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View Full Version : I hate Bb chords, with a vengeance, they are the stuff of evil!



Graceelsie
04-11-2011, 08:04 AM
The title says it all really... I have been trying to conquer this wretched chord for weeks, it makes my fingers feel like someone has put them through a mangle and still sounds like a strangled cat. What is the longest time one should expect to have to try to conquer a particular chord? Am I just not cut out for this ukulele playing lark?:mad:

fitncrafty
04-11-2011, 08:08 AM
This chord used to be the bane of my ukulele existence.. Now it just slows me down occasionally. I urge you not to meet the 'E' chord anytime soon! Keep practicing, I found that I had an easier time practicing the formation as 'B' instead of Bb, over one more fret made a big difference!
Don't give up you are NOT alone in the battle with Bb!! Keep on practicing!

BadLands Bart
04-11-2011, 08:11 AM
Yes, just like fitncrafty sez....don't give up, it takes practice.

SailingUke
04-11-2011, 08:50 AM
Try barring the first fret with your index finger.
If you get Bb down you will be on your way up the fret board.
With practice you will get there, most of us struggled with the Bb chord.
I have always found barring the first fret easier than trying to bend the index finger backwards.

ConspiracyUkeist
04-11-2011, 08:53 AM
I found a video on YouTube, the one where the guy says it's his first video so "be gentle", he shows how to put your thumb on the BACK of the neck, not wrapping your hand around the neck, makes it a lot easier.

I'm fearless around uke chords, it's guitar chords that kill me.

RyanMFT
04-11-2011, 08:58 AM
There is no time you should expect really, each of us is unique. I find that when I am struggling with a chord shape, I get frustrated when I can't do it, and I tend to tense up my grip on the neck and use too much pressure on the strings, making it hard to move easily into the chord shape. It often helps me to relax the muscles in my hand, then my fingers tend to go a little closer to where I want them to go.

Good Luck, you can do it!

Ingrate
04-11-2011, 09:14 AM
Bb chords get some of their difficulty from being so close to the nut. It's much easier to press a string to the fret further down the neck.

You can minimize the physical effort by lowering the string height by deepening the nut slots. It also helps to play a soprano, which has the slackest string tension.

I see a lot of players using Bb chords w/o apparent difficulty, so it must be possible!

:p

Graceelsie
04-11-2011, 09:33 AM
Thanks everyone! I was beginning to think it was just me, and I was just naff at this, but if others have had a hard time with this one, I don't feel so stupid! Thanks for the tips and the encouragement! As for the dreaded E chord... I can make one sound reasonable... I just can't play it in conjunction with any other chords before or after it, lol! I can't actually make the Bb sound like anything vaguely musical at all!

rowjimmytour
04-11-2011, 09:52 AM
Start out w/ I am a total newbie but found that when I need to bar a chord that it helps to place your finger as high on the fret as you can w/o going into the next fret. This allows you leverage and you don't need to press as hard. Good pickin' :)

Coconut Willie
04-11-2011, 09:58 AM
Yep the Bb is a bit of a tough one to do. Just takes practice. What I did was form the chord (Bb) and then pluck each string to see which string was not getting enough pressure on it then adjust accordingly.

ukulelecowboy
04-11-2011, 10:02 AM
All excellent suggestions and you will succeed. Few things really need to be stressed:

1. Make sure that your thumb is providing amble support and pressure behind the neck. This is really important. It will provide substantial support.

2. Barre-ing the entire first fret should be easier than a partial-barre of strings two and one. I would shoot for that.

3. Make sure that the very tips of your fingers are pressing down on the strings. Not the flats. This is why it is so important to keep the nails of the fretting hand trimmed down.

My rule of thumb (no pun intended) is that if if my fingernail keeps the tip of my finger from touching the top of my desk, then the nail is too long.

Good luck and have fun. I'm sure that you will have it in no time.

Mike

UncleElvis
04-11-2011, 10:35 AM
Someone will invariably yell at me for this, but...

Learn Soul Sister in the original key.

The E to B to C#m to A back to E thing, over and over?
It AMAZED me how fast I got the Bb shape down AND the E shape, AND the A to E and back switch (which is relatively important as they're 4th and 5th to each other, so if you play in A or E, you're probably gonna be going from one to the other at some point).

I struggled with these shapes, too, but doing this song got me through it.

