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Turk
11-21-2014, 03:09 AM
So I started playing Ukulele only about a month ago but I have been practicing every day. I have been learning a few songs. I have been doing the Improvement systems training. I also just kind of noodle around when I'm bored. I probably play around a hour a day.

Last week my index finger on my strumming hand started hurting. I felt like I had smashed it with a hammer. I didn't touch my Uke for about 4 days. I picked it back up a couple days ago and my index finger is hurting again.

I am assuming that it's because of the way I strum.

Have you had this problem? Do I just need time for my finger to toughen up like the callouses on my fretting hand? Or do you think that I could be strumming wrong? Will it go away in time. In my It appears to me that I am strumming correctly but as I don't have a teacher I'm not 100% sure.

Thank you for any help that you might offer.

-Turk

PhilUSAFRet
11-21-2014, 03:27 AM
May or may not be how you strum. It does take a while for the finger to "toughen up" but it should be getting better, not worse, Go to YouTube and search ukulele, how to strum and watch some of those players. Secondly, I'm wondering if you have some arthritis in that finger. I don't know how old you are, but I have it in my thumbs and if I play too much, the joints in my thumb, especially the one on my fretting hand, get's sore as hell. Finally, if it doesn't get any better, and if you have decent medical insurance, a visit to a hand specialist may be in order. Good luck.

IamNoMan
11-21-2014, 03:52 AM
Hard to say what the problem is with your index finger. There are some workarounds you could try. Try all of them anyway. Strum with your thumb or middle finger. Strum at different postions from the saddle to up the neck. This will change the sound a little. Change how you hold your right arm. start with your elbow in a six oclock position relative to the neck/sound hole. change the position of your elbow or ukulele til say 8 o'clock position. A couple of these positions will be more comfortable than others. When you find one then strum with T I M to see which works best for you.

Ukejenny
11-21-2014, 03:57 AM
I'm wondering if you are strumming with the side of your finger? Is it the whole tip of your finger, or the sides (beside the nail)? I have nail contact on the down strum and flesh contact on the up strum. I could see where hitting on the sides could make the cuticle area beside your nail very tender.

I'm teaching a few ukulele lessons and I'm finding that the students have a really rigid finger when I get them to strum without a pick. Relaxing it a little allows it to contact the strings without "hitting" them so hard.

Turk
11-21-2014, 04:51 AM
Thank you for your responses thus far.

I'm only 39. I don't think that I have arthritis yet but it's possible. (Ok I do have it in my foot from an old football injury but I almost never play my uke with my feet)

I do mostly strike with the nail but I will admit that occasionally I do strike the strings with the side (though not on purpose) especially when I am kicking up the tempo.

I think there is probably some merit to the idea that I may be too rigid when strumming. I should probably work more on accurate strumming. Maybe I'm hitting the wood parts instead of just the strings. (I definitely work more on my fretting hand).

I have tried other fingers and sometime strum with all of my fingers. I have a hard time chunking when I strum with all my fingers. I also have a hard time with getting the speed that I want when I use all of my fingers. Maybe I just need to practice more with all of my fingers and only use my index by itself on more technically demanding pieces.

ohmless
11-21-2014, 05:34 AM
I don't think it sounds normal. Give it a longer rest by learning to strum with your thumb for a couple weeks while waiting to see the doc. I am a doc also BTW.

During my first month of learning the ukulele I nearly developed an erosion on the nail that was really painful though I couldn't compare it to a hammer strike in the slightest. I learned to strum softer and the problem went away. Hope yours will also.

Rllink
11-21-2014, 05:36 AM
I'm wondering if you are strumming with the side of your finger? Is it the whole tip of your finger, or the sides (beside the nail)? I have nail contact on the down strum and flesh contact on the up strum. I could see where hitting on the sides could make the cuticle area beside your nail very tender.

I'm teaching a few ukulele lessons and I'm finding that the students have a really rigid finger when I get them to strum without a pick. Relaxing it a little allows it to contact the strings without "hitting" them so hard.Early on I was strumming on the side of my finger and was feeling a lot of discomfort, not really pain. I had to learn to twist my wrist a little so that I was strumming with the bend in my finger. Also the relaxing. In other words, what Jenny said.

ukadelic jeff
11-21-2014, 05:58 AM
Does your finger have swelling or redness after playing. I can't comment as much about the uke I have only had mine a few days now. I have been playing a steel string guitar and I finger strum a good bit I have had slight soreness but not as if it's been hit with a hammer or enough to keep me from playing. I do alternate between my index, thumb & middle finger on the uke. I guess the only self test is to try only using your middle finger and see if it starts to hurt like your index does. I'm sure we can expect some soreness but how much is the ? and could the pain be something else. As far as my fret hand my fingers stay sore with the guitar it has gotten better over the months of playing and I will play a few hours a day every day. Now I'm switching between the guitars & ukulele. Hope it gets better if not see a doctor!

IamNoMan
11-21-2014, 06:12 AM
What Ukejenny said about the cuticle soreness on the side of your finger sounds familiar.

One thing you might try is using your thumbnail to brace the back of your index or middle finger. Stick that nail right into the first joint of your chosen finger. This will give you a more rigid strumming assembly, (sort of like a pick). This might ease your difficulties.

Turk
11-25-2014, 09:32 AM
I have been concentrating more of my practice on playing correctly. I have used more precise strumming and using all of my fingers where appropriate. I also started strumming a little farther away from the neck. May have been smacking the neck with my finger. Consequently it's been feeling a lot better.

Thank you all for your help and advice!!