Circle of Fifths

circle_of_fifthsIn my long guitar history, for the most part, I wasn’t that worried about music theory. I figured… if Angus Young didn’t need it… neither did I. But, as always, the cute little, unassuming uke has led me down this new and exciting path. I think the uke is so foundational and such a simple tool that it gets out of the way and allows you to focus more on complex concepts.  (more…)


Anchor Finger

I created this exercise for my mother in law, who is new to the uke, and it occurred to me that I should post it here too.

When I start teaching someone who has never held a ukulele before I show them a C chord… 1 finger, 1 string, 1 fret strum. What could be easier! Now that they’re hooked I add Am (same formula) and then challenge them with F… which they inevitably find not impossible.

The last hurdle to mastering the holy grail of uke chord combos though, is not so easy. With a C, Am, F and G you can play 80% of the rock covers out there. But that G chord… 3 fingers, 3 strings, unfamiliar hand position… transitioning there from other chords… sad face.


Transpose Key

Okay… So I’m definitely no music theorist (theoryist?) but being able to change the key of a song (or use different chords) is big for the ukulele. Just to avoid the dreaded E chord if for no other reason.

When I was new (newer) to the uke, I did some clicking around looking for information on transposing the key of songs. I found some web sites and some tables and a spinny thing but it took me a while to really wrap my head around it. So I wanted to provide tools and a little explanation in hopes that beginners could understand and get it figured out. Feel free to skip all the explaining. If you’re just looking to get your hands on a key transposition table skip to the bottom.


Chord Charts

chorddiagram ukebrewOkay, time to get rollin. Lets get some good foundation stuff out of the way.

Chord charts!

Everybody needs good chord charts, right?

At some point I’ll probably I’ll probably make some of my own but there are plenty of good ones out there so I don’t feel an urgent need to reinvent the wheel.

2 favorites come to mind. These are ones I always make sure to have a few hard copies around for sharing and reference.