Suspending and Diminishing Chords on the Ukulele

By Alistair Wood

Looking for something a bit more interesting than the usual major and minor chords? On the ukulele, you can do that using jazzy, dissonant diminished chords or with mysterious suspended chords.

Getting cool with diminished chords

The diminished 7 (shortened to dim7) chord is rarely used in pop music because it’s very dissonant (a fancy way of saying it doesn’t sound nice). However, it does crop up regularly in the jazzy tunes popular on ukulele.

In the C family of chords, the B (VII) is diminished.

B diminished 7 chord diagram.

B diminished 7 chord diagram.

A unique feature of the diminished chord is that it can be named after any note it contains. So the chord above can be referred to as Bdim7, Abdim7, Ddim7 or Fdim7.

Remaining unresolved with suspended chords

Two types of suspended chords (shortened to sus) exist: sus2 and sus4. Both have a similarly ambiguous sound to them, because in a suspended chord the note that makes a chord major or minor is removed. Suspended chords are particular favourites of bands like The Who and the Rolling Stones.

Check out the Csus4, Asus4 and Gsus4 shapes.

Csus4, Asus4 and Gsus4 chord diagrams.

Csus4, Asus4 and Gsus4 chord diagrams.

The image below contains the shapes for Dsus2, Gsus2 and Fsus2. (Note that Dsus2 and Asus4 are the same shape, as are Csus4 and Fsus2.)

Dsus2, Gsus2 and Fsus2 chord diagrams.

Dsus2, Gsus2 and Fsus2 chord diagrams.