And, yes, I am as sick of it as everyone else! *grin*

Raygf
04-11-2011, 10:54 AM
The Bb chord shape on the gCEA ukulele is an F chord on the guitar. When I started guitar many years ago with a teacher and an dreadful Mel Bay beginners book, the first chord was an F. I thought I would never be able to play the guitar. I avoid the F chord when working with beginner guitar students and the Bb with beginner ukulele students. Eventually you will get it. Coconut Willie has a great suggestion. Spend a minute or two a practice session with it. You can also try to play the Bb (321X) and mute the first string or stop your strum at the 1st string.
Regards,
Ray

knadles
04-11-2011, 11:10 AM
I agree with barring the index finger. I have a bit of a guitar background, and barre chords are just something you get used to. All the ukers I know who came from guitar do it that way. Barring 4 strings when you're used to 6 is a piece of cake. :)

-Pete

OldePhart
04-11-2011, 11:25 AM
Try barring the first fret with your index finger.
If you get Bb down you will be on your way up the fret board.
With practice you will get there, most of us struggled with the Bb chord.
I have always found barring the first fret easier than trying to bend the index finger backwards.

+1 on this. Just barre all four strings at the first fret and its just another barre chord, no finger-mangling required. You'll need to know that barre shape sooner or later anyway, and if you learn it at the Bb you've got it all up the fretboard. I never have figured out why the various "professional" chord books don't illustrate the chord that way.

John

quiltingshirley
04-11-2011, 11:40 AM
Okay, I can get the fingers on but is it supposed to sound so awful? I'm still doing Uncle Rod's boot camp so that cord keeps showing up. (and some others I find I don't have enough fingers for).

velofille
04-11-2011, 11:56 AM
I went to a jam with a group the other week and they did a different variation of the Bb, they just did first and second string on the 1st fret. It was a nice easy half bar to do for the beginners and seemed to sound similar enough to get away with.

GreatGazukes
04-11-2011, 12:11 PM
How long to "master" the Bb chord.....A YEAR for ME!!!

The Bb chord owes me many many hours, lol

Oh I tried the barre-ing, and tried and tried, but my fingers just werent going to do it....so I sat down one day and just tried all sorts of ways to get those four strings fretted at the right spots.....and the only way was for my index finger to barre the E and A strings, my middle finger to sit atop the index finger, and my ring finger on the C string and my pinky on the G string....it still took a year for it to work fairly smoothly, quick from an F chord or F7 chord, but still jumpy from other chords at present, but it is there now....as I said I've been working on it for a year.....so never never give up.....thumb placement on the neck of the uke is paramount to getting the chord right.

Cheers

whetu
04-11-2011, 12:59 PM
I went to a jam with a group the other week and they did a different variation of the Bb, they just did first and second string on the 1st fret. It was a nice easy half bar to do for the beginners and seemed to sound similar enough to get away with.

Hmmm that's more of a Bb5th as far as I know, I've also seen it referred to as a "kinda C11". You're right - often you'll get two chords that sound 'close enough', though OTOH this might be a case of a bad habit being shared around the group. I've played with people from the Wellington Uke Collective who insist that the one true way to do Bb is 3210 - they can't give a credible reason though. I suspect, from experience, that a leader in their group saw that chord shape in a song pdf and preached the habit to the group. There's nothing wrong with doing a Bb that way (it's especially useful for changing to Bbadd9), and it's not a 'bad habit' per se, I just don't think it's right to preach it as the one true path.

I'm not innocent of this myself, I've advised my own group members who are struggling with the E chord to use the barre form (4447) but I also show them the limitations of this and encourage them to stick at practicing the rotten ol' E method (http://www.kiwiukulele.co.nz/images/KUKEp20.pdf). The difference is that I make it all clear, instead of saying "the only way to do E is 4447!!!"

Back to the OP: I would also vote for barring. When I change to Bb I put my middle finger on the C string second fret and use it as an anchor point to form the rest of the shape. I can also do the mangled hand way, but I find it's better to barre especially if you're using other barred chords like D7.

Lola
04-11-2011, 02:32 PM
Someone will invariably yell at me for this, but...

Learn Soul Sister in the original key.

