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reddclay
03-06-2015, 12:56 PM
7699876997Last summer, I picked up a Charango from a Bolivian musician who was travelling to the states. I initially went to meet him because we had been corresponding and he was going to bring some Andean flutes to try out. He had some great flutes and I bought a few. I am mostly a flute player. He asked me if I knew anybody that wanted to buy a Charango. And so on impulse I said, yeah, ME!

I knew I was in trouble because I didn't know anybody that could play it and I'm up to my eyeballs with different world flutes trying to make those happen.

Anywho, I purchased a great book on amazon, The Mel Bay Charango Method. Pretty complete introduction to advanced material with a CD. A guy from Chili knows the author and said to me it's one of the best books and a 2nd volume is apparently somewhere out there but don't see it in English.

Most of Andean Music is in A mi and E mi so once you get those basic chords for the "Huayno" seems like spending a lot of time nailing the rhythmic conception of the music and all the variations. But if I want to play western music like Beatle tunes, I have to venture into some of the other less often used chords. Not that guys aren't doing it. It's just not traditional.

I don't have huge hands. Small and a little pudgy but who would have thunk you would need big hands for this instrument??? Not me said the first time poster.

There are some chords that seem absolutely impossible. The one I am thinking of is a simple D mi chord. No sharps, no flats, no extensions.
Here is the fingering that's in the Mel Bay book that I got from another online finger chart.

76997

You have the ring finger and pinky on the 1st fret, 3rd and 1st string. And then, there is no way without taking my 3rd finger out of it's socket that I'm going to reach all the way up to the 4th string and then bring that pinky finger all the way to the 5th string unless I am Houdini. Obviously, I'm doing something fundamentally wrong, or my hands are simply not cut out to play anymore than the basic chords. :( Even if I can figure out how to get my fingers in that position (rounded fingers, holding the hand to the side whatever) can't see moving gracefully moving in and out of that position.

Then there is this chord chart, 76998

Which leaves the 5th string open which is a G note. I never got the memo but unless I entered the twilight zone there is no G in a D mi chord unless they only want me to figure out how to strum four strings instead of five fingers.

Ok, yes, I see it coming. Why don't you play the D mi on the 5th fret as a bar chord (again with that open G) Well, 1st I'd be admitting defeat and than I'd only have to deal with the next obstacle, getting clean bar chords with small fingers, on a ten string instrument without being committed to an insane asylum.

I realize this is a Ukulele forum and there seems to be a minimum of people with Charango's but some very occasional mention. It's a Ukulele on steroids.

Anybody have any advice/insight outside of throw the instrument out of the window, buy a Ukulele. Maybe the guitar players, have some insights on how to play really awkward chords with small hands. Any lead would help.

Thanks

CeeJay
03-06-2015, 01:23 PM
How is it tuned ?......go on ...with tuners ...I know !!! :biglaugh:

What is it tuned to ?

reddclay
03-06-2015, 01:36 PM
It's tuned to standard Andean tuning. None of the gringo tunings that float around the internet. 1st string E, A, E (octaves) C, G. Lower four strings exact same as the Uke.

Booli
03-06-2015, 02:14 PM
76997

You have the ring finger and pinky on the 1st fret, 3rd and 1st string. And then, there is no way without taking my 3rd finger out of it's socket that I'm going to reach all the way up to the 4th string and then bring that pinky finger all the way to the 5th string unless I am Houdini. Obviously, I'm doing something fundamentally wrong, or my hands are simply not cut out to play anymore than the basic chords. :( Even if I can figure out how to get my fingers in that position (rounded fingers, holding the hand to the side whatever) can't see moving gracefully moving in and out of that position.



I've not yet had the pleasure to play a charango, but maybe this will help...

Seems like your fingering is out of order. If it were a Dm chord on a uke, it would look like this:

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fukuchords.com%2Fchordpics%2FD%2FDm .jpg&f=1 http://www.ukulele-chords.com/img/chord/Dm,249.png

so if you try that as a start, (pretend your charango is a uke, and just fret the GCEA strings) and then once your hand is in that position, move the order of your fingers, from the above photo such that your pinky is where the ring finger was, your ring finger is where the index finger was, index finger goes where pointer was, and NOW pointer finger is FREE and can go on 1st fret, 1st string as per your chord diagram.

Try that, and please report back...

reddclay
03-06-2015, 02:44 PM
77007

Hi Booli

Thanks for taking the time to post that pic.

Yup, I got that. Maybe I described the name of the string wrong but I understand the fingering except I have two more strings to content with.

77007

Take a look at my pic.

My first finger is on the 1st fret bottom string. F. 2nd string is open. That's an A. 3rd string is again an F. 1st fret. Than I stretch than index finger all the way to the 4th string to make that C string sound a D. And than I have a pinky lost in space. It needs to go all the way up to the 5th string to make that G string sound A. No freakin' way.

