Learn to play ukulele : Shifting Chords With Ease

Shifting Chords With Ease

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Level: Beginner
Type: Quick Tip

Hi there!

I remember not that long ago when I started out playing ukulele and all the songs I wanted to play were upbeat and had lots of chords!
I realized that just like the guitar (which I previously played) I would have to get used to the feeling of the strings and the way my fingers laid on them, moving chords without looking, and playing at a certain rate to keep up with the vocals of the song.

So here are my basic tips and tricks to be able to shift chords without difficulty.

1. Learn basic one note chords like (soprano) C, Am, or C7 (which are some of the chords in You are My Sunshine.) Also try learning two note chords like (soprano) F, A, or Em7. 

These chords are the easiest by far to shift from . Practice songs like Somewhere Over the Rainbow or You Are My Sunshine. These songs have three note chords as the highest chords so practicing them will help develop comfort in basic chords as well as a give you experience with notes over all the strings.

2. Practice going from a basic note to a more complicated note slowly and then quickly. On the guitar I always have trouble with D which is identical to ukulele G. (last three strings fingers on the second fret of the second and last string and a finger on the third fret second to last string.) 

Because of the difficulty I had with G I tried going from C (third fret on A string or the last string) to G (described above.)
I found that this not only made a cool sound but it also helped me to get used to the feeling of the shift as well as recognizing the sound of when I didn't place my fingers correctly.

3. Challenge yourself! Playing songs like Somewhere Over the Rainbow and You Are My Sunshine are very convenient when starting out on your ukulele but will not help you improve once you master their basic chords.

Play songs with chords that really make you stretch your fingers or are difficult to remember because when you focus more on them you will commit them to memory faster. I initially had trouble with Em but after playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Pumped Up Kicks (by Foster the People) I developed a strength with that chord and found it to eventually be one of my more comfortable chords.

4.To counter react with my last tip, play easy songs as well. When warming up play songs like Somewhere Over the Rainbow. After I tune my ukulele I always play that because I know exactly how it should sound (letting me know if I still need to tune more) and I can get my fingers loose for stretching out to chords like E or Fmaj7.

Play songs that have easy chords but that go quickly (or speed up a song.) This can better your speed in regular playing and warm up your fingers for some rapid or difficult playing.

I hope my tips and tricks have helped you! If you have any questions you can inbox me and I can make some revisions to this if needed! Thank you for reading and good luck!

Lesson by , 21 Jun 2012

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