I was actually going to suggest something similar, but for me the song that just made it work was Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in F. I hated Bb, I avoided Bb, but after a full day of practicing that song until my wrist hurt, I came to accept Bb. You're certainly not alone!

mm stan
04-11-2011, 02:56 PM
Aloha Graceelsie,
Ah the dreaded Bb chord.....here's a beginners method..
1)sit in a chair
2)If you're right handed, rest the bottom right bout of you ukulele on your right upper thigh and tilt the neck of you ukulele at 45 degrees..
3)and with you left hand make a Bb chord position with your palm open facing upwards position and put your thumb behind the neck or first frets of the G and C strings...
4)Keep you elbow at a touching your body near your ribs..
5)now try to strum while holding the Bb chord...
Good Luck, and let me if it works for you...Happy Strummings..MM Stan

OldePhart
04-11-2011, 03:29 PM
I've played with people from the Wellington Uke Collective who insist that the one true way to do Bb is 3210 - they can't give a credible reason though. I suspect, from experience, that a leader in their group saw that chord shape in a song pdf and preached the habit to the group. There's nothing wrong with doing a Bb that way (it's especially useful for changing to Bbadd9), and it's not a 'bad habit' per se, I just don't think it's right to preach it as the one true path.


Well, nothing "wrong" with it except that it's a BbMaj7 unless they're muting the A string. Technically, if you follow the formal rules of chords from the western major scale that would be the correct 7 chord assuming you're playing in the key of F - but the IV7 is not often used in popular music. Still, it will work in a lot of places but I'd hardly call it the correct, let alone the only correct, way to finger a Bb!

John

garywj
04-11-2011, 03:36 PM
It's like learning 12 chords in one, because you can take it up the neck fret to fret to the 12th fret. Learning to barre with the 1st finger is also a good idea, because you will then be ready for some other barre chords. With 3 or 4 barre chords, you can play every major/minor chord. It is time, and finger torture, well spent. Don't give up.

OldePhart
04-11-2011, 03:39 PM
Someone will invariably yell at me for this, but...

Learn Soul Sister in the original key.

The E to B to C#m to A back to E thing, over and over?
It AMAZED me how fast I got the Bb shape down AND the E shape, AND the A to E and back switch (which is relatively important as they're 4th and 5th to each other, so if you play in A or E, you're probably gonna be going from one to the other at some point).

I struggled with these shapes, too, but doing this song got me through it.

And, yes, I am as sick of it as everyone else! *grin*

I won't yell at you. In fact, you prove the point I made earlier - that's an incredibly easy sequence to play with barre chords. Barre E at the 4th fret, Barre B at the second fret, Barre C#m at the fourth fret, Barre A at the fourth fret, Barre E at the fourth fret. Other than the quick hop back to the second fret for the B you never have to move off the fourth fret. Even better, you never have to change the shape of your hand even for the slide back to the B. In fact, you're rarely changing the position of more than two fingers at a time. Even better, if your blonde lead singer needs to move it down a half step or up anything from a half step to several steps you don't change a thing - you just move to a different "center" fret.

'Course, UncleElvis, I'm sure you're aware of all this, but some of the newbies might not be.

John

velofille
04-11-2011, 03:52 PM
Someone will invariably yell at me for this, but...

Learn Soul Sister in the original key.

The E to B to C#m to A back to E thing, over and over?
It AMAZED me how fast I got the Bb shape down AND the E shape, AND the A to E and back switch (which is relatively important as they're 4th and 5th to each other, so if you play in A or E, you're probably gonna be going from one to the other at some point).

I struggled with these shapes, too, but doing this song got me through it.

And, yes, I am as sick of it as everyone else! *grin*

Have to say, i use that same song to practice all the harder chords, its excellent to be fluent with them (but may give you sore wrists and hands after a while!) ... yes im sick of the song also :D

Dryad
04-12-2011, 02:41 PM
I just can't play it in conjunction with any other chords before or after it, lol!

I practised going between E and D/D7, that seemed like the easiest, and I got pretty good at it pretty quick. Now I can play it easily.

I don't even know what Bb is yet, I'll have to go look... :/

Dryad
04-12-2011, 04:36 PM
Ok, I went and leanred Bb. Here is what is working out for me...

Firstly, I have nerve damage in my left hand. Many things can be very hard for me, but with training of that hand, I can master it. So maybe my little trick will help you. I'm practising going between Bb and C. When I go to C, it allows my forefinger to do a mini-stretch, and when I return to C, I walk my fingers up from 1st fret to the third.

