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mikelz777
12-11-2014, 08:04 AM
Up until recently, I've been able to avoid the dreaded E chord because it really didn't come up that often in songs that I was singing and if it did, I would sing the song in a different key that avoided using the E. Now I'm finding that there is an increasing number of songs I enjoy singing where the most comfortable key I can sing in requires the use of the E and switching the key to avoid it doesn't sound as good or it's too difficult to sing in that key.

I know there are countless threads out there advising players to force themselves to learn the E chord and to practice, practice, practice. (x 1000) For those of you who are former avoiders and who forced themselves to learn the E chord, which chord formation did you find less difficult to learn? I think I like the sound of the 1402 better because it's clearer and rings more than the 4442 version of the chord. Both are difficult for me and moving in and out of each is just as hard. As far as my experience goes, I'm a strummer and I play in the 1st position (i.e. the top 4 frets) and not further down the neck.

iamesperambient
12-11-2014, 08:21 AM
Up until recently, I've been able to avoid the dreaded E chord because it really didn't come up that often in songs that I was singing and if it did, I would sing the song in a different key that avoided using the E. Now I'm finding that there is an increasing number of songs I enjoy singing where the most comfortable key I can sing in requires the use of the E and switching the key to avoid it doesn't sound as good or it's too difficult to sing in that key.

I know there are countless threads out there advising players to force themselves to learn the E chord and to practice, practice, practice. (x 1000) For those of you who are former avoiders and who forced themselves to learn the E chord, which chord formation did you find less difficult to learn? I think I like the sound of the 1402 better because it's clearer and rings more than the 4442 version of the chord. Both are difficult for me and moving in and out of each is just as hard. As far as my experience goes, I'm a strummer and I play in the 1st position (i.e. the top 4 frets) and not further down the neck.

the standard E chord is the same shape as a B or Bflat on guitar so for me as a guitarist it wasn't too hard to learn just a matter of mashing in your fingers on a smaller fretboard but on tenor/baritone ukes i dont have any issues playing this chord.

coolkayaker1
12-11-2014, 08:27 AM
Astonishing that you could avoid the E-chord. For me, it's as ubiquitous as horseflies at the swimming hole.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkz-mLK6fsQ&list=UUn96Tb3w6RaIoc0dkiVifRA

Rllink
12-11-2014, 08:29 AM
OK, I'm of the practice, practice, practice, crowd, but there is a method to my madness. First of all, I play a D with my middle, ring, and little fingers. I have big hands. I found that the E is just a D moved over two frets with the index finger plopped down there on the A string second fret. So, I had a little trouble getting the D working clearly for me and the E was worse. But I figured out that to practice both the D and the E, I would bounce back and forth between the D and the E. After a while they both got better. After even more of a while, they weren't too bad at all. It is worth a try.

I also do not think that it is good to avoid chords. If one is going to be a ukulele player, one needs to be able to play the chords as they come. That is my feelings about it anyway. There are a lot of chords that I'm not good at, but I don't try to avoid them. I just do them and move on, and they usually come along sooner or later.

Ukulele Eddie
12-11-2014, 09:04 AM
Astonishing that you could avoid the E-chord. For me, it's as ubiquitous as horseflies at the swimming hole.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkz-mLK6fsQ&list=UUn96Tb3w6RaIoc0dkiVifRA

Thanks for sharing that, Steve and nicely done, Petey. I often use the open E Petey describes in the video. Regarding D, I had not tried using the 2-3-4 fingers like he suggests (I either barre it or use my 1-2-3 fingers depending on what chord I'm moving to next) but I certainly see the merits, so I'll work that into my practice stuff.

ohmless
12-11-2014, 09:06 AM
I learned on a song that had one occurrence of Eb(peggy sue by Buddy Holly). In retrospect that was probably a good idea since it is done with the hand in first position(index fingering the first fret). This was in one of my very first songs I learned on the ukulele. Boldly practice until there is no fear of the chord.

