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View Full Version : Chords in key of E: recommended fingerings for C#m?



Aegislash
01-27-2018, 04:29 PM
I've been trying to learn to play in as many major keys without a capo as possible, and the next key that I'm looking at is E. I've found that in this situation, Aldrine's E chord shape (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTS0qHXupJs) works best and gives me the best movability to A [2100], B [4322] and F#m [2120].

However, I'm not sure which fingering to use for C#m. I've tried 110x (which sounds too thin and wispy), 1104 (which my fingers can't reach), and 6444 (which is a hassle to move to without breaking my strumming). Can anyone who knows how to play in E offer some insight? :p And perhaps share also how you usually play in E?

Doctroid
01-27-2018, 05:29 PM
I don't play in E and I'm not certain I've ever needed C#m, but my first thought would be x444. You can use the tip of the barring finger to deaden string 4 and strum with abandon.

ash13brook
01-27-2018, 06:01 PM
I'd be curious to know from what chord you are going to the C#m and where you go from the C#m.
The 6444 is fairly easy to grab unless maybe you are coming from an open position chord. That would be a little bit of a jump...still pretty doable, though.
Maybe when you run across the need to play the C#m, you could use a different fingering of the chords before and after to make it easier.
I recently made a decision to not capo or retune, also. Sometimes the chords are tough. I say find the one that sound best to you in that particular case that you can physically form and work at till it's easier. You'll be glad you did. My current one is a G# - 1343. From E7(1202) and then to A(2100). I have to consciously keep the first finger anchored on the G# on the G string. Otherwise, I lose control and have to stop.
You'll have to figure out systems like this at other times if you're serious about playing in all keys.
It's worth the effort, though.

Matt

ripock
01-27-2018, 06:17 PM
I usually play E as 1X02. If I play something like a I vi IV V in E, I play the C#m as 1104 which basically means just moving up the A string two frets. To be honest, the only other C#m I would consider is the 1444 where you barre the entire first fret and the first three strings of the fourth fret. All the other C#m variations don't work for me in terms of pitch.

As for having problems with 1104 and 1114, I have a lot of sympathy. In my way of thinking the essential chords for the ukulele are all the major and minor triads and all the major and minor 7 chords. C# was the last one for me to get a handle on. There is something about the stretch that my hand isn't amenable to. Here's what I do for C#m in the 1104 shape. I start with the pinky on the 4th fret of the A. That's my pivot point. Then I use my index finger, specifically the distal phlange, to cover the G and C strings. The key is to disregard all the classically trained musicians out there. Don't keep your finger parallel to the fret. My index finger basically come over the nut and crosses the G and C strings at a 45 degree angle and hinges up to leave the E string open. I wish I had a camera because this is really hard to put into words. Hopefully you can get some picture of what I'm trying to show.

Aegislash
01-27-2018, 06:47 PM
I'd be curious to know from what chord you are going to the C#m and where you go from the C#m.
The 6444 is fairly easy to grab unless maybe you are coming from an open position chord.
Matt

Depending on the chord progression it really could be anything - A, B, E, F#m especially. I'm still trying to do the 6444 to take advantage of the movable barre, but it often sounds too high so that might not be my permanent solution. Thanks though, playing in all keys is the idea - so far I've got C, D, F, A, G and Bb down... though I've always wondered what the advantages are of playing capo-free?

Aegislash
01-27-2018, 06:50 PM
I usually play E as 1X02. If I play something like a I vi IV V in E, I play the C#m as 1104 which basically means just moving up the A string two frets. To be honest, the only other C#m I would consider is the 1444 where you barre the entire first fret and the first three strings of the fourth fret. All the other C#m variations don't work for me in terms of pitch.

Nice, 1x02 for E actually sounds pretty good because the muted string is one of the inner strings... I take this to mean that your E chord has the middle finger muting the C string, and your C#m has the pinky stretching to the 4th fret of the A string (which I honestly can't do at this point :p) - and standard A and B shapes?

Aegislash
01-27-2018, 07:07 PM
As for having problems with 1104 and 1114, I have a lot of sympathy. In my way of thinking the essential chords for the ukulele are all the major and minor triads and all the major and minor 7 chords. C# was the last one for me to get a handle on. There is something about the stretch that my hand isn't amenable to. Here's what I do for C#m in the 1104 shape. I start with the pinky on the 4th fret of the A. That's my pivot point. Then I use my index finger, specifically the distal phlange, to cover the G and C strings. The key is to disregard all the classically trained musicians out there. Don't keep your finger parallel to the fret. My index finger basically come over the nut and crosses the G and C strings at a 45 degree angle and hinges up to leave the E string open. I wish I had a camera because this is really hard to put into words. Hopefully you can get some picture of what I'm trying to show.

