As a beginner ukulele player, you may have worked your way through a series of easy songs with just a few basic chords. These are great for becoming familiar with the ukulele and how different chords sound. But now you’re ready to play more challenging songs and at some point in your ukulele journey, you will encounter something called bar chords. You may have heard they are difficult or painful to play but I will outline how to play the Cm7 chord in a way that is not difficult as long as you relax your hand and body as a whole.
How to Play the Cm7 Chord on Your Ukulele
The Cm7 chord is a C minor seventh chord. This means that it is made up of the notes C, D#, G, and A#, and all the notes are played on the third fret, using only the first finger of your fretting hand, Think of it as if your finger was a capo. You will often see this written or notated in a chord diagram as 1111 placed in the 3rd fret, as its explained in the image below:
First, let’s talk about mechanics. It is super important to be as relaxed as possible when you are playing bar chords. You don’t want to tense up your hand or lock your elbow too far out or close to your body. I know it can be easy to do, but speaking from personal experience with hand pain, your wrist will be much more comfortable, and you will have an easier time playing the chord if you are relaxed. You never want to strangle the ukulele or grip it too tight.
To play the Cm7 chord, place your index finger over the third fret parallel to the metal bar. You will want to be very close to the metal bar without being directly on top of it. You will hear a “thud” sound when you pluck the strings if you are touching it.
After placing your index finger over the entire third fret make sure your thumb is somewhat along the side or back of the ukulele. The location of your thumb will depend on your anatomy and playing style, but generally, you don’t want it to be in an awkward-feeling position that causes you to twist your body or hand in an odd way.
You will also want to make sure your other fingers are out of the way. The only finger touching the strings should be your index finger. Before you give your ukulele a little test strum, check to make sure you are indeed pressing hard enough (but not too hard!) on the strings by plucking each string and checking for a good tone. Each one should ring out clearly and cleanly. If one is making a thud sound, check to see if your other fingers are out of the way and then adjust the pressure you are applying. It will take practice, but eventually, you will get every string ringing out cleanly and you’ll be well on your way to playing more challenging songs in more genres.
Read More: Learn how to play the C chord
You Did It!
If this is the first bar chord you’ve learned, congratulations! You will start learning more and expanding your ukulele vocabulary as you go forward. You may want to document this Cm7 chord you learned by keeping a chord journal or sketchbook. Draw or doodle a little diagram of the frets and where your fingers should be placed. You can include the notation of 1111 or the notes of C, D#, G, and A# as well.
As you learn more bar chords, add each one to this journal and it will help you memorize them. This is something I have started doing and it has helped to retain that information that I initially learn about the chord. You can also include additional information about the music theory behind each chord if you wish to. Make it a fun activity!
You can also get a FREE CHORD CHART where you can check this and a lot of other ukulele chords.
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