What does “transposing” chords mean for ukulele players?
It's a fancypants word, ain't it? — Transposing ukulele chords (or chords on any other instrument) basically means shifting all the chords in a song up (or down) the same number of steps.
This is the same as changing the key of the song.
So if your original song is in the key of G, you might want to transpose to the key of C.
But why transpose?
Sometimes the best way to play a uke song with hard chords is just to transpose it into a key with easier to play chords — so, when you transpose ukulele chords, you shift ALL the chords of song up or down in pitch, by the same number of steps.
You might also want to transpose ukulele chords (change keys) to better match your singing pitch. When the chords in a song force you to sing in a squeaky-high Mickey Mouse voice, or a super-low Johnny Cash voice, it may be time to transpose into a better key.
In “Defeat the E” I talk you through an easy way to transpose on the fly if the song is fairly simple by simple math you can do on your fingers.
But as uke songs get more complex, the process of transposing chords gets more complex, too.
And that's why you should check out this FREE tool:
A free tool for transposing ukulele chords:
It's a paper slide rule (a musical transposing key-changing slide rule tool) that you can cut out and assemble and keep with your songbooks. Just move the slide to line up the old key and new key. You can use this to transpose ukulele chords easily from one key to another.
What about apps to transpose ukulele chords?
Yes, of course there are quick-n-easy apps you can use to transpose ukulele chords. Sometimes that's the best way to get the job done.
But a little tool like this paper ruler, can slip into your uke case or a songbook, always ready to use, without having to pull out another electronic gizmo. And there's something kind of retro-cool about the slide rule.
Slick, old-school efficiency!
Tell 'em Danno sent you.