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May 1, 2012

Look closely at the arrangement below and you’ll quickly see that in rendering this and any classic song into a jazz flavored piece it takes only a very few chord forms . . . properly placed at the right frets on the fingerboard and voila! You have a beautiful jazz arrangement.

Traditional chords are typically what are called TRIADS, meaning 3 note chords. For instance, the C major chord is made up of C, E, and G . . . The G major is made up of G, B, & D.  These triadic chords are our basic primary color chords. . . Remember the days when you had your little 8 color Crayola box?  You thought you had all the colors in the rainbow. . . but then came along the SIXTY FOUR color box and you were astounded by how many colors were possible.  Every possible shade of Green, Blue, Purple, Green etc.  Well, Jazz chords are kinda of like this. . . Jazz chords add one or two additional notes onto the simple TRIADS. . . It gives them character, complexity, interest and definitely a JAZZ FLAVOR.  Jazz chords are typically minor 7ths , major 7ths, Diminished, Augmented, 6ths, 9ths etc.  Because they have more then one note more then a simple TRIAD that means you need generally use all four strings for each chord.  In many cases you need to use barring technique as in the case of the minor7ths and the minor6ths.  Getting to know these chords is fairly simple. . . Getting them to sound clean and clear takes some time and practice, but the time spent is richly rewarding.  If you don’t have barring skills yet then this is the time to start developing them.  Takes time and patience but working this skill is also richly rewarding, not just for Jazz but for all music you’ll be playing down the road.  I’ve posted a close up video of Somewhere Over The Rainbow on my facebook page and I invite you to go and friend me so you can have a look and listen.!/UKULELEMIKE

One thing you’ll notice in my performance of this song is that I’m basically doing 2 downstrokes per chord with my thumb. . . Ocassionally as I transition to a new chord I’ll add a single 8th note downstroke.  I’m also using a technique where I slightly mute the chord between each chord change.  It adds a nice percussive effect and also gives it a recognizable jazz sound.  Once again THAT technique also takes time and patience. . . but it is also richly rewarding to your playing.

This arrangement is in my upcoming SONGS OF YESTERYEAR Volume 2 along with numerous other jazz flavored arrangements of old classic tunes.

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