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peridot
02-04-2017, 08:36 PM
My cousin gave me this tenor uke that he wasn't using anymore but I think the fret space is too huge for my fingers that I can't even form chords that require fingers to stretch over one or more frets (im now only able to form C Am F G Em and D-sort of BUT I just bar the three strings with my thumb) . And I also can't bar chords with my index Middle or ring because it just mutes the strings. The strings are also very rigid and I will sometimes get a dead twang sound when I strum a chord. I think that's because I don't press on it hard enough - but it temporarily dents my fingers, is that Normal? I've only just gotten this uke 2 days ago and I already feel demotivated to play it because my fingers are small.

jollyboy
02-04-2017, 09:01 PM
Is this your first experience of playing any sort of ukulele? It sounds as though maybe it is. Tenors can be challenging as a first instrument as the string tension is pretty high and you need a decent bit of finger strength (imho) to fret chords cleanly. I picked up a tenor quite early on and then quickly swapped it for a concert. I later went back to tenor but I would say that the smaller instrument was much more newbie-friendly.

Some other options include trying some lower tension strings (e.g. try using a soprano/concert set) or tuning the uke down to F Bb D G. You could try the latter as an experiment to see if it improves your playing experience. One of the disadvantages of a non-standard tuning is that almost all learning resources use standard GCEA (although if you are just playing by yourself it's not that big a deal).

Edit: It's also possible that the action is a little high, which will make fretting harder.

Croaky Keith
02-04-2017, 10:17 PM
- but it temporarily dents my fingers, is that Normal? I've only just gotten this uke 2 days ago and I already feel demotivated to play it because my fingers are small.

This is your first stringed instrument, you have to harden up those finger tips, just takes a little while. :)

You're already ahead of a lot of beginners if you're onto a D chord after 2 days! ;)

(You aren't born knowing how to do things, it takes practice.)

Booli
02-04-2017, 11:18 PM
From the photo your thumb is in the totally wrong place.

99% of the time, your fingertip or the flat of the first joint of your thumb should be against the back of the neck, opposite your fingers are you are fretting, and this will assist a lot in being able not only to FRET the strings but to REACH the strings.

As per your photo, you cannot reach the strings because you only have about 2 knuckles worth of extension by your thumb being parallel to the neck, and the neck resting in the web of your hand, both of which are bad habits and neither of which are proper technique.

There are eleventy trillion ukulele instruction and tutorial videos on YouTube. Maybe first look at ones for 'how to fret the ukulele' and 'how to hold the ukulele' before deciding about being demotivated.

If you have no previous experience with fretted instruments like guitar, mandolin, etc you need to get a basic foundation of how to even approach the fretboard, and it seems that this information is exactly what you are lacking, and thus seems to be the root cause of all of your impediments and frustration.

Please try to find a few videos to watch and then report back. I dont have any links right now, but maybe someone else does, and if not, I will try to supply you with some to get started later this evening (SUNDAY)...

JackLuis
02-05-2017, 12:52 AM
Yeah I started on a tenor, and had similar problems. You are doing well, for the first week. C-F-G7-Am (or I,IV,V7,VI) are your base chords for most music in the key of C. You can "Transpose" almost any song to C if you know the magic numbers. Search for a Key Chord Chart. It is a key document for learning Key Transposition. You can figure it out on your fingers but a Key Chord Chart is faster.

Practice your strum and chord changes, I,IV, V7, I,V7, VI, IV, V7, I. then speed up the tempo and changes as you learn to do them cleanly.

If you want to get less tension, try slacking off your strings to dGBE or G re-entrant tuning. You will be playing in G rather than C, and your chords will be five semitones lower, but the relative spacing of the tones will be the same. The string tension will be a lot lower and all your chord forms (muscle memory) will prove useful when you string up with a new set of strings in a few weeks. By then your fingers will become accustomed to the fretting of the chords.

Good Luck and Happy Struming.

