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robinboyd
01-02-2016, 01:24 AM
Hi Guys,

Ever since I have started playing (about a year ago), I have had issues playing B flat chords and anything else with the same shape, such as the inverted C chord. I can't get my index finger to bend so that it can bar the E and A strings. I can never seem to get enough pressure on the A string. I've managed to play it in the conventional way once or twice, but on each of those occasions, I spent at least 5 minutes fiddling with the finger position and caused myself quite a bit of pain trying to force my finger into position. However, I can play the chord quite cleanly if I just bar all 4 strings with the index finger. I used to have a teacher, and I asked him about this, and all he said is that it's better if I can play it the normal way and that I should practice. Several months have passed since then, and practicing doesn't seem to have helped. How important do you guys think it is to play it the 'normal' way? I'm doing alright doing it my way, but I'm just worried that I'm shooting myself in the foot in the long run by learning the 'wrong' way to do it.

DownUpDave
01-02-2016, 01:37 AM
I feel very strongly about playing the chord any way that works for you. I play B flat with a full barr and find no issue doing this what so ever. We are all built a bit differently when it comes to physical proportions, dexterity extra. I play in three seperate uke jams and have taken workshops and most leaders/teachers say "do what works for you"

Croaky Keith
01-02-2016, 03:02 AM
If you get a Bb the way you play it, it's right for you - fingerings are 'suggested' positions & fingers.

morgensd
01-02-2016, 03:10 AM
I agree that if it works for you don't worry too much about it. That said, there may be some chord transitions that are easier from the partial barre position. How you hold the neck can affect your fingering. If you hold the neck so that the tip of your thumb is on the back of e neck rather than cradling it between your thumb and first finger it might help.

Dave

Tootler
01-02-2016, 03:15 AM
Barring just the E & A strings or barring all 4 strings are equally good. If barring just the E & A strings is causing you pain,Don't do it whatever your instructor says. Chances are you'll do yourself long term damage.

Barring all 4 strings makes it easier to move to other bar chords, so there is an advantage to that particular fingering.

Recstar24
01-02-2016, 05:12 AM
Pain is the worst enemy in playing an instrument and should be avoided virtually all the time. Listen to your hand, it's telling you the full barre is better. Musically the full barre can lend itself to faster smoother transitions to other barre chords, like if you do C as 5433 with a full barre you can go to a G as 4232 pretty nicely keeping the full barre in place.

Recstar24
01-02-2016, 05:15 AM
I'll also add that if you wanted to experiment playing the Bb shape with a partial barre, one thing to play with would be thumb placement. I feel directly under the neck, and shifting your hand so that your thumb points a little bit more north to the headstock (thumb more parallel to the neck), you can get a little more even and consistent pressure from the barre fingers since the finger pressure is more equalized between your thumb and index finger.

robinboyd
01-02-2016, 10:17 AM
Thanks guys,

In terms of thumb positioning, I've been playing around with it for a while and while I can't find a thumb position that will enable me to do the partial bar, I have found that the position that Recstar24 suggested helps me to maintain barre chords longer without cramping.

Best regards,

Robin

Halfling
01-02-2016, 12:31 PM
Pain is the worst enemy in playing an instrument and should be avoided virtually all the time. Listen to your hand, it's telling you the full barre is better. Musically the full barre can lend itself to faster smoother transitions to other barre chords, like if you do C as 5433 with a full barre you can go to a G as 4232 pretty nicely keeping the full barre in place.


This shape at 7565 is also Bb and is A one down, 6454. It is a good shape...it is best thought of as a Barred F shape.

janeray1940
01-02-2016, 01:15 PM
Nothing wrong with full barres as you describe. My fingers don't do half-barres very well; I'm told it's genetic - either you have those bendy fingers or you don't. So, to compensate I use the index finger barre a lot, or else I use one finger on each string (depending on the chord shape, of course; I don't think this would help with the Bb shape!).

pritch
01-02-2016, 06:05 PM
I too moved to the full barre but found that sometimes it made the next chord change more difficult. These days I use the recommended fingering but change the position of the uke - the headstock gets lifted up toward my forehead for a Bb and that seems to make the fingering easier. It might look bit odd but most times it sounds how it should, so I choose sound over appearance.

Kayak Jim
01-02-2016, 06:13 PM
I'll also add that if you wanted to experiment playing the Bb shape with a partial barre, one thing to play with would be thumb placement. I feel directly under the neck, and shifting your hand so that your thumb points a little bit more north to the headstock (thumb more parallel to the neck), you can get a little more even and consistent pressure from the barre fingers since the finger pressure is more equalized between your thumb and index finger.

This is what works for me for the Bb shape. Thumb parallel to and in the center of the neck, pointing at the headstock.

robinboyd
01-02-2016, 06:24 PM
That's what give me best results for the full bar in terms of reducing fatigue as well, but there is no way I can manage a partial bar with it.

jollyboy
01-02-2016, 06:42 PM
I use the full barre method for Bb. The reason for this is because my fingers are too short to successfully make the semi-barre shape. I simply do not have enough length in my middle and ring fingers to be able to cleanly arch them over the A and E strings and then land them neatly on the C and G strings (respectively) while attempting to semi-barre with my index finger. And, although I'm sure it's good advice and may prove useful to others, no amount of adjusting thumb position helps to alleviate this issue in my case.

