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Ukettante
06-07-2015, 08:19 PM
Hi, guys,

I tried searching the forum for an answer, and I think I got it, but am posting just to be sure.

One specific example of my problem is going from Am to D7, first position. I tried various ways, including "not thinking about it." When I don't think about it, I look down, and I realize my other fingers are doing tiny, quick clandestine movements to prop up the neck in between the chords. Hmm. Probably not ideal.

Is it OK in the uke world to change the fingering so that you can transition into the next chord smoothly? In this case, it would mean fingering Am with you index instead of the regular middle finger.

Some forum members have advised "practice and more practice," presumably using standard fingering. Does that hold true even for Am to D7? If the answer is simply "change the fingering whenever necessary," then I got it. No problem.

kypfer
06-07-2015, 09:20 PM
Use a strap, then you can use any fingering necessary, both to play the required chord and to fit in with the previous and subsequent chords ... no problem :)

PhilUSAFRet
06-08-2015, 12:44 AM
Sorry, but I don't seem to see a problem you can't overcome here. Sorry you are having difficulty. When I play Am, I am using my middle finger and my ring finger is naturally over the 1st string, third fret by rotating my hand ever-so-slightly down. My forefinger just drops down to barre the second fret and voila....! Slight rotation of the hand towards either the headstock or body will facilitate many tricky chords (such as E) and changes. I hope this makes sense to you and.......yes, LOL, keep on practicing. Search Youtube for tutorials on how to play tricky chords, or anything else for that matter, by searching Ukulele, how to...and enter the appropriate search term. Good luck.....help is always on the way here. If you are right handed, your right forearm should be holding the uke tight enough to keep it from slipping unless you are wearing long sleeves with a "slippery" fabric. I only use straps for my banjo and solid body electrics.

PS: I am usually transitioning from A7 to D7

Adrian Ortiga
06-08-2015, 01:34 AM
There are no rules.


Heck, you can even play with your teeth like hendrix :)

whatever works bruh

ukulelego
06-08-2015, 01:43 AM
It's just a case of find what works really.

I see the point you're making - what you're saying is that the transition in your example Am to D7 leaves a point where there's a period of time with no fingers pressed down on the fretboard to help support your uke. By repetition you'll get very fast at this so that period of time is almost non-existent and the problem will just go away.

coolkayaker1
06-08-2015, 02:00 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX5rHDrJ6Ko

Jake did not use a strap a few years ago. Now he does. Perhaps he had the same issue as you, ukettante.

Agree w kypfer: my experience is that practice will not help as much as getting a strap. :D

Adrian Ortiga
06-08-2015, 02:52 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX5rHDrJ6Ko

Jake did not use a strap a few years ago. Now he does. Perhaps he had the same issue as you, ukettante.

Agree w kypfer: my experience is that practice will not help as much as getting a strap. :D

i think he said his shoulders started to hurt from supporting the uke and the strap is a huge help considering how he like to move when playing

PhilUSAFRet
06-08-2015, 03:04 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX5rHDrJ6Ko

Jake did not use a strap a few years ago. Now he does. Perhaps he had the same issue as you, ukettante.

Agree w kypfer: my experience is that practice will not help as much as getting a strap. :D

Unless it does :music: Most ukers don't find them necessary, but if you do, by all means get one if it helps. Object is to have fun. Many strap lovers here on UU. As I said, I use them when I need one. Rotator cuff and related tendon problems can be disabling for many.

Rllink
06-08-2015, 03:36 AM
If the answer is simply "change the fingering whenever necessary," then I got it. No problem.
Yes, that is the answer. You have no problem.

PhilUSAFRet
06-08-2015, 04:01 AM
You should see some of the fingering patterns that Hawaiian's who didn't learn from a chart do to get the job done.

Olarte
06-08-2015, 05:12 AM
Soprano and even concerts fit in the crook of your right arm in most cases... so I don't use a strap with these ukes... and have no problem leaving my left hand free to move around. With Tenors, I use a strap as it leaves both hands completely free for changing cords and strumming\finger picking etc...

Louis0815
06-08-2015, 07:49 AM
what Olarte says: anything up to concert size should be held mostly with your right arm against your chest, leaving just a little bit "supporting work" to the left thumb (!)
Strumming comes from your wrist, not from your forearm (after all, you're playing ukulele, not a tiny guitar)

And you might want to try playing an open D7, sometimes referred to as "hawaiian": 2020

Ukettante
06-08-2015, 04:35 PM
OK. I got up this morning and read through everyone's advice. I think what it comes down to, for me at least, is more practice. I tried switching from Am to D7 nonstop for a full minute, and noticed some improvement. Gotta come clean. Coming from the guitar world, I'm guilty of being presumptious when it comes to learning the uke. I'm very patient when practicing the guitar, but less so with the uke, because I wrongly assume: If I can do this on the guitar, I should be able to do the same on the tiny uke easily!

