Ukulele for Singers: 3 simple hacks to play (almost) any song with easy chords | Jody Samascott | Skillshare

Ukulele for Singers: 3 simple hacks to play (almost) any song with easy chords

Jody Samascott

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5 Lessons (19m)
    • 1. Intro

      0:47
    • 2. SIMPLIFY: turn tough-to-play chords into basic ones

      5:33
    • 3. ELIMINATE: decluttering unnecessary chords in a song

      5:52
    • 4. TRANSPOSE: find the perfect key for your voice while playing easy chords!

      6:04
    • 5. Project

      0:27

About This Class

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Accompanying yourself on ukulele doesn't need to be difficult. In this class, you'll learn three different steps you can take to simplify any song for easier playing, so you can focus more on singing!

Transcripts

1. Intro: Hi there, I'm juries Alaska. I started playing the ukulele about 15 years ago. You made me feel stone. I am a singer songwriter first and foremost. So I was just looking for an instrument that would be simple to learn and play so that I could accompany myself when I wanted to see. In this class, you're going to learn how to basically simplify any song that you want to learn how to play so that it's easier for you to play and you don't spend too much time learning the actual song. You can spend more time practicing the vocals or the lyrics, you know, focusing on the thing that you actually enjoy doing. 2. SIMPLIFY: turn tough-to-play chords into basic ones: Simplify, eliminate, and transpose. You won't always need to do all of these steps for each song. And sometimes you won't even need to do any of them. It just depends how simple the chords already are and whether or not the key is right for your voice. So we'll start with simplify. This literally just means to turn a fancy chord back into its basic self. The reason we would want to do this is so that we can play more songs without having to learn more courts. At least not right away, as long as you know the basic chords, you can play a simpler version of whatever song you want. So here are some examples of basic chords. They can be major, minor, sharp, flat, but they'll never include numbers or any other letters or abbreviations besides what you see here. And here are some fancy code examples. This is not all of them, but just to give you an idea, whenever you see extra symbols, numbers or letters at it onto a basic chord, you probably have a fancy chord and all you need to do is take away the fancy extras and play the basic chord instead. So that's what I did here. All the extras are crossed out and it leaves us with just the very basic chord, which we already know how to play. So in this case, it's either an a or an a minor. You might be wondering then why we already learned some fancy chords like B minor seven or E7. Occasionally the fancy chord is actually the easier one to play on ukulele, but most of the time it won't be. The V7 chord is a good example of a fancy chord that's easier to play than the basic chord. Because if you look at the ii chord on the left, you can see that it stretches your fingers across four different frets, which is not easy to do. And I have to confess. I have never in my ukulele career played an E major chord. I always just play that E7 because it's easier. There have only been a couple of songs where I didn't really like the way that you seven sounded. So I just transposed it and played entirely different courts. But most of the time you can totally get away with the E7. And it's so nice to have an easier option. Here's an example of why we would simplify. You can see here that the D chord is slightly less complicated than the D7. So you'd wanna play the basic chord in this case. If you're feeling confused or overwhelmed at all, I have really good news. This website where you can find chords for most songs, it will actually simplify the chords for you. So you literally just tick the box and wallah. If however you find the chord somewhere else like on YouTube or on another website, and they do include fancy chords. You'll at least know now how to simplify them yourself if you need to. And I just want to mention that even though this website is obviously geared toward guitarists, all chord names are the same for any instrument. So although we can't use their core diagrams that are listed when you hover your mouse over the coordinate, we can take the coordinates and look at our own ukulele diagram so we know how to play each one. Ok, so I'm gonna walk you through simplifying on ultimate guitar.com right now. Okay, so since I know that the Beach Boys songs usually have a lot of fancier chords. I'm gonna show you a couple of those just so you can see how they would be simplified. And when I'm looking for these on ultimate guitar.com, I usually just search for the best reading and the most reviews. So between these two, I would just go with the slightly higher reading. Okay, and then you see over here is the simplified chord button, but I just want to show you first what the cords actually look like so you can see what we're changing. So just looking at it right now, I know that I would remove all the 7's from each chord. And you see here there's a slash chord. So you can remove the f from this. So it would be C minor seven and you can also remove the seven. So then you'd just have a C minor. Same with the D minor seven over a. You can take away the a and the seven, so you just have a D minor. Ok, so we'll scroll up and we'll simplify. Just check the box. And then when you scroll down, it's nice and clean. Looks much simpler. So that's really all you have to do. Super easy. I love it makes your life easier. And just in case you're wondering, this part right here means that you would be picking notes and I didn't do that. You don't need to do that. So you can just skip over that, go straight to the chords. If you want to add an intro, you can obviously just play through each of the chords once or twice and then start singing. