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Ladyluke
04-18-2013, 08:06 PM
So, after a bit more than a week, I wonder: are there a certain type of hands that simply cannot do it? Or at least the hands cannot do certain chords just because of how they are built?

For example, if I would like to bar the first fret, the is not enough flesh right where there are strings. Even if I shift my finger a bit, I may hit two or three strings, but not all. And in the rare case that all strings are fretted, there is no way I can use other fingers on the next frets without muting one or te strings. I do not have a sample chord in mind, If I encounter one, I will post it here.

Another question is: are there hands that have an advantage over other hands?

Just curious,

NG

Tigeralum2001
04-18-2013, 08:14 PM
hmmm... I will say "sometimes." A lot depends on your hand size vs. the width of your uke's neck. Some chords require a stretch that is far or a contortion of your hand. I will say, I can play 90% of all chords with practice, but some still drive me crazy. Keep practicing and you'll get it.

The Big Kahuna
04-18-2013, 08:17 PM
Barre chords are fairly difficult to master, and require a certainn degree of strength in the fingers, which will come over time. Instead of trying to barre with the inside of the finger, try moving your elbow away from your body, this will increase the pressure on the fingerboard and will also increase the span of your other fingers.

There is no such thing as a "perfect" hand. So long as you develop both strength and mobility in your fingers, and what musicians call "muscle memory", you'll be fine. Both only come with time and repetition.

Ladyluke
04-18-2013, 09:04 PM
Thanks for the answers, I will keep trying. I hoped that playing on other instruments over the years would have made my fingers stronger and more flexible, but I guess there is always room for improvement.

NG

C.A.McLane
04-19-2013, 12:14 AM
I still remember learning my first ever bar chord. Took me about three months till I could do it reliably. So don't give up, it's really just practice. Having said that, there ARE some chords that not everybody can do because they need a HUGE stretch.... but you won't encounter them till much later and most of the time there's a way around.
(I've got a script from a university course for jazz guitar and there are chords that cover 6 frets... ON A GUITAR!!!)

Andreas

cantsing
04-19-2013, 03:09 AM
A week isn't a long time, so try not to get discouraged!

Since you mention muting other strings, I'm wondering if you are tucking your wrist up under the neck. Check out this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJme1gtN1SM), around timestamp 2:10, where Ukulele Mike demonstrates dropping the wrist. If you feel like you can't hold the ukulele with your fretting hand in this position, you might want to think about a strap. I got a Uke Leash when I first started playing and it made a big difference for me.

You can also try rotating your barre finger a little bit left or right--sometimes you can make better string contact with the side of your finger than flat on the bottom.

Barre chords are definitely a challenge, so don't be too hard on yourself. When I first started, I couldn't barre anything. It took months before I began to feel like I was getting them.

Spud1$
04-19-2013, 03:54 AM
Aldrine Guerro has a video where he shows how to barre chords according to knuckles, that helped me a lot. I have very little musical experience but I've been working at it for 3 months and my barre chords are still pretty rough! Don't give up. P.S. I would link the video but I don't know how. Go to video library here at UU and you will find it.

PereBourik
04-19-2013, 04:25 AM
These things come with practice. I'm fairly new and I can see progress in my finger mobility, stretch, and strength. I've picked up ukulele late in life and fairly recently. I have enough arthritis in my hands to feel it. Even so, my chording gets better with practice. Hang in there, because really, where else you gonna hang?

roxhum
04-19-2013, 04:35 AM
Yeah, forming chords come with practice but... I have been at this for almost three years. I watch those videos with the freakish (to my stubby fingered hand) long fingers that bend backwards at the knuckles and think, no wonder they can play those chords. My pointer finger does not bend. I have exercised to the point of injury on these stubby fingers. I say, yes it does make a difference. For me with my short, stubby, stiff fingers I have to work around it, play alternate chord formations, I have been skipping the G chord for the Bb flat for years and just recently figured out if I bar the first fret using the bottom part of my finger with the tip hanging over the edge I can reach the g string, but now to be able to do it fast enough to change chords. Have fun in the process. You will and we do get better and work around our limitations.

kvehe
04-19-2013, 05:07 AM
This is a great thread which I am finding quite helpful. Thanks, Ladyluke, for asking the question.

