Recently a lot of my uke students have reached the point where they’re ready to play barre chords, it’s usually the D7 we reach first and have some ‘fun’ trying to get our fingers to do it right! This reminded me of an article I read on playing such chords and thought it worth posting here, especially if you’re having similar difficulties.
‘7 Quick Tips to Improve Your Barre Chords on Ukulele‘ is a great little article and covers the things I tell my students, it also has the advantage of some nice clear pictures. Some of my favourite points that they makes are:
- Use your thumb and index finger as a peg with the ukulele neck in between – you’ll need to apply a bit more pressure so the thumb really helps keep your index finger in place
- Keep your barring finger as close to the fret as possible, you can get away with it virtually on top of the fret
- If you’re really struggling you can double up the barre and put your middle finger over your index finger – it’s not always helpful, but some of my students have had great success with it
- Pluck each string of your barre chord and see where the dull notes are – this is the process I use when teaching the chords, often we find moving the finger up or down helps to find the most comfortable position. Usually the problem is that the finger is not flat enough and the top joint (nearest the tip of your finger) is often responsible for problems and needs a bit of flattening
- Practice! It takes time to play these chords and don’t worry if you don’t get them straight away.
The barre chord acts as a temporary capo on the uke (those clips you see guitar players use so the pitch of the instrument matches their vocal range) – it shortens the strings and therefore makes what could be an awkward chord much easier to play with simpler fingering. They’re well worth practicing and in the end will open up a whole new set of chords and progressions.
The original article can be found by clicking the link above which will take you to the Ukulele Tricks website