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. So let's do another one. I actually changed my mind and I am going to do this John Mayer song instead. So looking here, this is the best Star Rating and more reviews and the other two. So we're gonna go this one. Okay, and we'll scroll down and just take a look at the chords. So you can see they're pretty advanced. The John Mayer's pretty fancy with his cords usually. So we'll click and simplify. Now they're nice and simple. And so easy. Okay, so that's it for now. That's how you simplify the cords on ultimate guitar.com. 3. ELIMINATE: decluttering unnecessary chords in a song: Eliminate. This just means to cut out unnecessary chords from the song. It's not always possible, but when it is, it's so fun. Maybe because I love de-cluttering and that's what this feels like. But a lot of times this works well with songs that have fast-moving chords. So when you cut some of them out and makes the song so much easier, you don't have to play as many chords and your transitions can be slower. This is kind of a tough one to explain. So I'm just going to show you some examples now. Alright, so I'm going to show you stay with you by John Legend. This is one that I had done for my YouTube channel and I remember I cut out a bunch of chords. So as you can see, there are slashed chords. So we could just take out the e and this one, take out the C-sharp and this one, and just play the a and the B minor. So I'm just gonna do simplify chords. And for some reason it did not take out this slash chord. So this is why it's good to just know because apparently this doesn't work perfectly every time. So anyway, we would do a B minor a. So I'm just going to show you what it sounds like when we do that. Then two. Okay, so the chords move pretty quickly and even though they're not super hard, it is actually possible to play less of them. So I'm going to just show you what I mean by that. When I was trying to learn the song, I was still pretty much a beginner on ukulele and I really just wanted easy songs to play. So I cut out a bunch of cords from this. I literally just played through it. If you're really stumbling over some chords, just play the first one for longer and see if it sounds okay without transitioning to another one. So for example, in the first line, I would cut out the b minor. So just play the a and you don't want to just play a through the entire verse. So I would assume that the next line I could play the B minor. So that's what I would try. So I do a and then B minor, and then a and then B minor. So we'll try that. Then to get the full Goldstone, they fail. So I actually think that works pretty great. So I would just cut out those chords and play it much simpler to make your life easier. Okay, so let's try another one. I'll be there's no simplify button. Things are already really simple chords. It's just a d and then a E, D. And we would do E7. Stern's a new bond, full snappy. And I don't know about you, but I don't like the way that E7 sounds smushed in there. So I'm just going to take it out and play it without the E7 and then I would just be doing a DAD strands and new one, fall stab me. So yeah, I actually think that works totally fine. And I would cut out the e So you can see where I started going back and forth even quicker in this line, a ii d. So once again, I would probably try and see if it works to just do a d. A d could try one more. You can see here the chords are actually written out. So you can see what is in this song, which is nice. Sometimes they don't have this year. So this has CAM energy, FG, FG emitter e. So we know all these chords which is cool. And so the G has an asterisk next to it. That just means g is a quick upstroke transition Chord. I would actually kind of assume that that means it's not necessary. But I mean, that depends. It's really up to you. So we can just see how sounds cliche. But because the word baby, alright, so let's take out the gene and see how that sounds. When you said that. She said that some liver because it wants you to baby. So I actually think it sounds fine without the G. It's not necessary if you're having a hard time with it, just leave it out. I just always think simple is better because you're a singer, you want to focus on your vocals. I'd just like to play the easiest accompaniment that I possibly can, so that I can just really sing it out however I want to sing it, you know? So if this was a little confusing for you, just remember that it's really up to you. Play through it. If you're stumbling over a chord, take it out and see if it works without it. If it doesn't, just keep practicing and you will get it