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philrab66
08-16-2015, 02:12 AM
Hi all after a bit of advise/wisdom. I have been playing for around 4 years there has just been a few days I have not picked it up. I am not really into strumming and there is no local group to play with so I like to finger pick and play solos. I try and get a good tone when my nails are in good shape. I have never sight read before I can do it now but it is not automatic. My main frustration is fingering certain chords I guess I have just got the easy ones under my belt and for the life of me can not get hard ones down. For instance 2225 seems way out of my reach I have large hands but there is no way. I just feel I need a new approach anybody got any suggestions or thoughts. Thanks for your time Phil.

VegasGeorge
08-16-2015, 02:20 AM
I, too, have large hands, glove size X Large. Sure, it is a challenge to squeeze those finger tips into place sometimes. But that comes easier with practice. And that's the "secret," practice.

How to practice: Don't force it. Play for short periods of time. Play several times a day. Keep going over the same simple stuff. Keep a Uke with you when at your computer, or on the sofa, or sitting at the kitchen counter.

Be patient. It will all come together eventually.

Rakelele
08-16-2015, 02:21 AM
Hey Phil, some Guitar players use a "Grip Master" to strengthen their fingers, maybe that helps. Have you tried positioning your thumb differently? This might provide a better angle to reach up there. I also found that it helps practising barre chord inversions up the neck, I do it in front of the Television and use the chords from Pachelbel's "Canon in D". After a while, they started to fit with my hand.

philrab66
08-16-2015, 02:26 AM
I, too, have large hands, glove size X Large. Sure, it is a challenge to squeeze those finger tips into place sometimes. But that comes easier with practice. And that's the "secret," practice.

How to practice: Don't force it. Play for short periods of time. Play several times a day. Keep going over the same simple stuff. Keep a Uke with you when at your computer, or on the sofa, or sitting at the kitchen counter.

Be patient. It will all come together eventually.

Thanks George
That is the thing I do practice a lot that is why I am frustrated perhaps I am expecting too much.

philrab66
08-16-2015, 02:27 AM
Hey Phil, some Guitar players use a "Grip Master" to strengthen their fingers, maybe that helps. Have you tried positioning your thumb differently? This might provide a better angle to reach up there. I also found that it helps practising barre chord inversions up the neck, I do it in front of the Television and use the chords from Pachelbel's "Canon in D". After a while, they started to fit with my hand.

You're right probably thumb placement I do hook it over top most of the time apart from when I have to do occasional barre chord.

Down Up Dick
08-16-2015, 03:34 AM
Correct thumb placement will be a big help for a lotta things. I've been fighting incorrect thumb placement (wrap around) for a long, long time, because that's the way I learned to hold my Ukes. It seems more comfortable and easy to do. I know how to do it correctly, but my hand just ignores my brain. I hold the Ukes better when I don't cosy up in my rocking, turning office chair (with arms), and I don't fall asleep during practice time so much.

Ahhh, well . . . Sleep is good too. :old:

Rllink
08-16-2015, 04:03 AM
Hi all after a bit of advise/wisdom. I have been playing for around 4 years there has just been a few days I have not picked it up. I am not really into strumming and there is no local group to play with so I like to finger pick and play solos. I try and get a good tone when my nails are in good shape. I have never sight read before I can do it now but it is not automatic. My main frustration is fingering certain chords I guess I have just got the easy ones under my belt and for the life of me can not get hard ones down. For instance 2225 seems way out of my reach I have large hands but there is no way. I just feel I need a new approach anybody got any suggestions or thoughts. Thanks for your time Phil. Are you playing the 2225 D as a bar chord?

bnolsen
08-16-2015, 04:08 AM
Are you playing the 2225 D as a bar chord?

if he truly has large hands there's no other way to play it. me I'm having some serious problems trying to play stuff like 1323 (starting A string), 1303 or 2044, 0044.

philrab66
08-16-2015, 05:03 AM
Are you playing the 2225 D as a bar chord?

I actually meant to put 1225

philrab66
08-16-2015, 05:04 AM
Are you playing the 2225 D as a bar chord?

My main problem is when I am fretting the 4th string I always seem to mute the 3rd

PhilUSAFRet
08-16-2015, 05:15 AM
Now you understand why classical guitar players generally hold the neck differently from other players. Takes a while for that pinky finger to get in shape.
I originally felt the same about the E major chord, now it's easy. Lots of tutorial videos on UU and Youtube...search ukulele, how to.....................and fill in the blank. As you have observed, with no club available, it would nice to see how others are doing it.