Croaky Keith
02-05-2017, 01:38 AM
These might help you get to grips with your uke. :)

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC8A8A4D91F4D40A4
http://ukulelehunt.com/2010/02/24/beginner-ukulele-lessons/

http://www.lakesidepress.com/UkeSyllabus.pdf

Django
02-05-2017, 06:13 AM
Finger position is the key to cleat tone rather than pressing down hard, especially with nylon strings. Pressing hard can sharp the note, cause pain and slow you down. The string height at the nut should only be equal to or slightly higher than a fret wire. As Booli said, thumb position is a big factor regarding reach and not clarity. I would take the Uke in for a professional setup. If I feel that they need one, a set-up is the first thing that I do when I get an instrument.

A light and precise touch works best, but first, the instrument has to be in good order.

I play my tenor reentrant and tuned b flat instead of c. String tension is less and to me, tenors seem more natural in this tuning. I use a capo at the second fret if I want to play with otbers. Don't give up. Challenges make things worth doing.

Rllink
02-05-2017, 07:23 AM
From the picture, I don't think that your fingers look particularly small in comparison, and the frets don't look particularly far apart. I mean, it is pretty much standard spacing. But you say that your cousin gave you the ukulele. How bad did you want it, and how bad do you want to play it. Because I'm just saying that it isn't easy to learn to play the ukulele. So you say that you are already demotivated, so I would ask you how motivated you were in the first place? Maybe it just isn't worth the effort for you. That's okay too.

Django
02-05-2017, 07:33 AM
From the picture, I don't think that your fingers look particularly small in comparison, and the frets don't look particularly far apart. I mean, it is pretty much standard spacing. But you say that your cousin gave you the ukulele. How bad did you want it, and how bad do you want to play it. Because I'm just saying that it isn't easy to learn to play the ukulele. So you say that you are already demotivated, so I would ask you how motivated you were in the first place? Maybe it just isn't worth the effort for you. That's okay too.

I have found that I have received more enjoyment from overcoming the difficult things in life rather than doing what came easy. I am not a natural musician, but persistence has paid off and I enjoy playing music very much and I have no regrets for the many hours and years of struggle. I have enjoyed the journey and you need to set obtainable short goals along with the overall goal. Little victories add up. Good luck and maybe get a few lessons to get your form and your instrument onto the right track.

Gary52
02-05-2017, 08:43 AM
Try putting your finger closer to the fret. You won't have to press as hard, so it will be easier on your finger and not bend (sharpen) the note.

stevepetergal
02-05-2017, 09:39 AM
Practice, practice, practice.
That's the answer to everything.

Booli
02-05-2017, 11:46 AM
RE: demotivation

IMHO:

The biggest difference between winners and losers is that losers give up too easily when faced with obstacles or failure, and that winners will often have persevered beyond whatever obstacles, and will have tried again, and again, and again despite numerous failed initial and subsequent attempts.

If at first you dont succeed, try and try again is a oft-repeated phrase from adults spoken to children, but as adults, most do not heed this simple advice.

One needs to know of both realistic and measurable expectations vs. pure fantasy, as well as have a true and disciplined commitment to achieving their goals, otherwise failure is the result, justified with a long list of 'reasons' (excuses).

If you want to 'win' at learning to play ukulele, or um, 'nose flute', you need to ask yourself how badly do you WANT this.

If you 'ax' me, the rewards for perseverance usually far outweigh any frustrations on the journey, and the challenges only serve to push me further and to try AGAIN, better, smarter, harder with each (impossible to count in total) iterative attempt.

Failure is not an option for me, but time limits the amount of effort I am allowed to apply, so sometimes, the process of achieving success in a given realm is put on hold for the moment, but never forsaken nor forgotten.

