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UKULELE Chord/Melody Theory and Improvisation Tutorial by Ukulele Mike Lynch

February 17, 2016

Improv complete

Much is being said currently about the exciting potential of Chord/Melody style playing. It is an exquisitely wonderful way to play solo instrumental pieces on the ukulele. No fingerpicking is required. . . It’s all done with merely the strum of the thumb.  So . . . how is this done?

In the majority of Chord/Melody arrangements, the melody resides on mostly the FIRST string.  On occasion the melody may jump to the SECOND string as well.  So, by simply strumming the chord with our thumb. . . The melody rings out above all the rest of the strings as it is the highest note.  Simple as that. . .  Well. . . . . . .  It does take some creative planning to come up with those arrangements.

Generally what I do is to determine the best key for the piece in regards to range of notes. . . If I want the melody to mostly reside on the FIRST string I can’t have it going to high or it will be unplayable at those higher fingerboard positions. . . Quite often, I find the key of F to be one of the best keys for doing this. If F doesn’t work then I will try C or perhaps G. . . It takes some time to establish this . . . Once I do I then embark on putting the melody together with their appropriate chords.  It is rare that the melody of a piece stays down in the first position. . . Therefore, I need to establish upper position inversions of the chords.  This most often involves Barre chords. . . But don’t let that scare you off. . . As I so often have said to my private students. . . Barre chords are good for you. . .  Like vegetables are good for you. . . .

I find it a challenge and lots of fun to come up with a good Chord/Melody arrangements and have been sharing them with ukulele players throughout the world now for over 6 years.  I’m hoping that others will come along with me on this adventure and begin to step out a bit and come up with their own arrangements.

 . . . But I highly encourage everyone to take the arrangements and experiment with playing the Chords (with Melody) in a rhythmic fashion.  I think once you establish the basic Chord Melody arrangement then putting a rhythm structure underneath it just enhances it. . . Play around with any arrangements. . . Make them your own. . .


Trilogy combo price slide header

Details regarding the Chord/Melody series:

In addition I just recently released the New Chord/Melody eBook FOUR 




The TRILOGY collections can be purchased separately for just  $20 each. EBOOK FOUR can be purchased for $25.95. The entire TRILOGY can be purchased for just  $50.00 The “QUARTET” can be purchased for $70.00. To purchase any collection purchase through the PayPal button on the Ukulele Mike website Once purchased they will be personally emailed to you within the day 

For all inquiries regarding Ukulele resources from Ukulele Mike Lynch please email:




One Comment leave one →
  1. April 22, 2016 2:54 p04

    Reblogged this on UKULELE MIKE LYNCH – All things UKULELE and commented:

    You too can arrange songs in the Chord/Melody style . . .

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