Why aren't my pics showing up in the text box? Can you see if you click on it?

Booli
03-06-2015, 03:04 PM
77007

Hi Booli

Thanks for taking the time to post that pic.

Yup, I got that. Maybe I described the name of the string wrong but I understand the fingering except I have two more strings to content with.

77007

Take a look at my pic.

My first finger is on the 1st fret bottom string. F. 2nd string is open. That's an A. 3rd string is again an F. 1st fret. Than I stretch than index finger all the way to the 4th string to make that C string sound a D. And than I have a pinky lost in space. It needs to go all the way up to the 5th string to make that G string sound A. No freakin' way.

Why aren't my pics showing up in the text box? Can you see if you click on it?

ok.

Pics show fine for me. Very clear now.

Not exactly sure how to work this out since I dont have a charango to play with, but maybe you can cheat a little and finger the Dm like the uke chord in the pic in my other post, and then just mute the high-E (f) string with your finger, and you'll still have a Dm chord sans the high note...

Not perfect, but still a Dm chord...

sorry to 'pass the buck' but is there a 'Charango Underground' type forum that might have better help? It might be in spanish or portuguese, but translate.google.com should be able to render a somewhat readable english translation if you find such a forum and put the URL into the Google Translate spot for it...

One of the reasons I love the uke so much is that for both hands there's four strings, and only four fingers (or less, with either barre chords or 1st position with open strings).

Many years ago, when I was still trying to become a great guitarist, I always felt like there were too many strings, and never really felt comfortable since I cant play with six fingers on each hand LOL...

worst-case scenario maybe is to sell the charango and get a nice uke, thinking that the uke might be easier for you to play without that extra 5th pair of strings to worry about?

reddclay
03-06-2015, 03:42 PM
I could just leave the 1st string and 4th string open and would be a D mi 9. Good for pop and jazz with a bit more color but out of context for Andean music. Yes, I've been experimenting with ways to fudge it.

Nope, not trading my Charango for all the Ukes in the world. For one, I can get a uke anyplace. Good charango's are hard to come by. This is from the Garcia Brothers in Bolivia who are no longer making Charango's. And I bought it because I'm learning this music. And the sheets of sound, flourishes are all part of the music. Even if I just use it to learn the basic forms, do some picking than I get my bang for the buck. It's not my primary instrument but I don't feel any sense of accomplishment just hacking at it.

There is probably a way that isn't represented in books or online. I have already found that out with this instrument that a lot of is handed down and was shown stuff I would have never figured out.

There are kids playing piano's, trombones, guitars, and even charango's. So there must be a way. This kid does a good job of it. Although he is only picking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8Gz8ctF3no&index=5&list=PLzKa8YLz-gc2i8bFt5ECk6dJMMVK_A388

reddclay
03-07-2015, 01:21 AM
Figured it out!!! who needs sleep. Fingering in book is incorrect. It's a matter of proper physics/ergonomics. Just for the sake of good record keeping and if a lost soul stumbles upon this forum in the future with the same method book, looking for an answer, there will be a record for them not to have to work through the same problem. Always give more than you take.

Switch the position of the pinky and ring finger and the middle finger and index finger. More specifically, put the pinky on the 4th string, not the 5th string, and the index finger on 1st string and middle finger on second string.

Now look at my thumb. Don't do that. Way too high bring it down the neck so the hand can move forward. Booli has the same thumb position but his neck is much smaller. I am assuming a guitar or even bass player have to content with thumb positions? What do I know, I blow pieces of bamboo.

And NEVER give up. Any instruments challenges can be over come by coming in resonance with the correct physics and ergonomics. The problem is when you are beginning it's useful to have somebody guide you. When it's not available, and nobody knows the answer, screw it, do it anyway.

In the world of world flutes, so many give up and sell their instruments to buy easier instruments. It makes me cry to see people give up so easy. A dream they have, the patience they don't.

There is a famous saying (I'm making it up now) If you want to overcome your challenges as a uke player. Buy a charango

reddclay
03-07-2015, 01:29 AM
One more for the archive for the time traveller that might want this information in the year 2025. Easier fingering.

5
0
1
2
0

seattle
02-06-2016, 01:45 AM
I know this is a bit old but since they're not many charango posts...

I would just play this Dm as 2210x
It's sounds about the same to me as 22101.

For those going from a ukulele to a charango as far as the chords are concerned I would just think of it as a ukulele. Use the same chords but just move everything one string over.

Then depending on the song either just let the 1st string ring as a drone (when it sounds good), mute it when it doesn't sound good, or when it's easy to do just fret the first string the same way that the third string is being fretted.

If the 3rd string is open then the first string can be open. If the third string is fretted then fret the first string the same way. When this results in awkward fingering then just mute the first string.