Altered Seventh Chords on `Ukulele

Building your 9#11, 7#5-9, 13b5, 7+9 and the like on the fly.

Published: Jan 2, 2005 Updated: Apr 4, 2014

ukulele | Subjects: jazzadvancedchordsalteredseventh

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Beyond basic open position chords, basic movable form chords and a core set of 4-part chords. There are just too many chords shapes too memorize. Learning the principles of how chords are constructed and the ukulele fingerboard are the way to go. You can then create more advanced chords like 9#117#5-913b57+9 on the fly as needed from your core set of chords.


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Your Core Seventh Chords

From these four core seventh chords you can build ALL your altered seventh chords. From these core seventh chords you can build ANY 4-part chord you will even need.

Memorize the locations of the Root, 3, 5 and b7 chord tones of these four chords. The b7 is typically not altered or changed as it is a critical tone of the chords and with the third gives a seventh chords its characteristic color and sound.

The “Big Six”

These ARE the main foundation 7th chords from which the Big Six Core Chords are based on and ALL other chords are derived from.

For ukulele I use the above four F7 chords and for guitar I use these as C7 as well as additional sets as there are quite a few more possible sets of fours strings on guitar.

For ukulele there's only one possible four string set to voice a 4-part chord on – strings 1, 2, 3 and 4.

For guitar there are 15 possible four string sets with five to seven, depending on you ultimate goal forming your core foundation. Us ukulele players have it a bit easy compared to guitar.

Ninth Chords

The technical name for a ninth is a chord extension or upper partial .

The Root will be used to create a ninth chord. Any chord can be a ninth by raising the root two frets. The seventh chord can have a flat nine or a sharp nine.

The Root is shown but not fingered or played as the ninth displaces the root of the chord.

Altered Fifths

Learning to recognize the location of the fifth in chords, allows you to simply raise or lower the fifth to get the 7#5 or 7+5 and 7b5 or 7-5 chords.

Ninths & Fifths

Multiple alterations and upper partials can be used together.

Learning Your Chords - What Came First? The Shape Or The Chord?

Thinking of your core chords in generic form is what allows you to create these altered and upper partial seventh chords on the fly.

Most players, myself included, first learned their chords without knowing what the notes where – didn't matter what the notes where. They weren't that many chords to learn to get started. Even the few movable form chords where still just a collection of shapes. But - getting beyond those basic chords is typically a struggle without some sort of system to organize your chords. There are just way too many chord shapes to memorize them all. Chord dictionaries, software, charts and such just won't do the trick.

As these are your core chords and foundation , I organize the them by what string the root is on. This allows me to transpose them to any key up and down the fingerboard. If your really know the fingerboard, and I mean really know the fingerboard, then it's relatively easy. And, knowing the notes of the fingerboard is definitely worth the effort.

Then Learn the Names of the Notes

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Finally, Each Particular Note's Function Within the Chord

In C tuning, low or high G the chords shown at fret (1) are: Db7, F7, Ab7 and Bb7.

The chord tones are: 1 3 5 b7.

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Core Ukulele Chords - The Big Six

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