Lesson 10: Neighbour Chords



In This Lesson

  • How to sound like you know more chords than you actually know
  • Learn a simple trick that adds a lot to your sound
  • Learn WHEN and HOW to use neighbour chords


Neighbour Chords

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You’ve seen what can happen when you move a chord shape across the strings.  Now you’ll see what happens when you move a chord shape along the strings!  The resulting chords aren’t twins (they don’t have that special relationship described in Lesson 8) but they’re very useful nonetheless; think of them as “neighbour” chords!  Moving toward the tuning pegs is a “dip.”  Moving toward the sound hole is a “lift”:

bu dip and lift c6

Your fingers don’t need to leave the strings.  Just slide down or up by one fret.  Picture a dance in which you dip your partner before returning swiftly to a standing position.  It’s the same in music: a dip is a brief ornament, usually played on a weak beat.  I’ve used arrows to indicate dips and lifts in the printed music, as shown in the example below:

bu c6 ip and lift example

Just like in dance, lifting is more dangerous than dipping!  We tend to dip chords more often than we lift them.  The reason?  The lifted version is usually more dissonant.  Try a few examples and see for yourself:

bu c6 dip and lift D7 bu c6 dip and lift B7 bu c6 dip and lift C6

Practise the following exercises to perfect your neighbour chords!  A down arrow indicates a dip; an up arrow indicates a lift.  When you see an x-shaped note, snap your fingers or tap lightly on the uke!


bu 10 ex1 2 3 c6


A final challenge: a dip or lift in a box below indicates a pre-dip or pre-lift. For instance, the final chord in the first measure is a lifted version of the D chord that follows it.  Enjoy!


bu 10 ex4 c6

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