Learning Ukulele with Curt • Jazz Ukulele - Chords
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Jazz Ukulele - Chords

Yes! You can play jazz on a ukulele!!!

    Just What is a “Jazz” Chord?

    There is not such thing as a “jazz” chord. “Jazz” chords are simply more contemporary 4-part chords that find their way into a wide range of contemporary music.

    The Seventh chord

    Often referred to as a Dominant Seventh . This is a chord that can form the "core" foundation for ALL your jazz chords.

    “Core” Chords - The Big Six

    Your Jazz chord system for creating ANY chord you'll ever need. Really, ANY chord you ever encounter in a song or lead sheet you WILL be able to create.

Just what is a “Jazz” chord?

There is not such thing as a “jazz” chord. “Jazz” chords are simply more contemporary 4-part chords that find their way into a wide range of contemporary music.

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Just as the name “Folk“ or “Cowboy” chords are associated with basic open position chords that movie cowboy singers like Roy Rodgers and folk artist's like John Denver played. The chords that jazz guitarists played came to be called “jazz” chords.

These jazz chords are simply chords. Typically 4-part chords like major sevenths, sevenths, and minor sevenths. Although these chords appear more sophisticated and venture beyond the first few frets. These chords can be organized and learned just as you did for the basic chords you first learned.

On guitar 4-part, “jazz” chords can be played on any set of our strings. The core set of jazz chords that a jazz guitarist should know involve the string sets: 1234, 2345, 3456, 1235, and 2346. that makes for 20 voicings for each chord on guitar to learn. On the ukulele, only the 1234 string family is available - a little less daunting of a task. The number of chords to master as a jazz guitarist contributes to the mystic of “jazz” chords being hard to learn. Not especially hard to learn, just a lot of them to learn and master.

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Examples of 4-part chord names are Cmaj7, Am7, Bm7b5, G7+, G13, Eb7#11, etc. Pretty much any chord with a 7, 9, 11, or 13 as part of their name. Alterations such as b5, #5, b9, #9, #11, or b13 are common chords in a jazz player's repertoire of chords. Contemporary chords such as sus and add chords also find their way into jazz.

I have authored several books on the subject of chords for ukulele with a few dealing specifically with 4-part, jazz chords.

A complete system for creating ANY jazz chord can be found in my book: A Guide to Advanced Ukulele Chords Volume I. A Guide to Advanced Ukulele Chords presents a highly organized and efficient approach to the mysterious subject of these advanced chords. Chord dictionaries aren't the answer. Even chord theory does not offer any insight into unraveling the complexity of advanced chords.

A NEW 2nd Edition includes example chord progressions based on standard chord progressions and songs using basic 4-part 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.

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Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

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