Today, for the first time I was able to get a barre chord to sound out clearly. Yay! I still can’t do this consistently, and they are still the stuff that sore muscles are made of, BUT! I was able to perform both Bm and D7 on ukulele properly a few times, so progress is definitely being made. Once I can do them consistently, I will have both the C chord family and the G chord family under my belt (and will just have to work on remembering which is which. 😉 ). It will likely be a while before I am able to form them quickly and efficiently enough to use in a song, and there’s definitely some muscle building that needs to happen. Even on the uke, barre chords really do make me feel all of those muscles and tendons at work.
Even so, I feel I’m making decent progress for having never attempted a barre chord until 4 days ago. I haven’t been dedicating a lot of time to it each day. I really can’t until those muscles build; my hand still gets too tired working on them, so extended periods of time aren’t really possible for now. So, I’ve been allotting around 2-10 minutes, averaging around 5 minutes per day. For about half an hour of work, I feel things are coming along nicely, really.
I do find Bm a little easier than D7, since it’s spread out a bit more. That’s a flexibility issue. With D7, once I place my middle finger, the barre finger lifts a little from the bottom. That’s why I was having trouble getting the 2nd string to sound in my last barre chord post. It’s an issue of the close positioning and the fingers not being quite flexible enough yet to perform this smoothly. The pointer finger lifts marginally to try to make room for the middle finger which doesn’t want to bend quite as much as it needs to. Bm, on the other hand, uses the first and third finger, so the middle finger can sort of just do it’s own thing and stay out of the way – not as much flexibility is really necessary.
At the rate I’m going, I imagine within the next few weeks of practice, my hand should, theoretically, adapt, as long as I do my part in working on these chords for a few minutes each day. And, once I have them smoothed out on the ukulele, it will just be an issue of adapting what I’ve learned to the guitar.
Overall, I feel good about my progress so far.
I’m still hung up on other things, like singing with my playing. I need to get myself into a mental place where I don’t feel awkward practicing that with the Roomie on the other side of the house where he can probably hear me. It’s not like I’m a terrible singer, or like he’s never heard me sing along to the radio before, but take the radio away and it’s kind of embarrassing! In my own house, I know that’s silly, but it’s still true. And, I don’t feel like I can say I’ve learned a song until I can do both parts(the vocal is what tells me when the song ends, after all. Otherwise I lose count and just keep going!), so while I know a handful of half-learned songs, I still only know the one Flaming Lips tune, really. I can’t seem to sing to anything more complex than four strums in a bar (and hope my half-assed attempt at using some musical terminology made some kind of sense), so that DDUUDU strum I keep coming across is a bit much for me for the time being. I read that it does sometimes take beginners a while to get the hang of this, though, so as soon as I can get over my silly hang-up about the roomie hearing me sing in my bedroom, I will have to dedicate some practice to that, too.
Until Next Time, definitely making progress, but also definitely need to keep working on it.