Attempting More Complex Chords on the Ukulele
Once you have a basic knowledge and proficiency on the ukulele, you will probably want to attempt more complex chords. Generally speaking, major, minor and seven chords each have their own distinct characteristics:
Major chords are upbeat and confident.
Minor chords are deep and sad.
Seventh chords are jazzy and expectant.
But you can create more complex sounds by mixing these elements together. This introduces a few new types of chord that add an even richer dimension to your sound.
Making melancholy minor 7 chords
Minor 7 chords have the sad sound of a minor chord but mixed with a jazzy tingle that makes the chord more melancholy. In the chord families you can use minor 7 chords as an alternative to the minor chords.
Look at the three main minor 7 shapes. The first is Am7, which is dead easy – you play all the strings open. The Gm7 shape is just like a Bb chord with your ring finger removed. The Dm7 shape is a Dm chord with the addition of the little finger fretting the A-string at the third fret.
Relaxing with major 7 chords
Major 7 (maj7 for short) chords sound less strident than straight major chords and have a more laid-back and jazzy sound.
A major 7 chord differs from a usual 7 chord by just one fret. You move that seventh note up by one fret (i.e. the note that was changed to go from a major chord to a seventh chord).
For example, the standard A7 chord has the g-string played open. For Amaj7 you play the g-string at the first fret.
Similarly, for Gmaj7 you play the E-string at the second fret rather than the first. And for Cmaj7 you play the A-string at the second fret rather than the first.