Guitar chords to ukulele chords: Barre Chords

Guitar chords to ukulele chords – After the open chords shapes have been learned, a guitar player needs to become familiar with the moveable chord shapes, known as barre chords. While barre chords can seem impossibly difficult to play at first they open up the fretboard and allow the guitar player to rock in earnest for the first time.

Guitar chords to ukulele chords: Barre Chords

CAGED Approach in Guitar Chords to Ukulele Chords

The C-A-G-E-D approach in guitar chords to ukulele chords defines the five basic chords forms in sequence and provides a fail safe method for players to navigate around the neck, form by form. As a result of the ingenious tuning, there are five fundamental chord shapes –the C, A, G, E, and D forms. These forms are presented in the attached image. The sequence repeats at the 12th fret until the guitar or ukulele runs out of frets.

Naming Barre Chords

To name chords it is necessary to learn the root note or the sequence of notes running up the neck for the E and A strings (5th & 6th strings) – counting fret by fret from the open position, or nut, starting with the letter of the form used. When counting, remember that there is no sharp or flat between B and C or E and F. So the sequence in guitar chords to ukulele chords is: A, A# (B flat), B, C, C# (D flat), D, D# (E flat), E, F, F# (G flat), G, G# (A flat). As you become familiar with the forms, get into the habit of naming the form (E form, G form etc.) as well as the chord name, based on the root note.

A lot of players only bother to learn the E and A forms in the guitar chords to ukulele chords because they are the easiest to play, but this method helps to break that habit by learning to play any chord in each of the five forms. It takes patience and persistence but is worth the effort, because each form has a slightly different tonal coloration and may be more conveniently located on the neck for the chord progression of the song. The first two or three positions on the fretboard are the hardest to fret because the string tension is higher at this point. Of the five forms, the G and D shapes are the most difficult, and partial forms can be used initially, as illustrated on the provided chart.

Minor and Dominant 7th Barre Chords

Learning the minor chords based on the E form (6th string root) and A form (5th string root) is a natural progression from having learned the CAGED sequence. Dominant 7th barre chords with 6th string and 5th string roots follow similarly. See the attached diagrams for the correct fingering of these chords.

When playing these barre chords, notice how they are built from the open position, which is simply moved up fret by fret with the first finger forming the barre, starting from the 6th or 5th string. The finger that forms the barre should be angled slightly to better achieve a clean sound, rather than lying flat across the neck.

Don’t be discouraged if at first you can’t sound each chord cleanly – every guitar or ukulele player, no matter how talented or how big their hands are, has put in a ton of practice to be able nail barre chords. Keep at it until movement between these barre chords flows naturally and the rhythm is flawless. Be sure to use a metronome or drum machine to help achieve a groove and vary the tempo, starting off slow and progressing to faster tempos.

Arpeggiated Chords in Guitar Chords to Ukulele Chords

Guitar chords

An arpeggiated pattern is one where the notes of a chord are played one at a time rather than strummed together. You should aim to be able to improvise an arpeggiated pattern for any given chord progression. Picking individual notes adds complexity and depth to musical phrases. The beauty of this effect is apparent in songs like Snow (Hey Oh) written by John Frusciante or Weird Fishes by Radiohead. Remember to play with dynamics by varying the attack on the strings, thereby creating mood.

The chords presented here represent the chords used in the majority of popular music. Once the guitar player has mastered these chords the next logical step is to learn less common chords such as moveable major and minor 7th chords, 6th chords, and dominant 9th chords and so on.

Practice should be daily and scheduled in a way that includes all the major elements discussed. Learning tools such as guitar internet sites, books, DVDs, YouTube videos and drum machines, should be used to your advantage.

Simple Chord Sequences

Learning how to play the guitar or ukulele can seem overwhelming for the beginner, so the guitar teacher must take care to begin the lesson with some simple chords that students may practice at their leisure in order to ensure success in their learning.

Guitar or Ukulele Chord Lessons

The acoustic guitar or ukulele lesson may begin with a recap on correct fretting techniques, to remind students how to change chords smoothly.

In order to learn the chords, the teacher may progress with a demonstration on how to play four important chords: E minor, A minor, G major and D major. These chords are quite simple, but require practice to move smoothly from one chord to another. Confidence may build when students remember the formation of the fingers at the fretboard, as opposed to individual finger positioning. Chords may sound off key if the guitar is not tuned correctly. For this reason, students must keep their instruments perfect pitched when practicing chords.

Further support may be offered in the form of fretboxes, which are diagrams of the upper part of a fretboard and markers for fingers. These can be found in the illustrations at the foot of this article. The teacher may explain that the fretboxes show the bass strings to the left of the diagram, and the thin strings to the right. The black dots represent the positioning of the fingers over the strings.

Fretboxes for Guitar or Ukulele Chords

ukulele chords

At this point, students may be reminded of string notes, which are from and including the bass string: low E, A, D, G, B and high E. With this in mind, the following chords can be achieved by the following finger positions on the fretboard.

G Major

Place the index finger on the A string between the first and second fret
Place the second finger onto the bass string between the second and third fret
Place the third finger on the highest string between the second and third fret

E Minor

Place the second and third finger onto the A and D string between the first and second fret.

A Minor

Place the index finger on the B string below the first fret
Place the second finger on the G string between the first and second fret
Place the third finger on the D string between the first and second fret

D Major

Place the index finger onto the G string between the first and second fret
Place the second finger on the highest string between the first and second fret
Place the third finger on the B string between the second and third fret

Acoustic Guitar Chords

There will be an inevitable hesitation between chord changes, but this will be expected. The guitar teacher may encourage the students to strum four times per chord before changing the chords in the following order:

G major
E minor
A minor
D major

Retaining a rhythm throughout, even if this is slow at first, is more desirable than strumming quickly and then hesitating between chord changes. To help with smooth changes, students may be encouraged to look for a finger that does not change position much during the change, and to bear this finger in mind when the other fingers move. Practice is the key.

How to Learn the Chords

The first chords should be ones that are most simple in order to encourage success in learning and motivate the student to continue guitar or ukulele lessons. The four chords E minor, G, A minor and D, are most simple and give pleasing sounds, particularly when played in the order advised. Confidence from learning these important chords can then be used to build onto more challenging exercises in guitar practice.

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