Tag Archives: chords

The first product of two I’m offering

This is the first, and the second one will be a limited edition. Ain’t that posh?

As you may well have noticed, musicians have been deemed “non-essential” by the powers that be.

(And don’t get me started on that one. The old saw about “never waste a good crisis” is still being practiced by the aforementioned “powers that be.”)

Personally, I believe that music and other artistic endevours are essential. Of course, I might just be biased on this view.

Meanwhile, I’m unable to earn any money. After a while one becomes weary of depending on one’s significant other to support all of one’s expenses. And, no doubt, they grow a bit weary themselves.

Luckily for me I have a former and now current ukulele student who is a “patron of the arts” (not related to Patreon.com) who has paid me (very well, thank you) for lessons in a video and document format. He has kindly agreed that I can sell them on for a lesser price, to help me survive the current crisis.

So, I am currently offering the “Two Fingered Mack” lesson for a mere $15 (or more, if you’re feeling like being a patron of the arts yourself). This is an arrangement of Mack The Knife that I was inspired to create by Sting’s version of the song, which featured a more accurate translation from the German than Bobby Darin’s watered down version, and didn’t have all the ridiculous key changes between each verse, causing you to memorize a whole bunch of chord progressions for just one song. Not to mention being able to sing in all those keys.

You can pay for this two ways. If you have a PayPal account you can use paypal.me/howlinhobbit

If you’re not a PayPal member, you can use this link (and remember, you might need to reset the default amount): https://ko-fi.com/howlinhobbit

Please realize, I’ve not been able to figure out a way to automagically send the file when you pay. I’m living in the United States Eastern Time Zone. The minute I discover the payment, I’ll send you a link to the file.

Lastly, this is a large zip file, containing two separate videos and two documents. It’s about 1/2 a megabyte. It will take a bit to download and you need to download it to a computer/device that has room for that size of a file.

Accidentally On Purpose

I wish I was one of those people who can jam along with a fancy chord progression and change it up a bit each time through. You know… throw in chord substitutions, alternate harmonies, etc. on the fly.

But I’m not.

I’m still doing most of my more intense tunes via the “Jus’ Press” method. As in “jus’ press here” instead of actually knowing each and every chord I play. Oh, there are bits and pieces that I’ve learned that allow minor changes. But what I hear in my head doesn’t automatically come out of my fingers.

Mostly. And it’s that mostly that’s the major suck.

Because in the last couple years I’ve had numerous occasions where I grabbed the wrong chord (according to the series of jus’ press here I’ve memorized) only to find that I’ve grabbed a perfectly fine substitute chord.

By accident. Occasionally.

I want to do this on purpose. And if I’m simply incapable of always, I want it to be at least most of the time.

Chord finder app for my ukulele friends

If you’re you’re the type of player who never strays from GCEA tuning there are any number of chord finder apps available, most of them free, that will do a fine job on those occasions when you run into an unfamiliar chord.

But what if you’re one of the Canadian or European folk who use ADF#B? Or maybe you’re like the fella I saw tearing up Blind Blake’s Police Dog Blues on his baritone, tuned to Open D (DF#AD)? Or even — horrors! — you’re like me with my sopranino tuned a 4th up from standard to CFAD?

I have the basics of the Circle of Fifths in my head, so I can, at worst, slowly transpose things and play the proper shapes (even if I do have to look up the shape in GCEA once I’ve figured out its name), but that can be a hella hassle.
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Ukulele Chord Cracker Pro to the rescue!

(I’m referring to the Android app here but I understand it’s also available for iOS.)

Chord Cracker Pro doesn’t just competently handle the basic job of finding chord shapes for you, it also has a number of features that allow you to explore how the chords are built, what the basic “chord scale” is in a given key, and other features I probably haven’t discovered yet. The interface and navigation don’t take too long to learn.

The chord scale is especially handy if you’re trying your hand at songwriting and want to escape the root, 4th and 5th rut that grips so much of the blues, rock, folk, old timey, and country. I touch on it briefly in my Cheater Music Theory doc (available here and it’s free) but it’s nice to have that info with me. In the scales mode you not only get the basic chord scale, you also get some extended chord suggestions and even some in the “others that will work in this key” category.

This app will:

  • do reverse look-ups by simply tapping the shape on the fretboard.
  • do standard look-ups by chord name. (They cover something like 70 different chord types.)
  • show you scales (about a half dozen modes so far).
  • show the chord in the standard box diagram, on a music staff, or as tablature.
  • allow you to enter any tuning and then show the chord shapes for that tuning. It also remembers up to 8 of your custom tunings so you can just tap on the list to switch between them.
  • allow you to choose what the “finger dots” on the fretboard diagram display. Your choices are note name, interval in relation to the root of the chord, and interval in relation to the scale of the song’s key.
  • play the notes or chords if you choose.

And all of this can be yours for just $0.99! (I just know you read that last line in Billy Mays’ voice.)

If this were a starred review I’d have to give it a 5. Seriously, check it out!