February 6, 2016

Ukulele Half-Diminished Chords


To quickly find half-diminished chords we'll start with the diminished chord because it's an easy shape to remember. You can play this anywhere on the ukulele. Any ukulele will work: soprano, tenor or baritone.

In my previous post you discovered that if you take any note from the diminished chord and move it down one fret you get a major 7th chord. A similar thing happens if you move any of the notes up, except doing this gives you half-diminished chords. Half-diminished chords are commonly notated with a small strikethrough circle ΓΈ. They are also known as "minor 7th flat 5" chords, also notated as "7b5", and sound very jazzy.
Move the first note up. The root here is on the first string

Raise the second note. The root for this shape is on the 2nd string.

Let's move the third note up. This half-diminished chord has the root on the 4th string. This shape is easiest to play by holding finger 1 down across the fretboard with 2 on top of it, while finger 3 holds the notes on the next fret.

Let's move the fourth note up. This half-diminished chord has the root on the 3rd string.

Minor 6th Chords

The same shape used for half-diminished chords can be used to play minor 6th chords, only that the roots are in different positions, namely a minor third higher than the m7b5 chord root. These chords are often used as the iv6 before the V in a minor progression.

Up next, see how to use the m7b5 chord in a simple progression.

Chord diagrams generated by <uke-chord>