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Positional Chords

Posted by Ian on March 19, 2008

Positional chords…. that’s what I’ll call them until someone gives me a better name for them (if there is an official name, let me know)


All I have time for today is a quick mini-lesson on chord structure that is ukulele specific.

First off, I want you to pick up your ukulele and finger an ‘A’ chord. (A C# E)

A|-0 (A)
E|-0 (E)
C|-1 (C#)
G|-2 (A)

Now play a Bb chord. (Bb D F)

A|-1 (Bb)
E|-1 (F)
C|-2 (D)
G|-3 (Bb)

Now play a B chord. (B Eb F#)

A|-2 (B)
E|-2 (F#)
C|-3 (Eb)
G|-4 (B)

Do you see what I’m getting at?

If you take the pattern that you place our fingers in for the Bb and B chords and simply move up a fret (half step), you move the chord up by a half step. It works every time.

This, if you didn’t know about it already, opens up possibilities for different ways of playing other chords, such as this C chord:

A|-3 (C)
E|-3 (G)
C|-4 (E)
G|-5 (C)

The same applies to other chords: if you raise every note by a fret, the chord is raised by a half step.

4 Responses to “Positional Chords”

  1. David said

    Hey, thanks for the work on the theory lessons, they are really useful!

  2. Ian said

    Thanks for reading, and glad to hear that they are of help!

  3. Jeremy said

    I just found your blog from so I haven’t read all your posts yet. Thanks for the info on positional chords. I don’t know what they’re called either. I was going to call them chord shapes and try to figure out all the common shapes. Do you have any more posts besides the Positional Chords I and II

  4. Ian said

    You’re welcome, and thanks a ton…. and that sounds like a perfectly fine name for them, too.

    And I’m not sure if I completely understand your question: did you mean any more positional-specific posts (in which case, I don’t have any more yet) or posts in general (in which case I have a ton).

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