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Icelander53
05-14-2014, 04:12 AM
I'm a beginner but at this stage I've learned three dozen or more chords in first position. I'm learning to play them smoothly and cleanly and be able to transition between them. That's the difficult part. There are a couple that really pose a constant problem for me, compared to the others that is.

For me, one is the D chord. I really have trouble getting all three fingers in there and making a clean D without a buzz or it sounding muted or flat. It never seems to get easier. The other chord is E7. Moving into that chord always seems to be a major challenge for my fingers to get there smoothly and with any amount of speed. My old fingers just don't do that position easily especially moving from another position.

I used to have a lot of trouble with Em. I would carefully have to place one finger at a time. But once I did it with just fingering the C and A string and leaving out the E string and by golly I can hardly tell the difference in how it sounds and it's fairly easy to do smoothly and quickly for me with two fingers. So I do that. Often once those two fingers are down I can play that E string later and it doesn't disrupt the sound of the chord. Not to my ears anyway.

So... I'm just curious about what chords are difficult for you and why and how you may have overcome some chord difficulties.

molokinirum
05-14-2014, 04:19 AM
Best method I used....and it will take some time and lots of practice, is to move your fingers into the chord like a stamp. Try to stay away from the place one finger at a time as that method will hold you back.
For that D chord...I bar the three strings by arching my finger. I also cant find room for the three fingers.

jop
05-14-2014, 04:25 AM
Sometimes it is easier to form the D chord with middle, ring and pinky rather than index, middle, ring. When the fret is crowded it helps to use the thinnest fingers. Your version of Em is just as good. Either version contains the same three notes, so it is just a question of which one is doubled.

ukantor
05-14-2014, 04:29 AM
For me, FMaj7 2413 seemed quite impossible, so I went looking for an alternative way to play it. It turned out that 5500 gives exactly the same notes, just in reverse order.

Dmaj can be played 2225, using a barre. You may find that more comfortable.

The best thing I did was to learn how to play the sequence C;E7;A7;D7;G7;C as 5433;4445;6757;5655;4535;5433. This can be used on a number of songs, and it is good to have other ways of playing common chords.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Icelander53
05-14-2014, 04:59 AM
Best method I used....and it will take some time and lots of practice, is to move your fingers into the chord like a stamp. Try to stay away from the place one finger at a time as that method will hold you back.
For that D chord...I bar the three strings by arching my finger. I also cant find room for the three fingers.


I know you're right about this.

Spud1$
05-14-2014, 05:13 AM
I made the mistake of using an anchor finger for Em and other 3 finger chords and it's something I wrestle with every day. I play the D using pinky, ring and middle, it makes it easier to move for me. A forum member posted a video on this method a while back and it really helped me. I've been practicing almost every day for close to a year and I wish I never started the anchor finger method.

Icelander53
05-14-2014, 06:19 AM
What do you see as the major difficulty with using an anchor finger? I'm sure it slows us down. Frankly having started at almost 61 and with some arthritis and loss of finger dexterity that stamp method has been near impossible so far. I fear I may never really be able to abandon it for some chords. My playing is very casual however and maybe I'll survive anyway. I'm not trying to beat the pros. I'm just having some fun at home and with a gf who is 67 and also anchors when doing some chords.

Please don't tell me I'm doomed. I've had enough troubles in this life.

OldePhart
05-14-2014, 07:19 AM
What do you see as the major difficulty with using an anchor finger? I'm sure it slows us down. Frankly having started at almost 61 and with some arthritis and loss of finger dexterity that stamp method has been near impossible so far. I fear I may never really be able to abandon it for some chords. My playing is very casual however and maybe I'll survive anyway. I'm not trying to beat the pros. I'm just having some fun at home and with a gf who is 67 and also anchors when doing some chords.

Please don't tell me I'm doomed. I've had enough troubles in this life.

The importance of the stamp method can't be over-emphasized, IMHO. You need to start working towards it now, because all you are accomplishing by practicing a lot with the finger by finger method is reinforcing a habit that will eventually hold you up. It will be hard at first to force yourself to play very, very slowly and "rehearse" picking your fingers up and moving them to the new shape as you move your hand, then putting them all back down at more or less the same time. It will pay off in the long run, though.

Later, after you get comfortable with the stamp method, you will find cases where you WANT to intentionally drop one or more fingers into position later than the others, for hammer on effects and such - but until stamping the basic shapes is natural you will have difficulty doing hammer ons.

For the D chord, I use just two fingers to cover the three strings. I have my fingers at about a 45 degree angle so the two fingers cover the three strings easily, without having to do that "backwards bend" to clear the A string that you have to do if you use just one finger to bridge the three strings.