After a bit of playing this, I was already fast enough that I was barely walking. I still need to work it out more for my hand to no longer cramp for it, *and* be faster, but I'll definitely get there. :)

Viola Harpstrings
04-12-2011, 04:48 PM
Bb stinks, but E smells even worse!

brucemoffatt
04-12-2011, 05:13 PM
As hinted at earlier, the only reason Bb is more difficult than say B is the proximity to the nut, and hence the effort to 'bend' the strings down to the fret.

First up check your uke to make sure the action is not too high. Measure the hight of the strings above the first fret. If it's more than say .5 to .6 of a mm (whatever that is in inches) consider getting the set-up adjusted.

Second, again as hinted at earlier, have a look at how a classical guitarist places the thumb behind the neck, i.e. directly under the fingers making the chord. That way you have a good anvil to press down against. You may find that you have to move your thumb into position for this chord, however it's worth it, and it will soon sound fine.

Third, just practice going slowly through the chords, in no sort of rhythm, just playing each of the chords in the progression that has the Bb, over and over, and let the speed come up slowly and naturally. (better still, read Uncle Rod's stuff)

That's it. The only thing between you and perfection is a whole lot of practice. Make sure you enjoy the practice, because that's about 90% of your/our future uke playing :)

GreatGazukes
04-13-2011, 02:42 AM
Bb stinks, but E smells even worse!

pass me my smelling salts

Canoe Lady
04-13-2011, 05:14 AM
Bb was actually one of the early chords I learned. I wanted to play the Molokai Slide, so I worked and worked at it.

What helps for me to easily play that chord is to 'swing' my wrist under more so that the pinky side of my hand is touching the neck of the uke (and this brings my elbow closer to my body also). This seems to be the same basic thing that mm stan was recommending, I think. Then just practice going from Bb to F (or whatever other chord you choose) over and over and over. Before you know it, it will fall into place.

I still can't do the E chord....maybe someday.

mm stan
04-13-2011, 08:33 AM
Bb was actually one of the early chords I learned. I wanted to play the Molokai Slide, so I worked and worked at it.

What helps for me to easily play that chord is to 'swing' my wrist under more so that the pinky side of my hand is touching the neck of the uke (and this brings my elbow closer to my body also). This seems to be the same basic thing that mm stan was recommending, I think. Then just practice going from Bb to F (or whatever other chord you choose) over and over and over. Before you know it, it will fall into place.

I still can't do the E chord....maybe someday.
Aloha CanoeLady,
I love Molokai Slide too....it's a really fun song....Happy Strummings...MM Stan

ichadwick
04-13-2011, 08:37 AM
...What is the longest time one should expect to have to try to conquer a particular chord?
How long is a piece of string? It will take as long as it takes.

Be glad you're not learning on steel strings on a guitar, as many of us here did.

It's very simple, really:
Practice.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice.

There is no substitute for practice.

ConspiracyUkeist
04-13-2011, 10:52 AM
Just look at the video on youtube, all it amounts to is learning from 100's of years of classical guitar and putting your thumb on the back of the neck, not wrapping your dang hand around the neck like you're Jimi Hendrix.

My hands are SMALL but uke chords aren't the scary things for me that guitar chords are.

Dryad
04-13-2011, 12:21 PM
It's very simple, really:
Practice.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice.

There is no substitute for practice.

Mom? Is that you?

*lol*

rowjimmytour
04-13-2011, 12:46 PM
Its funny chords like Bb that you bar my fingers get but my fat short fingers have trouble w/ Dm6. Any help for fat fingers and forming chords when there just doesn't seem to be room on the neck of my soprano.

OldePhart
04-14-2011, 06:45 AM
Yep, it's called a longneck soprano - concert scale neck on a soprano body. I think this was truly what the uke was meant to be :)

John

Mouthy1
04-14-2011, 07:12 AM
Learn to love the Bb chord because so many great second position chords are the same fingering. Worth the effort.

