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Ukulele Lesson: Introduction to Barre Chords with Craig Chee


One of the most common and fundamental techniques used to play chords on the ukulele is the barre chord fingering. However, for those who are just beginning their ukulele practice or are learning how to play a stringed instrument for the first time, fingering barre chords can often feel uncomfortable and a bit unnatural at first.


Fortunately, in this online ukulele lesson, internationally-renowned ukulele player and ArtistWorks instructor Craig Chee provides his unique approach to fingering barre chords that will improve your dexterity, physical comfort, and note clarity on your instrument.


Before we dive into the lesson, let’s quickly review what a barre chord is. A barre chord is a type of chord in which one or more fingers are used to press down multiple strings across a single fret on the ukulele’s fingerboard. While barre chords are utilized on a variety of different stringed instruments, they work particularly well on the small four-stringed instrument due to the harmonic structure of standard ukulele tuning.


One of the most common issues that players experience early on when learning to play barre chords is discomfort in the left hand caused by tension and high amounts of unneeded physical pressure.


“There is a tendency among beginning ukulele players to squeeze too hard with their left hand,” Craig explains. “There are a variety of things you can practice to relieve that tension and play barre chords much more fluidly and comfortably.”


Craig goes on to outline a unique approach in which he uses balanced pressure against the instrument’s body and fingerboard as well as an alternative left hand thumb placement to perform all ukulele chords with decreased tension and improved clarity. This method applies particularly well for barre chords and is a technique that ukulele players of all levels can benefit from exploring.


“When I place my thumb on the neck directly behind the index finger on my left hand, I can immediately feel the tension,” Craig explains. “When I use this approach of balancing pressure between the body and the neck, I get a seesaw effect that relieves my reliance on my left hand.”


To learn more about Craig’s unique approach to playing and practicing barre chords, dive into this online ukulele lesson:


Introduction to Barre Chords with Craig Chee:



Have you always wanted to learn how to play the ukulele? Through our comprehensive ukulele lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Craig and Sarah’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner ukulele to advanced performance techniques and tunes. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as ukulele players and musicians!


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



ArtistWorks Music Series Podcast—Building Your Practice Roadmap: Craig & Sarah

Craig & Sarah: 51st Annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii Kick-Off!

Craig Chee’s Guide to Ukulele Improvisation




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