Best book or app for chords

Captain Simian

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Lately it seems when I come across a chord I don’t know, I find that some of the chord websites either don’t have it or says the chord doesn’t exist. Is there a reliable book, app, or website out there that’s accurate?
 
I'm interested in this too. There seem to be zillions of chords. At least that's how I felt when looking at various charts online and in the Jumping Jim books. I play in a group and the members who are long time musicians are always barking out long-named chords that make my head spin.
 
Roy Sakuma's chord book is the classic. It is sometimes hard to buy outside of Hawaii, but you can find it online.
https://www.kanileaukulele.com/shop/shop/accessories/treasury-of-ukulele-chords-roy-sakuma/

Brad Bordessa, who I think is a member of this forum, has a good chord book with a lot of chord theory mixed in (which is really helpful if you like fancier chords).
https://liveukulele.com/store/ukulele-chord-shapes/

If you're an e-book fan, the Hal Leonard ukulele chord book is handy. I got it for free with Amazon credits and keep it on my phone for quick searches.
https://www.amazon.com/Leonard-Ukulele-Chord-Finder-Easy/dp/1423400429
 
Android app SmartChord is incredibly comprehensive. Nothing else is needed. Though this is a tool for all stringed instruments and not uke specific.

The developers are also very open to suggestions. For example, I mentioned the popularity of rootless chords for ukulele and they included that as selectable option within a couple of weeks.

https://smartchord.de/
 
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I'm happy with the Hal Leonard Chord Finder. Has over a thousand, with a section on chord construction. You can get it 9 X 12, and 6 X 9.

Fret Board Roadmaps is very useful for scales and progressions.
 
I will second U-Chord as a good option.
It is available for Android as well. Free, easy, and practical.
It will show several inversions of the chord you are looking up, so you can choose which one is best for your arrangement.
With the number of chords possible and the number of inversions, it would take a very heavy book to cover the same material.
 
I've had some issues with apps and sites too, although UkeBuddy still gets a lot of it done for me. They have pages for both Chord Finding (how I do a play a Bb?) and chord naming (okay, I've got my fingers on these strings and frets, and I like how it sounds -- what the heck is it?), and one thing I especially like is that they're continuing to improve. Always a good sign! And worth checking back if you've seen things there before that you didn't like. They've fixed a couple of mine, for sure.

That said, I brought up books in another thread, and the one that really jumped out at me is Roy Sakuma's Treasury of Ukulele Chords. It's worth reading the reviews at Amazon (I found them really helpful in sealing the deal), but it's less than half Amazon's price if you order from Roy directly, here.

Specifically, I'm more of a strummer than a picker, and definitely not an improvising soloist, so it's not at all interesting to me to find every NOTE of a given name on the keyboard (say, every C note) as it is to find every C chord, and while I'm at it, some of the more common extensions, suspensions, and the like. That's very much the direction in which Roy's book is organized. Take a look at the Amazon reviews for more insights, include a 2019 shoutout to UU!

btw, if you don't know Roy, calling him a teaching legend is an understatement. He's definitely a key figure in the Hawaiian Renaissance, founder of the first ukulele festival, studied under Ohta-San, etc etc, and a generally fascinating guy. The bio I've linked there has a lot of amazing stories if you want to learn more.
 
I second the vote for UkeBuddy. It’s been really an invaluable tool. It’ll show you chords in any position on the neck. I also find the tab for scales to be very helpful.
 
That said, I brought up books in another thread, and the one that really jumped out at me is Roy Sakuma's Treasury of Ukulele Chords. It's worth reading the reviews at Amazon (I found them really helpful in sealing the deal), but it's less than half Amazon's price if you order from Roy directly, here.

Roy Sakuma's book is actually cheaper on the Kanilea website than on Roy Sakuma's website. Kanilea also has a good price on the He Mele Aloha book. Maybe you can add those to the "shop" tab at the top of this page?
 
Thanks for all the responses. I’ve ordered the Hal Leonard book. Since I have a Kindle, iPad and iPhone I can download the book on all my devices and not worry about getting online.
 