John

SoCal Ukester 713
05-14-2014, 08:22 AM
Best method I used....and it will take some time and lots of practice, is to move your fingers into the chord like a stamp. Try to stay away from the place one finger at a time as that method will hold you back.
For that D chord...I bar the three strings by arching my finger. I also cant find room for the three fingers.

I like the one-finger bar method for playing the D chord, too. With your left-hand index or middle finger, bar all the strings at the second fret. Then lift the finger off the fretboard enough to let the open A string play. (Move your wrist forward a little.)

Practicing chord changes can be really useful. When I look at the chords for a new song, I try to find the easiest fingerings for the quickest chord changes. For example, play G7, then move your index finger from the E string to the G string...you've got E7. Or, from a C to E7...play an open C chord using only your ring finger, your first two fingers slightly bent, anticipating the E7 shape. While sliding your ring finger from the third fret to the second fret, bring down your first two fingers at the same time. (Again, you will probably have to adjust your wrist position, swinging it slightly sideways, toward to headstock.)

Try fingering the open G chord with only two fingers -- index and middle, or middle and ring. It's helpful when changing between G and G7 (like in "Tonight You Belong to Me" or "All Gummed Up Inside"). It also makes the transition to Emin easier.

Uke Andy
05-14-2014, 08:28 AM
I have been playing now for 2 months, I find the G chord and D7 chord to be difficult. Getting in and out of both of these chords is rough for me. Also my F chord is tricky. Because I hold the neck of the uke lower in between my thumb and index finger my hand curls to far over the A string and it will buzz. I sit when I play but I haven’t figured out a way I can play the F chord while still supporting the neck besides using a strap. I have to get my fingers out away from the neck but then the uke seems to slip and drop a bit because I haven’t got it supported. Any ideas on how to fix this?

billten
05-14-2014, 08:40 AM
Any four finger chord became a lot easier the day i attached a strap to my uke. Not sure why, it just did...

ukantor
05-14-2014, 08:48 AM
Holding the neck of the uke in the fork of the thumb and index finger makes life very difficult. Thumb at the back of the neck is the way to go. I only play sopranos, and have never used a strap. Holding on to the thing while making chord changes felt difficult at first, but you soon get the hang of it. It is just a matter of practising.

janeray1940
05-14-2014, 09:00 AM
The chords that routinely give me trouble are the moveable augmented, and the moveable minor 7th shapes, particularly on ukes larger than soprano, since my stubby fingers can't quite make that stretch. Most people barre these; I make them 4-finger chords and that somehow allows me to stretch just a bit more.

Down Up Dick
05-14-2014, 10:40 AM
I like the bendy index finger for the D, but one has to practice it. I'm gonna try some of these other suggestions later. I'm working on four finger chords up the neck now.

Yukon Cornelius
05-14-2014, 11:01 AM
I'm a beginner but at this stage I've learned three dozen or more chords in first position. I'm learning to play them smoothly and cleanly and be able to transition between them. That's the difficult part. There are a couple that really pose a constant problem for me, compared to the others that is.

For me, one is the D chord. I really have trouble getting all three fingers in there and making a clean D without a buzz or it sounding muted or flat. It never seems to get easier. The other chord is E7. Moving into that chord always seems to be a major challenge for my fingers to get there smoothly and with any amount of speed. My old fingers just don't do that position easily especially moving from another position.

I used to have a lot of trouble with Em. I would carefully have to place one finger at a time. But once I did it with just fingering the C and A string and leaving out the E string and by golly I can hardly tell the difference in how it sounds and it's fairly easy to do smoothly and quickly for me with two fingers. So I do that. Often once those two fingers are down I can play that E string later and it doesn't disrupt the sound of the chord. Not to my ears anyway.

So... I'm just curious about what chords are difficult for you and why and how you may have overcome some chord difficulties.

I learned to cheat. Also learned different fingering for chords.
Examples:
D chord I learned to barre the second fret then use my pinky to hit the A string at the fifth fret. This is how I learned a D chord from the get go.
Now a way I cheat on the D chord is I just barre the 2nd fret (Bm7?) and only play the top three strings. It works.

E chord
I just barre the 4th fret and play the top three strings.

I try to play each chord correctly but there are times that the change is to fast so I learned to play what sounds fine.

There are other times that I can play a root chord instead of a 7th. Before I stick with that, I make sure it sounds ok or not really a difference if that makes sense.