As a zen master would advise me, I need to approach the uke with an empty cup, not a full cup. I'll put in some honest practice time with the uke.

PS: something Louis said has intrigued me. Lots of people have said the strum comes from the wrist, yet on the Ukulele Toolbox video, Bob Brozman specifically said the strum comes from the forearm, strumming down with the thumb, and up with the index. Hmm. Need to experiment with both.

DownUpDave
06-08-2015, 05:17 PM
OK. I got up this morning and read through everyone's advice. I think what it comes down to, for me at least, is more practice. I tried switching from Am to D7 nonstop for a full minute, and noticed some improvement. Gotta come clean. Coming from the guitar world, I'm guilty of being presumptious when it comes to learning the uke. I'm very patient when practicing the guitar, but less so with the uke, because I wrongly assume: If I can do this on the guitar, I should be able to do the same on the tiny uke easily!

As a zen master would advise me, I need to approach the uke with an empty cup, not a full cup. I'll put in some honest practice time with the uke.

PS: something Louis said has intrigued me. Lots of people have said the strum comes from the wrist, yet on the Ukulele Toolbox video, Bob Brozman specifically said the strum comes from the forearm, strumming down with the thumb, and up with the index. Hmm. Need to experiment with both.

Strumming should definitely come from the rolling wrist and forearm, if you are to support the uke against your body with your right forearm. Point your index finger so it is perdendicular to the fret board, tip touching the strings. Rocking the hand and index finger up and down across the strings is a rolling type motion. Guitar strumming is different because you move your whole forearm and hand up and down as a single unit by hinging at the elbow. This movement will not allow you to keep the forearm pressed against the uke and the uke pressed into your body, freeing up the left hand from supporting the neck.

Or do like I do and have a strap for every uke no matter the size

kohanmike
06-08-2015, 08:05 PM
I will only use a strap, works best for me.

Louis0815
06-08-2015, 11:33 PM
Regarding the strumming from forearm and/or wrist question you might like to watch some of the product review/demo videos by HawaiiMusicSupply on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH6E4xDfxBqrkoKdAyVu2dg)


As a zen master would advise me, I need to approach the uke with an empty cup, not a full cup. I'll put in some honest practice time with the uke.
That's a good approach in any case ;-)

Lori
06-09-2015, 06:05 AM
I always use a strap. It just makes everything more comfortable... fretting, picking and strumming. Make sure whatever you are doing is not going to cause you long term problems for your neck, shoulder, back, arms, wrists or hands. Sometimes we are concentrating so hard, that we don't realize there is a problem until we stop.

–Lori

cashew
06-09-2015, 06:10 AM
I'm not a strap fan. I have some ukes with straps, but honestly... I prefer to go without. (the only time I really NEEDED a strap was when I was VERY preggo.)

Roll up your sleeve a little. Skin to uke contact makes for a better grip. I have a belly and boobs, and it still works. The only thing you really need is practice. (some will advise an unnecessarily ungodly amount of scaffolding in addition to a strap. Practice is the answer.)

You can do it!

Down Up Dick
06-09-2015, 05:48 PM
I have straps on all but the sopranos (which I don't play much) and my Luna concert. I don't know why some Ukers fight using them. They're a big help.

I really like the Uke Leash type. They work well. :old:

Louis0815
06-09-2015, 10:48 PM
Lets just cut the strap discussion here, it doesn't lead anywhere....
I think we can all agree that using a strap (of whatever kind) or not is apparently a matter of personal preference, just like playing low-g or re-entrant.

There is not THE right way, you've got to find out for yourself what and when suits YOU best.

A strap can help holding the uke, but it won't save you from practicing the chord changes.

Down Up Dick
06-10-2015, 03:16 AM
The name of this thread is "Changing chords without dropping the Uke". It's not "We should all practice lots". And it will help ukettante to keep from dropping the Uke if he/she uses a strap. That's why some of us are talking about straps or elbow pressure.

Maybe the practicing will come when he/she can hold the Uke comfortably. :old:

Tim Mullins
06-10-2015, 07:00 AM
While it is certainly possible to play (and play well!) without a strap, I don't think there is any doubt that using one frees up both your hands and makes it easier.

