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Plane Ignerints
08-23-2015, 01:38 AM
I'm going through some of the great videos provide on this site, and as a beginner, I am finding it difficult to get my fingers placed for the E chord and D chord...but if I bar the strings with my thumb it is easier.

Is this the kind of thing that would hold me back later on, or does it fall into the "whatever works" category?

stevepetergal
08-23-2015, 05:20 AM
Keep practicing. Eventually the thumb fretting will slow you down (or stop you altogether) and you'll regret not putting in the time.
It's extremely difficult to "un-learn" very bad habits.

Doug W
08-23-2015, 05:42 AM
I have to agree with Steve. Many people will say "Whatever works - there are no rules", I think that is true if your goal is to learn some chords to play singalongs, but if you want to play more interesting, intricate stuff as you go along, the thumb will get in the way. You will find great players of string instruments who use their thumbs to barre chords and who can play circles around me, but for most of us, the chording thumb should stay behind the neck and never touch a string.

PhilUSAFRet
08-23-2015, 05:57 AM
For chords like E, I rotate my hand up slightly to put the headstock in the crook between my thumb and hand. Same for D. Allows for better alignment of three the three fingers I use. Many others use barres.

johnson430
08-23-2015, 06:56 AM
I am a big fan of movable chord shapes.
Using the simple step method you can start with a C, using your third or fourth finger on the 1st string/3rd fret.
Then simple move the shape down two frets for a D and barre the second fret with your first finger.
Barre the strings on the 2nd fret and place another finger on the fifth fret 1st string.
Move that shape two more frets and you will have an E chord. (barre the 4th fret)
Move it one fret and you have an F.

The steps:
C to D two steps
D to E two steps
E to F one step
F to G two steps
G to A two steps
A to B two steps
B to C one step
(think of the keys on a piano, if you know anything about the piano)

Also, you can do this with other chord shapes too.
I learned some nice techniques from the book, "Understanding Ukulele Chords" by van Renesse

VegasGeorge
08-23-2015, 09:31 AM
I have no idea what you people are talking about! I can't get my thumb to do anything, let alone barre chords. Well, I can scratch my nose with my thumb, but only if I lower my head to the fretboard. Are a bunch you guys double jointed, or something?

The Big Kahuna
08-23-2015, 10:06 AM
Fretting with your thumb is not a "bad habit", it's just another technique. If it helps you, do it. Is anyone here seriously suggesting that using his thumb to fret the bottom string held Hendrix back? There is no such thing as the "wrong" way to play an instrument.

Rllink
08-23-2015, 10:07 AM
In my experience, there is the classical ukulele approach, and then there is the whatever works approach, neither of which has worked for me. There is however a lot of ground between the two, and I fall into that middle ground, at least as far as my approach. I will say, that when it comes to chording, I stay pretty traditional. Early on though, when I was always looking for an easy out, I tried thumbing the E, because the E was hard, and it just wouldn't work. I mean, I could play the E just fine by wrapping the thumb, but it just never became natural and I could never go anywhere else from there. I finally just learned to play an E. I'm betting that playing the D by wrapping the thumb around would be just as awkward. Everybody has to play a D. No one gets to play the ukulele well, who can't play a D or can't play an E. You are no different than anyone else, so if I can play one, you can too. Those are the basic chords, and basics are basics. As you progress, you are going to run into chords much more difficult to play, so get used to it.

Plane Ignerints
08-23-2015, 11:13 AM
Thank you to everyone who has replied...I'm leaning toward learning more than one method...so much I don't know about this great instrument.

Rllink
08-23-2015, 11:51 AM
Fretting with your thumb is not a "bad habit", it's just another technique. If it helps you, do it. Is anyone here seriously suggesting that using his thumb to fret the bottom string held Hendrix back? There is no such thing as the "wrong" way to play an instrument.
Well using Hendrix as your role model is fine, but Hendrix could play behind his head, behind his back, on the floor, and with his teeth, but even though there are plenty of videos showing Hendrix wrapping his thumb to play a chord, he certainly wasn't doing it because he couldn't play them any other way.

johnson430
08-23-2015, 01:56 PM
Well using Hendrix as your role model is fine, but Hendrix could play behind his head, behind his back, on the floor, and with his teeth, but even though there are plenty of videos showing Hendrix wrapping his thumb to play a chord, he certainly wasn't doing it because he couldn't play them any other way.

From what I have read, Hendrix taught himself how to play; perhaps that is why he had such "bad habits".
Although I would never question his abilities.

The Big Kahuna
08-23-2015, 06:58 PM
Well using Hendrix as your role model is fine, but Hendrix could play behind his head, behind his back, on the floor, and with his teeth, but even though there are plenty of videos showing Hendrix wrapping his thumb to play a chord, he certainly wasn't doing it because he couldn't play them any other way.

I wasn't using him as a "role model", I was clearly using him as a simple example to illustrate the fact that "if it works for you, do it" is a perfectly valid viewpoint.