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Warmice
04-12-2014, 07:37 AM
Good morning from Arizona! I was wondering if I tune my Ukulele a half a step down, how do the chords convert into others? For example, if I was in F# B G# D# where is my C? Do all the chords change completely or is it a same string just a different fret? Would music theory help me figure that stuff out? :o If anyone can point me in the direction I need to go to delve deeper into this stuff, it would be much appreciated. thank you (:

-Warmice

Jim Hanks
04-12-2014, 08:59 AM
Your C is exactly where it was before, it just sounds like a B. :p seriously, don't learn new chord shapes for different tunings. I agree with Athos that if you're trying to play with someone else in C tuning, that you think of yourself playing in a key a half step higher than the other player.

Louis0815
04-12-2014, 10:14 AM
Would music theory help me figure that stuff out?A little bit for sure...
In any case do not mix up chords and "fingerings", the latter often being called chords.
In music, a chord is a defined group of notes (at defined intervals from each other). Not more, not less. This is completely independent from the instrument this chord is played on. The individual notes are defined through their frequency - this again is independent from any instrument.
Depending on the instrument and its tuning you need different fingerings to play a certain chord: in standard GCEA tuning a C chord is fingered 0003; with your tuning it would be 1114 - but the notes (frequencies) you hear are still the same: G C E C. The other way round is like Jim said: 0003 in standard tuning sounds a C chord, 0003 in your tuning sounds a B chord (half step below C).

That's basically it.

Warmice
04-12-2014, 11:37 AM
I thank you three for your replies. Why would you not recommend learning different chords for different tunings? How would you go about doing that? = o

peaceweaver3
04-12-2014, 11:41 AM
Your C is exactly where it was before, it just sounds like a B. :p seriously, don't learn new chord shapes for different tunings. I agree with Athos that if you're trying to play with someone else in C tuning, that you think of yourself playing in a key a half step higher than the other player.

Agreed. But, if you're playing with other ukes tuned in C, why not just tune yours in C as well? Unless you have some reason not mentioned to tune a half step down?

peaceweaver3
04-12-2014, 11:50 AM
I thank you three for your replies. Why would you not recommend learning different chords for different tunings? How would you go about doing that? = o

How you learn chords for different tunings, is learn the fretboard inside out, upside down and backwards and forwards in your chosen tuning. That way you know where all the notes are i.e. which fret on which string, is each note.

You also need to learn which chords you want, and what makes them possible. Music theory is helpful here, for learning what a major chord is, minor, 7th, augmented and all kinds of other chords. When you know chord formulas, you can play them in any tuning, as long as you know the fretboard.

And what chord you play when you finger 0003 for instance, will be determined by your chosen tuning. However, when you know the fretboard, fingerings matter less. Ideally we don't name "chords" by fingerings, but by note (C for ex.) or by number (I if you're in the key of C, naming a C chord). Again, knowing the fretboard in the tuning you choose is really important.

Is this helpful or about as clear as mud? :o

Warmice
04-12-2014, 12:16 PM
haha definitely helpful (: So music theory is the way to go! And learning the notes/fret board for sure for sure xD Thank you! Do you happen to know if this site teaches that stuff? = o

l3uffer
04-12-2014, 02:06 PM
Here you go!
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons

OldePhart
04-12-2014, 03:56 PM
I'm a little puzzled why someone would tune away from "C" and then play with other ukes in "C". Maybe I misunderstood the OP.

It's far more common to tune to a key that is convenient or fits one's voice. For example, if you have a voice that is a little too low to sing many of the "standards" in C then you might tune down to Bb (F Bb D G) and then play as if in C. Then you are actually playing the song in the key of Bb but with common C fingerings. In this way the uke becomes like many band instruments that are "transposing" - i.e. music written as if it were in C plays in a different key.

However, when playing with others it is better/easier to tune your instrument like theirs. That way you can watch someone's hands when playing an unfamiliar piece. If you are tuned differently it requires twice as much "brain power" to play along with an unfamiliar piece. First, you must see and interpret the other player's hand shapes (fingering), then you have to apply an "offset" or "transposition" to figure out what fingering you need to be playing to match chords. I've been playing guitar for twenty years (off and on and not well) and uke for four (better, but still not well) and I have a great deal of trouble handling this "double duty" when playing with others!

John

FrankB
04-12-2014, 04:17 PM
If you tune down a half step, you could use a capo on the first fret to bring you back up to C. You can use the same chord shapes, and capo as many frets up, as you've tuned down.