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Thread: B flat help (and inverted C etc.)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Default B flat help (and inverted C etc.)

    Hi Guys,

    Ever since I have started playing (about a year ago), I have had issues playing B flat chords and anything else with the same shape, such as the inverted C chord. I can't get my index finger to bend so that it can bar the E and A strings. I can never seem to get enough pressure on the A string. I've managed to play it in the conventional way once or twice, but on each of those occasions, I spent at least 5 minutes fiddling with the finger position and caused myself quite a bit of pain trying to force my finger into position. However, I can play the chord quite cleanly if I just bar all 4 strings with the index finger. I used to have a teacher, and I asked him about this, and all he said is that it's better if I can play it the normal way and that I should practice. Several months have passed since then, and practicing doesn't seem to have helped. How important do you guys think it is to play it the 'normal' way? I'm doing alright doing it my way, but I'm just worried that I'm shooting myself in the foot in the long run by learning the 'wrong' way to do it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Pickering, ON, Canada
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    I feel very strongly about playing the chord any way that works for you. I play B flat with a full barr and find no issue doing this what so ever. We are all built a bit differently when it comes to physical proportions, dexterity extra. I play in three seperate uke jams and have taken workshops and most leaders/teachers say "do what works for you"
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    If you get a Bb the way you play it, it's right for you - fingerings are 'suggested' positions & fingers.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Indianapolis
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    I agree that if it works for you don't worry too much about it. That said, there may be some chord transitions that are easier from the partial barre position. How you hold the neck can affect your fingering. If you hold the neck so that the tip of your thumb is on the back of e neck rather than cradling it between your thumb and first finger it might help.

    Dave
    Ukes: Mainland Mahogany Tenor, Bruce Wei Art Acacia Tenor, Pono MGBD Baritone, Favilla Baritone
    Banjos: Pisgah Possum 12" cherry, Goldtone CC50RP, Vega Tubaphone, A-scale Backyard Banjo
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Barring just the E & A strings or barring all 4 strings are equally good. If barring just the E & A strings is causing you pain,Don't do it whatever your instructor says. Chances are you'll do yourself long term damage.

    Barring all 4 strings makes it easier to move to other bar chords, so there is an advantage to that particular fingering.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Pain is the worst enemy in playing an instrument and should be avoided virtually all the time. Listen to your hand, it's telling you the full barre is better. Musically the full barre can lend itself to faster smoother transitions to other barre chords, like if you do C as 5433 with a full barre you can go to a G as 4232 pretty nicely keeping the full barre in place.
    Koaloha Tenor 2016
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  7. #7
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    I'll also add that if you wanted to experiment playing the Bb shape with a partial barre, one thing to play with would be thumb placement. I feel directly under the neck, and shifting your hand so that your thumb points a little bit more north to the headstock (thumb more parallel to the neck), you can get a little more even and consistent pressure from the barre fingers since the finger pressure is more equalized between your thumb and index finger.
    Koaloha Tenor 2016
    Hoffman ML ebony/red spruce tenor
    Mya-Moe redwood/walnut tenor
    Stansell Myrtle and POC flamenco baritone
    Hoffmann A style cedar maple tenor

  8. #8
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    Jan 2016
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    Thanks guys,

    In terms of thumb positioning, I've been playing around with it for a while and while I can't find a thumb position that will enable me to do the partial bar, I have found that the position that Recstar24 suggested helps me to maintain barre chords longer without cramping.

    Best regards,

    Robin

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Recstar24 View Post
    Pain is the worst enemy in playing an instrument and should be avoided virtually all the time. Listen to your hand, it's telling you the full barre is better. Musically the full barre can lend itself to faster smoother transitions to other barre chords, like if you do C as 5433 with a full barre you can go to a G as 4232 pretty nicely keeping the full barre in place.

    This shape at 7565 is also Bb and is A one down, 6454. It is a good shape...it is best thought of as a Barred F shape.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2009
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    Nothing wrong with full barres as you describe. My fingers don't do half-barres very well; I'm told it's genetic - either you have those bendy fingers or you don't. So, to compensate I use the index finger barre a lot, or else I use one finger on each string (depending on the chord shape, of course; I don't think this would help with the Bb shape!).

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