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Movable `Ukulele Chords MEMBER LESSON
Published: 2005-01-02 Updated: 2016-01-11 00:00:00 • 5963

Movable `Ukulele Chords

A series of weekly ukulele lessons for learning your chords beyond the third fret.

by Curt Sheller, Curt Sheller Publications

A series of weekly ukulele lessons, originally presented throughout 2007 on movable ukulele chords as the Chord a Week Series. Based on my Ukulele Chords book it takes the open position chords and shows the movable form and the variations.

Beyond memorizing a core set of basic open position chords, a couple of movable form chords as well as a basic set of 4-part chords. You can't possibly memorize all the possible chord shapes available on the ukulele. You need to be able to create chords on the fly as needed. With a basic knowledge of the principles of how chords are constructed and knowing the notes of the ukulele fingerboard this is possible. So throw out the chord dictionaries, software programs and your chord charts and get started on REALLY knowing chords.


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These Ukulele Chord, Movable Chord series of lessons presents additional information not in my Ukulele Chords, "C" Tuning book.

I constantly read on-line and hear, "What's the best site or software for chords? What's an Em7/A, add, sus4, etc...?"

Well, some bad news. Chord dictionaries, software and web sites are not the answer. Even traditional chord theory does not offer any insight into unraveling the complexity of chord voicings. There's no magic to learning chords on the ukulele or any chord capable instrument. It's the organization of the material to be covered, knowledge of where and what the notes are that are available on your instrument, how chords are constructed and just work, work, work on it.

This Ukulele Chord of The Week series of lessons is set up to address one common problem I have seen over and over with students learning any new topic, scale, chord or just about anything on the ukulele. That problem is that simply understanding something gives a student a false sense that it's easy and therefore give me more. Initial success is no indication of future success when learning chords and switching chords.

Understanding something is just the first-step and really one of the easiest steps. BUT - and a big but, it's the time needed for the motor skills to develop for anything new and for the new material to get into your more long term memory. This development of the new motor skills like switching chords or learning new fingerings for a chord takes time. There are no shortcuts to developing the physical skills needed to the point that the ear is in control and getting to chords operates at a deeper sub-conscience level – This takes TIME - you just need to do it over and over and over.... Even a marathon runner knows is more than just putting one foot in front of another faster than the other runners - it takes time. It take deliberate work and effort.

As far as learning new basic open position chords and basic movable form chords don't try and absorb more than you can handle. This can happen if coming to the ukulele from guitar. You must treat the ukulele as a new instrument that just happens to be the same relative tuning as the guitar. The theory and motor skills will transfer but the names have changed when using the standard "C" tuning for ukulele. And - this is nice - you don't have the strumming accuracy issues that is inherent in the guitar with the additional lower two strings, five and six.

Learning basic open position chords and the basic movable form chords presented in the Ukulele Chord, Movable Chord Lessons will set you up for the more advanced chords, typically called “jazz” chords.

As an advance jazz guitar student, I had been struggling with more advanced chords such as #11, 9#11, 13b5, 9#5, 6/9, etc... So I asked my mentor and music guru, Chuck Anderson, "How do you remember so many chord shapes?" The answer was quite profound and a real break through in my learning. His answer - "YOU DON'T MEMORIZE COUNTLESS SHAPES. For more advance chords you create them on the fly as needed from a solid base foundation of core chords." It's actually that simple. It's all about deriving new information from known mate

Core Chords

Beyond memorizing the basic open position, their movable form versions and a basic set of core 4-part chords. You create all other chords on the fly as needed. With a knowledge of how chords are constructed and the notes of the fingerboard this is possible. Heck, with this knowledge you can write you own dictionary, software or series of chord lessons. Ultimately your core chords expand to include more chords than you ever thought possible to learn.

Movable Form Chords

Basic open position and movable form chords are the basis for this Ukulele Chord a Week series of lessons. The original series ran in the first part of 2007 and has been enhanced and improved ever since.

