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Belruel
04-17-2014, 05:53 PM
I've been trying to learn some of the songs on doctoruke's page, but nearly all of them use multiple bar chords and I am having a really rough time with them.

Are there any tips/tricks for improving, or is it just a matter of time/effort/practice?

A hand exercise ball maybe? I'm not sure, but part of the problem might be that my finger muscles aren't strong enough yet? I'm bracing my thumb against the back of the neck, but only get partial success, and it takes forever for me to 'set up' the chord. Definitely super low chord changes.

Camsuke
04-17-2014, 06:04 PM
Hi Belruel, Aaron's videos should help; http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?92655-Chords-Up-The-Neck-Workshop-Posted-On-Youtube&highlight=chord+forms

actadh
04-17-2014, 06:25 PM
Practice intensely as often as you can - the Uncle Rod Boot Camp practice sheets are good for this. http://ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com/

Then, maybe you need to do some mindless strumming. I picked up the ukulele one day without the song chords in front of me or even much attention to what I was doing - just noodling around. I did a perfect Bb, and then a D7.

There was no death grip on the neck when trying to barre and my left hand fell into a good position just behind the metal fret.

I was actually letting muscle memory take over.

When I have difficulty with barre chords now, I just let it go. Some days my fretting hand just doesn't work right. The next time around, it will come naturally.

Kyle23
04-17-2014, 06:37 PM
Is that action of your strings high? That could be a problem. Also, what helped me was moving my barring finger up higher and lower until I found out exactly where it was easiest to press down. I used to mute a string or 2 when I barred and I moved my finger up just a little and it became more clear.

Belruel
04-17-2014, 06:53 PM
Thanks for the help guys. That video is really useful for moving around my uke, I will definitely have to practice what he's teaching in it some more.

I am pretty sure (make that almost definitely certain) that my uke hasn't been set up, and the action is probably way too high. Now that I have been playing enough to actually play songs, I can hear buzzing all over the place. I can't get this one set up, but I am already planning on buying another ukulele when I can (now that I know I really love it), and investing in a far better instrument than my current one, from a reputable shop that makes sure it is set up properly.

actadh- that's some good advice, I think I'll spend an hour or two not stressing about particular chords at first, and just seeing what shapes I can make, and what I need to do to get a clean sound.

Gmoney
04-18-2014, 05:42 AM
Good tip from Gerald Ross as to how to properly barre (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YafhDexY6I) noted in this earlier post:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?74526-Bb-is-impossible-I-can-t-barre!&p=1132952#post1132952

Check it out around the 3:00 min mark...

Hope this helps!

Lori
04-18-2014, 05:55 AM
Work on a half barre first, like just the first two strings of the Bb. That will help a bit. On full barre chords, you might use your middle finger to help press down on the index finger. That only works on simple barre chords that don't add too many extra fingers. I also suggest using the side of your index finger rather than trying to contact the fingerboard with the palm side of the finger. For me, that angle is helpful.

–Lori

DownUpDave
04-20-2014, 05:04 AM
Work on a half barre first, like just the first two strings of the Bb. That will help a bit. On full barre chords, you might use your middle finger to help press down on the index finger. That only works on simple barre chords that don't add too many extra fingers. I also suggest using the side of your index finger rather than trying to contact the fingerboard with the palm side of the finger. For me, that angle is helpful.

–Lori

Lori has a great point about using the side of your finger. My finger will not hyper extend and the upper portion closet to the hand is much fatter than the rest of the finger. If I lay it flat I cannot make contact all the way across but if I roll it up on it's side just a bit........bingo. The reason I jumped in was to point out we are all different, very few have perfect fingers for fretted instruments so experimentation is key.

Patience is a bigger key, take it slowwwww, learn how to form it first, over and over and over again before attempting a song with it. One day BAMM you have got it and it just gets easier from there on.

Ukejenny
04-20-2014, 04:20 PM
Experiment and move the finger, roll it, try different angles (very slight changes). I know this sounds counterintuitive, but try not to push down too hard. After you get your uke set up properly, you shouldn't have to use much pressure at all to get half barred and barred chords to start kind of working.

Don't give up; it will come.

Maiden Uke
04-20-2014, 04:31 PM
All helpful suggestions! Thanks

Icelander53
04-20-2014, 05:48 PM
Time, practice and developing some hand/finger strength will all work their magic. It's going to come so don't fret (pun). :cheers:

I find that if I lay my finger at a slight angle across the fret (not too much) it works much easier for me. Sometimes I roll my finger a little too. You'll find your way for sure if you persevere.

itsme
04-20-2014, 06:24 PM
Time, practice and developing some hand/finger strength will all work their magic. It's going to come so don't fret (pun).
It takes time to develop the right kind of strength in your fretting hand to be able to do barre chords easily and consistently.

BTW, I have a t-shirt that says "ukulele players fret a lot" on it. :p

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
04-24-2014, 01:15 PM
Two tips:

Bring the elbow of your fretting hand closer to your torso. (This will help you find the angle where your barre finger, your forearm, and the frets of your uke are parallel. The natural, comfortable arm angle for open chords is usually not the same---learn to change that angle for maximum comfort and strength.)

Position your thumb below the midline of the back of your uke's neck for a little better leverage.

Spud1$
04-24-2014, 03:45 PM
Probably a stupid barre question but.,..Bb--is it okay to barre the entire first fret since the g and c strings are mashed on the 2nd and 3rd frets anyway? It is a whole lot easier for me to barre the whole first fret rather than just the E and A strings

DownUpDave
04-24-2014, 03:57 PM
Probably a stupid barre question but.,..Bb--is it okay to barre the entire first fret since the g and c strings are mashed on the 2nd and 3rd frets anyway? It is a whole lot easier for me to barre the whole first fret rather than just the E and A strings

That is the only way I can play it, barred across the top. My index finger won't flat at the first join to barre just the E & A strings. As they say "whatever works"

Spud1$
04-24-2014, 04:08 PM
That is the only way I can play it, barred across the top. My index finger won't flat at the first join to barre just the E & A strings. As they say "whatever works"

Thanks DownupDave it sounds right to me but I don't trust my ear!

Kyle23
04-24-2014, 06:58 PM
Probably a stupid barre question but.,..Bb--is it okay to barre the entire first fret since the g and c strings are mashed on the 2nd and 3rd frets anyway? It is a whole lot easier for me to barre the whole first fret rather than just the E and A strings

Of course. As long as you are fretting a string higher up the fretboard, it doesn't matter what goes on behind it.

ichadwick
04-25-2014, 11:42 AM
Are there any tips/tricks for improving, or is it just a matter of time/effort/practice?
Yes: practice.

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And have a glass of wine.


A hand exercise ball maybe?
Yes, they can help IF you use them regularly and for more than a few seconds. Stress balls, too. Some guitar shops sell more expensive coil-spring-laden exercisers. I prefer to practice and practice and... you get the idea.