eventually, you can do it. 4. TRANSPOSE: find the perfect key for your voice while playing easy chords!: Transpose. This is where you either raise or lower the key of the song, which just means that you'll be playing different chords. The only reasons you would transpose a song or to play easier chords or to sing higher or lower. If the chords are already pretty simple and you only want to sing a little bit higher, your Caple would work easily for that. But if you need easier chords or you wanna sing lower, or maybe you just don't want to use capable at all. Then there are a couple of websites you can use. Ultimate guitar.com will automatically transpose up or down with those arrows. If that's where he found the chords. But if the chords came from somewhere else like YouTube or any of the songs that you've gotten from me. You can use TAB tuner.com and you either copy and paste the whole song tab into the box with the lyrics and everything. Or just type the chords into the box and then transpose up or down with the blue buttons on the side. So easy and so awesome. I only discovered this and you have no idea how excited I am. I've been manually transposing on the piano for years. So this is so much faster. Ok, I'm just going to walk you through a song on ultimate guitar.com to show you how I would transpose it, either using the transpose buttons or with the Cato or both. So we'll do Sunday morning for this. This one has the most Reviews, Best star rating. Okay? Can simplify, doesn't look too crazy, but there's a seven there, so just press that. And we know these chords, D minor GC. And I was just checked to see if there's any other chords in there. I don't think there are. Okay. So that sounds super easy. Just three chords. So I would just run through the cords, wants to get the starting note and then just see how the key is for my voice. Sending me this book. I already know that I don't like this key because it's pretty high for my voice to. I would just transpose down. I'll just find a key that has simple chords. This one, I would definitely would not use C-sharp minor, F sharp or not on our list. C minor, F sharp, a sharp is also a B flat, and we can do those chords. So I would just try this one. Sunday. Don't sound bad. I'd probably still go down a little bit. See what else is possible. B minor EA, I like those. We can do all those 0s, we would just do an E7. So B minor Sunday on invade is okay. I like that one. If you wanted to keep on going down, you could go down as much as you want. So we could check more. Definitely wouldn't do this one because we don't do G sharp or D sharp or a sharp minor, so that's enough. This is a super easy on a minor DG. We could definitely do that on sunday mon and veins phone. Actually really like that one. But I also always like to sing lower. This is a really good one because it's super easy chords, so I would definitely use that one if that works for your voice. This is a good example of where if you find easy chords, you could still raise the key with your cape. Oh, let's say you liked singing in this key up here, the minor EIA. But you don't like to do those chords. So if you press the arrow down twice, you get to the key that you do like an each time you go down or up with one of these arrows, that equals one fret. So since we just went down twice, that would be two frets. So we would put the capo on the second fret, and then we would be playing these easy chords, but we'd be singing in the key that starts with a B minor. When I use the Cato, I always put it as close to the top of the fret as I can, just because it gives me more room to use my fingers in this Fred. And so once the Cabos here, you're acting like this is the top of the ukulele. So you're still going to play the chords the same way you would as if this was the first fret. So A-Minor is in the second fret. You apply it right here. Sunday morning vein as far few wanted to keep going up but still play those easy chords. You could totally do that, or you could go on the first fret to whatever you undo. So yeah, that's all you would do. This song is cool because it only has three chords and they already start out super easy, but it was really high for me. That's the only reason I wanted to transpose down. But if you'd like that key or you wanted to go higher with the keto and then actually sing an octave lower. You could do that too. Let's see. Third fret. And then we'll play D minor GC. Sun, the moon, and Venus. That's a little too low for me. Could keep moving it up. But I usually don't go above the fourth fret just because these start to get smaller as they go down so my fingers don't fit as easily in these threats as they do in the top ones, that's too low, I would just stick with the other keys that we found and there's a bunch of options for this one. So that's what I would do. 5. Project: So for the project, for this class, I want you to choose one song that you've been wanting to learn. Google it, find the chords, and then do the three steps, simplify, eliminate, and transpose. You might not have to do all three of those steps, but just go through the song and figure out if you can make it any easier for yourself to learn and then share it, share the cores that you used and let us know if it made it easier for you to learn that song. Enjoy and thank you so much for taking my class.