View Full Version : A stupid beginner question

10-13-2016, 11:34 AM
Hi there! I'm new to the Ukulele and I just have a quick question for ya.
Am I supposted to strum on the strings of the neck of the uke or the body. My pointer finger usually hurts more when I strum on the body part of the uke than when i strum on the neck but, I wan't to know which on is technically correct. Picture #1 or Picture #2?

Picture #1

Picture #2


Chopped Liver
10-13-2016, 11:37 AM
Picture 1 is closer. Play in the spot that is the sweetest. Try where the neck and body meet. Definitely not #2.

10-13-2016, 11:42 AM
Thanks!, also is my finger hurting normal, or should I get a finger pick?

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-13-2016, 11:58 AM
generally, your finger will hurt if you're new to strumming.
you might want to cup the fingers of your strumming hand and brush them across the strings.
I strum down with my index fingernail and up with my thumbnail.
different strokes for different folks :)

strum wherever your hand lands on the uke. When I hold my uke, my fingers
strum on the neck where it meets the body. after playing a bit there are light scratch
marks on the upper bout of the uke from my fingernails on my strumming hand.

keep uke'in',

10-13-2016, 12:04 PM
Try practicing using different fingers. Also, maybe you are strumming harder than you need to. Try strumming down with the thumb, and up with your finger. Try using your middle and ring fingers for up and down strokes. If you mix it up a bit, it will help avoid overuse of any one finger. Strum around the 12th fret, like Chopped Liver suggested. The "sweet spot" is supposed to be half way between the nut and the saddle.


10-13-2016, 12:09 PM
Thanks for the advice!

10-13-2016, 12:31 PM
Go slow at first when doing anything new. And start with short practices. (I know it is hard when you have a new uke)
Maybe only play 30 min.-1 hour a day for week. Let the muscles/fingers learn and also recover from new experiences.

Take time, to slow down, to speed up.

It will all come with time.

10-13-2016, 01:12 PM
I just started playing a few months ago. At first I was so excited I couldn't play enough and after a few weeks I noticed my finger hurt more and more. It got to the point that I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. I generally play on the neck at or around where the body meets the neck. On my tenors it is between 14th-17th frets. I noticed on one of my ukes that has very low action, that I was hitting the side of the fretboard on my down strokes. Check to see if that is happening. Beyond something like that, I think to some degree you just have to play through it. Same as developing calluses on your left hand finger tips.

Stay with it and good luck!

10-13-2016, 01:52 PM
strum wherever your hand lands on the uke.

I just want to expand on this a little bit. When you hold your uke while standing it will naturally sit in the crook of your elbow. In this case your strumming position will naturally be the same distance from the base of your uke as the length of your forearm. This tends to be about where the neck meets the body, but in the case of a soprano, it may be slightly further up the neck, and in the case of a tenor, it may be slightly over the body. Obviously it also depends on the length of your arm.

10-13-2016, 02:24 PM
Whatever feels and sounds the best to you..............there is no real right or wrong answer IMHO

10-13-2016, 07:51 PM
Usually the neck forward of where it meets the body is for strumming, over the sound hole is for finger picking individual notes.

Croaky Keith
10-13-2016, 10:13 PM
If you watch most strummers they tend to use the bit around where the neck joins the body, if you watch pickers they tend to favour between sound hole & neck. :)

When starting out, I found it best to keep a uke on a stand, & just pick it up & practice for a few minutes at a time throughout the day, I still seldom play for more than half an hour at a time. ;)

10-13-2016, 11:33 PM
A stupid beginner question

The only stupid question is the one you do not ask:)

Dan Gleibitz
10-14-2016, 01:35 AM
Different places will yield different sounds. Use them all!

I'll pick right up the neck, or play way back next to the bridge when it gives the sound I want. Sometimes it's driven by necessity, eg. near the bridge allows me to strum and mute simultaneously. But mostly it's about volume and tonal variation.

10-14-2016, 02:39 AM
I agree with Domiuke. There are no such things like stupid questions.

Different places will yield different sounds. Use them all!.

I personally use both. It depends on song or the sound I want to make.
As rule of thumb, the higher you go toward the neck, the mellower the sound.
If you proceed toward the soundhole, the sound changes. It becomes clearer, more individual note separation.
On the soundhole and toward the saddle the sound of the finger that touch the string gives you also a little percussive sound.

The volume is generally higher when you strum when the handle meets the body, but it depends on the uke size.

10-14-2016, 04:25 AM
Thanks to all who replied to my thread!

I have pretty small fingernails so I was thinking of purchasing a finger pick. Should I wait or is that a good idea?

10-14-2016, 04:39 AM
Thanks to all who replied to my thread!

I have pretty small fingernails so I was thinking of purchasing a finger pick. Should I wait or is that a good idea?

Well, this is my 2 cents : for strumming you don't really need fingernails. Fingernails are useful fingerpicking, but I feel not mandatory, especially if you just started.
But it is a personal taste.
If you really need or want to try, I advice the alaska pik.
I would begin without, but it is a personal choice.

10-14-2016, 04:55 AM
A stupid beginner question

The only stupid question is the one you do not ask:)

Amen to that!

Croaky Keith
10-14-2016, 05:06 AM
Thanks to all who replied to my thread!

I have pretty small fingernails so I was thinking of purchasing a finger pick. Should I wait or is that a good idea?

I'd give it a couple of months, you'll find you can get a lot of sound even with the fleshy parts of your fingers & thumb after a little while of getting used to playing. :)

10-14-2016, 05:08 AM
My fingertips are slowly building up so it doesn't hurt as much when I play for longer than 10-15 minutes.

Believe me, this is not a dumb question. I played oboe in junior high and high school, and when I first started playing, we couldn't figure out why my hands were cramping up so much. We finally realized - I was putting my thumb on TOP of the thumb rest. My brain said that "thumb rest" meant a place to rest my thumb, not something to rest ON my thumb!

10-14-2016, 06:10 AM
its common for beginners to get a bit of pain in the strumming finger(s) also in the tips of your fretting fingers this will pass as you get more of a feel for strumming, most beginners press the strings down too hard when freting and also strum heavily, with practice you will get a feel for your strumming and you will not strum so heavily on the strings, hope this helps kaizer