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Playing Guitar ‘Slash Chords’ On The Ukulele

Playing Guitar ‘Slash Chords’ On The Ukulele

Despite the increasing amount of tab and chords for ukulele on the internet, we still have to rely on guitar chords for most songs. If you’ve done this a lot, you’ll have come across – and possibly confused by – chords that look like this: D/F#. These are known as ‘slash chords’.

On the guitar, it’s almost always the case that the lowest note played is the root note (the note the chord is named after). Slash chords are used to indicate where the lowest note is not the root of the chord. The first part of the slash chord is the chord played and the second part is the lowest note. In the example D/F#, the chord is D and the lowest note is F#. So it could be played like this on guitar:

slashchords.jpg

It’s often not the case on the ukulele that the lowest note is the root. As there are only four strings, we have to take the notes wherever we can find them. So, what do you do on the uke when you come across slash chords?

That depends on what the bass note is. If the bass note is part of the chord, you can ignore it and play the usual chord shape. If it isn’t part of the chord, you’ll have to add it in somewhere.

Here’s a typical guitar chord progression with a few slash chords:

C – C/B – C/A – C/G – G – C

The first slash chord in this sequence is C/B. B is not part of the C chord so you have to add it in (A string second fret).

c-b.jpg

The same is true with C/A – there is no A in a C chord so add the open A string.

There is, however, a G in the C chord. So at that point you can play the usual C chord. Giving us this progression:

slash ukulele chords

If you’re not sure how chords are made up and what notes they contain, check out How To Play Ukulele Chord Progressions – it’ll give you a real understanding of how chords work and what you can do with them.

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56 Comments

  1. Woodshed April 10th, 2013 12:43 pm

    anon: Thanks very much!

  2. Lesley December 4th, 2014 10:15 am

    Thanks a lot for this! I’ve been perplexed by slash chords since I first came across them and couldn’t find anything that properly explained them. This is crystal clear! Brilliant! I’ve been following your stuff for a few years now and really appreciate it. And I buy your ebooks – superb!

  3. Woodshed December 4th, 2014 11:30 am

    Lesley: That’s great! I’m really glad it helped.

  4. Chris Barsby April 19th, 2017 5:22 pm

    On a Ukulele if you play an Em but then you were to move it all up one string, without adding the little finger…..would it be a recognized chord?
    If so what is that chord?
    It was given in a song on the net, it seems to work ok, but its not the chord they say it is?
    As a beginner I would like to know if it is a chord and if so what chord is it??

  5. Woodshed April 20th, 2017 2:13 pm

    Chris: 0543 would be an Fm(add9) chord. It’s not common but it’s a chord and it sounds nice to me.

  6. Chris Barsby April 20th, 2017 2:29 pm

    Wooodshed.
    Thank you so much ! That’s great! I agree it sounds nice to me too…and I now know what I’m playing too !! Cheers

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