CactusWren
08-16-2015, 05:31 AM
Here is some advice from a classical guitar player.

One, it is NOT about force, it is about leverage and efficiency. Find how to apply the needed pressure using the least force. Feel like you are using the weight of the arm to pull down on the neck, with the fingers mostly resisting against that weight.

Two, your fingers will only stretch and react smoothly if they are relaxed. Make a continual, conscious effort to keep the hand soft and "dead". Most likely, you are holding way more tension than you need at this point.

Three, make sure each finger really knows where it is going. Any confusion here is going to jam you up.

Four, be precise with where you put your finger and what part of the finger you use. Try to use the tip where it is hard. It will transfer more force that way with less effort. Try to put that spot right behind the fret, not in the middle. Again, that saves you effort.

Five, practice attack each chord with a different order of fingers. Say, index middle annular, then index annular middle, then annular index middle, then annular middle index.

Six, be patient and enjoy the ride! Start off with some easier stuff and have fun with it, ham it up. http://www.doctoruke.com/twoandthreechordsongs.pdf

Don't feel bad if things take longer than you think they "should". You will get this.

bnolsen
08-16-2015, 06:05 AM
I actually meant to put 1225

oops this mistype probably blew the whole thread. My only proposed solution at this point is to try a uke with a wider nut like an islander (1.5") or ou6w (1.75"). For me its about impossible to play chords with the 2 interior strings on the same fret, the outer 2 on different ones. I can't individually fret those strings without muting the outer 2, can't barre them without muting with my finger joint. For now I tend to redo the chord or more typically drop one of the strings so I can finger the chords. Most of the time the 'G' string can be dropped if you are in reentrant.

UkeInTW
08-16-2015, 06:11 AM
I also have trouble with more complicated bar chords. I started the uke about 1.5 years ago. I have small hands though. I posted this in the tips and technique section a couple weeks ago, but did not get any replies on my "chords and curving pinky post". I can do the 2225 adequately, not great. I bar the top 3 strings of the 2nd fret with my index and use my pinky on the 5th fret of the A string. I have 2 variations, both not great though.

1. bend my pinky fully at both knuckles which allows me to pull down both index and pinky with more force and also touch the palm part at the base of my pinky and clamp down more. Because my pinky finger curves inwards, especially when bending, then it is actually pointing about 45 degrees inward, rather than perpendicular to the fret board, and ends up fretting in the middle of the frets and not right up against the 5th fret, but still can fret cleanly, so the curving inwards is not really a problem.

2. Another way is to keep my top knuckle of my pinky straight and only bending at the first knuckle. This feels a bit more awkward,and I end up fretting not on my finger tip, but more on the finger pad. Sometimes I use this, depending on which chord I am coming from or going to, and if I am not thinking.

Both are not ones where I can change in and out of very fast yet, so still need more work.

There are some similar chords that I have slightly more trouble is the 225 with A string open, so have to stretch to fret the 5th on the E string with the pinky and given the curving of my pinky, it makes it hard to to do it fast and clean.

And the other similar bar chord that is really giving me more problems is the 4225 = Bm, so have to bar the 2nd fret with index, and use the ring finger to bar the 4th fret on the G string, and pinkky to bar the 5th fret of the A string. In Herb Ohta Jr.'s Sand Castles, this Bm appears often, so trying to learn this song and will take me a long time to change in and out of comfortably, timely and get it cleanly all the time. I can get to fretting it cleanly when I take my time to place my hand and fingers, but trying to change in and out of yet with any speed, just not there yet.