Ukejenny
05-14-2014, 01:53 PM
I do use the move one finger at a time method with confusing chords, but I do it differently. I really analyze what my left hand is doing. I slowly move finger by finger and try to figure out the smoothest transition from the preceding chord. There is usually at least one finger that is just sliding to a different fret while staying on the same string, or maybe a finger that isn't moving at all. After I figure out which finger is the "anchor" I then move the other fingers with it and let that finger take the lead.

For example - going from Gm7 to F - the index finger is the anchor. It doesn't move. Once I establish that fact and remember it, it seems easier to form the shape around that finger.

Another example is going from Bm to Em. I think of my ring finger as the anchor. It is just moving one string from the G string to the C string. Once I get that one little move down, then the other fingers can make the jump with that finger leading the movement into Em.

Phluffy the Destroyer
05-14-2014, 10:53 PM
I struggled for the longest time with the Em and B7 chords. Not so much just playing them, but playing them quickly and accurately. Then I learned a simple trick.

If you can make a G, 0232, then simply place your pinky on the C chord in front of your index finger on the 4th fret, you have an Em, 0432.

Then I realized that if you can make a G chord and use your pinky to make the Em, you can move that exact same finger position up one string and you have a B7, 4320.

Skrik
05-14-2014, 11:11 PM
D = 2225
Barre at 2, pinky at 5.

DownUpDave
05-15-2014, 12:04 AM
The D chord seems to have a number of different ways to be achieved, here is one more. Guitar players might recognize this is a method to play the A chord. On the second fret = middle finger on G string, index finger on C string and ring finger on E string. It makes a tightly packed little triangle shape. If you have big fat finger it might be tough to cram them all in there. Easy transistion from a G chord, index is already there, pick up middle finger from A string place on G string then slide ring up from third fret to second fret staying on the E string.

I like Johns method of two fingers angled at 45*, this has worked for me as well.

fynger
05-15-2014, 12:57 AM
I reckon its just me...but 'G'......either it hates me or my hand says...hang on i'll get there soon.....lol

RAB11
05-15-2014, 01:57 AM
E normally gives me trouble, I end up making an E7 and then hammering my pinky onto the C string 4th fret. Similar to Dm7. just do a hint of Dm before using my pinky to make the Dm7.

I've always struggled with barre chords though, especially Bm and the rest of the chords on that shape. I can barre fine but I can never fret the G string with out making the chord sound muted, nevermind transitioning smoothly to it. Any tips?

OldePhart
05-15-2014, 02:09 AM
Try moving your finger in and out - I pretty much always barre with my palm right up to the A side of the fret board. Also, try rotating your finger back and forth - different people have different shape fingers and different amounts of flesh...it's just a matter of finding the position that works best with your digital anatomy.


E normally gives me trouble, I end up making an E7 and then hammering my pinky onto the C string 4th fret. Similar to Dm7. just do a hint of Dm before using my pinky to make the Dm7.

I've always struggled with barre chords though, especially Bm and the rest of the chords on that shape. I can barre fine but I can never fret the G string with out making the chord sound muted, nevermind transitioning smoothly to it. Any tips?

kkimura
05-15-2014, 03:18 AM
Aside from remembering where to place my fingers, my biggest worry is the neck dropping as I move from one chord to another. F to Em for example. A "Uke Strap" has helped but I'd like to change chords with out a strap too.

Down Up Dick
05-15-2014, 05:31 AM
Most of the chords are difficult finger twisters and thunkers and buzzers, but after some diligent practice they mostly all get easier. The few that don't--drop 'em--use somethin' else. Ahhh, well . . .

Yukon Cornelius
05-15-2014, 06:51 AM
I reckon its just me...but 'G'......either it hates me or my hand says...hang on i'll get there soon.....lol

You didn't play guitar did you? lol


One of the hardest chords for me was actually a G7.

Yukon Cornelius
05-15-2014, 06:55 AM
One thing I haven't seen mentioned here (and I have only skimmed most of the long posts) is that a good thing to do is look at the next chord you will be progressing to. Wait...now that I think about it, maybe ukejenny mentioned this. I call some fingers an anchor finger. It doesn't move. An example is when moving from an Em to C. I do not lift my index finger. So basically I make the C by holding the A string at the 2nd and 3rd fret.

I also use the index, middle, or ring finger to make a C chord. It all depends on which chord is coming next.

OldePhart
05-15-2014, 07:58 AM
:agree: with @Yukon - when learning a new song don't look at the chords that are in the song, look at the chord transitions and build a "map" in your head of exactly which form of each chord you are going to use for each change. When you do that you are never caught by surprise. I will often use two, and sometimes three or more, different fingerings of a single chord in the course of playing a song - it makes the transitions smoother and brings some often-needed variety to the accompaniment.

John