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Thread: Is this a common problem?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    Canada
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    Default Is this a common problem?

    Admittedly, it's been a few days since I have last tried practicing Ukulele.

    However the last time, I was having problems just getting my fingers in the correct position to form chords. It's as if my fingers are not flexible enough, and the finger positioning is very awkward.

    Is it possible that some people are just not capable of playing stringed instruments like this, or is this a common beginners issue, which you just develop the ability with time?

    Are there any exercises (besides practicing) that one can do while watching TV or something to improve their finger flexibility?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
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    It will get easier! Don't give up and don't get disheartened. It was so hard when I started, I never thought I'd get the hang of even the "easy" chords and "easy" strums, never mind trying to do them together or finger pick! With practice you'll get there
    ~ "Music washes away the dust of everyday life" ~

    •••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••

    Location: UK

    Concert - Kanile'a KSC-C • Kai KCI-5000 acacia
    Tenor - Anuenue UT200 • Sumi Kobo sinker cedar + ziricote • Kanile'a 2019 Platinum Pineapple • LFDM ukaferri • Kala KA-SRMT-TRI
    Baritone - Kala SMHB (for sale)


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    USA
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    Default

    Practice switching between a few popular chord shapes without strumming. Most beginners need to build up finger strength and flexibility.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2014
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    Contrary to what a lot of people say, it isn't easy to play the ukulele. It just takes some time and effort. You'll get there.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    South West Georgia
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    I play ukulele, mountain dulcimer, NA Flute, and harmonica. Not bragging, just making a point. Contrary to the popular belief, all are difficult, and require hundreds of hours to become even moderately proficient. I am not there yet. At 73 I don’t think I will live long enough to ever get there. But I try. Constantly. Because I love making music and entertaining beyond measure.

    Unquestionably, out of the four instruments listed above, I’ve found the ukulele to be the most difficult to learn. Not even close. There is so much muscle memory going on with both hands that it can get you down in a hurry. What got me thru was learning 2 chord songs, then 3, then 4, and so on.

    Try not to get discouraged, just continue practicing smart. There is no time limit. We can learn and get better forever. I can’t explain it, but the rewards you will reap along your journey are unimaginable at this moment. So much happiness awaits you. Think of the ukulele as a love machine.

    Good luck, Twiggy
    “Well, today is a good day to make music.”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    935

    Default

    I agree with the others: it is difficult, because it is hard. However, the more you practice, the stronger your hand gets. Although it isn't necessary, you can do some isolation exercises for hand strength. For finger extensors I have these really thick rubber hands that you put around your fingertips and then forcefully extend your fingers. For hand flexors I use those grippers that you squeeze. I found it really helpful when sitting idly (something people did before smart phones) to concentrate on my fingers and move them individually. My ring and pinky fingers especially seemed somewhat dead and unresponsive. You can also search youtube for guitar stretching exercises. There are countless videos with guitarists showing how they stretch their hands. That being said, all you need to do is practice your music in order to get better at it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Brenchley, Kent, England
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    Hi Twigy
    I'm a bit younger (62) and play a similar mix of instruments. Something that has helped me is regular practices with our band, who are all strings-only players and who help with practical tips, advice and selecting suitable material. We do a monthly free gig in the hospital where I work, and use the opportunity to include suitable tunes for me. Gives me deadlines and a target, as well as the safety net of playing along with others - starting with the simplest possible accompaniment and gradually working up from there.
    Pete Howlett 'Deacon' - low G (That One With The Amazing Back)
    Gold Tone small bodied Tenor resonator - high g
    Kala Tenor resonator - low G

    Also Mark Savoy G melodeon, Andy Norman DG Anglo, Alba & MK whistles, Dave Copley flutes and Jon Swayne bagpipes. Well, keeps me busy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Redmond, WA
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    475

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    Turn on Karate Kid, grab your instrument, and: Chord on... Chord off... Chord on... Chord off...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Sunny Jersey - where the cows come from!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiggy View Post
    Admittedly, it's been a few days since I have last tried practicing Ukulele.
    Herein lies problem one ... practicing an instrument isn't something that can be done a couple of times a week, you really do need to find 15-30 minutes every day, in two or three shorter sessions if necessary. It's not necessarily the time you spend actually practicing, (though obviously it needs to be more than just "a few minutes"), but the time between practice sessions that causes the problems!

    Quote Originally Posted by Twiggy View Post
    However the last time, I was having problems just getting my fingers in the correct position to form chords. It's as if my fingers are not flexible enough, and the finger positioning is very awkward.

    Is it possible that some people are just not capable of playing stringed instruments like this, or is this a common beginners issue, which you just develop the ability with time?

    Are there any exercises (besides practicing) that one can do while watching TV or something to improve their finger flexibility?
    In the first instances, it's all down to regular practice with the instrument. Learning how to squeeze a tennis ball (or some other over-priced piece of "muscle development" equipment) will just make you very proficient at squeezing things

    If making too much noise is a problem, "stick a sock in it", literally!

    Practice simple stuff first. Just two or three chords ... C to F to C to F etc or F to C7 to F to C7 'till your fingers can find their way around without thinking. After a few days you'll be strumming along to simple tunes and wondering what all the fuss was about

    Good luck
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    East Midlands UK
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    324

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    As kypfer says, you need to play every day even if only for fifteen minutes. A lady at my old group used to complain that she was making no progress; I asked how often she played. 'Once a week for a full hour' was the reply. I suggested maybe ten minutes per day instead and she complained that her hectic life style prohibited this. I mentally shrugged and walked away, knowing that her 'progress' was bound to be somewhat limited, owing to her casual once per week regime. If you love your instrument and want to get better,like a human relationship, spend time with it,and care about the time you expend to improve your happiness at playing our favourite instrument!
    All power and respect to you Concert,Tenor and Baritone players, but Soprano is what does it for me every time! (And my beautiful Sopranino!)

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