I played ukulele for over ten years without one, but now I use one all the time. Any sort of strap should help a beginner concentrate on fingering the ukulele, not juggling it!

zztush
06-10-2015, 05:40 PM
I have same problem on Am -> Bb.
I have three things to fix this problem.

strap
change strumming method
change finger

Strap works very good for this problem. When I use thumb stroke with right hand finger support on the ukulele body, I can play it without dropping the uke.
If I use ring finger for Am instead of middle finger, I can also play it better.

Tootler
06-13-2015, 12:30 PM
Not only that, but a strap does facilitate chord changes, because you can lift all your fingers of the neck without it shifting appreciably (particularly downward). It's more than a matter of "personal preference": the choice has a huge impact on the ergonomics of playing. If you have to cradle the neck in your hand, it has a number of negative consequences to fretting itself (due to the increased inward curl of the fingers and relative lack of hand mobility), not to mention the speed with which you can change chords or shift positions, and it requires more movement going to and from barres. If you clamp the instrument to your side, it restricts your right arm movement (and deadens resonance and volume somewhat). These are not issues to be quietly swept under the rug just to appease those who prefer to play strapless in spite of the many drawbacks.

It is a matter of personal preference, notwithstanding your arguments about ergonomics - which have do have validity. Not long after starting to play the ukulele, I found the uke leash (http://ukeleash.com/).It was a great help in supporting the neck and making chord changes easier but over time, I found myself using it less and less, at least on soprano and concert ukuleles. I still use it on the tenor where I still feel need for support with the longer neck. I use a strap on my banjo uke and electric ukes because I find they all need the extra support or their design is not suitable for playing without a strap.

I am not pro or anti strap, I simply believe you can play the ukulele however you like and if you are more comfortable playing with a strap, fine. If you are happy playing without, equally fine. Just don't say you must do it this way or that which is close to what I am reading in some of the posts above.

CeeJay
06-14-2015, 01:27 AM
I'm happy if I can change a chord without dropping a bollock ,never mind dropping the Uke !!!

CeeJay
06-14-2015, 01:36 AM
Not only that, but a strap does facilitate chord changes, because you can lift all your fingers of the neck without it shifting appreciably (particularly downward). It's more than a matter of "personal preference": the choice has a huge impact on the ergonomics of playing. If you have to cradle the neck in your hand, it has a number of negative consequences to fretting itself (due to the increased inward curl of the fingers and relative lack of hand mobility), not to mention the speed with which you can change chords or shift positions, and it requires more movement going to and from barres. If you clamp the instrument to your side, it restricts your right arm movement (and deadens resonance and volume somewhat). These are not issues to be quietly swept under the rug just to appease those who prefer to play strapless in spite of the many drawbacks.


I think it also depends on your style of playing and the size of the Uke.

Rllink
06-14-2015, 06:54 AM
When it comes to straps, I use one sometimes, and sometimes I don't. I am not the expert that some people are here, but last night I played standing up over an hour in front of a crowd, and I did not use a strap. I had one with me, but I didn't use it. The uke felt just natural there tucked under my elbow. Now some might tell me that they know better, and that I would have been better off with a strap. And maybe they are right, and I am wrong, and that is fine if they want to think that. But I'm still going to do what feels good to me, and that just depends on the moment.

Tootler
06-14-2015, 07:14 AM
I'm happy if I can change a chord without dropping a bollock ,never mind dropping the Uke !!!

Could be painful :nana:


When it comes to straps, I use one sometimes, and sometimes I don't. I am not the expert that some people are here, but last night I played standing up over an hour in front of a crowd, and I did not use a strap. I had one with me, but I didn't use it. The uke felt just natural there tucked under my elbow. Now some might tell me that they know better, and that I would have been better off with a strap. And maybe they are right, and I am wrong, and that is fine if they want to think that. But I'm still going to do what feels good to me, and that just depends on the moment.

Quite right too. :agree:

k0k0peli
06-14-2015, 09:50 AM
Ad-hoc solution: Use a strap when / if it seems appropriate.
Easy solution: Do not stand up. Always use a chair or stool.
Permanent solution: Nail / glue the instrument to your chest.
Seven percent solution: Dilute the alkaloid in distilled water.

Louis0815
06-14-2015, 10:06 AM
Permanent solution: Nail / glue the instrument to your chest.Playing bare-chested should do for the beginning (and is a little less permanent)

bubbly193
06-19-2015, 01:44 AM
Yes, that is the answer. You have no problem.
Exactly. I've seen guitarist use Cadd9 and Dsus4 when playing in G to keep root fingers so they could cope with an extremely fast chord progression. I also switch which fingers I use for Em on guitar depending on which chord I'm coming from/going to. I do the same all the time with Am, A7, C, C7 etc on Ukulele.