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View Full Version : Does anyone else find barring frets hard???



sweetiecino
11-07-2011, 02:46 AM
I've been following the tutorial from Ukulele Mike where he advices just barring frets starting from the 5th fret and go down until I am at the first fret, and I feel like I've hardly improved. Ive been practicing this for 10-15 mins on a daily basis and I feel like my fingers are just so weak...

Does anyone else have any other suggestions or am I just being too impatient and it does actually take a while to master??

keonepax
11-07-2011, 03:11 AM
Sometimes I lay another finger on top of the barring finger to add some pressure. You can see this technique whenever I play Bm in the following video:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N9JvcZHY1k

boodrow
11-07-2011, 03:20 AM
Ive had my uke about a month , I to have some probs with barring. I dont practice it that much , but its going to take lots of practice on my part to get it down everytime. I feel ur pain.
Boodrow

freackykit
11-07-2011, 03:27 AM
Hiya sweetiecino,

Simple answer is, it can be immensely frustrating on the uke. I used to strum along on the guitar for years, but because of the wider positioning of the uke strings it cam be more difficult...

I went through the motions of trying every chord in a song barred...Thought is was some kind of endurance test and that I had achieved something i9f I got a verse more out of a song...but of course my wrist/hand was in agony and I thought this cannot be good. Then I stumbled accross the idea of building up gradually...Just stick one barree in a song...then two. With regular practice this not onlpy builds up confidence but lets your wrist, fingers work out where they need to be in a more lax manner. Soon, and I cannot say wqhen you will be barring like a good un!

There are other things to take into account...make sure yor barring hand is pushed right over the strings, not just the last third of the finger (seeing some vids may help or someone may be able to explain it better), and getting an action on the uke that suits you is important...People talk of high and low action for descriptive purposes but I find some ukes are naturally more comfortable then others...I have low on one tenor and high on another...the key is comfort...and take it easy,


Chris

AzMichael
11-07-2011, 03:27 AM
A tip from Keoki Kahumoku: pull the strings toward the floor while you're fretting. You don't want to actually bend the strings (that will alter the pitch), but a slight downward pull eases the tension on your finger.

Hope it helps!

~Michael

vanflynn
11-07-2011, 04:16 AM
Some strings seem to barre easier that others. I personnally like Worth BM's. Barring is tought but if you can master just the barre D and the barre G you'll find it opens up a hole bunch more options for playing. Keep at 'er!

Trinimon
11-07-2011, 04:24 AM
My nephew has slender fingers and pretty flexible (oh the joys of youth!) and able to barre without any problems. He's been playing as long as I have and probably not as often. Me on the other hand have a little more meat on my fingers and less flexible so barring some chords (E, Eb for example) is almost futile. :(

Paul December
11-07-2011, 05:07 AM
It really helps to slightly rotate your finger and let the bones do some of the work.

sugengshi
11-07-2011, 05:13 AM
Does anyone else have any other suggestions or am I just being too impatient and it does actually take a while to master??

Personally I believe practice correctly will get us to the mastery. It is also applicable here.

Suggestion by keonepax is also interesting. Looking at how others play will really improve our skills tremendously.. Please let us know how you progress after a while.

Trinimon
11-07-2011, 06:03 AM
It really helps to slightly rotate your finger and let the bones do some of the work.

Hummm, I'm going to try that tonight! Thanks for the tip! :p

jjjj
11-07-2011, 06:04 AM
Here are some observations from my own personal experience, I hope you find them helpful:

1. In just about every physical skill I have every learned, technique has been far more important than raw strength.

Don't just squeeze harder. Vary the angle of your barring finger (and other body parts too: non-fretting fingers, spine, abdomen, legs, etc.) and see what happens.

2. This interview from Jim D'Ville's website is quite enlightening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM_3Sb-xfXk

3. YouTube exists. Watch thousands of different ukulele players worldwide and learn from their successes and failures.

4. Enjoy the journey and be patient. My first step was not from bad to good, it was from really terrible to slightly less terrible. (And it was thrilling nonetheless.)

