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Hey UUers from across the land!

This new Saturday brings yet another exciting episode of Uke Minutes! We've been quite a few emails lately asking about barre chords (or "bar chords", depending on your pronunciation of the word "tomato") and how to hold them. The term barre chord refers to a chord fingering where the ukulele player presses one or more fingers across multiple strings - most often the index finger, across all four strings.

If you think that bar chords totally suck, you're not alone. Many people have difficulty with barre chords - but this can be easily remedied once you learn to change the placement of your thumb. Effectively moving the position of your thumb is critical to your barre-chord-holding success.

For straight chords, the neck of the ukulele is typically placed in the crook of your palm, between the index finger and thumb, leaving your thumb hanging over the top edge of the neck, waving like the queen of the parade. But for barre chords, the thumb must be moved to a supporting character role, holding down the fort on the backside of the neck (See video above for clarification and animal analogy). Try it out and you'll be barring up a storm in no time!

Check out the video, practice changing quickly from straight chords to barre chords, and tell us all about it in the Forum. Hope your Saturday is amazingly awesome! Happy barring!

-UU Staff

What Should I Learn Next?
"Power Chords"
"How to Switch Chords"


  1. Thanks for the tip. Works, though I am still finding it hard to bar the E and A string on the 1st fred. Needs an enormous amount of pressure, specially the A string doesn't work for me. Tips anyone?

  2. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for weeks! I have such boney fingers it’s really rough on me! THANKS!

  3. Thank you, Aldrine. Very simple and very effective. I just learned it’s all about the thumb!

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