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keymoo
05-02-2011, 09:57 AM
Hi there,

Just started playing the uke, and am wondering how to master changing chords. For example I'm going through How to Play Blues Ukulele from HowToPlayUkulele.com and I'm on Example 5 and I'm finding it hard to change my fingering from the C to the F7 chord. Changing from F7 to Adim is even harder and takes me a few seconds, thereby losing the rhythm.

Any tips for getting up to speed?

molokinirum
05-02-2011, 10:03 AM
It takes practice and time. I would suggest that you play the song VERY SLOWLY. Try to form the chords properly as well. As you start to get the changing of the chords better, then play a bit faster. Also, I would also try this....just form the chords as you would be playing the song, but DO NOT strum. This way all of your concentration will be focused on changing the chords! You'll get it, it just takes some time!!!!

SailingUke
05-02-2011, 11:49 AM
As said, just takes practice. Start slow and let your speed build.
Practice strumming through the chord progression using 8 beats (strums), then 4, then 2 and eventually 1.
Uncle Rod's (here on UU) boot camp uses practice sheets to work on chord progressions.
One tip I give beginners is to also try and move your fingers as a unit not one by one.
It is surprising that working on a chord progression for just a few minutes a day will give yield results.

OldePhart
05-02-2011, 11:57 AM
One tip I give beginners is to also try and move your fingers as a unit not one by one.


+1 (at least!) on that. When I started playing guitar I was having problems with chords - a guy at my local music store told me "think of your hand as a rubber stamp, form the shape of the chord and then stamp it down on the fretboard. When you change chords, lift that stamp and then begin moving your fingers all together into the shape of the next chord before you stamp that one, and so on." That's probably the best musical advice I've ever gotten. Yes, it takes a little time to get it down, and you won't always do it religiously (there are some chord changes where your just moving a finger and that's all you'll do, for example). Still, by and large, I think it's the only way to really get up to speed on chord changes.

The second bit of advice that I'd give is when you are first starting out, don't practice songs (not exclusively, at least). Spend at least a third of each practice session just practicing common chord changes. The reason is, that's what you need to learn early on, how to get from a G to a C and a D, etc. So, spend a lot of time on stuff you need to learn early on, then the rest becomes easier later. Pick chords that go together in a key - G, C, D, Em and Am for the key of G; C, F, G, Dm and Am for the key of C; and F, Bb, C, Gm, Dm for F as examples. To put it another way, it doesn't do a lot of good to practice transitioning from a G to a B early on, for example, because you'll rarely encounter that change in a song.

And, as others have mentioned, above all, practice, practice, practice.

John

keymoo
05-02-2011, 01:00 PM
Great replies, thanks everyone. I don't need encouragement to practise! I guess I will just have to be patient with myself and wait for my fingers to harden up and stop being so sore, and just keep practising through it. Uncle Rod's Boot Camp practice sheets are good, although I'm finding some of the chords very difficult, for example Dm7 and Fm6. Thanks for the point about changing finger position before hitting the strings! I play the piano and it's a good technique there too.

I'm getting my new Mainland Uke in a couple of days so hopefully that will spur me on!

mm stan
05-02-2011, 03:42 PM
My tip for you is when changing chords in progressions is to try to keep your movement as smooth and with the least wasted movement... and Practice, Patience, and Perserverence...

UncleElvis
05-02-2011, 03:56 PM
I'm going to beat chadwick here...

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It sounds trite, but it really is true... the best way to get chord changes, fingerings, strumming, singing and strumming, singing in tune and the rest is practice.

Do remember this thread, though, because in about a week or so, you'll be saying to yourself "Gah... I remember how hard C to F7 was and now it's second nature!" and have a laugh.

The Dim chords are just pure evil, though. They suck and I hate them.

OldePhart
05-02-2011, 04:07 PM
The Dim chords are just pure evil, though. They suck and I hate them.

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Gotta admit even the dim7 is a bit of a pain if you're mixing it up with barre chords on a short scale (soprano or up the neck on something else) though.

John

UncleElvis
05-02-2011, 04:22 PM
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Gotta admit even the dim7 is a bit of a pain if you're mixing it up with barre chords on a short scale (soprano or up the neck on something else) though.

John

OR!

I could just pretend to be a reverse-snob and announce, loudly, that I don't play songs with all that fancy in them! *lol*

(Just kidding... Dims and Augs are, while, as mentioned, are the bane of my existance, are something I practice every day. I still hate them and they ARE evil!)

wolfybau
05-02-2011, 09:23 PM
good comment YeOldephart about the 'stamp' thats exactly it, almost everything happens in the air, not on the fretoard once your fingers are planted.

some practical exersizes:
Make a chord, then trying lifing your fingers off the fret board and holding in that same formation in the air , then placing them back on the chord again. when you can do that go onto next exersize...
Nove from chord to chord as if you are playing in very slow motion, like time slowed down and try to get your fingers to move into the chord form in the air before they 'land' togther on the fret board.
once you can do that gradualy speed up the transition time.

you will surprise yourself at how quickly you will make progress using this simple technique.

oh i want to add that another good exersize is to hold a chord and lift each finger of the chord and place it back down again, one at a time, while the others hold the chord , do each finger and roll your fingers in circles that are not being used to hold the chord. what many dont realise is that the influence of the fingers you arent using is just as imprtant as the ones you are. for instance, ty bending a finger all the way without bending one of the others, its quite impossible. it think it comes from our early ancestors need to grasp tree limbs....

spookefoote
05-03-2011, 06:16 AM
There is obviously no better practise than practice. However, try playing C with finger 4 whilst having fingers 1, 2, 3 hovering in position for the F7. Oh yeah, works every time.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
05-03-2011, 07:46 AM
Here's the title of a thread I started back in Feb 25th.

It's a fun, but challenging 'Self-Evaluating Tool' to check on your progress.

I hope you enjoy it. It's in the 'Beginner' category.


Thread: Self-Examination Tool for Ukulele Proficiency


Keep uke'in',

garywj
05-03-2011, 09:09 AM
Use a metronome. Use it to challenge you and to know you are getting faster. I do this with a strum pattern with most of the chords of a key, no tune, just progressions.

OldePhart
05-03-2011, 12:46 PM
Thread: Self-Examination Tool for Ukulele Proficiency


Oh, please let that thread die - there is nothing wrong with the thread - in fact, it's a wonderful thread - but the whole time it was near the top of the thread list I kept seeing "self-examination" and thinking of breasts. I'm sure it was probably just me...but it really went on for quite some time and fooled me every time... LOL

sukie
05-03-2011, 12:50 PM
Use a metronome. Use it to challenge you and to know you are getting faster. I do this with a strum pattern with most of the chords of a key, no tune, just progressions.

I totally second a metronome. It works.

Ukulele JJ
05-04-2011, 03:55 AM
Agreed on the metronome. Or at least strum steadily, metronome or not, even if that means flubbing the fretting.

I would much rather hear someone shift from C to just a plain old F at first, quickly adding the F7 frets by the next strum or two, and have it all be in tempo, than hear someone hit the F7 perfectly right after the C, but have a painful pause in the rhythm to get there.

JJ

eddyfinnguy
05-04-2011, 04:31 AM
I'm going to beat chadwick here...

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It sounds trite, but it really is true... the best way to get chord changes, fingerings, strumming, singing and strumming, singing in tune and the rest is practice.

Do remember this thread, though, because in about a week or so, you'll be saying to yourself "Gah... I remember how hard C to F7 was and now it's second nature!" and have a laugh.

The Dim chords are just pure evil, though. They suck and I hate them.

What he said the 3 most important things in Ukulele playing
1. Practice
2. Practice
3. Practice