Scatterbrain
02-05-2017, 12:32 PM
I started on a soprano and quickly added a concert and tenor to my collection (albeit very inexpensive ones) because I wanted to compare them. There are no music shops in my town and I am mainly housebound so trying before I bought wasn't an option. I loved the concert immediately but when I got the tenor I was like :wtf:

Even coming from guitar it felt HUGE after ukeing for a while and one of the reasons I can't play guitar anymore is due to joint and pain issues. Anyway, I put a lovely set of d'addarios on it and picked it up for a while every day and am pleased to report that I don't want to send it back anymore. It's in linear tuning for more classical playing and I am still loving the other two! So keep going - mix it up :)

peridot
02-08-2017, 08:47 PM
YES if you've seen my last post I AM very new to stringed instruments. I have tried looking up what the 'correct' position of the fretting hand is, and apparently it doesn't seem to help much since my fingers can barely stretch over the first three frets regardless of the position of my thumb. The attachment shows my fingers trying to fret an E chord but my pinkie barely touches the fourth string and it's really difficult to apply pressure to not mute the strings in this position97712

zztush
02-08-2017, 09:09 PM
This E requires a bit of power of pinky (figure below). Hence you need to hold your uku in correct position, it is often a high position and your elbow should be pulled outside a bit.

https://s19.postimg.org/jr7xycvlv/100_2618.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/my2hhzg1r/)windows print screen (https://postimage.org/app.php)

See the deference between my pinky and yours. First joint should be flexed. Your ring finger goes with your middle, my ring and pinky go independently.

DownUpDave
02-09-2017, 12:41 AM
Peridot......notice where the pad of your thumb is compared to zztush in your photo and in his. Your thumb is sticking straight up in the air while his is on the neck in the middle of his hand width. This is not a criticism just an observation to help point out different chords require different hand shapes and positions. By the way an E chord is one of the hardest and gives intermediate players with 1-2 years under their belts a hard time.

My advice is always start easy ie C, F, G, Am, Dm, etc. etc then slowly work your way up. When I teach someone to golf we don't start out attempting to hit a 5 yard draw.......we are just trying to make consistent contact.

ukatee
02-09-2017, 12:46 AM
Experiment with your hand position. Rotate it around the neck so that your thumb no longer extends beyond the neck towards you, and there is a gap between your palm and the far edge of the neck. Using a strap can make everything much easier but may be considered uncool.

Croaky Keith
02-09-2017, 02:26 AM
Another thought just came to me, when I first started, I couldn't reach the chords on a tenor scale, & I've got man sized hands, but after a little while, my hands became more supple & I then be abled to. :)

Django
02-09-2017, 01:44 PM
If you like the tenor, you can tune it down 2 steps and use a capo on the second fret. Schubb makes a nice capo for ukuleles. The fret spacing up the neck should be easier for you and the string height will be nice and low, at least in the first position. String tension will also be reduced. Playing and stretching should help to extend your reach over time.

WCBarnes
02-09-2017, 06:00 PM
By the way an E chord is one of the hardest and gives intermediate players with 1-2 years under their belts a hard time.

My advice is always start easy ie C, F, G, Am, Dm, etc. etc then slowly work your way up. When I teach someone to golf we don't start out attempting to hit a 5 yard draw.......we are just trying to make consistent contact.

I was going to say the same thing. You indicate that you are new to stringed instruments. The E chord on a ukulele is probably the most difficult to play (I am sure there are several threads about "the dreaded E chord.) I would, and did, work on other chords and over time your fingers will become more flexible and the E chord, and others, will become easier.

Booli
02-09-2017, 07:05 PM
I play an E Maj chord like this in TAB 4447, and then I don't bother with finger contortions that slow me down.

Also, I play a D Maj chord as 2225, and in both cases barre the 3 strings closest to my face with my pointer, and then use the pinky on the A string.

This is simply a moveable chord shape in barre form of the C chord in 2st position, and OMG it works all the way up the neck. :music:

Works for me. YMMV. :)

JackLuis
02-09-2017, 07:20 PM
The cheat for newbies is to play an E7, works most of the time. 1202.

Scatterbrain
02-10-2017, 06:23 AM
The cheat for newbies is to play an E7, works most of the time. 1202.

Sacrilege!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :smileybounce: