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Learning `Ukulele Chords FREE LESSON
Published: 2014-06-26 Updated: 2016-01-08 00:00:00 • 1495

Learning `Ukulele Chords

by Curt Sheller, Curt Sheller Publications

There are two approaches to learning chords, the song based approach and learning the fundamentals approach. I'm a big advocate of building a solid base of the fundamentals. A lot of players new to the ukulele like to jump right in and learn songs.

The SONG Approach

For the SONG APPROACH you pick a song and learn the chords you need to learn know for that particular song. A song is like a recipe, the chords are one of the ingredients. Look them up, ask a friend or take a lesson or two. Then learn at least one version of each of the chords in the song. Repeat the process for the next song and additional songs. This is like learning to paint by numbers – you can't really a take much from one song to the next, Only what you have learned in the context of that one particular song. You actually don't learn much about chords with this song approach.

Another approach is to learn the most common chords that show up in common keys and songs. This is especially helpful for occasions where you might have never played a particular song before or are reading the chords as you go. This happens a lot at jam sessions and club play-a-longs. You never know what songs are going to be played and would like to participate in every song. No time to look up chords - you really need to know chords.

For Folk, Rock, Pop, Country and and Bluegrass songs the most common keys are the major keys of C, G, D, A, and E.

For most simple songs the chords will all be from the main key and stay in that key. There're a lot of songs with just two or three chords.

The FUNDAMENTALS Approach

The FUNDAMENTALS APPROACH, which is almost required with movable form and “jazz” chords is to have a core set of chords and a system for deriving additional chords from those known chords. And, knowing where and how chords are created and used. The skills that really help with this is knowing the names of the notes of the ukulele fingerboard and you can use that information to locate the root or letterman of the chord for your already known chords and transpose those chords along to fingerboard to additional keys.

End of Lesson

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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

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the best — Glen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too. — Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent. — fatveg — Portland

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