Free Lessons! ~Chord Substitutions on the Ukulele~

After a few months of dodging my camera, I finally got Aaron while he wasn’t teaching or helping someone in the store, and specifically asked him to show us some chord substitutions. He replies, “oh, ok I’ll just give them the phone number”. I know Aaron already so, even though I didn’t know the phone number, I knew I was about to learn something cool.

First Aaron talks about the major scale and the chords that correspond with each note. In a scale the root note of the 1-7 goes: 1/major-2/minor-3/minor-4/major-5/major-6/minor-7/diminished. So if you were in the key of C your 6th note in the scale is an A. Since the 6 is a minor  the A chord in the key of C is an A minor. The 6 note in the key of D is B, so a B minor chord  fits into the key of D. Now Aaron takes it one step further by giving us the phone number 136-2457. This shows the most interchangeable chord forms. The numbers of the key that are closest in relation, with usually one note difference, and that difference is still in the same key. So the 3 chord Aaron substitutes for the one is Em. He could have also used an Am because it is the 6 voice, and that is our first three numbers. The 2/minor can switch with the 4/major, and the 5/major(b7) can switch with the 7/diminished.

You can carry this concept over into scales, and that is what modes are. Aaron substituted the C major for an Em. If you were playing a scale over an Em with the notes of the C scale the only difference would be – the F# is an F, so you have that darker or more eastern tonality of a half step up from the root of your chord – E. If I remember correctly that would be an E lydian scale.

In the second part of the video Aaron shows some ways to spruce up your chords and get jazzy. The surf chord theme he based it off of was nowhere near in feel, but in theory it was only a hop skip away.

Feel free to always call us at (808)622-8000, or post questions, disagreements, additional info to help our fellow ukenthusiast. Aloha from Hawaii Music Supply!

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