Richie23
04-14-2011, 10:16 AM
The shape of this chord isn't too difficult, so maybe its the string tension and type of strings on your uke that is making it hard to accomplish. Being right close to the nut, barring the first fret needs a fair bit of pressure. On my bari uke, what is your Bb is my F, so gets used in a lot of songs. In the guitar world, you hear people bemoan the dreaded fully barred F chord, it renders most beginners full of dread, and so it goes with Bb in the uke world. I tend to bar the first two strings with my index finger and use middle and ring finger for the other two strings. I find it so much easier with Worth Brown strings, but as others have already said, its practice that counts. If you can master this chord shape it will open up a whole new range of possibilities, as you can use the shape right up the fretboard for loads of other chords. Keep going, eventually you will wonder why you found it so difficult.

LoMa
04-14-2011, 10:56 AM
A Bb is probably one the hardest first postion chord to master on a uke - same thing with an F chord on the guitar - same exact fingering.

First make sure your nut isn't too high - is it noticeably easier to do the same chord fingering at the 5th fret than it is at the first fret? If so, then your nut slots need to be filed doen a bit. Make sure you know what you;re doing before you do that, or have someone else do it who knows.

Just keep trying and it'll come. honest. Try to make the chord at least several times when you're playing - don;t worry if not all the notes are clear, just get used to getting more or less into that chord position. Use a chord progression that is useful or sounds cool to you and includes the Bb. You're just getting your hands uxed to the idea. Sleep on it and try it again in the moring, Tnen in the evening, and sleep on it again, etc. etc. It will come, I promise! Somes days will be easier than others, and that's okay too.

pepamahina
04-15-2011, 01:16 PM
Another good song to learn for practicing Bflat is The Universe is Laughing by Guggenheim grotto. You can get chords laid out nicely for ukulele here:
http://www.guitaretab.com/t/the-guggenheim-grotto/230014.html
I bought the mp3 on itunes and I play it on my iPod while I practice it. It is a lovely song and fun to play and gives the old Bflat a workout!

Graceelsie
04-19-2011, 08:08 AM
Aloha Graceelsie,
Ah the dreaded Bb chord.....here's a beginners method..
1)sit in a chair
2)If you're right handed, rest the bottom right bout of you ukulele on your right upper thigh and tilt the neck of you ukulele at 45 degrees..
3)and with you left hand make a Bb chord position with your palm open facing upwards position and put your thumb behind the neck or first frets of the G and C strings...
4)Keep you elbow at a touching your body near your ribs..
5)now try to strum while holding the Bb chord...
Good Luck, and let me if it works for you...Happy Strummings..MM Stan

Thank you to everyone for all the suggestions, most of which are being tried out by me in succession, lol. This one however is sadly not going to work for me... I am a very large lady and there is too much frontage for my uke to get anywhere near my thigh, lol. My ukes sit atop the "frontage".. on the balcony, so to speak! (Or I wouldn't be able to see them! LOL)

Nickie
04-19-2011, 09:09 AM
I am just now beginning to be able to make the Bb chord, but the E chord is still horrible.

ukulefty
04-19-2011, 09:53 AM
My E and B chords aren't too bad now (as long as the chord changes aren't too fast).

That damn Bb chord still catches me out a bit though, but it's improving! :)

ukuhelen
04-20-2011, 05:59 AM
thanks everyone -- I know what I need to do....practice practice practice etc.

poppy
04-22-2011, 03:58 PM
Work on a song called 'walk dont run" recorded by the ventures in the 50's use the bar cord Bb in the 7/5/3/2 position its an easy way to build up strength in the index finger. one of the posters was also an ol guitar player and this was done with a bar f on guitar and really sucked for us guys with short stubby fingers. LOL
now if youy are still having trouble in the first position (the Bb position) its normally buzz from lack of pressure but may well be poor setup on string heigth of the uke.

uker62
04-22-2011, 04:57 PM
Yes, I really agree that a key is keeping your thumb on the BACK of the neck, stay away from the thumb wrap thing. Try making a full C chord, it's the same thing just two frets higher, then slide up the the Bb. As far as the E goes, an E7 often sounds just as good. And don't give up.

bobbitybobman
04-23-2011, 08:46 AM
Hello,

I had an epiphany about the E chord after a couple years of playing. I found out that the A string did not have to be pressed down with the tip of the index finger. Since I use my middle, index, and pinky finger to press down on the other strings, I use the bottom (palm side) of my index finger at the second knuckle to press down the A string. Looking at a mirror, it should look like all four fingers are extended instead of having the index finger awkwardly folded, clawing at the A string. It made transitions a lot faster, as I did not have to hunt around for the right fret, as the bottom of my index finger at the second knuckle naturally hovers around the second fret. Think of using your index finger as a Barre chord, but only using it to press down the A string.

