Category Archives: Chords

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


UD#16 Never Jam Alone Episode 1

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UD#16 Never Jam Alone Episode 1 from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek I’ve often heard students say this: “I don’t understand what happens. I practice the songs at home and when I come and play them with you in class I make all sorts of mistakes! What’s that all about?” Playing by yourself is fundamentally different from playing with others in one very important aspect: timing. When students practice at home they often take a little bit more time playing tricky parts of a song and speed through the parts that they can play easily. When you play   …Continue Reading


UD#13 Ukulele: Music Theory Abacus II

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UD#13 UKULELE: Music Theory Abacus II from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Last week we looked at how to use a fretboard chart and the shapes we know on the ukulele to explore the rules of music theory. This week we will look at:   •how to deal with sharps and flats. •how chords are created and why the notes are laid out in the way they are. •7th chords.   How to Deal with Sharps (#)  and Flats (b)   You’ll notice in the fretboard diagram to the right that there are some white spaces on the ukulele   …Continue Reading


UD#12 Ukulele: Music Theory Abacus

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UD#12 Ukulele: Music Theory Abacus from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Chords in this newsletter: I once heard James Hill call a ukulele fret board chart “The Great Music Theory Abacus”. I think this is a brilliant way of describing the fact that we can use the fretboard chart to explore the rules of music theory. There are many elements of music theory that can be learned by looking for patterns in the simple chords and scales that we already know. It’s not rocket science. It really isn’t. Here is a fretboard chart. It shows the notes on   …Continue Reading


UD#4 Passing Through Neutral: Changing Between Chords

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UD#4   Passing Through Neutral: Changing Between Chords from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek “How do I make difficult chord changes fast enough without leaving an unnatural pause? “   “I am pretty fast at making transitions between familiar chords but when I have more complex shapes with 3 or 4 fingers, I can’t seem to make the transition fast enough. How can I practice?”   This week I would like to show you one way I like to work on moving between chords. I call it “Passing Through Neutral”. We’ll start with a progression  F to Fm and   …Continue Reading