Gadzukes!
11-07-2011, 06:11 AM
I'm agreeing with vanflynn, try different strings. Aquilas can be really tough, and they're likely what you're using.

poppy
11-07-2011, 06:25 AM
I agree worth BM's I really dislike aquillas,
Check your set up!!!! Do the dollar test -- press the string at the 3rd fret basically a dollar bill should just fit under the string or a feeler guage .004-.007 any more and its a bit high the higher it gets the harder to bar or regular chord for that matter.

mm stan
11-07-2011, 10:00 AM
It takes time to acheive this..it sure doesn't come overnight..some take years to do it smoothly....yes practice, patience and perserverence...grasshopper...you need to build strength in your fingers. in due time it will come and just like that and fall in place.....String tension helps...either buy softer compound, thinner, less tension strings... still it takes time to acheive.
Once you get it you will be able to use moveable chords easier up and down the neck..Hope it helps...good luck....Happy Strummings..

sweetiecino
11-07-2011, 11:16 AM
Thanks everyone for so many tips!! I just need to wait till I get home before I try it out!

I'm hoping it wont take me years to master this as it will be a lot of practicing without much music to enjoy for me (and others listening to me play) lol

@jjjj - I do find that sometimes my angle of my finger makes it easier to bar the fret, but then its hard to do that angle consistently. I guess thats what I need to practice!

Also as soon as I barre a fret, I cant seem to do anything else with my fingers...but then thats another challenge altogether =)

sweetiecino
11-07-2011, 11:24 AM
I'm agreeing with vanflynn, try different strings. Aquilas can be really tough, and they're likely what you're using.

Yes, you are correct, I do have Aquilas on my Uke but I am hesitant to change my strings at the moment as I'm not sure how difficult it will be replace? Also as expected I just have a beginner Ukulele Lanakai 21...would that make a difference if its just bought off the shelf and hasn't been 'set-up'?

vanflynn
11-07-2011, 11:29 AM
I bet getting it adjusted will make a big difference. Do you have a music shop near by? If you know some guitar players maybe they can recommend some one. My local "guy in the back" charged me $15 to set it up. They would probably change strings at the same time if you don't want to try. (Check out the UU minute vid on changing strings if you're interested)

sweetiecino
11-08-2011, 02:32 AM
Here are some observations from my own personal experience, I hope you find them helpful:

\
2. This interview from Jim D'Ville's website is quite enlightening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM_3Sb-xfXk



Thanks! that link was interesting!

sweetiecino
11-08-2011, 02:33 AM
I bet getting it adjusted will make a big difference. Do you have a music shop near by? If you know some guitar players maybe they can recommend some one. My local "guy in the back" charged me $15 to set it up. They would probably change strings at the same time if you don't want to try. (Check out the UU minute vid on changing strings if you're interested)

I might be patient with these sets of strings for a bit longer ....I'm trying to convince myself I can play when the set-up/strings aren't the best, it'll help when I go onto a better set-up uke and strings!!

marymac
11-08-2011, 07:30 AM
I might be patient with these sets of strings for a bit longer ....I'm trying to convince myself I can play when the set-up/strings aren't the best, it'll help when I go onto a better set-up uke and strings!!

Um, this sounds like false economy. It's like getting into a car with that won't start when you're just learning to drive and saying "well if I can learn to drive in this I can drive anything!" Doesn't make sense. Get the uke set up - it's like getting the car fixed enough to start.

Markr1
11-08-2011, 08:34 AM
When I first started playing guitar I thought I would never be able to make barr chords. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in regards to playing but I stuck with it and after a while I was doing it but some Barr chords are more difficult to make then others. I took what I knew from guitar and applied it to the uke and their fairly easy tho some are still tough. You'll get it and a year from now you'll be saying that's not so hard. Don't give up it will come to you. If I can do it anyone can.