I think the best thing you can do is make your own. Of course when I first started I bought the Hal Leonard chord finder and scale finder. But I soon saw that they teach you discrete chords that would take forever to memorize. I immediately saw that the way to go forward was moveable chords. I now have one piece of 8.5 X 11 graph paper with diagrams for these chords: m6, m7, m9, a add9, Δ7, ø, 13, m11, sus2, sus4, and m (of course these also contain the major variations by using a sharp third).
 
Another thumbs up for UkeBuddy. It's my go-to. I also use Ukulele Helper from time to time.

I like to play chords in second or third position (up the neck) to add some variety when playing. I'll use Uke Buddy or Ukulele Helper to find a chord shape that I like the sound of, and that has fingering I can manage. Then I keep it filed for future use in Pia Score on my iPad.
 
Lately it seems when I come across a chord I don’t know, I find that some of the chord websites either don’t have it or says the chord doesn’t exist. Is there a reliable book, app, or website out there that’s accurate?

There is an option "Hal Leonard Ukulele Method". This book provides a systematic course of study, starting with the basic elements and progressing to more advanced concepts.

Personally, for learning ukulele chords, I prefer the Yousician app. It provides an extensive catalog of ukulele lessons, including sections on chords. The app not only shows you chords, but also offers interactive exercises to help you develop your playing skills. Its user interface is intuitive and its feedback function helps you adjust your technique. I was so carried away by the application that I abandoned my studies and found a writing service, used https://ca.edubirdie.com/ for this. Try it, it's the best app I've found. Also, for an in-depth study of ukulele chords, I recommend taking a look at the Ukulele Chord Encyclopedia. This book provides an extensive list of chords with detailed charts and finger placement options.
"The Daily Ukulele: 365 Songs for Better Living" by Liz and Jim Beloff - This book offers chords for various songs, divided by day. This is a great resource for daily training material.
 
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The app that I really like is called UkeLib Chords. It’s available for IOS and I might have paid a few bucks for it - don’t remember. But it shows pretty much all the chord voicings for any chord you input.
 
I've used the Chord! app available on iOS and Google Play for years. There's a bit of a learning curve but is has support for almost any tuning for any instrument you can think of plus you can create your own custom tunings and it works exactly the same. Not only that but it has a built in song sheet importer / generator with your chosen tuning and chords. It's pretty powerful but takes some time to get it set up. For a quick and simple chord lookup I use ukebuddy as well.
 
I think the best thing you can do is make your own. Of course when I first started I bought the Hal Leonard chord finder and scale finder. But I soon saw that they teach you discrete chords that would take forever to memorize. I immediately saw that the way to go forward was moveable chords. I now have one piece of 8.5 X 11 graph paper with diagrams for these chords: m6, m7, m9, a add9, Δ7, ø, 13, m11, sus2, sus4, and m (of course these also contain the major variations by using a sharp third).
I agree! It sounds like some guides are definitely better than others, but any guide that presents chords as discrete entities without any theoretical context certainly won't do anything to deepen one's knowledge of chord structure and where chords nest on a four-string fretboard. Whenever possible, it's much more useful to "find" chords oneself. All that requires is to memorize all the notes on the fretboard, or failing that, to draw a fretboard map listing all the notes. If you're not sure what notes make up a given chord -- a 13th, say, or a half-diminished -- that information is easy to find online. For every new chord, find multiple versions that together place all the primary chord notes on the first string. Chart the different chord shapes and practice until you can play them all effortlessly, then try finding the same chords for each of the twelve keys (always a useful exercise!), which in most cases involves only moving them up or down the neck. By the time you've done that they'll be safely stored in the memory bank. As riprock says, it's all about learning that chords are moveable.

The other thing that the few chord guides I've had any experience with failed to do is to show how a single chord has multiple functions -- how, for example, the same chord can be used to play a minor 6th, a ninth or a minor seven-flat five, or how a diminished chord also serves as a flatted ninth. Earlier in the thread, Junie Moon talked about how hearing trained musicians bark out long-named chords makes one's head spin. That's a natural reaction. The point of basic musical theory is ultimately not to make things more complex but simpler and more comprehensible. If a chord guide doesn't do that it's probably not worth bothering with.
 
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