I also enjoy using the pinky on the first string 7444 because it is much like using the pinky with a D chord 5222.

mikelz777
12-11-2014, 09:10 AM
I also do not think that it is good to avoid chords. If one is going to be a ukulele player, one needs to be able to play the chords as they come. That is my feelings about it anyway. There are a lot of chords that I'm not good at, but I don't try to avoid them. I just do them and move on, and they usually come along at some point later.


Astonishing that you could avoid the E-chord. For me, it's as ubiquitous as horseflies at the swimming hole.

For me the scenario has been: Could I comfortably sing the song in the key of "X" that required an E chord? Yes, but E is a troublesome chord. Could I comfortably sing this song in the key of "Y' where there was no E chord? If so, then I would play it in that key.

I seem to sing a lot of songs that require a Bb in the key I sing in which I know is a chord some people dislike. That one came pretty easily to me. I'm pretty certain using the middle, ring and pinky finger to form a D and then slide it down to make an E wouldn't work for me. I use a 3-finger D using my index (1), middle (2) and ring finger (3) in this formation [2,1,3,x] on the 2nd fret and it's very comfortable so relearning it to play the E wouldn't be worth it to me but I appreciate the suggestion. I'll be forcing myself to learn a 2 or 3 finger E.

janeray1940
12-11-2014, 09:20 AM
I didn't learn it as the "dreaded E chord" like so many seem to; I learned it as just one of many moveable chord shapes that had to be learned :)

I probably have the opposite problem from most (little hands) - I see a lot of people who can use two fingers (index on first string, ring finger barreing 2nd, 3rh and 4th) but my ring finger doesn't bend like that (and at any rate, isn't long enough to cover three strings!). So, I use four fingers - index on 1st string, middle on 2nd, ring on 3rd, pinky on 4th, all the while sort of twisting my wrist forward a bit more than for other chords.

Kimosabe
12-11-2014, 09:20 AM
Take it easy. Only play the A string if it's really necessary for the sound you want. That's what a lot of players do. The note on that string is the same note as on the g string. Either an octave higher or the same depending on linear or reentrant tuning.

A lot of guys will play a D or an E with their thumbs.

mikelz777
12-11-2014, 09:35 AM
I just watched the video posted above and I really like the suggestion of playing an E7 chord and adding the pinky finger on the C string, 4th fret. The E7 is already in my muscle memory so I think that adding that pinky finger to the E7 chord shape would be easier than the other options and I'd get the benefit of that ringing open string!

mikelz777
12-11-2014, 12:32 PM
If you have tried something 1000 times and it still is not working, maybe its time to stop and think about what you are doing and approach the task from a different angle.
Here is one different angle instead of using 1402 and 4441, think about G#EEB and BEG#B.

I haven't even remotely come close to practicing an E chord 1000 times. I was just exaggerating what others recommend to those who are having trouble with the E chord. As far as thinking of the note breakdowns, that is all Greek to me. If I didn't have chord diagrams and chord shapes memorized from diagrams, I would be hopeless!

UkeCan1
12-11-2014, 01:26 PM
I started out playing E as 1402 before finally biting the bullet and learning 4442. Now I do exactly what Petey demonstrated - when playing in the key of A, with lots of switching back and forth between E and D - I play D with the last three fingers instead of (as I do the rest of the time) with the first three.

But Petey's fingering for 1402 was a revelation to me - it's easier for my particular fingers than anything else I've been doing - and for my wrist!

4442 still requires an uncomfortable twist for me, and those fingers still don't land easily on a solid 4442 E.

But I used to do 1402 with the same fingers as E7 (1202) - I'd just stretch that middle finger two frets further over, which was just further than it really wanted to go, and required a substantial twist of the wrist toward the headstock, and a lifting of my whole arm and elbow to accommodate. Petey's use of fingers 1-4-2 (i-p-m) instead of the 1-2-3 (i-m-r) I was using is so much easier and more natural!