Loupin' Flech
11-08-2011, 09:43 AM
I tend to cheat a wee bit because no matter how I hold my finger I always get at least one dead string and when it comes to Bb or similar my fingers just will not bend(the curse of years of manual labour).So my solution is to play three strings.

cebukenieduke
11-08-2011, 09:48 AM
Try adopting a boxers rigid training stamina method, tbey use a hard ball that they bang on their bodies to simulate opponent's punches. For ukuleles, use a soft squeezing hand ball. I bought one in the mall comercially sold as squeeze balls stress suppressors. Having experience similar to your barring concern, I often tweek this softball between my two barring fingers. Funny,after doing this trick for several months it somehow help . . . . But . . . I could feel these fingers looking like BruceLee flexing his muscles. . . . .

ukuleleforbeginners
11-08-2011, 07:08 PM
This seemed really hard when I first started, but I have noticed that it is getting a little easier each time. I guess it is just practice like everything else.

sugengshi
11-08-2011, 08:23 PM
This seemed really hard when I first started, but I have noticed that it is getting a little easier each time. I guess it is just practice like everything else.

:agree: I found out myself as well that the more I practice the easier I can do the fret barring. ;)

Tor
11-08-2011, 10:34 PM
I have nothing really useful to add I think.. it's all been said by earlier posters. It's just that I do remember bar chords to be difficult in the beginning when I started on guitar, decades ago. Although some were more difficult than others. Some of it was caused by a nut that wasn't set up properly (I didn't know about those things then), so that part of the frustration could have been avoided. So, get your nut setup checked and fixed, there's no point in struggling with that particular part.

The other thing I remember is that I could only play a few bar chords at the time, I couldn't just keeping playing them. My thumb behind the neck would cramp, and my barr'ing finger couldn't keep the notes clean. (This was on a guitar with strings on the heavy side of medium though - much harder than ukulele).

But at some point all those problems disappeared. I just can't remember when that happened, or how. It just did. Which means that it will do for you too. I don't remember if it improved over a stretched period, I'm guessing that it did but I don't remember. All I know is that today bar chords are not a problem in any way, except that I can't do half-bars - my joints are not double-bending, so that's something that won't happen. But those can be avoided anyway, there are always alternatives - even if that means a wider or bigger neck on an ukulele. I'm guessing though that the majority of people can actually learn to half-bar, most people seem to have more flexible finger joints than I have.

-Tor

sweetiecino
11-23-2011, 01:59 AM
Just as an update.....barring chords have gotten a lot easier...

I didn't get my uke set up, but I did buy a new uke which was set up, which made a HUGE difference but all those tips that everyone has been given has helped a lot too!!

Thanks =)

ukuleleforbeginners
11-23-2011, 06:28 AM
Glad to hear that you are improving. It's always amazing to me that each time I learn a new song, I think "this is impossible" and each time I can get it eventually. You would think I would learn...

sugengshi
11-23-2011, 09:58 PM
Just as an update.....barring chords have gotten a lot easier...

To add on, practice correctly is the best way to improve.

hmgberg
11-24-2011, 03:33 AM
The key to barring chords, I think, is the position of your thumb on the back of the neck. If you can, try to keep the pad of your thumb on the center of the back of the neck. When you barre chords then, you will not only be pressing down with your finger on the fretboard, but also pressing up lightly with your thumb - squeezing, sort of. Often, people wrap their thumbs around the neck; unless you have long fingers and plenty of hand strength, barring chords is far more difficult this way.

ksiegel
11-24-2011, 11:19 AM
Uke size makes a difference, for some of us.

Barring is no problem on a tenor neck, not bad on a concert, but sometimes problematic on a soprano neck.

I just put Worth Clear Tenor strings on my Ohana, and it holds tune better, and the barring isn't as much of a pain in the butt.



-Kurt