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Thread: Theory related question about self-made exercise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020

    Default Theory related question about self-made exercise

    Hello UU. I was directed to ask this here. I apologize in advance,
    I write really long posts. I've only been playing for a year & 5 months or so, so I consider myself a beginner, and ended up in dumbed down alternative classes during my school years. So i'm kinda dumb.

    I couldn't find it anywhere I had looked, so I decided to make an exercise to put the circle of 5ths on my fretboard. I started it in the key of C. (I can memorize note names, as well as the key for reference at the very least.)

    Copy of question: (It was kinda cleared for takeoff. Ty!)
    I am trying to fit the C major triads into compact shapes. (Canít find this anywhere) I started from the low C on the G string for the first one. This seems wrong although it fits down the center of the neck, it seems like a 7 fret span is too large?

    (Number in ()ís is string # below. Other numbers are the tab. Low G)

    I -CEG (4)5,9 (3)7
    ii -DFA (4)7 (3)5,9
    iii -EGB (3)4,7 (2)7
    IV -FAC (3)5,9 (2)8
    V -GBD (3)7 (2)7,10
    vi -ACE (2)5,8 (1)7
    viiį -BDF (2)7 (1)5,8

    Since thereís 6 instances of each natural note on my uke (16 frets, -basically 6.. D & F! ..) Should I be trying to jam everything in smaller patterns based around each root?

    If the above is correct, I should be able to do this in at least 3 spots right? Open middle and high?
    Iím not trying to be a pain btw. I just need to know if iím on the right track please? (And if trying to jam triads in the tiniest areas possible is actually useful eventually overall, or a waste of time.)
    Secondary question that may not apply if the above is nixed.

    If I add in the 7th to the above (not to build a chord, thats impossible with the pattern) I should make sure to keep it a higher note than the rest of the triad right? (For basic key/chord note, memorization purposes not possible inversions and whatever else happens when the notes are stirred up.
    I should keep the notes to build it in order to keep the 7th out of the basic triad order?)

    Example: So the building blocks would be CEGB or 5(4),9(4),7(3),7(2) To keep it in the fretboard area I have (hopefully correctly) set above?

    Thank you in advance to anyone who reads all that btw. Hope it makes sense.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)


    Hmm, I would never say increasing knowledge of the fretboard is a waste of time. And it certainly can be useful to learn chords in different positions on the neck. But I would say your approach is "unorthodox". I'm not saying it's wrong, but not the usual way to learn chords. Most would start by learning basic shapes in first position and then progress to a study of "moveable" chords which let you play the same shape as you go up the neck to play a family of related chords.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Mission Viejo, CA


    I'm not sure what you are asking. I may be wrong, but I thought a stacked triad from a root is just 1-3-5.

    With a low G, if you want CEG triad with individual fingered notes it would be x-0-0-3, if you wanted it in a chord on different strings it would be 5-4-3-x.

    DFA is x-2-1-0.
    EGB is x-4-3-2
    FAC is x-5-5-3
    GBD is tricky because it can be fingered 0-4-2-x, or chord x-7-7-5
    ACE is 2-0-0-x
    BDF is 4-2-1-x

    There are some 7th that can be chords... CEGB is 5-4-3-2.

    I have no idea is this helps or is way off.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Grand Rapids, MI


    Root position chords are tricky with only four strings.

    You panic root position Major shape is 1114, starting with C at ooo3

    Once you get Eb, you can play it either 3331 or 3336. I prefer the sound of 3336, but learn both.

    For minor, Dm is 221o, giving the movable shape 3321.

    You CAN play diminished triads on Uke, but most of the time we play dim7, which is better for everything short of a theory exercise.

    Every dim7 has four names, and every three frets gets you to the next inversion:
    C#, E, G, Nb —o1o1
    D, F, Ab, B - 1212
    Eb, Gb, A, C 2323

    3434 gets you the next inversion of the base form and so on
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2019


    Interesting, let me start by writing that I'm in about the same place as you when it comes to the fretboard, but I have had lots of theory with a piano so I have a couple of thoughts that I hope may help.

    First, it appears you want to get all the notes of the c major scale triads into root position (going up the scale), and that you are playing a low g uke. If I'm,correct, you could try

    First, play an open c string, open e, and the 12th fret of the g [ (3)0, (2)0, (4)12 ]. After that, you only need three forms on strings 1,2, & 3 to finish the job.

    D-minor=ii would be (3)2, (2)1, (1)0. That pattern moved up the neck takes care of ii, iii, and vi.

    F=IV would be (3)5, (2)5, (1)3 and can be moved up for V.

    That only leaves your diminished which is (3)9, (2)10, 1(8). This approach also allows you to strum the three notes and listen to the chord - and gives you the 4th string as a bonus to do what you want :-)

    I like the way you're thinking about this, and if what you wanted to do was to keep everything between the 4th and 10th frets without being able to play the chord then your system works well.

    Two final thoughts: Brad Bordessa has a good download called Ukulele Scales Collection. The three page READ.ME in that folder might be helpful. Also Aldrine Guerrero has a short video about practicing scales in thirds (C-E-D-F-E-G...) which you might find interesting. Sorry I don't have the URLs for these.

    I hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017


    I have progressed on parallel lines to what Becky is suggesting and I'll tell you what worked for me (although it mayn't work for you). I made use of all the chord voicings I could conjure up.

    For example, for C major I used 543X (root on the G string), 000X (root on the C string), X787 (root on the E string), x433 (root on the A string).

    Next, I exploited the etymology and meaning of "play the ukulele." Usually, when we 'play' an instrument, it means to apply our fingers to its strings. I took it literally, as in "play" as a child plays with blocks or sticks or whatever. The child assembles the pieces as the whim dictates and sees what happens. So, like a child, I played with the inversions. The inversions have different vibes because of the order of their elements and they have different pitches because of where they are located on the fret board. I merely collocated inversions adjacently to see what happens. I was playing. For example, going from C to A, from the tonic to the subdominant degrees, I sometimes went up in pitch, sometimes down. Sometimes that sounded appropriate and sometimes not. And when it didn't sound good for the pre-conceived notion that i had, I thought about a different context in which this raising/lowering of pitch would sound good.

    In conclusion, I would say get a format (blues progression, Coltrane Changes, or google a favorite song such as Frank Zappa's "Watermelon in Easter Hay" and use that progression) and then play with it using different roots. See what's good and what isn't.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2020


    Again thank you for all the replies. I managed to get a nasty cold i'm fighting off unsuccessfully so I haven't done much of anything except sleep shortly after I posted. I've been consuming Nyquil so i'm fuzzy-headed. Just wanted to pop in and say i'm not ignoring anyone. Since i'm new in uu, I didn't want you guys to think I posted and ran off.

    I'll check out the files too Ed. Ty

    This started, to snapshot the circle of 5ths on my fretboard so I don't need the picture hanging up. Kind of like a cheat sheet. I got ahead of myself with the 7th thing for the time being. I have a bad habit of complicating things.

    Some of you are giving me way more credit knowing my fretboard then I feel I deserve right now honestly. I am doing note exercises too, but I still have to "run the pattern" if someone names a note. (And I haven't done sharps or flats yet. )

    When i'm feeling a bit better there's a lot here for me to experiment with. Sorry I couldn't reply to everyone individually, but thank you sooo so much!

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