

deach
06-15-2008, 09:30 AM
Holy crap do I have a lot to learn....:confused:

Jack33@
06-15-2008, 10:58 AM
Holy crap do I have a lot to learn....

I am so glad you said that first.

I've just read this thread twice and now I have to draw the curtains and sit alone with the cat to calm me down...

I was just getting pleased with being able to play Five Foot Two without stopping and suddenly....I know nothing.

I will never make it out of the newbie ghetto.

Jack33

PS having said all that I really do appreciate the attempt to explain things like this so that even people like me can understand, many thanks!

Boozelele
06-15-2008, 11:26 AM
If it sounds good to you, and it's fun, that's all that matters. Jimi Hendrix never learned to read music.

NukeDOC
06-15-2008, 11:34 AM
If it sounds good to you, and it's fun, that's all that matters. Jimi Hendrix never learned to read music.

if that were true everyone who ever picked up an instrument would be just as good. jimi was an exception. as are most of the "legends" in the history of music.

so unless someone just picks up an instrument and starts to play pure awesomeness out of nowhere, learning the theory will be a very important part of reaching your fullest potential 99.99999999999% of the time.

now imagine how much fun youre going to have playing in ways you never thought you could, but can now, because of learning a few simple theories.

Boozelele
06-15-2008, 11:40 AM
I totally agree with you NukeDOC, I just dont want anyone to get discouraged and give up the uke thinking it is too complicated. It's ok to play just for sheer pleasure of playing. But yeah, you are right, theory really adds to the fun...

remy
06-15-2008, 03:26 PM
Ah! Thanks so much guys for the thorough answer! Where did we get such smart people to help out us newbies on this forum? I just ran across another of those slashy chords, so I think I will take your advice and just ignore the bass notes.

I know what you mean, deach. I get reminded every day about how much I have to learn, and I had no idea some of this stuff was so complicated. But I just learned to play Something by the Beatles with a little bendy note in the beginning, and I feel SO cool now! It's really overwhelming sometimes because people are so exceptionally good and it's so complicated, but then again, it's kinda cool that I will probably get to keep learning for the rest of my life. And I get so happy every time I figure something out too. I love the uke more with every day that goes by.

lovemissheather
06-16-2008, 07:41 PM
I totally agree with you NukeDOC, I just dont want anyone to get discouraged and give up the uke thinking it is too complicated. It's ok to play just for sheer pleasure of playing. But yeah, you are right, theory really adds to the fun...


you can never know "too much" about everything. learn all you can! with that, you'll have more variety in what you can play and more simplicity in the music you play as well. ;) that goes with all instruments.

SnakeOiler
07-06-2008, 09:00 PM
Ah, the Dsus4 pinky trick, the worst kept secret in rock and roll. Kieth Richards favorite. Who can play a D without doing it? It pulls your heart like a long lost lover.

uber_goober
07-07-2008, 03:06 AM
I'll just jump in here and agree with everyone that theory, technique, etc. is important. But you need to strike a balance between working on those things and actually playing music. You can play alot of songs with just a few chords. There's no reason not to be playing them (even performing them live) while you're learning the "technical" side of music. Bottom line, remember to have fun. No one ever says "I want to practice music"; they say "I want to play music". :)

-John