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Blues Ukulele - Chords

All available lessons, players, and listing tagged with the subject/topic of "Blues".

Blues chords are drawn from all four chord categories . From basic open position chords and basic movable for chords to triads , 4-part a.k.a. “Jazz” chords and just simply knowing the notes of the ukulele fingerboard and the the names of the individual chord tones of a chord.

What is a Blues Chord?

Really, there's no such thing as a “blues” chord. A chord is a chord - and any chord can be used in a blues progression or song. The only name a chord has is its actual name, like: C, C7, Dm, Fmaj7 etc.... A chord does not need any additional stylistic or functional designations added to to its name.

However there are some chord types more common than others used in a typical blues progression. For simple I IV V rosk, country and blues progressions in a major keys the basic chords would be major triads and/or sevenths with a few ninth chords thrown in. For minor keys they are minor triads and again sevenths. For a blues in a "jazz" setting the chords can adapt the extended harmonies common to a jazz blues such as ninths, thirteenths and altered chords.

What is a Chord?

A chord is three or more notes sounded together. It's that simple!. A chord can be as simple as a three-note triad, all the way up to a fancy jazz chord like G13+9. Chords have a letter name, and it's root and type information indicating the type of chord and any alterations or extensions or upper partials.

Here are a few suggested lessons on chord alterations and extensions or upper partials.

The Seventh Chord • The Foundation for ALL Your 4-part Chords

You need ONE chord, four voicings, that can serve a foundation for building ALL your 4-part, contemporary “jazz” chords. These 4-part chords, sometimes called “Jazz” chords are simply 4-part chords. The seventh chords, sometimes called The Dominant Seventh Chord is a great starting chord for that purpose.

Most professional guitarists' have a core set of chords that form the foundation for all their 4-part chords. Ukulele players need this same foundation.

A Seventh chord is a great starting chord to form your “core” chord foundation. The seventh chord forms the foundation for all our major 4-part chord types. From your core seventh chords, you can create the minor, diminished and augmented chord types.

Six 4-part chords that form the foundation for all your jazz chords: the seventh, major seventh, minor seventh, half-diminished seventh, diminished seventh and augmented seventh chords as your core foundations chords. Virtuoso jazz guitarist Chuck Anderson calls these the “Big Six”, a great name.

Most ukulele players already know the four open position versions that form the core seventh chords. You might already recognize a few of them below.

There ARE the foundation for your "Jazz" chords.

“Core” Chords

A pro player's approach to chord organization and creating ANY 4-part chord they will ever need.

Core Chords - Building a Solid Foundation of Contemporary Chords • Updated: Nov 11, 2013

Core Chords are a concept that I typically apply to 4-part chords and your more contemporary modern chords. This where a solid foundation of a core set of chords really help in learning the massive amount of chords that are required for play contemporary music or jazz on ukulele or guitar. Not such a task on ukulele with on one four string set of strings to build your 4-part chords vs. the theoretically possible 15 sets available for guitar.

Core Chords - The Big Six - Building a Solid Chord Foundation • Updated: Jan 23, 2020

Core Chords is a series of lessons for building your core, essential 4-part chords. These chords commonly called jazz chords, are really just 4-part chords used in a wide range of musical styles.

The Big Six chords include: Seventh 7, Major Seventh maj7, Minor Seventh m7, Half Diminished Seventh or Minor Seven Flat Five diminished 7 m7b5, Diminished Seventh o7 and Augmented Seventh +7. These six chords form a core set of chords.

Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 1st Voicing • Updated: Jan 23, 2020

Taking a movable F7 chord, you can derive each of the Big Six essential chords. 7, maj7, m7, m7b5, dim7, and aug7 from that voicing.

Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 2nd Voicing • Updated: Jan 23, 2020

Taking a movable F7 chord, you can derive each of the Big Six essential chords. 7, maj7, m7, m7b5, dim7, and aug7 from that voicing.

Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 3rd Voicing • Updated: Jan 23, 2020

Taking a movable F7 chord, you can derive each of the Big Six essential chords. 7, maj7, m7, m7b5, dim7, and aug7 from that voicing.

Core Chords - Creating the Big Six from F7, 4th Voicing • Updated: Feb 2, 2020

Taking a movable F7 chord, you can derive each of the Big Six essential chords. 7, maj7, m7, m7b5, dim7, and aug7 from that voicing.

The Blues Chord Progression

There is, such a thing as a “blues” chord progression. But not just any progression is “Blues” progression. For a progression to be a blues progression, specific chords or their direct substitutes must appear at particular spots in the progression. We call this post chords.

The 12-bar blues is one of the most popular chord progressions in popular music, including the blues. The blues progression has a distinctive form in lyrics and phrase and chord structure and duration. It is, at its most basic, based on the I-IV-V chords of a key.

The blues can be played in any key. Mastery of the blues and rhythm changes are "critical elements for building a jazz repertoire".

Here is a 12 bar blues chord progression in the key of C major.

The C, F and G chords are the I, IV and V chords in the key of C major. Here are all the chords, as triads for the key of C major: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, and B°

The V chord, the G can commonly be a 4-part 7th chord. Sometimes called a Dominant Seventh . In the key of C major the V chord can be a G7 chord.

Here is a lessons taking a deeper look into what is a blues progression.

What Makes “it” a Blues Progression?

* Post Chords - Measures one, five, seven, nine and eleven are critical measures where the I, IV and V chords MUST appear or their direct substitutions for a progression to remain a blues progression.

We can call these chords and the positions that they must fall in, post chords.

The most common form of a blues chord progression is twelve measures in length containing three, four measure sections:

  • 4 measures of the I chord. ( measures 1, 2, 3 & 4 )
  • 2 measures of the IV chord ( measures 5 & 6 )
  • 2 measures of the I chord ( measures 7 & 8 ).
  • 2 measures of the V chord( measures 9 & 10 )
  • 2 measures of the I chord( measures 11 & 12 )

Totaling 12 measures

While other measure lengths are possible, such as eight and sixteen measures, the twelve measure form is the most common.

The simplest blues would actually be the I chord for the twelve measures. Or, an indeterminate number of measures, as the blues where first sung by the field slaves of the southern states in the USA.

Example Blues Progressions

Two blues progressions lessons from my book, A Guide to Blues Progressions for Ukulele from A to Z.

Chord & Chord Progressions Lessons

With Chord and Chord progression comprising the majority of lesson, here are ALL the lessons tagged for Chords & Chord Progressions .

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