One thing I am struggling with in my ukulele learning are barre chords. As you already know if you’ve been following the blog, ukulele is my first instrument and as I am mostly learning on my own, things take much more time.
There is an overwhelming amount of things to learn and the time I can allocate to practising my uke is much less than I’d like. As a result, I often end up dismissing songs with chords I am not comfortable with so as to enjoy the time I spend on my uke rather than struggle and play a series of unsatisfactory sounds that are not exactly what you can call melodious.
However, I realised that avoiding difficulties was not a good solution when I met a ukulele friend of mine, Alex from the COULE, at the Paris Ukulele Bazaar a few weeks ago, and we decided to strum a few songs in a park together to enjoy the sunny afternoon. He knew plenty of songs but most of them had barre chords and were too difficult for me to play at a correct pace.
I felt frustrated at my crappiness so I have now set myself the challenge to learn to master those @#!/|\!# (don’t ask me what language that word is in) barre chords before my next meeting with Alex, which gives me a few months to improve.
Here are some tutorials I have found on the subject and which I hope will help you too if you ever are in the same situation.
1. Ukulele Mike‘s excellent tutorial is a very good starting point to learn how to properly hold and play barre chords.
2. Ian Schwartz explains how to learn to bend your fingers to get better barre chords and mentions the sensitive subject of the E chord.
3. David UkesterBrown shows us an exercise to practise barre chords
4. Densetsunotoki‘s tutorial helps us understand the use of barre chords to make movable chords
5. Finally, a demo of how to play barre chords without your thumb touching the neck of the ukulele. Not really sure about that one though, I doubt you can play fast without the use of your thumb to steady the uke.
For further exercises, you can download chords for a selection of songs which contain barre chords from my favourite ukulele blog, Uke Hunt.
If you are looking for tutorials in French (with the French note system), check out Sleipnir‘s tutorial on the COULE‘s website here.
If you are a barre chord expert yourself, don’t hesitate to share your tips by leaving a comment.