View Full Version : A couple questions

04-15-2011, 01:25 PM
I've just started playing the uke yesterday and I have a few questions:

1: How hars should I have to push to fret a note. Perhaps It's just cuz I'm not used to playing uke or any stringed instrument but I feel like that to fret a note in a chord I really have to push otherwise my attempt at fretting the note only diminishes the sound of the strings of the chord and it sounds terrible. Is this normal.

2. On that note I'm having trouble barring strings in chords where I need to fret multiple notes on the same fret. As with my earlier question it's just making the note quieter. Is there some way to remedy this or does it come with time?

3: I am a lefty and I am currently playing upside down (AECG, top->bottom). Currently, I've been learning chords this way but, I feel that perhaps as I progress I will find that doing this will make for harder playing. So, my question is, would it be better to restring and is that something I can do myself....

To those who help, Mahalo!

04-15-2011, 02:18 PM
Welcome to uu!

I think that fretting the notes will come with time and practice. The answer is that you fret as hard as you have to to make the note ring clearly. Make sure you are fretting just behind the fret wire and not in the middle of the fret. What kind of strings are you using? How is the tension?

Can't comment on the lefty thing...have no idea. =)

Good luck!

04-15-2011, 02:22 PM
That might be my mistake, I am fretting torwards the middle. As for the strings, I am using Aqulia nylguts. As for tension, I'd say their pretty tense. They do produce a good sound and perhaps it's just the mistake in my fretting, thats the mistake...

04-15-2011, 02:22 PM
Hello Dat1Guy

(1) You shouldn't have to press very hard. My rule is that if the nail turns white that's too much pressure. However, if your ukulele has excessively high action, it will require a lot of pressure unnecessarily. A quick check

For each string, fret on the 3rd fret (make sure the string touches the 2nd fret). Look at the space between top of the 1st fret and the bottom of the string. There should be a very small space (thickness of a xerox paper, less than the business card). If the space is more, the nut slot is too high.

The, hold the first fret, and look at the space between the 12-th fret and the string. In mine, the space is more than one US quarter, just about the thickness of one US Nickel, and defintiely less than two US quarters.

It may be worthwhile to take it to a local music store and see of the action is decent.

(2) You started playing yesterday. Barring is the first major obstacle for anyone. Makre sure your ukulele is set up nicely, and play for about two weeks and see if it's any easier.

(3) It is my opinion (and people disagree) but in a long run, you're better off learning to fret with your left hand and strum with right. Your fretting hand needs power and dexterity, and srangely a lefty has everything going in the left hand. The right hand is simply for strumming. It may be hard at the beginning but you'll get used to it quickly. Plus, the availability of high-end ukuleles in a lefty is rather limited (unless you start custom ordering). With a "normal" ukulele, you can test drive and try so many before you ay. That's rather hard once you're zeroed into a lefty configuration. This is just my opinion - YMMV.

Anyway, the most important thing is to have fun and I am sure you're.

Happy strumming

04-15-2011, 02:33 PM
Also, when you say just behind the fret wire do you mean towards the top or the bottom of the fret

04-15-2011, 03:14 PM
I know it is a guitar- but you want your hand right behind the wire like this picture (even closer than the picture really if you can).
Bar chords will take a while- don't be surprised if you play daily and never get them and then suddenly have an epiphany...that is how it went 'round here. They take time to perfect, and every time you learn a new barre shape, you are back to square one (at least I am). Start with something easy like Bm.
As for left handed...how left handed are you? I can ask, because I am also left handed. Seems there are shades of leftiness, and I tend toward the ambidextrous left. I know other lefties who may as well have their right arm removed because all they can do with it is sleep on it. If you lean toward ambidextrous (ie can swing a hammer with both hands) learn you ruke as a righty- it means you get to play them in the stores before you buy them, and that you can play others when you meet them. If you have a useless right arm, the change is actually more than strings- you need to get a new nut and set it up (which takes some doin' but if you are handy at all, you can figure it out- and the fine folks here will help).
That said- welcome to the Underground. We were all newbies at one point and this is the place to ask- folks here are really cool.

04-15-2011, 03:17 PM
when you say just behind the fret wire do you mean towards the top or the bottom of the fret

This page is for guitar, but the principle is the same for ukulele.



04-18-2011, 06:21 PM
Why don't you watch some tutorial videos to see how to fret a note. I agree with their suggestions that you should fret as hard as you can to make a loud sound.