Music Theory for the Ukulele
by Dean (1four5)


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Ukulele Chord Forms

Ukulele Notes

Key Chord Chart

Basic 12-Bar Blues

Lead Notes for Baritone

Bar Chords

Other Techniques

My Favorite Moves


Bar Chords

If I can understand Bar Chords, ANYONE can!!!

I remember watching guitarists on TV, and they were playing all up and down the whole neck. I thought that it looked very complicated, and I could never understand what they were doing. I also remember when I first started learning to play, trying to remember all those darn "open" chords was very confusing. In case you don't know, "open" chords are chords you play near the tuner end of the fret board, and usually have at least one or more string without your finger on it...or playing "open". Then one wonderfull day, a friend of mine explained in very simple terms, how "bar" chords work. The lightbulb came on in my brain and the whole glorious fret board became total freedom! Not only that, once you grasp the concept...it is EASY!!!

Look at the pictures below. To understand the concept we will start with the first picture. Simply start by placing your index finger across all the strings behind the nut (the nut is the plastic thingy that is slotted and the strings go through it). Now you can make any open chord you know with your remaining three fingers . For the example in the picture, I am using an E chord (baritone uke). It is the same as an A chord on a smaller sized uke.

Now for the gravy...just slide everything up one fret for a whole new chord! The second picture would be an F on a baritone uke or a A# (or Bb) on a smaller uke. Now just slide everything up another fret for another whole new chord! The third picture would be a F# on a baritone uke or a B on a smaller uke. This goes on for every fret all the way up the fret board until you run out of fret board!

So how do you know what chords your making? It's very simple, and that's why I told you to start with your finger behind the nut, and make any chord you know with your other three fingers, and then go up the neck. I still use this method to find bar chords. Simply start at the nut and go a fret at a time. Chords will always go in the same order, round and round no matter where you start... A-A#-B-C-C#-D-D#-E-F-F#-G-G#-A (it’s called the chromatic scale). Using this concept for example, you could make a Dm open chord with your index finger behind the nut. Move up a fret and you'll have a D#m, up another fret for a Em, up another for an Fm, and so on. I hope I explained it good enough for you. Very often I play my blues using the same chord form throughout the whole song...just moving to different frets on the neck. Now put this explanation together with the chord chart, and you suddenly have all the chords you could ever need! If you look closely at this picture , then using the chord from the chart, you will see that I am making an A7 on my baritone uke. Good luck...your fret board has been set free!!!