“Cheat chords” part 2

Photo of Jason with tenor guitarI’ve been playing a tenor guitar lately (as part of my “day job” as a church musician), and as you may know I re-strung it to play like a ukulele, because I’m a great big cheater who can’t really play guitar.

Speaking of which … As I was working through a song this week that has several “suspended” chords in it, I discovered a handy new fingering for them (new to me, anyway) — and some connections with other cheat fingerings I already knew!

A and Asus4 chord diagrams

A is a relatively easy ukulele chord, requiring only two fingers. As a result, Asus4 is also pretty easy. (The best way to transition between them in a given song — and therefore the best fingers to use — is beyond the scope of this blog post, though. What “suspended fourth” means is also beyond the scope of this blog post; here’s an article.)

F major 7 chord diagramFmaj7, on the other hand (Here’s an article about major seventh chords), can be quite difficult, but James Hill has a video tutorial about an easy way to play it with only two fingers.

Look familiar? Lo and behold, the same two fingers you need for Asus4 can also be used for Fmaj7 by just sliding them up from the second fret to the fifth!

The song I was working on also had a Dsus2 chord in it. Now, in theoretical terms, a suspended second is slightly more unusual than a suspended fourth … but in practical terms Dsus2 (D-E-A) has the same three notes in it as Asus4 (A-D-E). So I figured out that I could use the same fingering for both chords!

"cheat" chord diagramsFinally, the song also had an Esus4, and just for kicks, I slid that Dsus2 (aka Asus4) fingering up two frets, to see what kind of “E” chord I would get. Imagine my astonishment when I realized it was actually Esus4 (E-A-B)! And, as you may have figured out already, it would also work as an Asus2 chord (A-B-E).

So … here are three chord “shapes”, which can work in five or more harmonic contexts (probably not all in the same song, but you never know) … all using the same two fingers on the same two strings!

Happy cheating!