In this article, you will improve your ukulele playing by taking it to the next level. If you’ve been wanting to play the Db chord as one of the chords on the UkeLikethePros pocket chord chart which you can find on the website for free, you’re in the right place. Although this is a challenging chord to master because of the fingering involved in it, with practice and discipline, you will be able to master the Db chord on your ukulele… Guaranteed!
Introduction to Bar Chords
Bar chords are probably not the first chords you will first learn. They can be frustrating for some as you need quite a few skills that take time to build and to perfect. To help you with bar chords before jumping into the Db chord, here’s a cool tutorial on how to master this and the good thing is: It is absolutely doable!
You just need to be persistent and willing to put in the time that it will demand. Now some of you will have enough strength in your fingers to play bar chords, some of you will not have it at the moment… And that’s ok! I will provide you with some helpful tips and suggestions for working towards this bar chord, the Db chord. If you are encountering this Db chord, you are likely introducing yourself to jazz and blues – both styles of music that we all happen to love, right?
Strings on Your Ukulele
Just in case you are not familiar with the strings on your ukulele, I will briefly outline them here. From the top string down to the bottom, you have your four strings (G-C-E-A). With bar chords, you will usually use your first finger (forefinger) to hold down multiple strings with that one finger.
There are multiple ways you can play the Db chord, but we’ll stick to one, and you can play with it as you learn other ways. Knowing the strings on your ukulele is extremely important because it sets the foundation for any chord you wish to play.
Reading Bar Chord Charts
What makes a bar chord is the placement of one finger pressed on more than one string. The fret board has horizontal lines on it. You will be using the first and fourth fret on the fret board for the Db chord.
Bar chord charts are very similar to your typical chord charts. The salient difference is an arc that you will see over strings. This arc means that you are supposed to press down on all the denoted strings at once with one finger. We will go over the mechanics of this in more detail in the third section of this article, but I wanted to review the differences between chords and bar chords on chord charts. If you look at some chord charts, you will see an arc over the first, top three strings. This is asking for you to use your forefinger to press down on the strings (G-C-E) at one time. Probably the first thing you will notice is how awkward this feels. Try it a few times to finally master it and be able to get a nice and clean sound out of the bar.
Read more: How to play the Dm Chord on your Ukulele
Putting everything together, you will need to take your left forefinger and place it on those three top strings as we discussed in the last section (G-C-E). Now you will use finger 4 (or your left pinky finger) to press down right above the line between the fourth and fifth fret. Please refer to the diagram below to assist you in making the connections.
Some people press down their forefinger with their middle finger to apply more pressure. Remember to keep this forefinger parallel to the fret, and press down right above the fret line. Relax your elbow, and place your thumb loosely on the back of the ukulele neck. I have some tips for you in the next section that will help with your bar chord journey as you will undoubtedly find it challenging at first!
Work Up To It
In other articles, I really focus on the basics, but here, I want to offer as many helpful tips as I can because the content on how to play a bar chord such as the finger placement and fret board are not the major challenge. Building finger strength and the proper placement and approaches are the biggest obstacles. If you cannot play the Db chord right away, do not fret. It is a much more advanced skill, and many people struggle with it at the beginning. This section is dedicated to offering as many tips as possible to maximize on eventual success.
Importance of Bar Chords
So why master the Db chords and other bar chords if they are so challenging? That is a good question. If you are very serious about improving as a musician, learning these harder ukulele skills will be significant enough reasons for you to explore these bar chords. If you are interested in playing jazz or blues, you will need to know your bar chords.
You want to keep your fingers and arm as relaxed as possible, although your natural inclination will be to clutch the neck of your ukulele tightly. Loosen up as much as possible. You can try to press down on one string at a time starting from the top or bottom (whatever feels the best to you). All of these tips will help you move towards playing the Db chord.
Practice and Improve Your Technique
Something I found that was helpful was not even related to finger placement or string knowledge. I already had those fundamentals down, but I needed something that would help me with finger strength. Now I implement these Practice and Technique Challenge tutorials in my daily practice time:
These exercises are helping me immensely as I struggle with mastering the Db chord and bar chords that I know I need to master to play jazz and blues. I started these tutorials before I even attempted a bar chord. There is also a Ukulele Practice and Technique Bootcamp book based from that UkeLikethePros challenge series. Bar chords are more about practice and technique than finger placement and strumming.
In conclusion, this article aims to give you as many tips and resources as possible for you to build your ukulele skills that are necessary to play the Db chord or any other bar chord. At this point, you probably have the fundamentals down which is great. The ukulele has a profound depth to its mastery as with any instrument.
Learning this Db chord is more than just learning a new chord. It is about exploration, mastery, and constant progression. If you are reading this article, you most likely are at a point where you want to branch out in the ukulele world, and learning this bar chord, the Db chord, will most definitely help you do that!