BlueLatitude
04-19-2013, 05:39 AM
Yeah, forming chords come with practice but... I have been at this for almost three years. I watch those videos with the freakish (to my stubby fingered hand) long fingers that bend backwards at the knuckles and think, no wonder they can play those chords. My pointer finger does not bend. I have exercised to the point of injury on these stubby fingers. I say, yes it does make a difference. For me with my short, stubby, stiff fingers I have to work around it, play alternate chord formations, I have been skipping the G chord for the Bb flat for years and just recently figured out if I bar the first fret using the bottom part of my finger with the tip hanging over the edge I can reach the g string, but now to be able to do it fast enough to change chords. Have fun in the process. You will and we do get better and work around our limitations.

My fingers don't bend backward at the knuckles either. And like the OP, sometimes barre chords can be difficult -- I usually seem to end up with one string or another not fretted properly because it ends up right under a joint. That HAS been getting better as my hands get stronger, and also I'm learning where I need to have my wrist to make some of the barres-plus-fretting on another string or two work.

So to me, it's not so much practice, practice, practice, but slowly finding what works for ME on some of this stuff and THEN practice, practice, practice.

And Ladyluke, a week is really not long at all. Work on some easier things but keep plugging away the the barres and you will get it!!!

sukie
04-19-2013, 05:48 AM
If you are barreling with your index finger, try putting your middle finger on top for a little more pressure. (Make sense?). As others have said -- it's pretty ambitious for week one. It will come. The practice is the fun part.

mm stan
04-19-2013, 06:32 AM
Could be just the action on the first fret is too high....if you need to use extra pressure....the nut needs filing down...also try this
your index finger at and angle on the E and A strings and keep you elbow close touching your ribs and body...make sure your inside
wrist faces up...then try the chord...good luck

Bill Mc
04-19-2013, 07:04 AM
Ladyluke, do not get frustrated after only one week of trying a musical instrument. It may take you years to get comfortable playing - it took me five years plaing classical guitar before I felt somewhat satisfied.

Lori
04-19-2013, 07:16 AM
You might try lighter tension strings, and like mm stan said, lower the action. Some people can do some double jointed action, but my fingers won't. I work around it with alternate fingerings, and in some situations, I just play the strings I can fret properly.. sometimes reducing the chord to 3 strings. Give it a good couple of months of practice, because what your talking about is normal.

–Lori

janeray1940
04-19-2013, 07:32 AM
I watch those videos with the freakish (to my stubby fingered hand) long fingers that bend backwards at the knuckles and think, no wonder they can play those chords. My pointer finger does not bend.

Same problem with stubby and non-bendy fingers here! When I first started playing some years ago, a guy in a uke group I went to gave me *heck* for not being able to do an E-chord shape with just my index and ring finger (using the ring finger to barre three strings). I reported this back to my uke instructor, who told me quite simply, some people can do this, some can't - it's a matter of anatomy, and while sometimes it can improve with practice, sometimes it won't. While barreing with my index finger has never been a problem, I still can't barre with my middle or ring fingers, so I play a lot of four-finger chords. Having tiny little hands helps - when I do this on my sopranos I tend to freak the long-fingered, big-handed people out :)

But to the OP - as others have said, it will come with time. I can remember when I thought I would never, NEVER master the moveable first-position Bb chord (probably the first chord that really gave me trouble). Now it's a favorite shape to play up and down the neck.

Dan Uke
04-19-2013, 07:58 AM
. While barreing with my index finger has never been a problem, I still can't barre with my middle or ring fingers, so I play a lot of four-finger chords. Having tiny little hands helps - when I do this on my sopranos I tend to freak the long-fingered, big-handed people out :)

I was one of those people amazed at her four finger technique! :p

Ladyluke
04-19-2013, 10:57 AM
Great suggestions, videos and encouragement! I am certainly not giving up ;) but I want to make sure I do get the best possible hand positions down right from the start.

By the way, my piano teacher tells me at least for five years now that I should not "collapse the joints" when playing, and finally I can apply this flexibility of my finger joints now when playing uke.