Movable chord forms are chords with no open strings. These chords are transposable by moving each note of the chord the same number of frets up and down the neck. Each movable form is based on a common open position chord. Movable forms allow you to play chords not found in the open position. Movable form chords allow you to play in any key and transpose chords to any key. From these basic movable form chords more advanced chords can be created.

20+ Ukulele Chord Lessons

Each lesson presents the movable form chord and the open position chords it's based on. Practice progressions and dditional chords are derived from the lesson's main chords. The chord tones and intervals of the chord are shown and more…

Major Chords

Major are the most common chords and so common that they typically pronounced without the qualifier major and simply written as a single capital letter. Can be written as: maj, M, MAJ, or rare the delta symbol Δ. Any other symbol would be rare and you'll need to figure it out based on the content it is being used.

Lesson 1 - A Major (the A-Bb movable form)

The Canadian chord - Eh?

Lesson 2 - C Major (the C-Db movable form)

The Spanish chord - .

Lesson 3 - F Major (the F-Gb movable form)

Lesson 4 - G Major (the G-Ab movable form)

Lesson 6 - D Major (the D-Eb movable form)

Lesson 7 - E Major (the E-F movable form)

Strange voicing with a bit of a stretch for tenor and baritone ukuleles - but worth exploring.

Note: There's no open position B major chord in C tuning. However anyone of the above chords can be transposed, using it's movable form to create a B major chord.

Minor Chords

Minor are the second most common chords and typically pronounced as minor. Can be written as: m, min, -. Any other symbol would be rare and you'll need to figure it out based on the content it is being used.

Lesson 8 - A Minor (the Am-Bbm movable form)

With the introduction of the first minor chord we can start to do a wider variety of chord progressions.

Lesson 9 - C Minor (the Cm-Dbm movable form)

Lesson 10 - D Minor (the Dm-Ebm movable form)

Lesson 11 - E Minor (the Em-Fm movable form)

Lesson 12 - F Minor (the Fm-Gbm movable form)

Lesson 13 - G Minor (the Gm-Abm movable form)

4-part Seventh Chords

Seventh are the third common chord and pronounced as seven or seventh. Typically written as: 7. Any other symbol would be rare and you'll need to figure it out based on the content it is being used.

Lesson 14 - A7 (the Bb7 movable form)

Sometimes inaccurately referred to as a dominant seventh chord.

This seventh chord is a core chord. From your core chords ALL other 4-part chords can be derived.

Lesson 15 - B7 (the B7-C7 movable form)

Lesson 16 - C7 (the C7-Db7 movable form)

This seventh chord is a core chord. From your core chords ALL other 4-part chords can be derived.

Lesson 17 - D7 (the D7-Eb7 movable form)

Lesson 18 - E7 (the E7-F7 movable form)

This seventh chord is a core chord. From your core chords ALL other 4-part chords can be derived.

Lesson 19 - F7 (the F7-Gb7 movable form)

Lesson 20 - G7 (the G7-Ab7 movable form)

This is a very common chord. It's sometimes the second or third chord that a ukulele player will learn after C and G. If a song in the key of C, an has only two chords, chances are it's C and G or G7.

This seventh chord is a core chord. From your core chords ALL other 4-part chords can be derived.

Neutral Chords

A Neutral chord is where anyone of the notes in the chord can be the names of the chord.Well not really

Lesson 21 - Diminished 7

A Diminished 7 chord doesn't really need a lesson page on its own. A diminished 7th chord is a "neutral" chord. This is where ANY note in the chord can be the root or letter name of the chord.

Lesson 22 - Augmented

An Augmented chord doesn't really need a lesson page on its own. An augmented 7th chord is a "neutral" chord. This is where ANY note in the chord can be the root or letter name of the chord.

Congratulations on Knowing a Boat Load of Chords.

DONE!!! - Well, not really done - but a good start. At this point you should know a boat load of chords up and down the fingerboard.

PERMANENT LINK: https://LearningUkulele.com/lessons/movable-ukulele-chords

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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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