The initial challenge to me as a beginner has been trying to achieve a clean barre, with no muted/muffled strings. I'm definitely 'getting there' now and it has really just been a case of practice, practice, practice. The next thing I feel I have to work on is increasing speed of movement between barres and open chords and that too is slowly improving. Again, progress seems to be primarily about repetition and programming muscle memory.

I don't groan quite so loudly now when I spot a Bb lurking in the chord chart of a new song I want to learn :)

Tootler
01-02-2016, 11:40 PM
I too moved to the full barre but found that sometimes it made the next chord change more difficult. These days I use the recommended fingering but change the position of the uke - the headstock gets lifted up toward my forehead for a Bb and that seems to make the fingering easier. It might look bit odd but most times it sounds how it should, so I choose sound over appearance.

I do the same for s half bar Bb. It puts the hand in a better position for placing the fingers. I find that easier than a full bar unless I'm moving from another bar chord. That said, I don't use a lot of bar chords because of the style of music I play; mostly folk.

Rakelele
01-03-2016, 12:19 AM
Aldrine has a couple of videos on ukuleleunderground.com with exercises on how to bend your finger, they might be helpful. You see a lot of pros doing the semi-barre, I guess they are quicker that way. However, I tend to think that using the full bar helps not only with changing to other barre chords, as has been mentioned, but is also needed for B7 (2322) etc.

zztush
01-03-2016, 01:26 AM
How important do you guys think it is to play it the 'normal' way? I'm doing alright doing it my way, but I'm just worried that I'm shooting myself in the foot in the long run by learning the 'wrong' way to do it.

At first, I have to say that long barre is not 'wrong' way. But short barre is very important. It is worth to practice. Short barre works in many songs. This video is tutorial of 12 bar blues in G. Short barre is seen in C chord. We are beginner. Any basic skills are worth to practice. They bring us next step. ;)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwV96QkZn40&index=3&list=PLC43YjOJWnrFyh26 F2dAofx1-ZcEvbeYy

mm stan
01-03-2016, 02:29 AM
there are several ways to learn the Bb chord...
one is make sure you hold the headstock at a 2 o'clock position
second tuck your elbow in your ribs and when making a Bb position your inside wrist should be pointing up
Third you don't have to barr it straight across... you can cheat and angle your barred e and a strings a bit for comfort
forth practice
Good luck Happy Strummings

robinboyd
01-03-2016, 09:42 AM
At first, I have to say that long barre is not 'wrong' way. But short barre is very important. It is worth to practice. Short barre works in many songs. This video is tutorial of 12 bar blues in G. Short barre is seen in C chord. We are beginner. Any basic skills are worth to practice. They bring us next step. ;)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwV96QkZn40&index=3&list=PLC43YjOJWnrFyh26 F2dAofx1-ZcEvbeYy

I can do what he's doing. I just can't reach my fingers over to the G or the C strings without losing pressure on the A string.

cdkrugjr
01-03-2016, 09:49 AM
Now I don't live with your fingers, but I know I've never had the occasion to try to half-bar a Bb. I've seen it "dotted" in ways that might Suggest half-barring, but I don't recall ever reading that this was "right" and full-gar was "wrong.

I just full-bar with my 1 (index) and use either 2, 3 or 3, 4, depending on what's coming next.

Master it and it gives you a nice voicing for Bb, B (standard), C, Db, D, and more, with a nice change from "all 1st position all the time."

photoshooter
01-03-2016, 12:05 PM
I can do what he's doing. I just can't reach my fingers over to the G or the C strings without losing pressure on the A string.

Try keeping the boney part of your finger joint on the A string as you reach up to G for the barre. Also sometimes it helps me to roll my barre finger (index usually) slightly to the side so I'm not barring with the padded part of the finger but more of the side part which is leaner.

robinboyd
01-03-2016, 12:10 PM
Try keeping the boney part of your finger joint on the A string as you reach up to G for the barre. Also sometimes it helps me to roll my barre finger (index usually) slightly to the side so I'm not barring with the padded part of the finger but more of the side part which is leaner.

Thanks. That actually seems to be physically possible. Now I just have to work out whether there is any advantage to that over the full barre.

photoshooter
01-03-2016, 03:07 PM
That's what I do for a full barre. I try to make sure that as I lay my finger across all the strings, that the boney "2nd joint" on my finger (the one at the middle of your finger) rests on the A string. And when possible I roll my finger slightly to the side. In both cases what I'm trying to avoid is the fleshy part of my finger landing on the A string and not applying the correct pressure which results in a thud. I fumbled through a lot of trial and error and more error until I found what worked for my fingers. Seems to be different for everyone. Keep at it, you'll get it :)

ukulelego
01-05-2016, 01:05 PM
Honestly just play the full barre, if it works don't worry and just carry on making music. I play it both ways and honestly I'm not even sure its a conscious decision at times. If you're new to barring in general it will come with time but I wouldn't worry about it.