get a fretboard that fits your index finger, or change your technique?

13down

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I have generally long fingers - long enough that the average ukulele nut width of 1 3/8 inches aka 35mm often provokes discomfort in my left hand knuckle joints. So I seek out wider nuts.

I'm currently playing a Famous FLS-1G. The nut is approximately 1.5 inches wide. It's far more comfortable, except for one thing: barre chords. My index finger is just slightly too short to be good at barre chords on this uke. My middle finger, however, is the perfect length to do barre chords a) comfortably and b) with good intonation on all 4 notes.

So here's my technique question: has anyone here ever trained themselves to do barre chords with a finger other than the index finger? And if so, does it ever feel as natural as barring with the index finger?
 

kypfer

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I can barre, at least in part, with first, second and third fingers on my guitar and banjo, occasionally using just the little finger to fret other strings, so utilising this on my ukuleles seems second nature, not sure it's good practice, though!
As far as comfort is concerned, for barring with my index finger, the wider the neck the better. I can get my thumb comfortably behind the neck on a wide 6-string (or 12-string) guitar, so pressing down with the index finger is totally natural. The narrower ukulele and banjo necks mean thumb/finger positioning have to be more exact to be able to play without discomfort.
I might suggest you get "someone who knows" to inspect your barring/fretting technique and possibly advise how you might improve it.

Good luck :music:
 

bsfloyd

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Barring with your middle finger limits the chords that can be had due to one less finger under the barre. I guess I'm having a hard time understanding this - you have generally long fingers but cannot use your index finger to cover a 1.5" nut width? Is there an arthritic joint issue, or an 'itis issue that you did not mention? I have what I consider normal to slightly longer than normal length (male) fingers and have no trouble barring a 52mm classical guitar neck. I do accept that all our body geometries are different, but I wonder if there is something else keeping you from being able to comfortably barre the 1.5" nut width... I assume you are moving your thumb to the direct back of the neck for barring?
 

Jarmo_S

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Barring with your middle finger limits the chords that can be had due to one less finger under the barre. I guess I'm having a hard time understanding this - you have generally long fingers but cannot use your index finger to cover a 1.5" nut width? Is there an arthritic joint issue, or an 'itis issue that you did not mention? I have what I consider normal to slightly longer than normal length (male) fingers and have no trouble barring a 52mm classical guitar neck. I do accept that all our body geometries are different, but I wonder if there is something else keeping you from being able to comfortably barre the 1.5" nut width... I assume you are moving your thumb to the direct back of the neck for barring?

I too don't really understand the OP's question. Ukulele necks compared to guitar are narrow in width. I think even a quite small child can barre a classical guitar with thumb behind a neck, provided that the action is not too high. Many chords yes can be barred with a partial barre, thumb just maybe like showing up high behind the fingerboard, like I many times use, especially with non barre chords, my fave thing to do. But that is not recommended in general for barre chords at least and depends of your index finger flexibility too.

Just put your index finger straight and with thumb behind the neck find the sweet spot and support, my advice. A strap might help you in that too.

EDIT: Might it be that you are trying to play a chord like Bb7 (1211) with a partial barre hold? Your post is not really understood by us.
 
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DownUpDave

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Practice, practice, practice. If you got long fingers you should have no issues. Roll your index finger up so the pads not pushing down but more the side of your finger. Curl your finger just a bit and make sure your thumb is middle of neck and placed between your barring index and the other fingers. Maybe you know all this, if so, sorry, others might not though.
 

13down

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After taking to heart all the advice in this thread, I realized something funny: the issues I had with the Famous uke that inspired this post were not actually related to the fretobard. They were related to the action height. Silly me! And glad that everyone's comments got me to pay more attention and figure it out!