Back to practice that.....

Any suggestions for Fmaj7 (2413)? I do m-r-i-p - like F with the two additional fingers added. Am I missing an easier way here too? (Or do I need to start a separate Fmaj7 thread? :))

KoaDependent
12-11-2014, 03:30 PM
Yep. 5500 or use the Dmaj7 shape and do it 5557.

Rodney.
12-11-2014, 07:19 PM
I finally learned it by playing the chord progression B E A (jumping jack flash).
I just could not play 2444, but I could play a B (2234) and then bar the g- c- and e-strings. Strange how a completely different look at things leads to the same result.

consitter
12-11-2014, 08:43 PM
I learned on a song that had one occurrence of Eb(peggy sue by Buddy Holly). In retrospect that was probably a good idea since it is done with the hand in first position(index fingering the first fret). This was in one of my very first songs I learned on the ukulele. Boldly practice until there is no fear of the chord.

I also enjoy using the pinky on the first string 7444 because it is much like using the pinky with a D chord 5222.

This is what I do. So. Much. Easier. And on most songs, it sounds more natural...Hotel California for example.

Kmcmichael
12-12-2014, 01:29 AM
One of the reasons I like Kanilea, wider board makes it easier to do the 0222 for D. Although I often use my pinky only for the E and just mute the A string.

If you do the E by barring with your index X444 or 7444 it sets you up for fills in the major penatonic.

TheCraftedCow
12-12-2014, 06:46 AM
There are a couple of other factors which contribute to making a chord shape possible or extremely difficult. The position if the thumb on the back of the neck is one of them. Laying the neck in the web of the thumb puts the other fingers in bad position for most of the chord shapes anywhere on the fretboard. Place the thumb as though one is pushing in a thumbtack. Another one is the general position of the whole instrument. If you are able to see the fret board, it is slanted with the bottom edge so it can be seen. This puts a right angle twist to the wrist which makes chord shapes painful. Turn the body so the fretboard is slanted with the top edge farther away from you than the bottom edge. This greatly decreases the wrist angle and the pain. The side marks are there for a reason, not just for ornamentation. If you feel you cannot support your instrument and hold it in a comfortable position to play,consider a strap with a connection at the bottom and someplace other than the head end. That arrangement tends to tilt the body the wrong direction. A strap can be used where the end just rest on the shoulder. One part of it goes in front and the other part behind like a sash. It attaches only at the body, but provides the support necessary to keep it under control. It also does not draw the body back against the human body. The neck can be swung away into a comfortable position for the length of the forearm.

Yes...old habits are difficult to relearn. With an attitude change that says, "I have yet to be comfortable doing this", change is possible. With the attitude which says, "I can't do this", that is the correct answer for staying the same. Physical limitations really do place limits...missing a finger tip? Arthritic joints? Yep, it does affect what can and cannot be done. Psychological limitations do determine the outcome also. It seems changing how one thinks also has a big influence on how one plays.

UkeCan1
12-12-2014, 08:58 AM
Crafted Cow, so happy to hear you bring up the impact of straps on playing. I have spent a lot of time on this issue, and have come up with a (2-strap!) solution that works great for me and my uke(s).

The difference in playability for me between a uke that is held exactly where I want it with no need for support from any part of my arms or hands (leaving my hands and arms completely free to just play) ... and one that is not in the right place and/or requires active support from me ... is profound.

In my experience, most uke straps are inadequate, and most players completely unaware of how much better they could be. I think it's really worth taking the time to get your straps fully supporting you and your uke for optimal playing ... especially when you're new and learning.

Here's my solution. Sorry for the salacious title. I can't remember if I said so in the update video, but the original one (http://youtu.be/xVkpu7UdlkA) was prompted by the offhand remark of a male uke player in drag ... which led me to the sudden revelation that my previous strap solution really wasn't working for me quite as well as I thought it was. The current one is so much better!


http://youtu.be/x2KTgLe9G1M