Just saw your latest edit - I can indeed picture what you're doing, thanks for the detailed description too. The going over the nut and missing the E string sounds difficult, let alone keeping the pinky at fret 4, but I'm still itching to try this open C#m. We'll see if it's better than the fingerings I have currently, thanks a lot! On another note, 1x02 is an excellent alternative E :)

Jarmo_S
01-27-2018, 08:05 PM
I play C#m as 110x. It is easy to mute the A-string and it sounds fine.
It and E (1x02) are the only chords that I use left hand string muting.

Edit:
When first learning I did use 1104 and it is not that difficult. But then I looked in the mirror and it did not look so cool, so I switched to 110x ;)

anthonyg
01-27-2018, 11:45 PM
and 6444 (which is a hassle to move to without breaking my strumming).

6444 would be my choice. I'm pretty slow at changing chords yet I have no problem in going up there from open position chords without breaking my strumming.

How? You never break your strumming, ever. No matter what, you keep strumming.
What you do do is just go ahead and strum the strings that are damped by your hand sliding up. It should only be one beat and it adds some percussive interest.

The moral of the story. Just do it like you meant to do it.

Aegislash
01-28-2018, 12:08 AM
never break your strumming, ever. No matter what, you keep strumming.
What you do do is just go ahead and strum the strings that are damped by your hand sliding up. It should only be one beat and it adds some percussive interest.



Thanks, you pretty much hit the nail on the head, my main gripe with 6444 was the muted/percussive sound you get for one beat (especially when moving from B), but I guess this applies to movable barres in general. Anyway, notwithstanding that 6444 can sometimes sound a tad too high, so I'm going to continue experimenting with the open C#m shapes for now...

Jarmo_S
01-28-2018, 01:10 AM
Nice, 1x02 for E actually sounds pretty good because the muted string is one of the inner strings... I take this to mean that your E chord has the middle finger muting the C string, and your C#m has the pinky stretching to the 4th fret of the A string (which I honestly can't do at this point :p) - and standard A and B shapes?

Your fingertip should either press the string down or be in the air. Muting with a free finger can cause you even hand tensions plus it is way too vague. You can of course use that Aegislash, maybe be an exception.

What I recommend for 1x02, is press G# note with index finger and with same finger you also mute the C-string by tilting it slightly. I use ring finger for the B and middle one is ready to make E7 (when needed).

ripock
01-28-2018, 01:17 AM
Nice, 1x02 for E actually sounds pretty good because the muted string is one of the inner strings... I take this to mean that your E chord has the middle finger muting the C string, and your C#m has the pinky stretching to the 4th fret of the A string (which I honestly can't do at this point :p) - and standard A and B shapes?

not quite for the E. I only use two fingers. The ring finger frets the A string and the index finger frets the G. The trick is to intentionally do what you're not supposed to do; don't arch the finger. Be kind of sloppy with it and let it muffle the C string while it is fretting the G. For the A chord, in this context, I use the middle and ring fingers and then I just slide that configuration up a whole step and slap down the index finger as a barre for the B.

As for the C#, just keep practicing. I remember being frustrated for quite a while because I could barre the first fret. I could fret that C# on the A string, but when I combined the two my E string would be muted and my chord ruined. I did some silly stuff with non-conventional fingerings and other work-arounds. Then I moved onto something else. Eventually when I revisited the C#, it was just working! So keep achieving and all the skills overlap eventually.

Aegislash
01-28-2018, 04:46 AM
Your fingertip should either press the string down or be in the air. Muting with a free finger can cause you even hand tensions plus it is way too vague. You can of course use that Aegislash, maybe be an exception.

What I recommend for 1x02, is press G# note with index finger and with same finger you also mute the C-string by tilting it slightly. I use ring finger for the B and middle one is ready to make E7 (when needed).

Yup - thanks, I always thought of 1x02 as sort of like an E7 with sloppy fretting on the middle finger, but this two-finger version is way easier and very reliable :) 1x02 shall replace 4222 as my E shape for some instances now...


As for the C#, just keep practicing. I remember being frustrated for quite a while because I could barre the first fret. I could fret that C# on the A string, but when I combined the two my E string would be muted and my chord ruined. I did some silly stuff with non-conventional fingerings and other work-arounds. Then I moved onto something else. Eventually when I revisited the C#, it was just working! So keep achieving and all the skills overlap eventually.

I suppose you mean C#m? We're in the key of E here :p Nonetheless I found C# major pretty tricky too, the first fret is quite unforgiving with barre chords. I've never had to use C# (Db) yet though, I'm still in the mid to late beginning stages of playing so I'm quite a stranger to the uncommon keys.

I tried your version of C#m just now, needed some getting used to but it's actually very good! However, personally I get the awkward situation where moving between E [1x02] and C#m [1104] requires me to adjust my index finger at the C string. So I think I'll stick with Aldrine's 4442 E chord for the key of E and use 1x02 for something like the key of A. Now it's just a matter of practising changing between I, IV, V, vi until I have the key of E down pat. Thanks so much for all your help, especially with the C#m! It was crystal clear :)

Jim Yates
01-28-2018, 09:05 AM
You could also try C#mi6 [3444] which will often be an effective substitute for C#mi.