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Thread: OMG Hard Chords

  1. #1

    Default OMG Hard Chords

    I thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss. I'm learning the Jazzy HMS version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I come across this chord:

    GCEA > 2413

    I'm on a tenor scale. Tried using my thumb on G2, still tough to get this one clean. Anyone have similar experiences and wanna share how they got over it?

    This chord makes me want to get a concert sized uke.

  2. #2
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    On re-entrant ukulele this Fmaj7 chord is the same:
    5500

    Somewhat easier

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarmo_S View Post
    On re-entrant ukulele this Fmaj7 chord is the same:
    5500

    Somewhat easier
    I play 5500 with linear tuning. It sounds great and as you say "somewhat easier"
    DEPENDENTS:

    In order of age:

    Kamaka HF-4 Baritone C Linear Tuning 6/2009
    Martin C-1K Concert, Bb Re-entrant Tuning 4/2014
    Kala KA SRMT-TRI Tenor C Linear Tuning 6/1/2015
    Pono MTD-CR Tenor C Re-entrant Tuning 6'21'2016

  4. #4
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    The 5500 version is the same notes and (perhaps) easier to fret. But, (although I am not personally familiar with the arangement your playing) it may be important that you fret all four strings. As Gerald Ross shows us, especially playing chordal jazz, the muting effect of fretting and lifting with the fretting hand on all four strings is very important for the feel of the music.
    I think it's extremely important learn the hard stuff. It has been my experience with the 2413 (in an arrangement of E. Garner's "Misty" that I play) that the chord is not as difficult to fret as it is difficult to transition to and from it. This told me it was a matter of speed. I practiced it slowly for a what felt like a very long time. When I found myself able to better perform this transition, the result was far more satisfying than my experiments I did with the 5500 substitute.
    If everybody wanted peace instead of another TV, then there would be peace.
    -John Lennon-

  5. #5
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    For some chords it is easier to barre or semi-barre the lowest fret. Although that may not be the case for your chord. Rotating your wrist to pick up the 4th fret on the C string with your pinky helps. For your chord it seems to fall pinky to index by fret. You can drop the 1st fret note to practice getting the other 3 in position and then add it.

    I know that changing how you play the previous chord can help with transitions. If you have one of the previous chord notes anchored or next to it, you can start from there and drop the other notes around it; less movement. But this is sometimes easier said than done. Key changes within a song is the toughest for me, especially barred with a melody. Your brain has to suddenly build the chords with different fingers. As the years go on my brain is increasingly reluctant to go along with my hopes and dreams.

    Other than that, just practice.

    John

    Edit: stevepetergal... I was typing when your were posting.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
    For some chords it is easier to barre or semi-barre the lowest fret. Although that may not be the case for your chord. Rotating your wrist to pick up the 4th fret on the C string with your pinky helps. For your chord it seems to fall pinky to index by fret. You can drop the 1st fret note to practice getting the other 3 in position and then add it.

    I know that changing how you play the previous chord can help with transitions. If you have one of the previous chord notes anchored or next to it, you can start from there and drop the other notes around it; less movement. But this is sometimes easier said than done. Key changes within a song is the toughest for me, especially barred with a melody. Your brain has to suddenly build the chords with different fingers. As the years go on my brain is increasingly reluctant to go along with my hopes and dreams.

    Other than that, just practice.
    All very sound suggestions (the last bit being the best of all).
    If everybody wanted peace instead of another TV, then there would be peace.
    -John Lennon-

  7. #7

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    Thanks everyone for the great advice. 0055 is a nice chord alternative, but it doesn’t go along with the finger plucking sequences. I think the difficult part is getting the pinky on the 4th fret and not muting the E string at the same time. Also, my ring finger on 3rd fret becomes incredibly weak.

    I’ve been considering a concert scale uke to play until my skills get better, but I love the tenor sound. Any merit in this or should I just stick with the tenor and suck it up?

  8. #8
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    As a rule it's best to practice and suck it up. Everything gets easier if you work at it, right? But then I have to admit: I don't play tenors. Everything I can play easily on a concert becomes much more difficult for me on a tenor scale. It makes no earthly sense for me to play a uke that doesn't fit my hands.

    Depending on your hand size, finger length, flexibility and lots of individual factors, you might be happier with a good-quality concert. See if you can borrow a concert and play it for a while before buying.

    "That tenor sound" is a myth. Scale length is just one thing that contributes to the sound of a uke. The builder, the materials, the bracing, the body size/shape, the strings... If you don't like the sound of a concert, you are playing the wrong concert.

  9. #9
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    It will get easier with time. It has for me. Don’t give up the tenor either. You like the sound. Stick with it. I went down to concert but came back up to tenor and baritone. Your fingers will stretch in time. That’s the hard part of learning. It takes time and work.

    A friend of mine went to a jazz guitar class with the great John McLaughlin. Someone complained that some of the chords actually hurt to make them. McLaughlin said they hurt him too. Lyle Ritz called them knucklebusters. They get easier. Sometimes you want the harder version of that Fmaj7 because it puts the melody note on the first string whereas the 5500 might not. You often want to use the chord shape that puts the melody note on the first or second string. Everything below becomes the harmony. Often you don’t play anything above the melody note.

    Chord shapes are called voicings, the order of the notes in the chord. CEG is a C chord but so is GEC or EGC, and since you have four strings on a uke you can double any of these notes to get certain sounds. Chord voicing is as important as just playing chords. Once you start carefully choosing your chord voicings you become much more musical and therefore a better player.

    One great player said that a trick that often works to great effect is choosing voicings that are close together. They sound good because the notes don’t take giant leaps and they are easier to change between each other.

    Get Roy Sakuma’s chord book and start learning the basic four voicings for the chords you use. Play around with combining them in the progressions of the songs you’re learning. Your ears will open.

    Start for example with C Am F G or G7. Play it using different combinations of chord shapes, voicings, chord positions, whatever you want to call them. You’ll find yourself on different places on the neck. What do you like?
    Play the progression by switching through voicings. That gives variety.

    Just screwing around with different voicings of Fmaj7 and using them as a sort of progression. Do whatever strum or picking feels good but go from:

    5557 to 5500 to 2413. These are all voicings of the Fmaj7. I haven’t really analyzed them to see whether any of the notes of the full Fmaj7 are left out. Those would be FACE, E being the maj 7 note. A regular 7 would have Eb.

    5557=CFAE cool all notes there

    5500=CFEA cool all notes there

    2413=AEFC cool all notes there. Now I know.

    So the movement of these three voicings produces a movement on the first string of e to a to c
    There’s a big jump from the e to the open a.

    Try this progression of voicings instead:

    5557 to 2413 to 5500. Now you’re going from e to c to a, a little sweeter, a little more musical.

    You’re not changing the chord, only the voicing. See what a difference it makes? So if you see the chords for a song and it says C Am F G, just knowing one way to play those chords ain’t really doing the song justice. You have to figure out which voicings and combinations of voicing do the song justice. Get that Sakuma book.

    I’m at the point where I’m figuring out the best voicing for jazz chords. Glen Rose’s Jazzy uke lessons have really helped me make better choices and substitutions that make movements sweeter and easier. Takes time and effort but then I’ve always loved music and I got serious about theory with the uke. Wish I had done it in my teens or earlier. Coltrane supposedly said the more you know the more you can blow. Bach might have said something similar in a less colloquial way.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Kimosabe; 03-04-2018 at 10:24 AM.

  10. #10

    Default

    WOW, I didn’t think this thread would get so insightful! I really just wanted people to rant with me lol, but this is so much better! I’m learning so much thanks to everyone here.

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