View Full Version : how do you play chords like G/A and C/E on uke?

09-20-2010, 10:24 PM
I've always wondered?

09-20-2010, 11:24 PM
Ha! You can't. For those that don't know, the note after the slash means you play that note in the bass. So for G/A, you play a G chord but you play an A in the bass.

Generally those are seen when a bass line is intended. You'll see G, G/A, G/B, then C. Or something. Well, you just hold the G chord and create a bass line of G, A, B, and end with C. Easy on piano, possible on guitar, but not possible on a uke.

What you can do is include those notes in your chord, but not in the bass, since you don't have any bass. So the G would become a G9 (a G chord with an A in it). The C example you have would stay a C, because the E is already in the chord. Sometimes you can replicate that run within chords, but not in the bass. That will mean you're not clashing with the others, but again you can't play bass without bass strings.

Just gesture to your acoustic bass player to do the run while you hold G7 and take all the credit.

09-20-2010, 11:40 PM
Thanks for the quick reply I thought as much

Ukulele JJ
09-21-2010, 02:06 AM
Well, to be picky, the note under the "slash" doesn't have to necessarily be in the bass register. It just has to be the lowest note being played.

Case in point, the normal F chord that everybody plays (2010) is really an F/C, because the lowest note is the C string. The normal G chord (0232) is really a G/D. Normal A is really A/C#. You're actually playing a lot more slash chords than you probably realized!

Sometimes it's just not practical to actually put that note on the bottom. The "lowest" G/B you can play, for example, is 12-11-10-10 (or maybe 7-X-7-10), which probably isn't going to work in a lot of situations. As Clayton pointed out, you can always just stick that bottom note somewhere other than the bottom.

Here's the trick though: Sometimes the bottom note is already in the chord to begin with. The C major chord has the notes C, E, and G. So when you're faced with a C/E, and you decide to put the E somewhere other than the bottom... well, it's already there. You don't have to do anything, and can ignore the bottom of the slash.

But the G major chord doesn't have an A note in it. Clayton's right that, if you want it in there, you'll have to add it to the chord yourself. Here's one way: 0230


09-21-2010, 02:22 AM
The reason I asked is I wanted to cover a song called radioactive by Kings of leon and the guitar tab was basically all slash chords. Anyways I just changed it all and played a Loosely based interpretation of the original. I'm uploading it now and i'll post it in the videos and links bit if you're interested. Thanks for the lessons the advice will help me a lot in the future. Rae

09-21-2010, 10:51 AM
I believe these systems are there to quickly tell the pianist which inversion of a chord to play without using notation. They usually pop up only where it's important, such as a chromatic run, or special harmony is desired.

That's also the case with 9th, 11th and 13th chords, which are specifically supposed to be played an octave up. For example a G6 contains an E, (GDBE) but in the same octave. A 13th also contains an E (GDBE), but with the E an octave higher. And, G/E contains an E, but an octave lower (EGDB). So the arranger can specify where he wants the E to fall just by using chord symbols.

I used to play jazz chords on the banjo, and you had to do a lot of choosing what to leave out when you saw a fancy chord symbol. Usually there's a melody note involved and it usually works well to include the melody note in the chord if it's not in there already. If your chord is a G, and the melody note is an A, playing a G9 will give you both. A true 9th chord includes the flatted 7th, so the notes to play would be GDBFA, which is one more note than you have on a uke or banjo. So you try it a few ways and decide what to leave out.

One thing I used to do is play two chords per measure instead of one. The second chord would hit some of the notes left out of the first. So, the first chord would be GBFG and the second DBFA. That would give me the seventh, ninth, and even a little movement in the "bass" by switching low notes between the root and fifth.

A little off topic I guess but you guys got me started.