Category Archives: Chords

UD #58 Getting from Chord to Chord: Leaving Early to Arrive on Time

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UD #58 Getting from Chord to Chord: Leaving Early to Arrive on Time from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek I was working with a student the other day.  A complete beginner. He asked me this question: “I seem to have no problem switching from G7 to C. But, I have a hard time going from C to G7. Do you have any tips to help with that?” We decided to play a simple two chord song using C and G7: Jambalaya. And indeed he was right. He went from G7 to C with no trouble. When it came   …Continue Reading


UD #57 Unidentified Flying Chords!

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Unidentified Flying Chords! (UD#57) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Today, I want to take a look at two songs: Creep by Radiohead and Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding. Both songs are in the key of G and have very interesting variations in the chords. As we learned in UD#17 the usual chords in the key of G are as follows: These are called the diatonic chords in the key of G. They are the basic building blocks for creating chord progressions in that key. While many songs use exclusively diatonic chords, both   …Continue Reading


UD#52 Trimming Away: How to Simplify Song Sheets

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Trimming Away: How to Simplify Song Sheets  (UD#52) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Today I want to talk about simplifying song sheets and chord charts. Sometimes it can be handy to know how to “trim down” or simplify chords on the fly. This is particularly true when you sit down to play with others. Sometimes there’s no time to look up chords you don’t know. It can help to know what your options are. I thought I would put together a few words on this subject today. CHORD CHART SURVIVAL: I often find myself saying something like   …Continue Reading


UD#51 Play 12 CHORDS with THREE SHAPES

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12 CHORDS with THREE SHAPES: Around the Clock (UD#51) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek   Today I want to share an little activity that I use with my students. I find it helps for remembering the names of chords. Also, it creates a framework to see how chords are related to each other. And it’s a good introduction to chords “up the neck”. More on moving chords “up the neck” here: http://ukuleleinthedark.com/704/ We use three familiar open chord shapes for this activity: C, F and A. Images: If you are using a mobile device please make sure   …Continue Reading


UD#44 The Case of the Mystery Chord: The Minor IV

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UD #44 The Case of the Mystery Chord: The Minor IV from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek EVER WONDER WHY THEY USED “THAT” CHORD? In UD #17 and UD #18 we looked at diatonic chords and how they help us to figure out songs by ear. Diatonic chords are the family of chords that are created out of the notes from the key the song is in. Once you figure out what key the song is inthe diatonic chords from that key are a good place to start when trying to figure out the chords by ear. There   …Continue Reading


UD#42 Sus Chords: Got a Spare FInger?

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UD #42 Sus Chords: Got a Spare Finger? from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek I remember being excited by sus chords when I was a kid. Still am! Sometimes there are long periods in a song that only have one chord. Sus or suspended chords are one of the tools players use to add tension and release without changing chords. Here is a little exploration of the most common kind of suspended chord: the sus 4 chord. Hope you enjoy it. The first suspended chord I learned was on the guitar: the mighty Dsus4. On the uke this   …Continue Reading


UD#41 Chromatic Wrap-up: Applying the CHROMATIC SCALE

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UD #41 CHROMATIC Wrap-up: Applying the CHROMATIC SCALE Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek Use the chromatic scale to: CREATE SCALES, MOVE CHORDS UP THE NECK, LEARN THE FRETBOARD AND MORE! I ended off my last news letter with a list of uses for the chromatic scale. Here is a little expansion on each point and answers to the questions associated with each point. (Please check out last week’s newsletter if you haven’t read it: http://ukuleleinthedark.com/ud-40-chromatic-walk-in-the-park/) 1. Movable chord shapes  Question: How many frets up the neck do I need to move a C chord for it to become   …Continue Reading


UD#36 Chameleon Chord: Diminished 7th Chords part II

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  UD#36  Chameleon Chord: Diminished Chords Part II (The coolest thing you can do with dim7 chords) 
from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek The coolest thing you can do with diminished chords…in my opinion… NOTE: For simplicity I will refer to diminished 7th chords as DIMINISHED CHORDS in this lesson. ALSO NOTE: If you don’t feel like reading there is a video at the bottom of the page. Try this experiment Take a diminished chord like this one: Lower one of the notes in the chord by one fret. Let’s lower the note on the G string. What   …Continue Reading


UD#35 Anglular Symmetry: Diminished 7th Chords

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UD#35 Anglular Symmetry: Diminished 7th Chords from Ukulele in the Dark  w/ Guido Heistek Diminished seventh chords can be found in lots of different kinds of music. There are a few different ways to write them. Here are three different ways you might see a C diminished 7th chord written down: Cdim, Co, or Cdim7. For this lesson I will use this format: Cdim7 or Fdim7 throughout. Or I will write out the full name C diminished 7th or F diminished 7th. Most chord charts use the shortened form Cdim or Fdim. Now for some cool facts… 4 COOL FACTS   …Continue Reading


UD#24 The Secret Life of Roots (Naming Moveable Chord Shapes)

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UD #24 The Secret Life of Roots (Naming Moveable Chord Shapes) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek   Last newsletter we talked about how to move chord shapes up the neck. We took the C, F and G7 chord shapes and learned how to move them up the neck to play a chord progression in different keys. http://ukuleleinthedark.com/704/ QUESTION: “What do we call the chords once we have moved them up the neck?” I’ll do my best to answer this question in this newsletter. Here goes… THE ROOT NOTE! Identifying the position of the ROOT NOTE in the   …Continue Reading


UD#20 Never Jam Alone ep. 2 – FUNKY MINOR BLUES

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UD#20 Never Jam Alone Episode #2 – Funky Minor Blues from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Here is a funky little song to jam along with. It’s called “The Thrill is Gone” by B.B. King. It’s a minor blues which means that it uses mostly minor chords as opposed to major chords and 7th chords like most blues songs. Here is the progression. | Cm           | Cm           |Cm           |Cm           | | Fm           | Fm   …Continue Reading


UD#18 How To Figure Out Songs By Ear

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UD#18 How To Figure Out Songs By Ear from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Here’s the scenario: You hear a song that sounds pretty simple that you would like to learn to play. You can’t find the chords anywhere on the internet. How do you figure out how to play it? Last week we talked about diatonic chords (the chords that come from one scale). If you haven’t read that newsletter, please go here: UD #17 The Building Blocks of Songs. The first thing to do when you are figuring out a song by ear is to determine   …Continue Reading


UD#17 The Building Blocks of Songs

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  UD#17 The Building Blocks of Songs (Where to start in song-writing) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek “I’d like to write a song. I want to start with a chord progression but I don’t know which chords to pick from…“   Diatonic chords are a great place to start when you are trying to create a chord progression for a song. What are diatonic chords?Diatonic chords are the chords created from one scale. Every scale has it’s corresponding diatonic chords.If we create a simple three note chord starting on each note of a C major scale we   …Continue Reading