I do hold out hope from experience that there have been some chords that seemed impossible at first and felt like that I would never be able to play them ever. But, over time, slowly, after just playing more and more, with some increased finger coordination and dexterity, I go back to some chords and then find that there were sometimes when I could slightly get it, so it went from impossible, to maybe sometimes possible. And for that I am holding out that maybe I have a chance to play some of these better over time, even if it is a very very slow process for me.

k0k0peli
08-16-2015, 06:24 AM
Echoing the above: let each finger know where it's supposed to go, then practice practice practice till they go there automatically. If my big fingers don't fit then I cheat (play partial chords) or move to a wider neck.

peanuts56
08-16-2015, 07:25 AM
I have fairly small hands and sometimes have trouble with the above mentioned fingerings. I started playing seriously only 2 years back. I have always played with my thumb on the back of the neck instead of hanging over. I was a music ed major and when we took guitar class the instructor was an advocate of that thumb position. It has helped me a lot to maintain that thumb position.
Someone mentioned practicing for shorter periods of time and that's excellent advice. I am originally a trumpeter and brass players use that technique a lot. When we tire we start using incorrect form and that becomes a habit. Next thing we know we can't seem to break that habit. Practicing when your mind is clear is also good. I find that when I'm tired my concentration becomes a problem.
The original poster said that he/she was frustrated. Players of all levels on every instrument get frustrated from time to time. Dizzy Gillespie once said that in the end the instrument always wins. Diz was a true musical genius and probably faced frustrations from time to time. Relax and just enjoy the experience, learning any instrument is a lifelong journey.

VegasGeorge
08-16-2015, 07:54 AM
My main problem is when I am fretting the 4th string I always seem to mute the 3rd

Arch your hand. That is, bring your wrist up to the level of the fretboard so that your finger drops down on the 4th string rather than laying across it. Actually, you should be playing with the wrist up all the time. It feels unnatural at first, but will become natural feeling with time.

philrab66
08-16-2015, 09:02 AM
Arch your hand. That is, bring your wrist up to the level of the fretboard so that your finger drops down on the 4th string rather than laying across it. Actually, you should be playing with the wrist up all the time. It feels unnatural at first, but will become natural feeling with time.

Thanks everybody for your comments. I think that is it George I do not know how to hold my wrist I always thought you where supposed to let it drop.

peanuts56
08-16-2015, 11:50 AM
I had the opportunity on two occasions to talk technique with singer/guitarist Michael Johnson. Michael had a few big pop hits in the late 70's early 80's. Bluer Than Blue was his most famous. What most people don't know is Michael is a world class guitarist. His roots are in classical guitar and he studied at a conservatory in Spain in his younger years. He told me to try to play as relaxed as possible and to watch my posture. It sounds simple but most of us don't do this. When I find myself starting to tense up I stop and reload while trying to relax. If the process of tensing up continues I put the instrument down and do something else for a while.
I love the way Chet Atkins played. Watch Chet and you will see a very relaxed approach, no wasted motion. Chet was always striving to improve and learn new things. He made it look effortless as a result of practice and playing relaxed.

Camsuke
08-16-2015, 12:24 PM
Hi Phil, this e-book will help with developing sight reading skills, finger dexterity, plus much more.
http://ukeofcarl.com/hanon-for-ukulele-free-ebook/

Nickie
08-16-2015, 02:39 PM
Okay, I understand arch your hand....but what is this technique of doing it in an office chair before a TV? Should I get a TV?

Camsuke
08-16-2015, 02:53 PM
Okay, I understand arch your hand....but what is this technique of doing it in an office chair before a TV? Should I get a TV?

You've got to juggle the remote as well!

70sSanO
08-17-2015, 05:17 AM
Hi all after a bit of advise/wisdom. I have been playing for around 4 years there has just been a few days I have not picked it up. I am not really into strumming and there is no local group to play with so I like to finger pick and play solos.

Since you have been at this for 4 years, I'm not going to suggest technique or some book, not that it won't be of any value. But you have been training yourself for 4 years and any change will not be easy.

But there are a couple things you can do. I don't know the chord 1225 (G# - D - F# - D). I'm sure you have a good reason to play it, but you can probably change the shape and move it up the fretboard so you don't have the 1 - 5 stretch. Maybe a 7645 (???). Fretting up the neck with large hands may not be as easy with a concert ukulele (Uluru II). Maybe a tenor would be easier.

You can always change keys to make the chords easier. I can only speak from experience, but I play fingerstyle and don't play in a group setting, so I'll move things to make it easier. I have learned over the years that if I am playing for enjoyment, I need to at least enjoy it.

Don't know it this helps.

John

philrab66
08-17-2015, 10:42 AM
I have finally got somewhere. I have only made a few adjustments but is has made a huge difference. I was facing fretboard so I could see it so spinned that round a bit and lifted neck a bit higher and dropped it into my lap a bit more.:shaka::music: