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View Full Version : Is this a popular method for changing chords?



cindyleigh
03-21-2017, 07:32 AM
Hi, I just watched a video on youtube about how to change chords on the ukulele and it suggests playing an open up strum just prior to the change. So DDU UDU on C would actually be DDU UD (on C) and the last U would be open ....so that you can get your fingers in position for the next chord.

Here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcAV1VAwE5M

I think with practice this would be great because I do seem to need some time to get my fingers into position. When I try to play at a fast consistent tempo, my first D strum is a bit delayed while I try to place my fingers so I rush through the remaining strum.

But I'm wondering if it is a common practice or if I should just try to work on my speed?

Thanks,
CL

Uncle Rod Higuchi
03-21-2017, 07:39 AM
I'm pretty sure I do that. I'm almost sure everyone does as well :)

I think it's probably more important to be on the correct chord on the down beat...
so that an open U(p strum) may be overlooked or allowed :)

keep uke'in',

Croaky Keith
03-21-2017, 07:58 AM
That's interesting, I had never thought about trying something like that. :)

acmespaceship
03-21-2017, 09:09 AM
Sometimes it sounds good. Particularly in the keys of C and G, where an Am7 chord (the open chord) isn't out of place. Try it and see if you like it. A more reliable option that works in any key is to not strum on that final beat. And of course, with practice, you'll be able to change chords fast enough that any of these techniques becomes optional.

Strumming on time is more important than getting a clean chord change because people notice the rhythm (or lack of it) more readily than they notice a wrong note or a less-than-perfectly-fretted note within the chord. Keep the strum going no matter what happens with your left hand.

plastuku
03-21-2017, 11:54 AM
This seems to me like a bad habit to teach yourself. It can be used as a stylistic trick, but should not be a default.

I recommend working through the song's chord changes slowly until you can make them all on time. Use a metronome of some sort because, as acmespaceship says, timing errors are more noticeable than fingering errors (or at least, less forgivable). I'm sure some chord changes are more difficult for you than others; put in extra practice time as needed with those. I remember when I was learning guitar, my biggest problem was the C to F change. For a while I didn't think I'd ever get that, but I spent hours and hours at it and all at once, it went from impossible to doing it in my sleep. In my experience, at least, musical learning curves are steep but have a sharp crest.

You might also find it helpful to think ahead and prepare your fingers for the move as the change is coming up. Also, try to find an 'anchor' in your fingering: a finger placement that's common to both chords.

Lots and lots of work, but it's worth it.

DownUpDave
03-21-2017, 01:46 PM
Our very own Aldrine teaches this for beginners. It gives you the time you need to make the switch from one chord to the next. With practice........... lots and lots of practice you will switch fast enough you wont need to do it.

ksiegel
03-21-2017, 03:31 PM
Depending on the chord progression, I find myself moving some fingers, but not all, and making the transition to the next chord, when I will finish moving my fingers. If I'm finger picking, I'll just pluck out a melody during the chord change.

I haven't the faintest idea what I do when I'm strumming...

zztush
03-21-2017, 09:08 PM
There is another technique in chord change in guitars.

Hit open strings when change chords.

Tootler
03-21-2017, 11:11 PM
I've noticed on videos some folk do this on a regular basis. They lift all their fingers off and move them to the next chord with an open string upstrum during the transition. It doesn't seem to be a problem to a listener, I certainly noticed no problem with it, it's just part of their style. I prefer to find an anchor finger to make the change easier and smoother and only lift all fingers off for a change when it's absolutely necessary.

However, each to their own. If it works for you, then fine.

RichM
03-22-2017, 02:33 AM
With all due respect to Aldrine, a much finer player than I'll ever be:

If you do it because you like the sound, it's great.

If you do it to hide the fact your chord changes aren't crisp, practice. :)

Never mistake shortcuts for technique.

Benjolele
03-26-2017, 11:48 PM
I'd have to agree with what several folks have said already. Using it as a crutch doesn't seem like a good habit to form. However, if you don't over use it, it can be a very tasty stylistic touch. I sometimes like to use it to lead into chords like D or Am. Or even get a little fancier and try strumming an open and using the hammer on technique to build into the chord. Even build by hammering one note at a time.

https://youtu.be/nAFrPohaOJQ
I would reinforce nearly everything Plastuku said, but perhaps the most valuable are to think ahead to the next chord and anticipate the movement, and that it's more important to maintain the rhythm than it is to finger the cord perfectly.

Sometimes, especially in improv situations, if I'm trying to buy myself a half a second I will drop the palm of my strumming hand onto the strings and give a couple 'chuk' strokes. This keeps the rhythm flowing but helps to prevent me from playing too many bad notes.

Tootler
03-29-2017, 09:50 PM
...it's more important to maintain the rhythm than it is to finger the cord perfectly.


Absolutely. As someone has said to a group I belong to for a different instrument, a wrong note is gone in a second but go wrong in the rhythm and the whole piece is messed up. It's more important to get the rhythm right and sustain it than worry about the odd wrong note or chord that's not as cleanly fingered as it might be - or even an upstrum with all fingers off while you change chords (as long as rhythm is not interrupted)

redpaul1
04-04-2017, 03:58 AM
...it's more important to maintain the rhythm than it is to finger the chord perfectly.
Absolutely. As someone has said to a group I belong to for a different instrument, a wrong note is gone in a second but go wrong in the rhythm and the whole piece is messed up. It's more important to get the rhythm right and sustain it than worry about the odd wrong note or chord that's not as cleanly fingered as it might be - or even an upstrum with all fingers off while you change chords (as long as rhythm is not interrupted)

You two put me in mind of the first three of the 10 commandments of bass, (not that 'jack up' is the phrase generally seen in the 1st commandment :) ) - and of course, you're quite right:

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-bDXdyU9-aac/Uuvsw0j-o0I/AAAAAAAABl4/vWvOvHcczGA/w800-h800/BassCommandments.jpg

To get back to the OP - Cindy, if you play the C chord using your ring finger or your pinkie, then you can go straight to the F, leaving your ring finger or pinkie where it is! That F shape yields a perfectly respectable F chord (some would say it produces a nicer sound than the normal 2010 F)!

9906499065

So in the case of the video itself, yes, of course you can play that way (everything everyone here has said about Aldrine's talent is true), but equally you could switch from C to F simply by hammering your middle and index fingers onto the g and the E strings, and just lifting off those two fingers when it's time to go back to the C.

You'll notice, if you go back to Aldrine's video, he is playing C with his ring finger, so his middle and index fingers are all ready to drop onto the A and E strings to make the F in any case. The fingering you choose for the chord you're playing now should always ideally enable you quickly to transition to the chord you'll be playing next.

So, if I'm playing a C chord and I know the next chord will be a G, I might prepare by placing my middle finger on the 2nd fret A string while I'm still playing the C (i.e., behind my ring finger on the 3rd fret A string - so I'd have two fingers on the one string), in readiness for the change; so that when it's time to move to the G chord, all I have to do is move my ring finger across one string (from 3rd fret A string to 3rd fret E string) and my middle finger is already in place. Now all I have to worry about is getting my first finger onto the 2nd fret C string. The more time you spend in preparation, the less time you'll need in execution.

bunnyf
04-04-2017, 04:39 AM
I may use this open (or absent) up strum unconsciously in some circumstances (probably where I'm going to need to move all 4 fingers for the next change anyway) but I'm usually looking to leave an anchor when appropriate or double up fingers on a string in anticipation of the next chord change.

mds725
04-04-2017, 08:51 AM
Listen carefully to John Lennon playing really fast triplets on "All My Loving." Virtually each chord change begins with a single open chord. I don't know if he did it on purpose or if it was just the logistis of strumming that fast while changing chords, but I think it actually enhances the song.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvuuZYKVoe0

One of my Hawaiian music ukulele teachers said that it's something of a style in Hawaiian music to interject an open chord between other chords. I do it frequently now not because of the speed at which my fretting fingers move from one chord to another (although that used to be the case) but as a style.

Tootler
04-08-2017, 10:22 AM
So, if I'm playing a C chord and I know the next chord will be a G, I might prepare by placing my middle finger on the 2nd fret A string while I'm still playing the C (i.e., behind my ring finger on the 3rd fret A string - so I'd have two fingers on the one string), in readiness for the change...

I do the same thing if I'm going from C to Em, put a finger on 2nd fret A string ready to make the switch.

Looking for anchors for a chord change is good practice. While an experienced player can make effective use of lifting all fingers off and replacing them with a strum on open strings between, for a beginner I think it's likely to create more problems than it solves as you haven't yet 'taught' your fingers where to go. If you can either leave a finger in place as you switch or put a finger in place ready, you are more likely to make a clean change in my view.