Learn to play ukulele : How to make a chord sound right (detailed)

How to make a chord sound right (detailed)

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Type: Quick Tip

There's a lesson for beginners called "How to make a chord sound right". The lesson isn't necessarily wrong, but it isn't complete. The original text of the post is this:


"If you are playing a chord and you don't think the sound is coming out right or it doesn't sound like it should always make sure you are pressing down on the strings, that way the sound is clear with no extra wobbling false notes coming out as well as the ones you want. if that doesn't work also just check that you are playing with the right fingers on the right fret because it can be quite easy to put your fingers in the wrong place !

i hope this lesson has been helpful !"


Now let's elaborate on this.

There are many times where pressing down with more force will solve your sound problem, but how about when you're already pressing hard? Press harder? Try and loosen up. Sometimes, pressing down on a string will bend the string around the fret, especially on certain kinds of strings. This happens for older strings on guitar as well. Try loosing up your grip on some strings and see if that makes a difference.

Another problem that could be happening is placement. Now, the author of the original suggested wrong fret placement. For beginners, that could be the issue. Always double check chord charts if you think something sounds wrong. However, the placement of your finger between the frets could be the issue. The 'fret' is not the part you place your finger on, contrary to misconception. The fret is the metal bar between the finger placement areas. Sometimes how far or near to the fret can affect the sound, as it's the bar that's stopping the string, not your finger. Too close to the bar, and your finger may be pulling the string around the fret, making the note too sharp. Too far back, and it might have some slack, making it flat.

The "sweet spot" is usually midway between the middle of the fret, and the fret itself, although, for some strings and ukes, it might be different. Play around with yours. The size of your fingers may also play a factor, so count that in.

Make sure your uke is properly tuned. It may sound in tune with the open strings, but a few millicents off and it may affect the sound up the fretboard. If you don't have perfect relative pitch, try and always use an electronic tuner. (Cents are a basic interval unit of musical notes.) Brand new ukes may have chronic tuning issues.

Sometimes, simply not being comfortable with playing may be the issue. When I first started, I could never get my G chord to sound right. Now that I've been playing for a while, it sounds beautiful and I noticed it's because I'm much more comfortable playing the smaller fretboard. (I came from guitar.)

Don't give up if you feel frustrated, because you can only get better.

Also, don't let little things frustrate you. Keep learning. Just because it doesn't "sound quite right" doesn't mean you aren't learning. It's about having fun, not being perfect. Let yourself grow into proficency.

Keep on strumming.

Lesson by , 03 Apr 2014

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