The Spiderman Method of Getting Better on Ukulele

Early in my ukulele playing career, I lobbed off the very tip of my left hand ring finger cutting tomatoes.

Nothing bad, but I had to wear a bandage for a week.

And, like Peter Parker working alone in his laboratory, impacted by events over which he had no control, I, too, TRANSFORMED.

Not into a crime-fighting super arachnid, alas.

But into a new-way-off-forming-ukulele-chords-guy.

I couldn’t use my ring finger, because the bandaid didn’t let the note ring out. I’d just get a dull THUNK.

I worked out some songs:

  • Dull Thunk Blues
  • Baby Says My Thunk is Dull
  • Ain’tcha Doin’ Something ‘Bout That Dull, Dull Thunk?

but they all kind of sounded the same.

To accommodate my handicap (with no government assistance!), I switched my fingers around to make chords with other available tips—and it was a bit of an epiphany:

Chords don’t have to be made the same way every time!

In my video program, “Defeat the E,” I talk about the way E chord is “shown in the books.”

And why it’s wrong.

Or at least, it can be wrong in many instances.

Now, even though E and D are often the hardest “basic” chords for uke players to pick up, this same notion holds true for other chords—you can use OTHER fingers than the ones shown in the book.

A simple and dumb example:

C major. First string, third fret, all other strings open.

“The books” tell you to fret that one string with your first finger. And that’s fine. It works.

But since my Peter Parker experience, I almost never play C with my first finger. In fact, I mostly play C with my little finger!

Try it. It’s jarring at first, but then incredibly useful.

This concept works for any chords. You can use any fingers—you just have to hit the right spot!

This skill pays off down the road when you want to mess around with melody playing, moveable chords, and other deluxe skills.

your pal,
Danno

If you’d like to get the “Defeat the E” course mentioned, just click here.

More on Ukulele Chords
This post is one of many on the topic of Mastering Ukulele Chords. More (much more) right over here.