Stretching over six frets! Ouchie, even on a uke that is quite a stretch! I found on the piano that it is not about how for apart you can stretch the pink and thumb, but how far an comfortable you can stretch each finger from its neighboring fingers, for instance pink and ring finger, or middle. finger and pink, and so on.

Back to practice,

NG

Ahnko Honu
04-19-2013, 11:16 AM
So, after a bit more than a week, I wonder: are there a certain type of hands that simply cannot do it? Or at least the hands cannot do certain chords just because of how they are built?

For example, if I would like to bar the first fret, the is not enough flesh right where there are strings. Even if I shift my finger a bit, I may hit two or three strings, but not all. And in the rare case that all strings are fretted, there is no way I can use other fingers on the next frets without muting one or te strings. I do not have a sample chord in mind, If I encounter one, I will post it here.

Another question is: are there hands that have an advantage over other hands?

Just curious,

NG

It just takes time to condition your fingers increasing strength, dexterity, and thickening the skin. Practice. practice, practice. And when you think you're done practice some more. I have short fat fingers and can play pretty good but when I see the lovely long slim fingers of Anna aka Sheepstar on her YouTube videos I think she was blessed with the perfect 'ukulele hands. ;)

Uncle Rod Higuchi
04-19-2013, 11:37 AM
It's NOT the fingers, slim and long.

You gotta have HEART... and proper thumb position :)

I would suggest that as much as possible, in first position chords, place your thumb in the middle back of the neck behind the 2nd fret.

I realize the temptation to hang one's thumb over the top of the fretboard, but I believe that by placing your thumb behind the 2nd fret in the middle of the back of the neck so that the bottom of the fretboard is clear of the palm of your hand, you will find chord-forming a bit easier overall.

just my 2 cents :)

keep uke'in',

PS regarding 'Heart', long slim fingers do not an ukulele player make. It's those who start and don't quit who will eventually enjoy playing the ukulele. Satisfaction comes from meeting and overcoming the challenge of playing the ukulele well.

PPS Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp [link in signature below] can help you work on those chords which you will find most useful... that was the plan in any case :)

Kyle23
04-19-2013, 06:19 PM
You'll get it with practice. Like someone else said, if you aren't getting enough pressure down with just the one finger, put your middle finger over it for more pressure. You're going to look back at this thread in a couple of months and laugh at yourself for not getting it. Just a couple of months ago, I thought it was impossible to go from an F to an Em hahaha

AirCanuck
04-19-2013, 06:53 PM
B flat or even B makes my fingers and uke collectively sad. I hope it comes someday!

Ahnko Honu
04-19-2013, 07:47 PM
It's NOT the fingers, slim and long.

You gotta have HEART... and proper thumb position :)

just my 2 cents :)



PS regarding 'Heart', long slim fingers do not an ukulele player make. It's those who start and don't quit who will eventually enjoy playing the ukulele. Satisfaction comes from meeting and overcoming the challenge of playing the ukulele well.

Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp [link in signature below] can help you work on those chords which you will find most useful... that was the plan in any case



AUWE Rod, you totally misunderstood what I was saying, and missed my point entirely in your effort to promote your boot camp. :uhoh:

jangann
04-20-2013, 09:10 AM
I think you are partially correct, but mostly not. I doubt I have the reach of a great uke player (just like few pianists had Rachmaninoff's reach) but I think I can play almost any chord if I put my mind to it and practice. There were chords that seemed impossible when I started, but when I revisit them now they're doable or mildly irritating. The payoff for mild irritation is worth it though! Gb7? Love it. F9? Great way to end a song. Each is a good friend now, but when we first met I found them too brusque to spend time with.

I agree with everyone who's counseled patience! Learning to play an instrument is a life's work. But one of the things I love about uke is that a player can do a lot very quickly -- it's very accessible.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Hochapeafarm
04-20-2013, 10:42 AM
This is a great thread which I am finding quite helpful. Thanks, Ladyluke, for asking the question.

Agreed! Yes, a really great thread! I, too, have wondered about the "hands" question! Thanks for asking the question, Ladyluke -- and everyone for their helpful responses! :-)