I hope that wasn't confusing. This has allowed me to play pretty much full speed and not have the ridiculous transition time of using the thumb barre.

also, the thumb should definitely remain behind, not peek over the top, not only for E chords, but pretty much always.

mitchchang
04-27-2011, 05:16 AM
Here's a tip not many people know about - assuming you are playing right handed and fretting with your left, you need to find a position where you can really relax that left arm.

HANG from the Bb chord shape and let gravity help you hold that chord down. In other words, the pressure is not coming from trying to squeeze your thumb and barre finger together like a vise; it's coming more from trying to hang on to the neck, like you're hanging from the branch of a tree.

It's a technique that takes so much of the stress off your hand and arm and shoulder, you'll feel it immediately.

Hope this helps

70sSanO
04-27-2011, 09:37 AM
I will second any and all the responses that talked about string height at the nut.

If you can play a B chord barred at the second, but can't play a Bb chord barred at the first, get the strings lowered at the nut. You can also go with lighter/thinner strings to lower the tension.

The practice stuff is essential if it is a shape issue... can't play the Bb shape barred on any fret.

John

ConspiracyUkeist
04-27-2011, 07:24 PM
Work on a song called 'walk dont run" recorded by the ventures in the 50's

OMG it would be the fulfillment of a life's dream to be able to play "Walk Don't Run" on well, anything.

notalent31
05-16-2011, 08:12 AM
I just got my bariton uke and am just beginnig to study how to play it. My hands are small for an adult man and I'm already having
a problem reaching certain chords.
I it possible to 'SUBSTITUE" some chords for easier ones? I'm familiar with the basics of Harmony in music but just would
like to know if this is possible. When I ordered my baritone uke, I knew beforehand that the neck of it was probably wider than
the TENOR uke, but still decided on buying the baritone uke because I prefer the deeper tones. Any suggestions? Thanks....

vacuousnacho
05-16-2011, 08:38 AM
It honestly took me about 6 months to get that chord to sound like anything at all. I didn't really do anything to get there, I just remember one day I was messing around and tried it and I was like "whoa, all of a sudden I can play this chord."

Bipolar Joe
05-16-2011, 10:24 AM
I learned "Whiskey Is My Kind Of Lullaby" which has the E and the Bb. Took me the better part of two months to be able to play it with any level of coherency, but practising the song a couple of times a day, I got them both down. It was mentioned before, shifting your thumb to the back of the neck and sort of using that to press the front against your fingers is the easiest way. It will really, really hurt for the first while, but soon enough you'll be able to play a Bb medley no bother. Just perseverance, sweat and a little tears.

Jnobianchi
05-16-2011, 11:02 AM
You can do two things:

Learn the chord, because once you start playing up the neck, every chord will be barred, and Bb chords will stand you in good stead and in good practice.

Don't learn the chord and keep a bunch of ukes around tuned in different keys so you can play in every key without learning new chords.

The second approach works, but its infinitely more expensive. :)

perrypenn
05-16-2011, 07:27 PM
it just takes practice in the end u will get it good luck

Sesska
05-16-2011, 08:28 PM
hi,

try this:

http://www.ukulele.nl/chordfinder.php

each chord can be done on many ways on the finger board... some are easier than the others, just pick up the one that suits you ;)

OldePhart
05-17-2011, 06:26 AM
You can do two things:
...The second approach works, but its infinitely more expensive. :)

Well...not quite infinitely. Also, if you play with somebody like one bandleader I've played with, who never met a mid-song key change he didn't like, the second approach doesn't work. LOL

Jnobianchi
05-20-2011, 04:27 AM
Well...not quite infinitely. Also, if you play with somebody like one bandleader I've played with, who never met a mid-song key change he didn't like, the second approach doesn't work. LOL

:D Might be fun to see how many key changes you can get through in one song by swapping out ukes. ;)

bbqribs
05-20-2011, 04:38 AM
hi,

try this:

http://www.ukulele.nl/chordfinder.php

each chord can be done on many ways on the finger board... some are easier than the others, just pick up the one that suits you ;)

That's cool. Sometimes I 'make up' chords that sound right, and it would be nice to know what they were. I've bookmarked it, thanks