4/27/24 Basic Chord Shape System Workshop

Originally published at: 4/27/24 Basic Chord Shape System Workshop. Replies here will cross-post to the original lesson page.

Use this thread to ask questions, share experiences, and discuss the topic at hand.

Thanks for joining! Drop your questions about chord shapes below. Please share some places you’re using them in your own music. I’d love to see how you’re applying this concept.

One of the most important takeaways from yesterdays Chord Shape workshop was the difference between an open chord and a closed chord shape. My previous misunderstanding was an open chord shape utilized an open string. and anything that required fingering all four strings was a closed chord, hence making it a movable chord shape. :_ukulele:

However, I now understand that a closed chord shape stays within an octave and an open chord extends beyond an octave. Which means that both open and closed chords are movable chords. :_ukulele:

The next big take away was learning how to cycle through the shapes in order to find the next inversion up or down the neck. I have learned different inversions of chords, but wasn’t clear how they cycled up the neck until now :_ukulele:

As with so many students, I also struggle with making the barre chords ring cleanly, while also trying to relax the stranglehold that I have on the neck of my poor 'ukulele. Practicing my transitions slowly while constantly being mindful to relax my hand has been helpful, but it continues to be a daily challenge. :_ukulele:

Also, the more time I spend with your 'Ukulele Chord Shapes book, the more I understand it and the less intimidating it really is. Learning to recognize what notes make up the chord has been so helpful, rather than learning what shape makes the chord. Now fully understanding that the shape changes, and the “doubled note” changes, but the notes of the chord do not. And when it comes to more complex chords like a major 9 or major 11, where there are more notes in the chord than strings, one must decide which four notes most convey the sound of that chord. :_ukulele:

As with everything else in life, the more you know, the more you realize that you don’t know. :_ukulele:

I also want to thank Nancy Ikeler for sharing the Vive therapy putty with us.

It’s used both ways. I apologize if I made it seem like only one was correct.

Open - a chord which has notes that extend beyond an octave in range, also a chord that uses open strings

Closed - a which has notes that fit within the range of an octave, also a chord that fingers every string

There is a lot of crossover in the terminology. I imagine that’s where a lot of this comes from. An open-string chord often is “open” and spans more than an octave. And vice versa.

Okay, then my original thinking was partially correct. Glad that I brought it up, and thanks for the clarification. You did not imply that only one was correct. I made a leap to that conclusion after reading pg 12-13 of your “Ukulele Chord Shapes” book. Page 12 states that there are three main closed major shapes, but does not exclude the other from also being true.

So just to be totally clear… :mag_right:
ie: F major, 2 0 1 0, has two open strings, but would still be considered a closed major shape.

Whereas an F major, 5 5 5 8, has no open strings but would still be considered an open chord, because it spans more than an octave, correct?

2010 is an open-string chord, but it is also a “closed” voicing.

5558 is a closed chord because there aren’t any open strings, but it’s also an “open” voicing.

I think that should be the distinction: chord vs voicing. An open/closed chord refers to fingered/open strings. An open/closed chord shape or voicing refers to the range of notes - inside or outside of an octave.

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Thank you again for that further explanation. I am really trying to get as much of this in my head without learning it incorrectly. And unfortunately I am a very literal person when it comes to what people say. I find almost everything in your teaching to be clear, concise, and easily understood. So when I find something like this that is confusing, I reach out for clarification. Now it is making sense. Mahalo nui loa for your patience.