View Full Version : Help with bar chords?

10-16-2009, 02:18 PM
Hey guys, me again. So i'm starting to move on to more songs with my new Aquila Nylgut strings and my UU sweatshirt! Anyways, i seem to have a bit of trouble with bar chords (I'm working on "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz). Whenever i play a chord with a bar in it, it sounds really choppy, so I play each string individual and it seems like half of them are muted! Whenever I try to fix it, the other two strings become muted :mad:! It's getting quite frustrating because it seems that all the songs I want to learn to play have bar chords in them. Any help is appreciated.

-UM :shaka:

10-16-2009, 02:39 PM
Hello! :)

For bar chords near the nut it really helps to have a lowish action at that end of the uke. Could be that your uke's nut would benefit from a little adjustment.

Also, the more you practice bar chords, the more finger strength you'll build up.

Get someone to check out the action on your uke (a guitar tech at your local store should be able to do it), and keep practicing.

Also, where a full bar isn't needed, try varying the fingerings a bit.

Keep at it, mate. It'll come. :)

10-16-2009, 02:56 PM
Bar chords are tough for me too, but two things I found that help me is either to 1) piggy back the first finger with another finger so I have double the pressure holding down the chord, or 2) to move my finger higher up so that it is the second knuckle rather than the first that is applying some of the pressure.

If all else fails, just keep practicing them. That is what I'm trying to do...

10-16-2009, 02:57 PM
This may sound kind of weird but the next time you are playing a bar chord, raise your fret hand elbow a bit.

Bar chords are usualy better played using the edge of your finger as oposed to the more fleshy part. Raising the elbow tends to angle the finger better. It also uses a bit of leverage so that the bar finger is held down as much by the angle of the hand as it is by the muscle of the hand.

It's one of those things that's way easier to show face to face but give it a shot and see if you can get it.

10-16-2009, 03:48 PM
when i first started doing barre chords, i also would use my index finger to bar it and then put my middle finger on top to add pressure. eventually the need to use both fingers will lessen. although, my ukulele god, jake also uses two fingers sometimes.

10-16-2009, 03:56 PM
Hi, I'm learning the same song and was having some of the same probs. Basically, when I was barring my finger just wouldnt pin down the A string enough, resulting in awful popping sounds. As I practised more, I've seen a small but significant change, so would agree practice does cure it.

I was having probs with the B without the barre :(, once I moved onto that f# those first fret strings really didnt want to touch the fingerboard! It is starting to sound a bit better now tho!

10-16-2009, 03:58 PM
Aldrine gives good tips on bar chords. Search uke minutes.:)

10-16-2009, 04:30 PM
Before attempting to get the chord down, practice barring your finger against the fretboard. You probably just need to get used to it - I suggest just pressing your finger against the fretboard and overlapping that finger with another, i.e., middle over index, index over middle, etc., whatever you prefer.

Then when you get used to it, throw in your other fingers and...

Well you know, practice makes perfect. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-happy014.gif

10-17-2009, 08:14 AM
One thing you might try is to think of your thumb as a fulcrum on the back of the neck and use your arm weight to pull your finger tighter to the board. Let your elbow pull in closer to your body and backward. I know this is the opposite of what Waterguy posted, so try it both ways and see if one of them works for you.

10-17-2009, 09:54 PM
Try positioning your thumb nearer to the bottom of the neck. This helped me and I think, has the effect of raising the elbow slightly, so it's basically another way of saying what Waterguy said.

10-18-2009, 06:52 AM
to get some pressure on your barring finger, make sure your thumb is right behind the fretboard, not hanging over the top. I play most of my chords with my thumb waggling over the top egde of the fret board, but when i need pressure i drop the thumb down to push against the back of the fretboard.:)

10-18-2009, 05:22 PM
Awesome, thanks a bunch guys! It's starting to sound better!

-UM :shaka: